Cougars top Deacons in exhibition game Sunday

WSU defeated New Hope Christian 138-61 at Beasley Coliseum



Then-redshirt freshman forward Arinze Chidom attempts a layup Nov. 15, 2017 at Beasley Coliseum.

KATIE ARCHER, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball hosted New Hope Christian College in an exhibition game Sunday afternoon which resulted in a 138-63 win for the Cougars.

Head Coach Ernie Kent said the team needed a game to show people what they brought to the table and he felt the talent and skillset for the team is much stronger this year.

“We have a lot more work to do, so I’m encouraged by where we are but more encouraged by where we can get to,” Kent said.

In the first half, the Cougars took the lead and dominated the Deacons, leading 68-30 at halftime. The Deacons struggled to create a shot as they forced many shots, including several air balls.

The Cougars were able to take advantage in the first half with 14 points off of the Deacons’ 10 turnovers, while NHCC did not manage any points off of WSU’s two turnovers. The Cougars had a 65.9 percent field goal percentage and a 68.8 percentage from behind the three-point line.

WSU kept the momentum going into the second half as NHCC had 13 turnovers that the Cougars would turn into 27 points. With 11 minutes left in the second half, the Cougars would go up 100-37 and maintain their lead for the remainder of the game.

WSU’s field goal percentage was 72.5 percent in the second half, leading to an overall 69.1 percent. WSU kept NHCC’s best scoring drive to only six points while the Cougars’ best was 21 points.

The Cougars took advantage of the Deacons’ defense as it would frequently leave them open outside the three-point line. WSU made 17 three-pointers leading to a 63 percent success rate from beyond the three-point line.

WSU would also have total of 48 rebounds and 35 assists at the end of the game compared to NHCC’s 23 rebounds and 12 assists.

Freshman forward CJ Elleby was named the player of the game and had the only double-double for WSU with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Meanwhile, freshman small forward Aljaz Kunc led the team in scoring with 24 points.

Kent said his team this year can spread the floor a lot more and has more movement without the ball.

Moving forward, Kent said he wants to see his defense improve their trapping angles and rotations. Offensively, he said they could improve their tempo.

Overall, Kent believes the team needs improvement but is heading in the right direction.

The Cougars will be back in action for their season opener at 4 p.m. Sunday in Beasley Coliseum against Nicholls State University.