Having height gives you the upper hand in the game of basketball, and the Beavers capitalized on their advantage. Oregon State outscored the Cougars 32-16 in paint, which resulted in a 57-68 loss for Washington State Thursday night.
“I think our guys worked hard, unfortunately we came out on the short end,” WSU men’s basketball Head Coach Ken Bone said.
From the opening tip, the Beavers (14-11, 6-7) constantly fed the ball in the post. Oregon State redshirt senior center Angus Brandt scored his team’s first five points of the game.
On the other hand, it was WSU junior guard DaVonte Lacy who scored nine of the Cougars’ (9-17, 2-12) first 12 points of the game. Lacy’s strong start allowed WSU to edge out to a three-point lead in the first five minutes of the game.
However, the Beavers continued to execute their game plan of scoring in the paint and stretch their lead to 11 points with 4:17 left to play in the first half.
WSU gained momentum after sophomore forward Junior Longrus knocked down a couple baseline shots and finished the first half by going on a 10-3 run. The Cougars trailed the Beavers by a score of 30-26.
Oregon State came out in the second half by hitting four-of-five from the field and was able to edge out their lead to nine points with 16:29 remaining in the game. The Cougars cut the deficit to as little as five points, but the Beavers were able to maintain the lead the entire second half, which resulted in their sixth Pac-12 win of the season.
Not only were the Cougars hurt in the post, but Bone said a couple of his players were battling injuries in the game. Although Lacy finished the game scoring 18 points, he suffered an injury in the first half.
“DaVonte got kneed pretty hard in the thigh and was banged up, and I think that had something to do with lack of movement to get open at times,” Bone said.
WSU redshirt freshman Que Johnson did not start in the game and only scored two points off of two shot attempts. Bone mentioned Johnson hurt himself in the game against Stanford on Saturday and re-injured his toe during practice this week.
“I don’t think he’s moving real well, I think that affected him,” Bone said.
Turnovers were another area that hurt the Cougars last night. After handling the ball well in the previous two games, WSU turned the ball over 15 times, which the Beavers capitalized on by scoring 15 points off the turnovers.
“The ball was slippery or we had too much sweat on our hands or what, Junior really struggled twice, the ball went to him right in his hands and just slips out and out of bounds,” Bone said. “I’m not blaming him for the loss, but I’m just saying those are the types of poor catches that I guess so-call catch up with you, you got to be able to complete passes and catch the ball.”
The Cougars did contain the Beavers’ main offensive weapon, senior guard Roberto Nelson, by allowing the guard to only score 12 points.
“That was part of the game plan, obviously I think most teams have that in their game plan to stop the other team’s best scorer and in this case Roberto being probably an all-league player, I thought our guys did a great job in that area,” Bone said.
The WSU men’s basketball team will head to Eugene, Ore. on Sunday to take on the Oregon Ducks (17-8, 5-8) at 6 p.m.