Men’s basketball finishes in sixth

The Washington State University men’s basketball team spent most of its Thanksgiving break in Orlando, Fla., where they competed in the Old Spice Classic.

WSU won one of three games in Orlando, resulting in a sixth-place finish.

WSU opened up against Butler in the first round of the tournament, but could not contain guard Kellen Dunham and forward Khyle Marshall who went on to score 32 and 30 points, respectively.

“My teammates did a great job of setting me up,” Dunham said in an interview after the game.

The Cougars kept the game close but could not finish in the end. The Cougars trailed Butler by three points with less than two minutes to play in the game. WSU freshman guard Ike Iroegbu had the opportunity to cut the deficit to one point, but missed two free throws.

The following possession, Butler’s Dunham hit a three-point shot to extend the Butler lead to six points. The Cougars could not come back and lost the game 69-76. WSU junior guard DaVonte Lacy led the team in scoring with 26 points, and redshirt freshman guard Que Johnson scored a career-high 11 points.

The Cougars’ second game of the tournament was against a 4-1 Purdue Boilermakers team. Once again Lacy led the team in scoring with 16 points. Three other Cougars scored in double figures. The Cougars were able to spread the scoring around, which led to the win over Purdue that snapped a three-game losing streak.

“A great win for our program,” WSU men’s basketball Head Coach Ken Bone said. “We really needed a win. Not only did we win, but I’m really excited the way we handled things down the stretch.”

The Cougars defeated the Boilermakers by a final score of 69-54 after trailing by ten points at halftime and outscoring Purdue 52-27 in the second half.

“It was a great defensive effort,” Bone said. “That’s what I’m most proud of, personally. That’s a great team. They have a lot of firepower.”

The Cougars went on a 14-2 run to open up the second half.

“We didn’t put our heads down,” Lacy said. “We knew we were getting shots. We just weren’t making them. I think we came out in the second half and shared the ball a lot more. Also, we were attacking.”

The win against Purdue put the Cougars in a battle for fifth place Sunday against Saint Joseph’s University. Similar to the Butler game, the match against Saint Joseph’s was another close game. Saint Joseph forward Ronald Roberts Jr. made a three-point play that put Saint Joseph’s up by one point with 3:22 left in the game. WSU failed to score another basket with less than three minutes in the game and fell by a score of 67-72.

“We comeback, take a lead and that last four, five, six minutes, we got outplayed,” Bone said. “I thought Saint Joseph’s just outplayed us down the stretch when things were getting tight. A critical part of the game, we’ve got to execute on both ends of the floor, and they executed. We didn’t execute as well as we needed to win the game.”

Next up for WSU is a road game against crosstown rival Idaho.