The Washington State men's basketball team remained undefeated (3-0) Friday night with a 76-55 win over Sacramento State. It was a much different ball game compared to what we've seen from WSU so far this season.
I know this sounds really picky (because Wazzu allowed only 55 points), but the Cougar defense struggled a little bit against a weak Hornets team. WSU had allowed only 58 points combined heading into last night's game. Sacramento State shot nearly 47% from the field (the Cougs had held teams to 19% in the first two games combined), including 44% from three point territory (8-18).
"We lapsed on our defense tonight, that's one big thing. Every game we go into there's good things that happen, but we can definitely learn from every game. That's what we can learn from this game, we need to come out with more of a defensive mindset," Aron Baynes said after the game.
On the bright side, the Cougars forced 16 turnovers (and turned the ball over only six times themselves), only trailed once in the game (early in the first half), and (when it really comes down to it) allowed only 55 points (most college basketball team would be extremely pleased with that figure). Way too many parentheses in there...sorry!
Washington State was lights out offensively. It's the first time all of the starters played a major role this season (many haven't played more than 20 minutes in each of the first two games). The Cougars made 15 of 29 (51%) three point attempts...the 15 threes are the most since the team landed 18 against Gonzaga in 2002. Senior Taylor Rochestie (5-6) and freshman Klay Thompson (5-9) combined for ten three-pointers last night. They shared team-high honors with 17 points apiece. Aron Baynes and Daven Harmeling (13 points each) also scored in double figures.
Wazzu's bench combined for only nine points last night (3-12 shooting). Caleb Forrest, who averaged double figures in the first two games, went scoreless (0-3) in 19 minutes of work.
Rochestie, playing in his 100th collegiate game, was the star of the show. He registered the first double-double of his career. We already talked about his 17 points...he also handed out ten assists (he now has 23 on the season compared to just four turnovers).
"I think these guys made me look real good, as far as assists are concerned. We had a hot night shooting and I liked to pass up some shots that were more contested for these guys to shoot it because they were just stroking," Rochestie said.
One more thing I want to mention. It was thought that Washington State was going to redshirt Michael Harthun, but he played last night against the Hornets (scoring two points in five minutes). This is what Tony Bennett had to say about the decision: "I talked to Mike about it. He's clever with the ball, he can shoot, and I think our motto for the most part is to be all hands on deck, as it is every year. He did a nice job when he came in. He got beat once or twice but he moves well without the ball. Certainly, in practice he'll drive our first unit nuts just sticking threes in their faces." That means James Watson is the only freshman who hasn't played this season. Count on him to redshirt.
That's all I have on the Sac State game...
Washington State's whirlwind nonconference schedule continues on Tuesday against Canisius. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm at Beasley Coliseum. I'll preview that matchup on Sunday or Monday.
P.S. If you forgot....THE APPLE CUP IS TODAY!!! I'll have a full wrap-up right here later on tonight.