Washington State Completes Sweep Through Oregon 74-62

Lew WrightSenior Writer IJanuary 17, 2009

Washington State (11-6, 3-2) woke up early for their second road game in Oregon, their mid-morning matinee against the Ducks (6-12, 0-6).

Tipoff time was early Saturday morning at 11am PST.

About two hours later, Coach Tony Bennett's Cougars were heading to the locker room with decisive 74-62 win.

In the process of dominating Oregon, they set a new Pac-10 record for consecutive free throws in a game. The Cougs were perfect from the charity stripe, 28-28.  Of course, that will stand as a Washington State school record as well.  Senior Taylor Rochestie was 16-16, tying the school record for a game.

Other records were set. Personal records.

Taylor Rochestie finished the game with a career-high 30 points.

Aron Baynes knocked down the first three-point shot of his career, going 1-1 from behind the arc.  That's a career mark for the big guy from Down Under.

This game wasn't about records though.  It was about Bennett Ball, which is team defense.

Despite some white-hot shooting for the Ducks down the stretch, the Cougs held them to shooting just 39 percent from the field. That effort is likely to move WSU back to No. 1 in the nation for that category.

After missing their first eight attempts from behind the arc, Oregon kept the game in reach by making seven of their final 10 shots. Without those "treys", the game would have been a blowout.

Speaking of blowouts, the pressure to win a game may have been too much for Oregon Coach Ernie Kent.

About five minutes into the second half, Coach Kent's frustration with the way the game was going brought him to a boil.  He went off on the officials, something that is highly unusual for one of the true veterans of the Pac-10.

Assistants and players struggled to calm Coach Kent down fearing that he would be ejected. Their effort worked?

Less than three minutes later an incensed Coach Kent flew into a rage and was tossed from the game with the assessment of a second technical foul. The modest crowd of 8,261 on hand offered enthusiastic vocal support as Coach Kent trudged off to the locker room for the final 12 minutes of the game.

The score was 39-26 when the Oregon head man was shown the door.  He may have thought his players would respond to the manner in which he "supported" them.  If that was the case, Coach Kent thought wrong.

Team play by WSU proved to be the difference.

OK, team play and record-shattering free throw efficiency.

WSU had three players scoring in double-digits.  Along with Rochestie, senior Baynes had 19 and freshman Klay Thompson continued his strong, solid play tossing in 15 points.

As nice as it is to talk about the scoring of those three, their defense was in excellent form and made the significant impact on the outcome.

Once again, Coach Bennett tinkered with his starting lineup giving freshman Marcus Capers his first career start.

Capers responded with an outstanding defensive effort and played under control, something he struggles with.  His fine play is sure to earn Capers more playing time as the season rolls along.

Freshman DeAngelo Casto continues to be a force for the Cougs.  The young man plays with so much energy and enthusiasm, fans might be exhausted just watching him.

Blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, causing opponents to change shots and forcing errant passes are part of what happens when Casto is in the game.

That might not be his best asset. When DeAngelo is on the floor, his teammates feed off his energy.  He is a force.  Period.

This game did little to improve the situation for Oregon basketball.

It's clear that things aren't right in Eugene. It remains to be seen if Coach Kent can turn things around between now and the end of the season. If he doesn't, it very well might be his last.

Fans and supporters apparently have forgotten what he's been able to do for Oregon basketball in the past and are whining for a replacement.

The situation in Pullman is just the opposite. Coach Bennett has his team maturing into another solid team that will give the Southern California schools all they can handle next week.

After a shower and a late lunch, the Cougs will head back to their on-campus housing having completed a sweep of the Oregon schools.

This team is coming together. They are beginning to anticipate on the court. They are gaining confidence. They have a nice three-game winning streak going.

There's some icing to top this cake off with as well.

Washington State scored 74 points in a Pac-10 game!  Great stuff.




 WSU - UCLA in Pullman, WA

Thursday 6pm PST

Televised on FSN