Washington State’s run in the 2009 Pac-10 Tournament came to an end at the hands of No. 14 UCLA 64-53.
Coach Tony Bennett’s Cougs dug themselves a deep, deep hole in the first half and never crawled out of it.
Four minutes into this second round game, UCLA went on a 21-0 run to ice the game midway through the first half.
The Cougs could have stopped the avalanche of points any number of times.
With the score 14-5, DeAngelo Casto missed a layup. Hustle by the men in crimson and gray accounted for three consecutive offensive boards. None of the putbacks would fall for the Cougs. Not a single tip.
Two words adequately describe the WSU offense: "Ice Cold."
The Bruins built the lead up to 25-5 on some outstanding defense and fine shooting.
When it came to WSU shooting the basketball, it wasn’t their night. They missed a fistful of layups. Virtually every three-point attempt clanked off the rim.
Some of the Cougar long-range shots ricocheted off the side of the backboard.
Washington State worked the ball well on offense. They had plenty of good looks at the rim, failing to find the bottom of the net time and time again.
Usually if your team holds the opposition to 40 percent shooting from the field, the game will be close. That’s probably good enough for a lead. That’s what Bennett Ball held the Bruins to, a low percentage of converting shot attempts.
A key part of the decent defensive game turned in by WSU was the fine play of freshman Marcus Capers. Capers played 27 minutes, something that has been the norm over the past six or seven games. He looked comfortable and in control, as evidenced by the fact he didn't commit a turnover.
Mike Harthun was on the floor nearly half of the second 20 minutes of regulation. He responded with his first three-point bucket as a Cougar. Like Capers, Harthun didn't commit a turnover.
Though it might seem mentioning Capers and Harthun in the recap of a loss is a stretch, looking forward, both players are a big part of the future for Coach Bennett and Washington State.
Coach Ben Howland’s offense sputtered throughout the game. However, when the Bruins needed to trade baskets, their shots fell.
Over the final 33 minutes of the game, UCLA held a double-digit lead for 31 of those.
Things went so poorly for Washington State, two of their key players had more rebounds than points. Klay Thompson had five points on 2-of-11 shooting, but did gather in seven boards. Casto pulled down nine rebounds but only scored four points.
On a night where Coach Bennett was looking for anyone that could score, even Taylor Rochestie couldn’t get anything to fall. After torching UCLA in their first two meetings this year, Rochestie managed just 8 points on 1-of-11 shooting.
Aron Baynes was able to score. He grabbed rebounds. Baynes blocked shots. On a night when his teammates couldn’t hit water from a boat in the middle of a lake, the Big Aussie turned in another outstanding performance in 38 minutes of play. He finished the game with 22 points, four blocked shots, and six rebounds.
That wasn’t enough in the second round of the conference tournament.
Coach Howland’s team played well enough to win.
In the end, that’s what counts.
Originally posted on Examiner.com
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