Washington State got their 2008-09 basketball season off to a great start with a total domination of the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils.
One game doesn't make a complete season. There are 29 more on the schedule before the NCAA Tournament. But oh, what a beginning for an era of new Cougar players.
The flow of the game was quintessential Coach Tony Bennett basketball.
Defense set up the offense for the Cougs. And we're talking serious defense here. There was only 8:26 left in the first half when the Delta Demons finally scored a bucket. At that point the game was already out of reach following a 28-0 opening run by WSU.
Seniors Caleb Forrest and Aron Baynes led the Cougs in scoring with 15 and 14 respectively.
WSU protected the ball on offense, rarely turning the ball over. That is somewhat unexpected considering Coach Bennett gave five freshmen significant playing time.
When the Cougs were fouled, success followed them to the free throw line where they shot a very nice 75%.
Though you might not be familiar with Mississippi Valley State as a basketball powerhouse, consider this. Friday night the Delta Devils gave Arizona State all they could handle before losing 80-64. Sure there might have been a fatigue factor traveling from Phoenix to Pullman for back-to-back games. Don't kid yourself though. MVS will win their share of games before their season concludes.
DeAngelo Casto lived up to his billing by blocking four shots in the limited time he was on the floor. When Casto wasn't busy blocking shots, he was intimidating Delta Demon players.
If any of the Coug Babes, the five freshmen, were nervous going into their first Division I basketball game their play didn't show it. Coach Bennett and his staff seem to have them ready to compete at the college level.
The key to this season for Washington State is just how quickly the seven freshmen can adjust to Pac-10 basketball. Their debut was sensational.
More of the same Coach Bennett! More of the same.