Playing their fourth game at home while tuning up for the season, Washington State had no troubles defeating the Griffins of Canisius College. The final score was a 26-point margin for the Cougs, 67-41.
The game was decided in the first half of play. WSU pounded the boards and made enough shots to earn a comfortable 39-15 lead.
For the second game in a row, the Cougs fell in love with the three-point shot. Unfortunately they weren't very hot from behind the arc, making just six of 22. But that did give WSU a chance to work for rebounds. By game's end, they had outrebounded the Griffins 44-27.
Canisius was able to rattle WSU enough to miss more shots than usual. Then again, it was just an off night for freshmen Abe Lodwick, DeAngelo Casto, and Charlie Enquist, who combined for a weak 2-11. They pulled the field goal conversion rate down to 42 percent for the game.
Casto had another couple of blocks, something he's done in each of the four games played so far.
Freshman Klay Thompson continues to impress. He played well at both ends of the court and contributed 15 points. His counterpart, senior Taylor Rochestie, scored nicely with a team-high 17 points, but had an off night handling the ball. Rochestie is one of the best in the nation handling the ball, but tonight he had four turnovers with just three assists.
The other Coug in double figures was forward Daven Harmeling, with 10 points on three of six shooting. It looks as though Harmeling has his touch back from three-point land, making two of his four attempts. That's just about what he's averaged over the first four games.
About the only surprise of the evening was the news that freshman Mike Harthun has been suspended for violating team rules and won't make the trip to Newark, NJ. Harthun just got his first playing time in the last game. This issue is one that won't be officially shared with the public.
Coach Tony Bennett was happy with the improvement on the boards. He's still working with different combinations of players to establish an effective rotation.
Washington State will pack their bags and head off to New Jersey for the final two rounds of the Legends Classic. They will be matched up against Mississippi State, an upgrade in talent over the four previous teams WSU has played.
The next two games will reveal just how well this blend of experience and young guns have gelled as a team. Coach Bennett is confident that they are ready to take on both the Bulldogs of MSU and the winner of the Pitt/Texas Tech game.
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