Following their disappointing performance in the 76 classic going 0-3 last weekend, the Cougars were able to bounce back in a big way Wednesday night at home against Grambling State. The offense shot consistently throughout the night, but it was the Cougars defense that really made the difference for them in their 69-37 victory over the Tigers.
"It's nice to be home and play here at Beasley," Head Coach Ken Bone said following the Cougar victory. "Obviously we wished there would have been a bigger crowd but on a Wednesday night and after losing three in a row we can't expect a whole lot more right now."
Throughout the game, the Cougars were playing stifling defense on Grambling State, which led to poor shooting performances in the first half. In the first 20 minutes, the visiting team could not develop any type of rhythm on offense and it was clear that WSU's defense was rattling them a bit. Grambling State shot 24.1 percent from the floor in the first half, connecting on only 7-29 attempts. For the game the Tigers shot 25.5 percent, going 14-55.
Meanwhile WSU took over the tempo of the first half, and losing the opening tip was about the only thing that went wrong during the first 20 minutes. Freshman Davante Lacy energized the offense during the first half with two thunderous slams that brought the few in attendance onto their feet.
The two highlight reel plays jolted the Cougars as the team shot 12-29 in the first 20 minutes, and were led by senior Faisal Aden's eight points.
One negative for the Cougars during the first half was their shooting from the three point line. WSU shot 21.4 percent off 3-14 shooting. Aden had two of the makes, however he also had six of the misses.
Aden ended the game as the leading scorer with 12 points, but he was 5-16 from the floor and only 2-7 from the three point line. When asked if perhaps Aden was attempting to do to much on offense, Bone said that the message he sent out to his players was pass first and look for the assist which may have affected Aden's mindset.
"I think his shooting percentage tonight was my fault based on what I communicated to him and the other guys," Bone said. "He'll shoot better next game.
The Cougars went into the first half holding a 34-17 advantage, and continued their dominance coming out of the locker room.
In the second half the Cougars continued to pour it on the Tigers and saw their lead grow to 20 points only after a few minutes. WSU kept turning it on offensively, and with a little over eight minutes left in regulation, saw their lead grow to 57-31 following a three-pointer by sophomore Patrick Simon. The Tigers tried to rally late, but the Cougars continued to play well on both sides of the floor as they secured their third win on the season.
A big game for the Cougars came from forward Brock Motum who recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Motum had six offensive rebounds, which led to several easy put backs for the junior from Australia.
"Brock did a good job tonight,"Bone said."Brock had a double-double which was the first of his career, barely with 11 points and 10 rebounds but he did that in 23 minutes of play. He did some really good things and I was very happy with his six offensive rebounds."
Bone added that Motum is not a natural post player, but he has been impressed with his physicality in the low post.
"He's doing a good job,"Bone said."He's obviously not a true post player but when we get him the ball 10-15 feet from the hoop he's also a threat to drive and get to the rim."
Next up for the Cougars will be a meeting this Saturday against Eastern Washington at 3:30 p.m. at Friel court. As of press time, the Eagles were in a showdown with Idaho, but prior to the meeting held a 3-2 record after a 79-59 victory of UC-Davis on Sunday.