DaVonté Lacy needed Wednesday night's performance as much as his team did. Ensnared in a funk that stretched back to WSU's 74-39 win against Idaho State on December 29, the sophomore guard registered his first three in conference play minutes in. He calmly tacked on another in front of the Utes bench the ensuing possession.
Shooting slump finished, three-game losing streak caput.
"I've been shooting well in practice and just been getting up extra shots," Lacy said. "I knew one was going to fall eventually. It wasn't like I was going to miss for the rest of my life."
Apparently his teammates felt the same way.
"For me it's just about staying confident. My teammates never lost confidence in me and said keep shooting," Lacy said. "Obviously they kept looking for me because I kept getting shots."
Bone said he resorted to a backhanded threat to motivate his third leading scorer. The remark proved another fitting joke the day before a rare laugher.
"We had a little talk yesterday. I said, ‘You know if you don't hit a three this game I'm just going to tell people you're not a very good shooter. You got lucky your first year'" Bone said. "It kind of loosened him up a little bit and let him relax and play the way he is capable of doing."
Lacy's early exhibition – aided by a pair of Mike Ladd treys – garnered WSU a 12-3 lead Utah never seriously threatened. It also helped the Cougars torment the Pac-12's best shooting percentage defense with seven first-half treys.
Ladd continued his offensive transformation, knocking down four first-half threes and dropping 14 points before intermission. He finished with a career best 22 points on 7-for-12 shooting. His five treys were also a career high.
The Cougars, meanwhile, shot a scorching 50 percent from the field and knocked down 11-of-20 from beyond-the-arc. Their 34-26 half time lead came despite Brock Motum going scoreless in the first twenty minutes. All five starters finished in double figures for the first time this season.
"It was nice to see," Bone said. "I think they reason why – and we talked about this the last few days – Utah's a great defense. It's really a credit to our guys to be able to shoot the percentages that they shot from the field against a team like Utah. We needed those threes."