'How much time do you have right now?'

THE ZONA SQUEEZE ON WOOLRIDGE

PULLMAN -- It was Nov. 19 the last time the WSU basketball team looked so overmatched. An undeniable talent gap was evident in the Cougars' 78-41 loss to Kansas that day. The 6,002 in attendance probably struggled to avoid a similar sentiment Saturday against the No 8-ranked Arizona Wildcats.

WSU head coach Ken Bone certainly did. "How much time do you have right now?" he asked when questioned about how many challenges Sean Miller's outfit posed.

"You saw a lot of guys that will be in the NBA. There's a lot of challenges because they're really good in the paint, they're really good three-point shooters and they drive the ball well.

"Not just offensively, they're very good in all areas," he said.

Good enough to easily dispose of Bone's struggling team 79-65 after building an early 18-9 lead behind Solomon Hill's lethal three-point shooting. Hill scored all of his 18 points in the first half by knocking down six buckets from beyond-the-arc.


MOTUM VS. MAYES

The last of his treys came from way beyond-the-arc.

The senior launched a three-quarters-court lob as time expired at the end of the first half to give the Wildcats a 40-26 advantage.

The 14-point cushion was plenty, considering the Wildcats' talent.

"We did a lot of switching on ball screens so we got caught in a lot of bad situations," Cougar post-man D.J. Shelton said. "I don't feel like they killed us too much down low in the post but they hit some great shots (outside)."

Shelton finished with his first career double-double, recording 13 points and 10 rebounds in 35 minutes of action.

It wasn't enough to slow down Arizona.

"I think we came out and played them hard. We fought," Shelton said. "It wasn't like a cakewalk for them. I think we've done a real good job of rebuilding since the Kansas loss."

Indeed, WSU (11-11, 2-7 Pac-12) was able to hang around in the second half. They just couldn't close the gap.

Mike Ladd's three first-half fouls had a lot to do with it. The team's senior captain and leading scorer in conference play spent the better half of the game on the bench. Bone opted to start Dexter Kernich-Drew in the second half rather than lose his leading scorer permanently.

"It definitely hurt us," Royce Woolridge said. "Mike's a great player. Mike's been playing extremely well for us lately so it definitely hurt when he had to sit on the bench.

"We had a bad start and it didn't help any having Mike Ladd on the bench most of the first half," Bone echoed. "It didn't get any better with us going into halftime down 14. It took away part of our strategy of rotating guys.

"Part of the gameplan was to rotate more guys tonight than usual."

A team as deep and balanced as Arizona needed to play below their potential for the Cougars to win on a night the school's marketing department tried to "Whiteout" Beasley Coliseum by handing out white WSU t-shirts.

A half-empty arena at tip-off indicated they fell well short.

So did Bone's Cougars.

"I think we did some good things but all-in-all the better team won," he said. "They're good. They're very good."

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • Brock Motum and DaVonte Lacy paced the Cougars with 15 points a piece. The Aussie knocked down 6-of-12 attempts while Lacy deposited 8-of-10 for the line to make up for 33 percent shooting.

  • An emerging Woolridge turned in another solid effort against a formidable ‘Cats backcourt. He scored 14 points and pulled down six rebounds while handling the point guard duties for Ladd.

  • The Cougars shot just south of 41 percent from the field, but they did manage to outrebound ‘Zona 32-29 and nearly cut the lead to single digits with four minutes remaining.

  • Arizona (now 19-2 and 7-2 in conference play) shot 47.4 percent from the field and held a 30-24 advantage in points in the paint.

  • The Cougars committed 13 turnovers, six of which came early in the first half as the Wildcats built their comfortable lead.

  • Motum has scored in double figures in every game this season. He moved to 11th on WSU's career scoring list, passing Chris Crosby.

  • The Cougars finished 19-of-22 from the charity stripe.

  • WSU heads to Los Angeles this week for games against USC and UCLA, and then return to Friel to take on the Oregon schools.

    NICK JOHNSON LOOKS FOR DAYLIGHT AGAINST JUNIOR LONGRUS' DEFENSE.

  • WildcatAuthority.com Recommended Stories