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January 10, 2010
The day began badly for the Washington State University men's hoop team in what was supposed to be the Pac-10's marquee game of the week against the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe. Sophomore forward DeAngelo Casto and sophomore guard Marcus Capers were late for team meetings and, as a result, head coach Ken Bone penalized them by not allowing the pair to start the game against the Sun Devils. But then it got worse - much worse - for the Cougars as the absence of Casto and Capers along with sophomore scoring sensation Klay Thompson's early foul trouble completely knocked the Cougars out of rhythm and ASU took advantage of the confused and poorly shooting Cougars to win easily, 71-46. With the loss, the Cougars drop to 12-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Despite the absence of Casto and Capers - both of whom sat out for the majority of the first half - Wazzu was able to get off to a quick start, courtesy of Thompson, who hit Wazzu's first five points and helped the Wazzu to a 7-1 lead just three minutes into the game. But then the game took a turn for the worse for the Cougars. With Casto and Capers out, Bone used reserves Charlie Enquist and Steven Bjornstad and when Thompson got into foul trouble, picking up two quick fouls in the half, Michael Harthun received some playing time. Without Casto, Capers and Thompson, the results became predictable as Arizona State turned the 7-1 deficit into a 10-point advantage with a 16-0 run. In fact, not only did the Cougars not score during that run but they also went 7:43 without recording a field goal when senior Nikola Koprivica finally broke the drought with a bucket to cut the Sun Devils' lead to 11 at 23-12 with 9:10 remaining in the half. With Capers, Casto and Thompson returning to play late in the first half, Wazzu made a run and closed to within six points of ASU, at 31-25, before the Sun Devils scored the final bucket of the half and took a 33-25 lead into the locker room. Despite his limited minutes, Thompson led the Cougars in scoring with seven points at the break.
But at the beginning of the second half, the Cougars mentally checked out, packed up and went home to Pullman as the Sun Devils thoroughly outplayed the Cougars - allowing them only nine points in the first 10 minutes of the half - while putting the game away with an opening 8-2 run. Thompson, the Cougars' leading scorer and NCAA's third-leading scorer, scored only two points in the second half - on a pair of free throws - and went the entire half without a field goal. Arizona State rolled to a 20 point lead at 61-41 and then put it on cruise control for the remainder of the game and effortlessly sauntered in for the victory.
No Cougars finished in double digits in scoring as they shot 30% as a team and were led by Thompson's nine points.
Wazzu will continue Pac-10 conference play on Thursday, January 14 when they will face California at 7 PM at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman
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