Warriors make WSU Work; L-C's shooting lapses prove costly as Cougars
pull away for 62-53 victory in interdivisional pairing
Copyright of The Lewiston
By DOUG BAUER
OF THE TRIBUNE
PULLMAN -- The Lewis-Clark State College Warriors had
their chances. Plenty of them.
But the Warriors failed to cash in on numerous scoring opportunities, and
that proved to be their ultimate downfall in a 62-53 loss to Washington
State Wednesday night at Beasley Coliseum.
While the game served as WSU's exhibition opener, it counted against
L-C's record, dropping the Warriors to 4-2 heading into the four-team
Cannons Building Materials tournament, which begins Friday at Warrior Gym.
"We didn't shoot very well," said L-C coach George Pfeifer, lamenting his
team's 14-for-47 (29.8 percent) showing from the field. "But that had an
awful lot to do with them.
"We never really got a rhythm going because of the way they defended us."
L-C came into the game hoping to topple an upper-division foe, but the
Warriors got off to a sluggish start and found themselves facing an early
L-C managed to shoot its way back into contention from the foul line,
converting 8 of 11 free throws during an extended stretch to close within
20-17. The Warriors then tied the score at 20-all on a Joey Ray 3-pointer
with 3 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the first half.
Although WSU recovered to take a 26-23 lead into the break, coach Dick
Bennett was less than thrilled with the Cougars' performance at that
"We didn't respect the basketball," said Bennett, whose team committed 13
turnovers in the first half. "And in spite of (L-C's) good defense, so many
of those turnovers (resulted from) silly decisions ... I got on the seniors
for that. I was very disappointed in our older kids.
"The younger kids are going to make mistakes, but the older kids know
what we value and they just simply threw it all to the wind."
WSU opened the second half with an 8-2 run, and the Cougars maintained a
slight cushion until a thunderous Jeff Varem dunk followed by a steal and
layup by Josh Akognon put them ahead 48-38 with just over 9 minutes
WSU stretched its lead to as many as 13 points before back-to-back
baskets by L-C's John Moore cut the Cougar advantage to 55-36.
But Moore was whistled for a technical foul shortly thereafter, and the
Warriors were unable to work their way back into contention over the game's
final 2 1/2 minutes.
Varem led the Cougars with game-highs in points (16) and rebounds (12),
and he converted 6 of 7 shots from the floor. Fellow senior Thomas Kelati
added 11 points despite a 1-for-7 night from beyond the 3-point arc, and
freshman Robbie Cowgill contributed 10 points.
Danny Allen had 15 points for the Warriors, who also received 11 points
from Moore and 10 from Ray.
Ray, L-C's top outside-shooting threat, was making his season debut; he
sat out the team's first five games recovering from foot surgery. He
practiced for the first time on Tuesday, and appeared a little off in regard
to his timing, although Pfeifer refused to make excuses.
"That would be taking away from the Cougars defensively, and I wouldn't
want to do that," Pfeifer said. "But I'm sure if you've only practiced one
day, you're not at the top of your game, in (Ray's) defense."
Bennett, himself a former NAIA coach, liked what he saw of L-C.
"I want to congratulate Lewis-Clark State for a very inspired game," he
said. L-C is "a very well-coached team, a very good team who made us look
quite bad for big portions of the game.
"At this stage of the (season), you're just thankful that you have a
tough game," he added. "This is far better for us than playing some all-star
team or some foreign team that just quits on you. I was very impressed with
their kids. In fact, I'd like to have a couple of them.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (4-2)
Wilson 1-4 0-0 2, Idoko 0-0 1-2 1, Brothers 2-9 0-0 4, Allen 3-6 6-9 15,
Fraser 0-6 0-0 0, Bishop 0-0 0-0 0, Jaekel 0-1 2-2 2, Moore 4-7 3-4 11, Ray
2-9 4-4 10, Pitts 0-0 2-4 2, Tikker 2-5 2-2 6. Totals 14-47 20-27 53.
WASHINGTON STATE (0-0)
Schlatter 3-5 0-0 7, Varem 6-7 4-7 16, Cowgill 4-9 2-3 10, Kelati 3-10
4-5 11, Weaver 2-5 1-1 5, Josh Akognon 2-6 0-0 5, Green 0-0 0-0 0, Gill 1-1
0-0 2, Simmons 0-1 0-0 0, Harmeling 2-3 2-2 6. Totals 23-47 13-18 62.
Halftime score -- Washington State 26, Lewis-Clark State 23. Three-point
goals -- L-C 5-19 (Wilson 0-2, Allen 3-5, Fraser 0-3, Jaekel 0-1, Ray 2-7,
Tikker 0-1), WSU 3-16 (Schlatter 1-2, Kelati 1-7, Weaver 0-2, Akognon 1-5).
Rebounds -- WSU 38 (Varem 12), L-C 26 (Moore 6). Assists -- L-C 8 (Wilson
2), WSU 15 (Weaver 5). Total fouls -- L-C 17, WSU 21. Fouled out -- Weaver.
Technical fouls -- Moore. Att -- 2,427.