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WSU Takes Out First-Place Stanford: A Fan’s Reaction
The Washington State Cougars played inspired basketball Thursday night (Jan. 19), knocking off the first place team in the Pac-12 Conference 81-69. Stanford looked like the better team in the first half, taking advantage of offensive opportunities and holding the Cougars to just 27 points, but the second half told a different story.
Faisal Aden scored a career-high 33 points on the night, going 10-for-19 from the field and 13-for-13 from the free throw line. He was driving to the basket well, providing a lot of energy to the Cougars and ultimately carrying the team to a victory of a Stanford team that had been 15-3. Brock Motum chipped in 15 points and Reggie Moore added 14 more in a game that will make all the Pac-12 analysts scratch their heads.
After starting out the conference schedule with a 1-4 record, this was certainly a nice way for the Cougars to bounce back. It was by-far the best performance by the team against a good opponent this year and it definitely showed the potential that this team has had all along. Aden finally stepped up into the role that everyone assumed was his when Klay Thompson went to the NBA and he showed the talent that the Cougars could have used all year. He also did it all off the bench, playing in just 29 minutes for the team on Thursday night.
It helped that WSU played good defense against Stanford as well, holding the Cardinal to just 40.7 percent from the field and 8-for-33 from three-point range. The Cougars also won the battle of the boards 29-27, but maybe most importantly, only turned the ball over 7 times. That is taking care of the ball, and starting point guard Reggie Moore deserves most of the credit. If the guards (including DaVonte Lacy and his 8 points) can continue to put up numbers like these, the season could certainly turn around for WSU.
The win helped Washington State improve to 10-8 overall (2-4 in Pac-12), bumping the Cougars up and into a tie for eighth place in the conference. It's not a spectacular standing, but it does show that maybe the team could push itself into the top half of the conference before the tournament and make some waves.
The next challenge for WSU is against the new first place team in the Pac-12, as the 16-4 (6-1 in Pac-12) California Golden Bears come to Beasley Coliseum at 3:05 p.m. PT on Saturday (Jan. 21).
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*Ryan is a former Washington State University student that bleeds crimson and gray. He has continued to be a die-hard Cougars supporter through the ups and downs of Cougar sports. Once a Coug ; Always a Coug .
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