The Cougars season opener versus Texas Southern had very few bright spots for WSU. They shot 14-of-50 from the field and 5-for-28 from beyond the arc, but they managed to win 56-52.
The offense was stagnant and relied on senior point guard Isaac Bonton to create most of the offense. The issue with that game plan is that Bonton had an off night for WSU. Even though he finished with 28 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, those stats may deceive you.
Bonton shot 7-for-25 from the field and 3-for-14 from three. On top of the poor shooting, Bonton also had seven turnovers, but did just enough to help WSU get over the hump to get the win.
WSU’s defensive energy was the main takeaway from tonight’s game. Texas Southern shot 29 percent from the field and 28 percent from deep matching the horrible shooting night of the Cougars.
The WSU defense also forced 18 turnovers as well as a handful of charges including the game winning charge by sophomore guard Noah Williams when the team needed a stop the most.
Freshman center Efe Abogidi excelled for the Cougars. He finished with nine points, eight rebounds and shot 4-for-5 from the field. He was also a serious paint presence on the defensive side of the ball and had one monster block.
Junior forward Aljaz Kunc made timely plays all game long on defense tallying multiple charges and two steals. He also came in clutch to finish the game shooting 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.
The Cougars got the win tonight, but that type of performance versus any team in the Pac-12 will result in a loss. I’m not sure if it was just opening night jitters or adjusting to playing in an empty arena, but this team will not win the next time they shoot like this.
The Cougars next game comes against Eastern Washington University on Saturday night at 8 p.m. and it will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.