Old Spice Classic Preview: Washington State

WSU's DaVonte Lacy (USA Today)

The Cougars are an even 2-2 under Ken Bone to begin the 2013-14 season. Come inside to preview Washington State in advance of the this week's Old Spice Classic in Orlando.

ABOUT Washington State

Location: Pullman, WA
Conference: Pac-12
Home Venue: Beasley Coliseum
Head Coach: Ken Bone (5th season, 72-67)
Last NCAA Tournament Appearance: 2008
2012-13 Record: 13-19 (4-14)
2012-13 Postseason: None
2013-14 Record: 2-2 (results below in order)
- W, 62-56 vs. Cal State Bakersfield
- W, 84-64 vs. Lamar - L, 90-74 at No. 13 Gonzaga
- L, 64-62 vs. TCU

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

G Royce Woolridge (6-3, 180, Jr.)
G DaVonte Lacy (6-4, 215, Jr.)
G/F Dexter Kernich-Drew (6-7, 190, Jr.)
F D.J. Shelton (6-10, 250, Sr.)
C Jordan Railey (7-0, 245, Jr.)

BY THE NUMBERS

Leading Scorer: DaVonte Lacy, 20.3
Leading Rebounder: D.J. Shelton, 6.5
Leader in Assists: Ike Iroegbu, 2.5
Team Points Per Game: 70.5
Points Conceded Per Game: 68.5

STATE OF THE TEAM

(As written by the staff of CougFan.com)

Washington State heads to the Old Spice Classic off a 64-62 home loss Sunday to TCU in a game that serves as fitting metaphor for the Cougs' season so far. Up and down. Or in this case, down and up. The Cougs shot 27 percent from the field in the first half Sunday, digging themselves a huge hole, but stormed back to take a one-point lead late in the second before free throws and a block at the buzzer sealed it for TCU.

The Cougars are now 2-2 on the season. They lost on the road to Gonzaga last week, and started the year with wins over Bakersfield and Lamar. The Bakersfield game was sloppy, the Lamar win was mostly solid, the Gonzaga loss was a rout fueled by poor Cougar defense and poor first-half shooting, and the TCU game was a tale of two halves. Bottom line, the Cougars have yet to find any rhythm on either side of the ball and will need to in a hurry if they hope to compete and succeed in Orlando.

One bright spot has been the play of freshman point guard Ike Iroegbu out of prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. He has alternated at point with junior Royce Woolridge, who can play either the one or the two, and has looked very good. While his defense needs work, on offense Iroegbu has shown range and an ability to drive and convert at the rim. He leads the team in assists, is second in steals and second in points per game (11.8) behind shooting guard DaVonte Lacy.

Lacy, a junior, has come into the season looking quicker and stronger, and he's hit 36 percent of the 39 shots he's taken from beyond the arc. The three-ball right now is the centerpiece of the Cougars' offense, in large part because it's a guard- and wing-heavy team. More than 50 percent of their shots taken this year have come from downtown. It's a high-risk proposition, and it has cost them dearly so far. By connecting on only 5-of-18 long balls in the first half against TCU, the Horned Frogs were able to build a large lead and pull off the upset, and hitting on just 3-of-13 from downtown in the first half against Gonzaga allowed the Zags to run away and hide.

The Cougs have some intrigue in the post, with athletic 6-foot-10 senior D.J. Shelton leading the way at 7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He loves to play with his face to the basket and frequently floats out to the perimeter on offense. Six-foot-seven sophomore Junior Longrus is primarily a defender and screen setter, while 7-foot Iowa State transfer Jordan Railey is still trying to find his way, though he flashed some potential at both ends of the court against Gonzaga.

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