Cougars face tall task against Gonzaga

DAVONTÈ LACY

WASHINGTON STATE COULD have some help when it hosts No. 10 Gonzaga at 8 p.m. Wednesday (TV: ESPNU). Coach Ken Bone discussed that, the Bulldogs' personnel and more during his Monday morning teleconference.

Bone said he expects sophomore guard DaVonté Lacy to warmup and "potentially practice" this afternoon. Lacy suffered an injury to his left knee Nov. 19 against Kansas and has missed the last four games. In four games, Lacy averaged 8.5 points per game and shot 47.8 percent from the field. Bone said he has not made a decision on whether Lacy will start or come off the bench when he returns.

"My guess is he will play Wednesday," said Bone, adding that it depends on whether Lacy can practice today.

The Cougars (5-3) could benefit from his presence. Last year, Lacy made 3 of 6 3-pointers en route to 11 points in an 89-81 loss at Gonzaga. While Lacy's presence could help on the perimeter, Bone said his team will have to figure out how to contain the Bulldogs' height. Kelly Olynyk, Przemek Karnowski and Sam Dower all average more than 10 points per game and shoot better than 60 percent from the field.

"Not only do they have size, but they have players who could potentially end up in the NBA," Bone said. "Each one of those guys in their own way [are outstanding]."

Not only will they present a challenge for WSU on defense, but creating opportunities for senior center Brock Motum also could be more difficult. Bone said Motum, who averages a team-high 18.9 points per game, can be utilized in ways to get opponents into foul trouble. But he said that is not as much of an issue for Gonzaga (8-0) because of its post depth. Despite those challenges, Bone is confident Motum will find chances to score.

"It seems like he gets every look throughout the course of three to four games," he said.

Bone said he is not bothered that Motum regularly scores the most points for his team, but would prefer to see other players emerge, as well. That is because opponents cannot focus as much on one player.

Motum scored 29 points during WSU's 72-60 win Saturday against Portland, but sophomore guard Royce Woolridge also produced 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Bone said Woolridge, who averages 8.5 points per game, was not urged to shoot the ball more. He also thinks some of his struggles coming off a redshirt season after transferring from Kansas — he shoots just 39.3 percent from the field — might have opened up opportunities against the Pilots.

"He just came out against Portland and maybe had more opportunities because he hadn't shoot well against Idaho," Bone said.

The Cougars will need all of the perimeter help they can get, Bone said, as the Bulldogs feature plenty of talent throughout their roster. Five players average at least 10 points per game.

"This very well could be the best Gonzaga team they've ever had," he said. "They have a lot of pieces and depth."

• Rick Majerus, who perhaps was best known for guiding Utah to the 1998 national championship game against Kentucky, died of heart failure Saturday. He was 64 years old.

"He will be remembered as a great Xs and Os coach," Bone said. "They did not have near the talent [of Kentucky], but there they were in the championship game."

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