Cougars cruise to easy win

WSU 72, UTAH VALLEY 49: Cougars crush Great West Conference team; sign 3 recruits, including Oak Hill Academy star

Contributing writerNovember 15, 2012 

PULLMAN – Washington State basketball coach Ken Bone, looking to the future, signed three players to letters of intent Wednesday.

Not that Bone has much to complain about with his current group of players.

The Cougars, a consensus pick to finish way back in the Pacific-12 Conference, routed Great West Conference favorite Utah Valley, 72-49, on Wednesday night at Beasley Coliseum.

The Cougars (2-0) dominated the Wolverines at both ends of the floor and jumped out to a commanding early lead. WSU shot 51.8 percent from the field and made just five turnovers.

“It’s still early,” cautioned Cougars star Brock Motum. “We’ve played two games. I think the majority of the country still might be undefeated.”

Motum led all scorers with 15 points despite being limited to 21 minutes after picking up two early fouls. Sophomore wing Dexter Kernich-Drew added a career-high 14 points. Mike Ladd scored 13, and former Curtis High star DaVonté Lacy had 11 points and a career-high six assists.

Center Ben Aird led the Wolverines (1-2) with 10 points before 2,023 spectators.

The Cougars play their only non-televised game of the season Friday at Pepperdine (0-2), then take on seventh-ranked Kansas (1-1) on Monday in the predetermined semifinals of the College Basketball Experience (CBE) Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo. Wednesday’s game was part of the Classic.

WSU landed three high school players on the first day for signing letters of intent.

The most heralded newcomer is 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard Ikenna “Ike” Iroegbu, who played on the undefeated national high school champions of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy last season. Oak Hill has produced such NBA stars as Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Durant.

Bone described Iroegbu as “a very athletic and quick combo guard.” Scout.com ranks Iroegbu the 30th-best college point guard prospect among high school seniors.

Iroegbu is rated a three-star recruit on Scout’s scale of one to five. Iroegbu’s brother, Chugs, was a WSU walk-on player last season.

WSU also signed Josh Hawkinson, a 6-9, 220-pound power forward from Shorewood near Seattle, and Tanner Lancona, a 6-8, 225-pound power forward from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. Hawkinson has no rating with Scout; Lancona is a three-star recruit.

“I’m excited about this signing class not just on the court, but off the court as well,” Bone said. “All three of these signees are great guys and work hard in the classroom.

“That’s important to our program, to bring in kids that work hard on the court, but also value academics.”

Key WSU recruits have failed to qualify academically in recent years. The top recruit last year, Que Johnson, cannot play or practice for WSU (where he is taking classes) this season after being ruled a partial academic qualifier by the NCAA.

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