PULLMAN – Washington State unveiled a new offensive weapon Wednesday night, and the Cougars’ most familiar offensive weapon was his usual reliable self.
D.J. Shelton buried a 3-pointer with 3 minutes remaining and added two other late baskets, and Brock Motum poured in a season-high 26 points to lift WSU to a 64-55 triumph over Idaho at Beasley Coliseum.
“D.J. Shelton – wow,” Cougars coach Ken Bone said. “What a great job on the offensive end he did in the last three or four minutes.”
Shelton, a 6-foot-10, junior forward who did not attempt a 3-pointer last season, improved to 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc this season by sinking both his long attempts against Idaho.
“I didn’t think D.J. Shelton could beat us from 3, but he did tonight,” Vandals coach Don Verlin said. “That was a huge shot.”
The shot clock was winding down when Shelton nailed the 3-pointer after Idaho had cut its deficit to two. Bone said he had no problem with Shelton shooting from beyond the arc.
“He’s a pretty good 3-point shooter; he’s been telling me that for a long time,” Bone said with a smile. “He’s starting to prove it.”
“I’m way more comfortable (than last season),” said Shelton, a junior college transfer last year who tied his career high with 14. “I’m seeing things better and just playing better with way more confidence.”
The Cougars (4-3) led their border rivals most of the way. Washington State held a 34-25 lead at the half, but Idaho (1-4) made it a three-point game early in the second half before the Cougars’ Dexter Kernich-Drew delivered a three-point play with 16:01 left.
Kernich-Drew scored 15 points, one short of his career high. He was making his third start in place of former Curtis High School star DaVonté Lacy, who has a knee injury.
Bone said Lacy will miss “at least” one more game.
The Cougars face Portland on Saturday (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) before 12th-ranked Gonzaga comes to town next Wednesday.
More than 9,200 tickets have been sold for the Gonzaga game.
Wednesday’s crowd of 4,791 enjoyed a vintage offensive performance by Motum, who sank 11 of 20 shots from the field.
“He’s crafty,” Verlin said. He’s really good at using his body.
“He’s just a good enough shooter that he makes you extend your defense. He’s got a lot of moves … we had no answer for him. He’s (a) good ballplayer, there’s no question about it.”
Stephen Madison led three Vandals in double figures with 13 points. The Cougars, led by Motum and Kernich-Drew, outscored Idaho 44-24 in the paint.
The Cougars moved the ball well and had a season-low four turnovers. Point guard Royce Woolridge had one turnover in 33 minutes, but he went scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting.