Washington State starting point guard Reggie Moore is out indefinitely with an aggravated wrist injury, putting the Cougars in a bind as they opened the season against Southern on Saturday night.
But only a little bind as Washington State crushed Southern, 86-47.
The Jaguars (0-2) took an 11-8 lead six minutes into the game. After that, it was all Cougars.
“We anticipated a slow start,” WSU coach Ken Bone said. “We started Brock (Motum) and Faisal (Aden) instead of Reggie (Moore) and DeAngelo (Casto), and those five haven’t played a lot together as a group. The other five are pretty comfortable.”
Once Washington State clicked, there was no stopping it. The Cougars led at halftime, 41-18, and were paced by Klay Thompson, who took over for Moore at point guard and had 13 of his 15 points in the first half.
Aden, a junior-college transfer, led all scorers with 18 points, 11 in the second half. Typically a threat from beyond the arc, Aden hit one 3-pointer, but he connected on long 2-pointers and slipped through the key for layups with relative ease.
The Cougars had four players finish in double figures, with Casto adding 16 points and Motum 14. Marcus Capers finished with eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
“The rebounding was weird,” Capers said. “I didn’t know I had that many. Coach told me I needed three more, and I said, ‘What?’ He told me I had 12.”
Quinton Doggett led Southern with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
But the Jaguars couldn’t keep up with Washington State’s weapons.
At No. 5 Pittsburgh 95, North Florida 49: Brad Wanamaker scored 17 points and the Panthers (3-0) pulled away from the fatigued Ospreys (0-2) with a 26-6 run in the first half of the Panthers’ 50th consecutive win at home against a non-conference opponent.
At No. 13 Illinois 85, S. Illinois 63: Demetri McCamey had 18 points and nine assists and D.J. Richardson added 16 points for the Illini (3-0).
At No. 17 Butler 83, Marian 54: Shelvin Mack scored 20 points and Andrew Smith added a career-high 10 as the Bulldogs won their season opener.
No. 25 San Diego St. 81, at Long Beach St. 65: Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and 12 rebounds and D.J. Gay scored 20 points to lead the Aztecs to a win in their first game as a ranked team.
At No. 2 Baylor 93, Montana St. 56: Melissa Jones had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead six players in double figures scoring, and the Bears (2-0) overcame a slow start to overwhelm the Bobcats (0-2).
At No. 6 Duke 69, Brigham Young 54: Karima Christmas scored 20 points and the Blue Devils overcame a slow start to beat the Cougars in both teams’ season opener.
No. 10 Oklahoma 76, at Wisconsin-Milwaukee 59: Danielle Robinson scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half to lead the Sooners over the Panthers.