PULLMAN – Grambling State, a small university in rural Louisiana, is one of 345 schools that compete in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
Well, “compete” might be too kind of a description for the Tigers these days.
Winless Grambling, dead last in Division I coming into Wednesday’s games with 40.8 points per game and 27.7 percent shooting from the field, failed to reach either of those marks in a 69-37 loss to Washington State at Beasley Coliseum.
The Tigers (0-6), who agreed to make the 2,200-mile trip to Pullman when both teams found themselves in need of a game to fill out their schedules, made only 14 out of 55 shots (25.5 percent).
Grambling suited up just seven players because of injuries and ineligibility, and only two of the active players are on scholarship. The Tigers have lost every game by at least 30 points.
“It’s a tough deal right now,” Grambling coach Bobby Washington summed up.
The Cougars (3-4) snapped a three-game losing streak, but they occasionally appeared to be only slightly more interested in the game than the sleepy crowd of 2,930. The halftime announcement of the hiring of new football coach Mike Leach may have elicited the loudest cheers of the night.
“Tonight’s game, from our standpoint, it was up-and-down energy-wise,” said WSU guard DaVonte Lacy, a freshman out of Curtis High who had another solid performance (10 points, six rebounds). “We had some moments where we were flat, we had some moments where we brought intensity.
“But at the end of the day, it was a win.”
The Cougars certainly needed a win after going 0-3 at the 76 Classic tournament in Anaheim, Calif. Senior guard Faisal Aden led Washington State with 12 points, but he missed 11 out of 16 shots.
WSU junior post Brock Motum produced his first double-double, finishing with 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in 23 minutes.
“He did some really good things,” WSU coach Ken Bone said. “I was very pleased with his six offensive rebounds.”
“There were a lot of rebounds to get tonight,” noted Motum, referring partly to Grambling’s 41 missed shots. WSU went 24-for-56 (42.9 percent) from the field.
The Cougars, who were outrebounded in each of their first three games by a total of 22, have led or tied the past four opponents on the boards. WSU is plus-23 over the four games after grabbing a season-high 45 rebounds to top Grambling by 13.
Washington State also registered a season-high 18 assists, led by the game-high seven of Reggie Moore. A junior point guard, Moore led the Pacific-12 Conference coming into the day with 5.5 assists per game.
PJ Roberson, Grambling’s 7-foot center, led the Tigers with 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Eastern Washington comes to Beasley Coliseum at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Bone said guard Mike Ladd is questionable after missing the past two games due to a sprained thumb.