Sutton moves into 8th on coaching wins list

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Dick Bennett shook his head. He folded his arms. He called timeouts and consulted with his Washington State team. There just wasn't anything he could do to get the ball to go into the basket.

The Cougars (3-2) went more than nine minutes before scoring their first basket and had four more stretches of at least four minutes without a field goal in an 81-29 loss Saturday to Oklahoma State (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP).

John Lucas III and Joey Graham combined to outscore the Cougars, who had one of the worst offensive outings since the 3-point line started in 1986-87. Georgia Southern holds the record for fewest points, getting 21 in a 40-point loss to Coastal Carolina on Jan. 2, 1997.

"I have not run into, in my 40 years, that kind of defensive intensity for as long as they played it," Bennett said. "It was most impressive."

The Cougars missed their first six shots -- including five from 3-point range -- and it didn't get much better from there. Oklahoma State (5-0) built a commanding 29-2 lead in the first half and was up 36-10 at halftime. Washington State finished 12-for-55 from the field and 4-for-24 from 3-point range.

"I think once it got to the embarrassment stage, we really lost our spirit," Bennett said. "I thought that happened, and I understand that. It would be pretty hard to maintain any kind of backbone in the face of that pressure and this crowd. And we did, I thought, soften considerably."

The Cougars are familiar with offensive futility. Last December, Fresno State beat the Cougars 46-29, after leading 27-9 at the half. By nature, the Cougars are a low-scoring team. They averaged only 52.5 points in their first four games. Bennett said it didn't help that the Cougars were playing without a point guard, but he refused to say it was just a bad day for his team.

"I think it was their defense," he said. "We have very slow shooters. We've seen that. ... If you let them shoot any kind of rhythm shot, you might make some. But when you rush them, they really have trouble."

Oklahoma State was relentless, keeping in the Cougars' faces as the crowd of 12,019 chanted "Defense" late into the second half. The 29 points allowed by Oklahoma State was the fewest since a 55-29 win against New Mexico State on Dec. 3, 1952.

"We knew coming into the game that the only way they were going to beat us would be if they slowed the game down and took 30 seconds off the shot clock every time," Oklahoma State guard Daniel Bobik said. "We made sure that in the beginning we got up on them so they couldn't do that.

"We jumped on them and didn't let them play their game."

Lucas had 19 points and Graham added 18 and Frans Steyn had a career-high 15 for Oklahoma State. Thomas Kelati led Washington State with eight points.

Oklahoma State also outrebounded the Cougars 44-22.

With the win, Sutton passed former Western Kentucky coach Ed Diddle for eighth place on the all-time coaching wins list. Sutton, who has a career record of 760-292 at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State, is seven wins behind his mentor, former Oklahoma State coach Henry Iba, for seventh place all-time.

Sutton had complained about the Cowboys' defense not having its trademark intensity through the team's first four games.

"His notion of the defense not being there probably means it was just good," Bennett said. "Today, it was excellent."

The Cougars didn't score until Shami Gill hit a jumper with 10:36 left in the first half, and Washington State then missed its next 10 shots as Oklahoma State built a commanding 29-2 lead.

When Josh Akognon hit a 3-pointer to make it 29-5 with 4½ minutes left in the first half, he pumped his fist in the air as he ran back down the court. He made another on the Cougars' next possession and it seemed the drought was suddenly over.

But the second half brought more of the same. The Cowboys built on a 36-10 halftime lead with a 22-2 run to start the second half as Washington State made just one basket in the first eight minutes.

The Cougars were down by 46 by the time a few shots started going in. But the Cougars' poor shooting wasn't over.

By the time another 7-minute stretch without a field goal was over, the Cowboys were up 79-25 late in the second half.

"They played great defense and we were really scared," Akognon said. "In the beginning, we looked at the score and got down on ourselves and as the game went on, we just kept getting more down on ourselves."


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