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Updated Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 09:46 PM

Mike Ladd helps Washington State men improve to 9-4 | College basketball

By The Spokesman-Review and The Associated Press

KENNEWICK — This trip to the Tri-Cities felt very businesslike for the Washington State basketball team.

Get in, win, get out. And get on with a stretch of games that figures to be more difficult than the one the Cougars played Saturday at the frigid Toyota Center.

An overmatched Idaho State team offered WSU little resistance in its nonconference finale, as the Cougars led by 20 points at halftime and rolled to a 74-39 victory before 4,590 mostly crimson supporters in a home-away-from-home game.

Mike Ladd and Brock Motum each scored 17 points for the Cougars.

Ladd, a 6-foot-5 senior guard from Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, made 6 of 8 shots and had a game-high nine rebounds.

WSU is 9-4, with three of the losses coming by two or fewer points. The Cougars have yet to defeat a team from a BCS conference — they have played two — but coach Ken Bone said he is relatively pleased with his team's progress since the start of the season.

"If I were to put a letter grade on it, I would say a B-plus," Bone said. "It's not exactly where we want to be, but I think we've made great strides in certain areas that could really help us out in Pac-12 play."

One of those areas, Bone said, is the acclimation of Ladd to the point-guard position.

"Mike again stepped up and provided what we needed," Bone said. "It's being a point guard and running the show, but at the same time tonight it was providing points at a time we had a hard time getting points."

Another facet of WSU's game that pleases Bone: the Cougars' ability to find shots for Motum.

"We know our strengths," said sophomore guard DaVonte Lacy, who scored 16 points. "We go to Brock and we go to whoever's on fire. Mike played well today so we went to him. I think we know our strengths. We know where our bread is buttered, so that's what we're going to continue to get better at."

Chris Hansen scored 12 points for the Bengals (1-10), who were outrebounded 43-16.


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