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Motum leads Cougars to victory

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Associated Press
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Brock Motum says not much has changed during his recent offensive hot streak, but his coaches and teammates say something different.
The Washington State forward had his lowest point total of the last four games Thursday with 24, but it was still enough to help the Cougars get past Oregon State for an 83-73 win.
Motum has averaged more than 27 points the last four contests, including a career-high 34 in a Jan. 28 loss at Arizona State.
But the Australian was hesitant to say anything is different for him. He's more concerned with winning.
"Nah, I've just been doing the same thing all year. It's good tonight that we won the game," said Motum, a 6-foot-10 forward who also had nine rebounds.
D.J. Shelton added 14 points for the Cougars (13-11, 5-7 Pac-12), who had lost three of their previous four games.
Jared Cunningham had 33 points and six rebounds for Oregon State (15-9, 5-7).
Washington State led by 15 points at halftime, and stretched the margin to 59-41 on consecutive baskets, the second by Shelton off a steal with 13:15 left.
The Cougars eventually led by 19. The Beavers got as close as nine in the closing minutes.
Washington State shot 28 of 54 from the field, while Oregon State was 22 of 59.
"I felt like our defense was decent," Cougars coach Ken Bone said. "I don't know if it was as much our defense as it was Oregon State didn't play as well as they're capable of playing."
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said he was afraid his team might be due for a letdown given how well it had been playing at home.
The Beavers were 10-2 at Gill Coliseum entering Thursday's game, including 3-1 in conference play. The only Pac-12 loss came in four overtimes against Stanford.
"It's a disappointing performance," Robinson said.
Oregon State had no defensive answer for Washington State when the Cougars had the ball inside or out.
Guard Marcus Capers, who had 12 points, and Shelton, a forward, have had their two highest-scoring games of the season against Oregon State. Capers scored 12 points and Shelton nine against the Beavers in Washington State's 81-76 home win in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 31.
Robinson was particularly unhappy with his team's play against the Cougars' bigger players.
"I was trying to find a guy who could come in and do something," Robinson said. "You can't win this game part-time playing."
It was Motum leading the way, with 13 points and six rebounds in the second half.
Teammate Reggie Moore says Motum's impact has been big for the team, which lost guard Faisal Aden to a knee injury two weeks ago against Arizona. Aden was averaging more than 14 points per game.
"Brock's one of the best players in the conference, if not the best player," Moore said. "He's just dominating. He's dominating the paint, he's dominating the 3. He's playing good defense. He's playing all-around good basketball."
Motum has averaged nine rebounds in the last four games, upping his season average to nearly seven per game.
"He's scoring for us. He's doing some other things, but primarily he's doing a great job scoring," Bone said.
Cunningham, the Pac-12 scoring leader at 17.2 points entering the game, started quickly, scoring eight of Oregon State's first nine points.
Washington State took the lead for good in the first half at 19-17 on Motum's dunk 11:13 left.
Washington State's Abe Lodwick followed with two straight 3-pointers. Cunningham answered, first with a 3-pointer and then with a conventional 3-point play.
The Cougars ended the half on a 20-8 run to lead 46-31, holding the Beavers to one field goal over the last eight minutes. DaVonte Lacy and Shelton scored six points apiece during the run.
Cunningham had 16 points and Motum 11 at halftime. Moore, the conference leader in assists at 5.5 entering the game, tied his previous season high with nine at halftime. He finished with 11 assists.
Roberto Nelson added 14 points off the bench for Oregon State.
Story tags » Cougars Basketball

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