PULLMAN – When he was told it would be four to six weeks before he’d play in another basketball game, WashingtonState guard DaVonte Lacy consulted a calendar.
Four weeks. Washington, at home. There it is.
“I knew four weeks ago that I was going to play this game,” Lacy said after WSU defeated the Huskies, 72-67, on Saturday afternoon. “In my mind, I trained to play this game.”
The Tacoma native and former Curtis High guard returned after missing six games with a rib injury and provided the Cougars with a much-needed spark, even if his jumper looked a tad rusty. Lacy leads WSU in scoring with 17.7 points per game, though he missed his first six shots Saturday before finishing with 10 points on 2-for-10 shooting.
The two makes – both of them 3-pointers – were big, particularly the corner 3-pointer he sank with 2:16 remaining to increase WSU’s lead to 10 points.
After playing 33 minutes, Lacy said he “felt great.” He began running about two weeks ago, but hadn’t practiced with the team until Wednesday.
That his return facilitated a victory over UW, he said, was not insignificant.
“You guys know the story. I didn't get (any) calls from them, no recruiting letters,” Lacy said. “So this does mean a little bit for me to just get that win. But it's nothing like just a win. I love to win. I hate to lose.”
Without him, the Cougars posted a 1-6 record against Pac-12 foes – he also missed two games with an appendix issue – and scored fewer than 50 points per game. They hope his return will give them enough of a list to pull out of their slump.
Saturday’s victory was a good start.
“It's not just the numbers he puts up, it's his presence,” Bone said. “We know we have a good player who's confident, who's a leader, and it showed up many, many times during the course of the game in timeouts, huddles on the court, halftime in the locker room. He's just one of those guys that keeps the team together, so I think having him on the court gives us a calming effect as a team.”
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple