Comparisons abound for Charlie Enquist
CHARLIE ENQUIST
CHARLIE ENQUIST
Cougfan.com Correspondent
Posted Mar 27, 2012


PULLMAN — Charlie Enquist may have been out of gas, but he wasn't out of humor Monday night after turning in 27 critical minutes that helped propel Washington State to a 67-66 win over Pitt in the opening stanza of the CBI championship series. He referred to himself as LeBron James' long-lost cousin after scoring 9 points and dishing 2 assists in the dramatic victory.

He also had one block, one steal and a rebound.

Enquist, who had been a ghost in the stat box over the last half of the season, was seemingly everywhere at once against the Panthers of the Big East.

So much so that he wasn't the only one making comparisons.

Marcus Capers gushed that Enquist was "a mixture of Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard." A Cougfan.com editor quipped that the senior post-man was the second-coming of Karl Malone after canning a 10-foot step-back jumper (yes, a step-back jumper!) that put the Cougs up 45-42 early in the second half.

More than anything, though, Enquist had to be part Brock Motum, the Cougars' (and the Pac-12's) leading scorer who spent the game in a nice suit sitting at the end of the bench with a badly sprained ankle.

Enquist slipped into the starting line up and proceeded to hit 3-of-4 shots from the field. He played all but 13 minutes, nearly doubling up on his minutes-played-per-game average this season.

“I was really tired coming down the stretch and coach was calling a few time outs to give me a breather,” joked the one- time walk on from tiny King's High in Seattle. “He knew I was the one struggling out there.”

While Enquist had some lapses on defense, he fought like mad for every loose ball and attacked the glass.

“Well I knew he’s always had it in him because Charlie’s a mixture of Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard,” Capers said with a smile. “He makes plays like that all the time in practice so I knew it was going in even though people probably thought he looked uncomfortable. That’s just the way he moves.”

He'll now be taking those moves to Pittsburgh, where Game 2 of the CBI championship series will tip off Wednesday at 4 p.m. Pacific Time (HDNet TV). A Cougar victory gives them the "national title." A Pitt win means the teams go to a third and deciding game on Friday, also in Pittsburgh, at 4 p.m.

FOR THE SECOND-STRAIGHT GAME, WSU fifth-year senior Abe Lodwick turned in a monster effort. He led the Cougs with 16 points, including 10 of the team's first 17, and also grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds. After missing his first two shots, he went 6-of-10 from the field, including 4-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc.

His most clutch connection game with 2:02 left in the game and the Cougs holding a precarious 62-59 lead. Lodwick drilled a critical 3-pointer to push the Cougs' lead to six. Head coach Ken Bone knew that once it left Lodwick’s hands it was going in.

“It was great to see and he just shot that with great confidence,” Bone said. “He just fired it without thinking and once again he’s played big for us. He’s averaging 19 or so a game in his last three games and he’s doing an outstanding job. He’s just finishing his senior year on a high note.”

Said Lodwick, "My first couple shots didn’t drop but I was going to keep shooting. Everyone was telling me to stay aggressive. When the shots start going on you kind of feed off of that and my confidence was up.”

Meanwhile, point guard Reggie Moore was also having a multi-purpose game to remember. He scored 14 points, snagged 5 rebounds and handed out 5 assists.

Moore did a great job of driving to the lane against the Panthers and did a nice job drawing fouls and connecting on 8-of-10 free throw attempts.

“Reggie was very aggressive which we need him to be,” Bone said. “I just feel like a lot of guys are tweaking their game to help us win.”

Going into halftime, the Cougars found themselves down 38-35 after the Panthers shot 55.6 percent from the floor off 15-27 shooting. Guard Tray Woodall was 4-of-5 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from downtown for 11 points in the first 20 minutes. Capers said that during halftime the biggest adjustment the team wanted to make was taking Woodall out of his tempo and they succeeded by limiting him to only five points in the second half.

“We just made defensive adjustments,” Capers said. “I think it was just more communication and I feel like we shifted with more energy in the second half than we did in the first half. Coach really keyed in at halftime that as long as we got stops we we’re going to win the game.”

THE COUGARS WILL TRAVEL TO Pitt today on a charter flight that will carry both teams. Bone said that makes for an interesting dynamic but said he expects a very quiet flight.

“I’m just really thankful to go out with a team like this,” Lodwick said of his soon-to-end college career. “This is one of the best teams I’ve been a part of at Washington State. To go out with these guys who I’ve been with four or five years, it just means a lot to me.”

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • Bone said that Motum is still doubtful to play on Wednesday. Bone said that Motum is only going to be able to play once he is able to run on his ankle, and right now he can barely walk.

  • WSU built a 60-48 lead with eight minutes left but Pitt came storming back. WSU also helped them. If you were among those thinking the Cougs' slowed down their offense too much to try and shorten the game, Bone agreed with you. "That wasn’t the players fault, that was my fault – for milking it too long," said Bone.

  • Lodwick moved into first on the WSU single-season list for 3-point field goal percentage, shooting at a .495 clip (47-for-95) this season.

  • DaVonte Lacy added 10 points for the Cougars and Patrick Simon, D.J. Shelton, and Mike Ladd each added six. Simon was 2-of-3 from 3-point land.
  • The Panthers had two separate chances to win the game in the final five seconds, but D.J. Shelton came up huge on defense on both plays. On the first, play Woodall drove to the hoop only to find the stretched arms of Shelton who swatted the ball out of bounds. Pitt got the ball with 0.8 seconds left, and Lamar Patterson had a chance to knock down a 18-footer, but Shelton got out on defense putting a hand in his face to help the ball rattle short off the rim.

  • Attendance at the game was 4,226.

  • WSU is now 19-16 on the year and guaranteed a winning season. Pitt is 20-17.

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