Bone said he and his coaching staff showed Shelton highlights from last season to reinforce his ability when he struggled earlier this season. He said the only area where they suggested that Shelton should be more "selective" was from the 3-point arc, where he has converted just 25 percent of his shots this season. Bone said Shelton has benefited from becoming more confident and experienced.
WSU (9-12 overall, 2-7 Pac-12) will need more of that when it opens the second half of conference play at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Colorado (TV: Pac-12 Networks). On Jan. 8, CU defeated the Cougars 71-70 in overtime at Spokane Arena. The Buffaloes (16-6, 5-4) shot 38 free throws in that contest compared with three for WSU.
"Well, compared to the last time, we need to get to the free-throw line a bit," said Bone, when asked about keys to upsetting CU.
Bone feels the Cougars are a better defensive team than they displayed during the previous contest between the programs. He said his players are more comfortable with the schemes that first-year WSU assistant coach Rod Jensen introduced as the season has progressed. UW shot just 43.9 percent from the field during Saturday's game.
"They showed a great amount of energy and excitement running the defense," Bone said of his team.
One player Bone believes is under appreciated in that regard is sophomore forward Junior Longrus. He had just four points and four rebounds against the Huskies, but Bone said Longrus contributes in ways that are not reflected in box scores.
"He's a cerebral player," said Bone, who noted Longrus often deflects several passes during games. "It's indicative of who he is in the classroom. He picks up things quicker than all of us."
Now, Bone hopes the rest of his team can pick up the momentum they gained from their rivalry win and translate it into a successful stretch run into the conference tournament. The victory ended a four-game losing streak.
"We need to be able to take that and build on that," he said.