GAME NOTES: The Washington State Cougars will take on the Mississippi State Delta Devils in non-conference action at Beasley Coliseum on Saturday evening.
The Delta Devils are making a quick turnaround, after facing Washington on Friday. MVSU hung tough with the Huskies, but ultimately fell short, 95-80, dropping to 3-8 overall and a miserable 0-7 on the road. The Delta Devils host Selma College next before opening the SWAC schedule against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Last time out, the Cougars were defeated, 64-51, on their home floor by Texas- El Paso. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for Washington State, which is hovering just over .500 both overall (6-5) and at Beasley Coliseum (3-2). The Cougars face a major test in their conference opener on Thursday as they visit No. 1 Arizona.
These teams played in three straight seasons from 2007-2009. The Cougars won all three of those matchups, with a 94-66 triumph at Beasley Coliseum being the most recent outcome.
Jeffrey Simmons converted a layup with 12:40 to play to even things at 56-56 for MVSU against Washington on Friday. However the Delta Devils then let up an 18-0 run that effectively ended their chances at pulling off the upset.
The Delta Devils really aren't much of a defensive team. They are allowing a shocking 88.1 points per game on 53 percent shooting this season. They do net 77.5 points per game themselves, though they shoot nearly 10 percentage points below their foes. Anthony McDonald (15.6 ppg) is the top scoring option on the roster, but is prone to bouts of erratic shooting. Friday night's contest was another example as he scored 19 points, but hit just 6-of-15 attempts from the field. DeAngelo Priar (12 ppg) finished with only six points in the loss, the third time in the last four games he has been out of double figures. James Currington (10.2 ppg) tallied 11 points and hit all five of his shots from the floor.
Washington State really had trouble getting into a rhythm offensively in its loss to UTEP. The Cougars only connected on 33.9 percent of their shots from the floor, while accumulating only seven assists. On the other end of the floor they allowed the Miners to succeed on 51.2 percent of their attempts from the field.
Struggling to put points on the board has been an unfortunate theme for the Cougars this season. They are only scoring 69.4 points per game and shooting 43 percent from the field, ranking dead last in the Pac-12 in both categories. The offensive issues negate Washington State's strong defensive play, allowing only 65.2 points per game. DaVonte Lacy (18.9 ppg) is the most reliable scorer on the roster and one of only two players averaging in double figures. Lacy had just six points on 2-of-7 shooting against UTEP. Royce Woolridge (10.4 ppg) is the other double-figure scorer, while D.J. Shelton (7.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is vital on the glass.
After playing in such a fierce contest last night, the Delta Devils aren't likely to have enough left in the tank to top Washington State.
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