GAME NOTES: In-state rivals square off on Friday night, as the Washington State Cougars contend with the Washington Huskies in a Pac-12 Conference clash at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Washington State last took to the court this past Sunday, when it was handed a 67-53 loss in the second part of this final road trip of the campaign. The Cougars have lost six straight games and 10 of their last 11 overall, and are currently a miserable 9-18 on the season, which includes a 2-13 league ledger. Home games against USC and UCLA next week will finish of their regular season.
Washington had lost five of its previous six outings before routing Oregon State, 86-62, last Saturday. The win wasn't enough to thrust the Huskies, who are just 15-13 overall, into the Pac-12 title chase, but it certainly gives them momentum as they kick off this three-game homestand to finish the campaign.
When Washington State was the hosting team on Feb. 1, the Cougars slipped past the Huskies in a 72-69 final. Washington had won six straight against the Cougars prior to that meeting, and still holds a commanding lead in the all- time series (177-101).
As has been the norm all season, Washington State struggled at the offensive end in its recent loss to Oregon. The Cougars only sank 32.6 percent of their field goal tries, finishing with 15 total field goals, only six of which came after the break. DaVonte Lacy tallied 19 points in the losing effort.
Putting points on the board has been an extremely difficult task for the Cougars this season. They rank last in the Pac-12 in scoring (62.3 ppg), which has not been helped by their league-worst marks in both assists (10.5 apg) and field goal percentage (.407). Adding on to the poor statistical standing is their effort on the glass (32.8 rpg), which also ranks last in the league. Lacy (19.3 ppg) is the only bright spot on the roster, although D.J. Shelton (10 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is a solid contributor in the frontcourt. He dropped in 14 points to go with 10 boards in the loss to Oregon.
The Huskies had not scored more than 75 points in six straight games before their offensive eruption against Oregon State. Washington knocked down 57.4 percent of its attempts from the floor, netting 52 points in the paint along the way. The Huskies also cleaned the glass, earning themselves a 43-23 edge in rebounds.
Washington is far from being one of the elite offensive teams in the Pac-12, but it has done well enough for itself, especially in comparison to Washington State. The Huskies are putting in 74.5 ppg and shooting at a 44.5 percent pace from the field. C.J. Wilcox (18.6 ppg) is fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring, as he heads a list of four players netting at least 10 ppg for UW. He tallied 23 points to lead six players in double figures against Oregon State. Nigel Williams-Goss (13.3 ppg, 4.1 apg) has been solid at the point in his freshman season, and Andrew Andrews (12.1 ppg) and Perris Blackwell (10.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) provide even more depth.
Wilcox had been struggling through a rough patch prior to his performance at Oregon State. If he can keep up the level of play he had against the Beavers, the Huskies will have a big advantage in what should be a grueling contest.
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