WSU to host UB in Cougar Hardwood Classic

REGGIE MOORE

WASHINGTON STATE will take on Buffalo at the 2012 Cougar Hardwood Classic on Friday, Dec. 21 at Seattle's KeyArena, the school announced Thursday. Buffalo will return nine players from last year's 20-11 squad, while the Cougars are undefeated at 7-0 in the Cougar Hardwood Classic.

Seven lettermen, including three starters return for the Cougars in 2012-13, led by All-Pac-12 First Team honoree and league Most Improved Player, Brock Motum, and All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention honoree, Reggie Moore. Fourth-year head coach Ken Bone is looking for WSU's seventh-straight winning season which would be the Cougs' longest stretch since 1945-52.

The Cougars return 67 percent of their scoring from 2011-12, a season where they reached the championship round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and finished with a 19-18 record.

Buffalo returns nine players in 2012-13, including three with starting experience, highlighted by All-Mid-American Conference First Team selection Javon McCrea. The forward was just the third sophomore in the last 10 years to be named to the conference's first team. McCrea, the former MAC Freshman of the Year, averaged 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds this past season.

Buffalo's 20-11 record in 2011-12 marked the third time in four years they've recorded at least 20 wins. Buffalo finished 12-4 in the MAC and advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament before falling to Oakland, 84-76.

This will be the eighth-straight year for the Cougar Hardwood Classic which began in 2005 against Utah. WSU has also faced San Diego State (2006), The Citadel (2007), Montana State (2008), LSU (2009), Portland (2010) and Pepperdine (2011) in the game at KeyArena.

This year marks the third all-time meeting between WSU and Buffalo, with the Cougars holding a 2-0 advantage. The schools haven't faced each other in 62 years, having last met Dec. 16, 1950 in Buffalo, N.Y. with Washington State taking the 70-49 victory. The first meeting came just a year prior as WSU defeated the Bulls, 56-44, Dec. 17, 1949, also in Buffalo.

Tickets for the Cougar Hardwood Classic go on sale Monday, Sept. 17 at all Ticketmaster outlets, including www.ticketmaster.com. The time for the game is yet to be determined.

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