SHELTON: COUG IS NO. 2 REBOUNDER IN PAC-12
WE’RE INTO the “last of …” phase of Washington State’s 2013-14 basketball season, an end that can’t come soon enough for some Cougar fans. The Cougs play their final regular-season road game this week when WSU makes the short trip across the state to play Washington at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Washington State has lost six consecutive games, and 10 of 11 heading into the Husky game. The lone win of the past 11 games came against Washington on Feb. 1.
It’s worth noting that as bad as this season has been, it’s not the worst in school history. Since the Pac-10/12 expanded to an 18-game league schedule in 1978-79, the Cougars have had three 1-17 seasons, the last coming in 2001-02. At 2-13 with three games remaining, including last-place USC, it’s possible Washington State could win three or four Pac-12 games before season’s end.
Now for some positive numbers, with three games remaining:
Washington State is third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (66.7 points a game), and second in 3-point field goals made (7.59 per game, trailing Arizona State at 7.85). D.J. Shelton is the league’s No. 2 rebounder at 9.1 per game.
The rest is bleak, but you kind of knew that. On to Apple Cup week, and a potential sweep of the Dawgs.
The week ahead: Washington State (9-18, 2-13) heads to Seattle for the penultimate weekend of Pac-12 basketball when the Cougars face Washington (15-13, 7-8) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Cougs at Washington
At OSU: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Pac-12 Network
The series: Huskies lead 176-101
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Hard to get a read on these Huskies. At times, Washington looks unbeatable at home, then they lose to California 72-59. Most of the time, the Huskies are awful on the road, losing seven consecutive Pac-12 away games this season, then they come up with an 86-62 win at Oregon State.
Washington’s performance in Pullman was a tale of two teams. The Huskies were decent for a half and beyond, leading by as many as eight points with 14 minutes remaining. Then it was all Washington State, as the Cougars went on a 24-5 run to put away Washington.
That game marked the return of DaVonté Lacy. Not that the Cougars’ offense is something to watch these days, but at least with Lacy, there’s a threat of something spectacular. And it could happen Saturday, as Tacoma/Seattle area Cougs such as Lacy like to put on a show for family and friends.
The Cougars’ defensive game plan no doubt will focus on containing UW’s C.J. Wilcox, third in Pac-12 scoring at 18.6 per game. Wilcox is a serial 3-point specialist who leads the Pac-12 in attempts (199) and makes (79). Wilcox also ranks third in free throw percentage at .854.
The Huskies have a strong tandem of Portland-area guards in Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews. Williams-Goss is one of the Pac-12’s top freshmen, averaging 13.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Andrews is right behind Williams-Goss at 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists a game.
Washington’s best rebounders are Perris Blackwell and Mike Anderson, who combine to average about 13 boards a game.
WSU’s win over the Huskies earlier this season snapped a six-game losing streak against UW. The last time the Cougars won at Washington was 2011, an 80-69 triumph over the Huskies.
This might not be Washington State’s last crack at the Huskies this season. The Cougars are going to be the No. 11 or 12 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, meaning they’ll open against No. 5 or 6. Right now, UW is tied for seventh, but are only a win out of sixth. UW finishes its season with three home games, and should the Huskies go 3-0, there’s a good chance they’ll play Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament.
Read Nick Daschel’s occasional Pac-12 ramblings at twitter.com/nickdaschel