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Know The Enemy: Washington State

The Beavers make their first road trip of the Pac-12 season to square off with a red-hot Washington State team.

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State Cougars (8-5)

  • Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 10th Overall (1-0)
  • Head Coach: Ernie Kent (3rd Season)
  • Top Performer: Josh Hawkinson (16.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG)
  • Points For: 72.7 PPG (211th)
  • Points Against: 73.5 PPG (215th)
  • Last Game/Streak: 79-74 Win at Washington (3W)

The Skinny

After a 5-5 start that included slip-ups to the likes of Loyola (IL), San Jose State and New Orleans, Washington State has won three straight games, including their conference opener on the road at in-state rival Washington, a game in which star player Josh Hawkinson carried the load for an upstart Cougars group.

Hawkinson, a senior from Shoreline, Washington, posted 26 points on 10-18 shooting on the night, including carrying Washington State through a myriad of lackluster offensive stretches deep into the second half. However, in the waning moments of the game, with a slim lead, the Huskies surging and all ten-eyes on the Washington defense focused on Hawkinson, a new threat from this Cougars group introduced himself to the Pac-12 in style. Welcome to the league, Malachi Flynn.

A freshman guard from Tacoma, Washington, Flynn was a strongly underrated talent coming out of high school, who now is making a huge splash for Washington State, averaging 11.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 3.2 APG through the first thirteen games of his career. Flanked in the backcourt by fellow standouts in Ike Iroegbu (10.6 PPG) and Charles Callison (9.3 PPG), Flynn has quickly become a floor general and leader of this Cougars group, who will be protecting their three-game win streak on their home court on Wednesday night.

The Cougars are very comparable to the Beavers in the sense that they need a balanced scoring attack, a strong defensive showing and strong guard play to give themselves a chance to win on a nightly basis. Look for head coach Ernie Kent and company to be hungry and prepared for the potential of picking up a win against Oregon State and starting conference play with a 2-0 record.

Players To Watch

Josh Hawkinson (Senior - Forward)

The leading scorer for the Cougars this year, Hawkinson has averaged double-figures in scoring since his sophomore season and is the top option for Washington State at all times on the floor. A tough match-up with a 6’ 10” frame and perimeter skills, Hawkinson is a nightly double-double threat that could give the Beavers some serious match-up issues. If there’s one name to know on this Washington State roster, it won’t take long to recognize that Hawkinson is their “go-to-guy”.

Malachi Flynn (Freshman - Guard)

A superbly talented freshman guard from Tacoma, Washington, Flynn was a huge get for a Washington State program that has now seen ten players transfer out of the program in head coach Ernie Kent’s three seasons at the helm. Averaging 11.7 PPG on the season, Flynn also leads with the team with an average of 3.2 assists per outing and proved himself as a big-time playmaker down the stretch against Washington.

Conor Clifford (Senior - Center)

A seven-foot senior who anchors this Cougars group, Clifford will always be viewed as a compliment piece to some of Washington State’s other talents but the towering center always has the potential to have a breakout performance. Earlier this season, Clifford chipped in 29 points on an efficient 12-16 shooting game from the field and he’s been a “rock” for Washington State in their last three wins, posting double-digits in each game.

Game Info

Date: Wednesday, January 4th
Time: 8:00 PM PT
Location: Beasley Coliseum (Pullman, WA)
Coverage: Pac-12 Network