Washington State Cougars (12-17)
- Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 11th Overall (11-17)
- Head Coach: Ernie Kent (4th Season)
- Top Performer: Robert Franks (17.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG)
- Points For: 73.8 PPG (T-182nd)
- Points Against: 77.8 PPG (299th)
- Last Game/Streak: 78-76 Win v. Oregon (1W)
If Washington State’s recent string of improved play wasn’t enough for Oregon State to take the Cougars seriously, then Thursday night’s surprise victory over Oregon probably did the trick, as Ernie Kent’s squad now heads into Saturday’s regular season finale against the Beavers with some wind in their sails.
And as the old adage goes in college basketball, it’s all about ‘peaking at the right time’, that decides who continues their season and who is sent home packing.
While Washington State is a long-shot to even make any sort of noise in the Pac-12 Tournament, it does appear that Kent and company have finally developed into the team they want to be, with a more selfless and competitive quality to their nightly outings.
Point guard Malachi Flynn (15.8 PPG) has become a more efficient player, which in turn has led to some higher capacity performances, while pieces like senior forward Drick Bernstine (6.9 PPG) have begun to more steadily help Robert Franks (17.8 PPG) up-front. Overall, it’s aided in Washington State posting a 2-1 mark in their last three contests, all of which have been decided by two-point margins.
For Oregon State, their most-recent heartbreak came in the form of letdown loss to Washington, where the Beavers inability to stop Huskies’ big man Noah Dickerson in the second half, allowed Mike Hopkins’ boys to squeak out a victory.
Now, the Beavers will be hoping to end the regular season a high-note on Saturday.
Prediction: Oregon State 76, Washington State 68
Players To Watch
Robert Franks (JR - Forward): A high-scoring forward who may give Oregon State some problems with his mobility, don’t be surprised if one half of the Tinkle-Eubanks duo steps back on offense to make sure Franks is controlled on the defensive end of the floor. If Franks can be held in check, Washington State may not have the depth to score with the Beavers.
Malachi Flynn (SO - Guard): Flynn is one of the many Pac-12 ball-handlers and play-makers who doesn’t get near enough credit, mostly because of the lack of his team’s success. The 6’ 1” sophomore could run the show for any team in the league and is coming off a 28-point display in the victory over the Ducks.
Viont’e Daniels (JR - Guard): Daniels chipped in 13 of his own points against Oregon, including knocking down 3 three-pointers, on an efficient 5-8 performance from the field. When Daniels stays under control, his game is hard-to-handle. When he doesn’t, he can be a detriment to the Cougars attempts at winning.
- Date: Saturday, March 3rd
- Time: 3:30 PM PT
- Location: Friel Court (Pullman, WA)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network