Washington State Cougars (11-19)
- Head Coach: Ernie Kent (5th Season)
- Top Performer: Robert Franks (21.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG)
- Points For: 76 (T-90th)
- Points Against: 78.3 (328th)
- Last Game/Streak: 72-61 Loss vs Oregon (4L)
A string of close losses in winnable games has thrown a once promising season for the Beavers into the dumpster. They’ve got one last chance to right the ship before the end of the regular season, and there’s a lot riding on this last game. With a win, OSU will clinch a top 4 seed in the Pac 12 tournament and a round one bye. With a loss, the Beavers could fall to as far as the eighth seed.
To get that win, they’ll take on a Washington State team that has been playing poorly all season, and is currently on their own losing streak. The Cougars can be dangerous, nearly pulling off a huge upset over Washington when the Huskies came to Pullman, and they beat both Arizona schools on the road. Other than that, this is a team that has some bad losses, falling to Santa Clara, Seattle, and California.
In their first meeting of the season, in Corvallis, the Beavers pulled off a strong 90-77 win. In that game, the Cougs were led by forwards C.J. Elleby and Robert Franks. That’s not surprising from Franks, who was a standout with the team last year, and returned to become the Pac-12’s top scorer with 21.5 PPG. Elleby though is a bit of a surprise.
A true freshman, Elleby is a lock for the Pac-12’s All Freshman team after an incredible debut season. He’s the team’s number two scorer and rebounder behind Franks, with 15.2 PPG, and 6.9 RPG. He’s the team’s best three point shooter, going 50-119 for a .420 shooting percentage.
Elleby isn’t the only Cougar with a penchant for threes. Franks is also great, currently shooting a .396 from beyond the arc. 5 other Cougars are above .300 when shooting threes, and guard Viont’e Daniels is at .404.
Those threes power an offense that despite the Cougars’ struggles is very good. Where the team falls apart is it’s defense. The team is nearly as good at giving up threes as it is at hitting them. The team is also terrible at protecting the rim, so if Kylor Kelley or Gligorije Rakocevic can find ways to get open, they should be able to rain dunks on Wazzu.
Player to Watch
CJ Elleby (Freshman): Robert Franks is still the best player on Washington State, but the emergence of Elleby has changed the calculus for teams playing the Cougars. Elleby is adept at finding holes in a zone defense to make a drive or feed the ball to the post. Elleby is also the team leader in assists, and just a couple weeks ago was one assist shy of getting a triple double against Arizona State.
- Date: Saturday, March 9th
- Time: 12:00 PM PT
- Location: Beasley Coliseum (Pullman, WA)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network