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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Washington State Cougars (Game 3)

It’s a battle of 2-0 squads that meet in Pullman on Wednesday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 11 Pac-12 Tournament - Colorado v Washington State Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Washington State Cougars (2-0)

  • Head Coach: Kyle Smith (2nd Season, Overall: 18-16)
  • Top Performer: Isaac Bonton (19.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG)
  • Points For: 63.5 PPG (T-206th)
  • Points Against: 60.0 PPG (N/A)
  • Last Game/Streak: 71-68 Win vs. Eastern Washington (2W)

The Skinny

Washington State head coach Kyle Smith may have some major complaints in film sessions this week after analyzing the Cougars’ first two contests of the season, but at the end of the day, his program is 2-0 heading into a home meeting with Oregon State and that’s nothing to scoff at.

As expected, Smith relied heavily on senior guard Isaac Bonton (19.5 PPG) to carry this group through the challenges of their early season, which included tougher than advertised victories over Texas Southern and Eastern Washington by a combined seven points.

Bonton, a volume scorer by necessity, looks like he’ll handle most of that explosive scoring responsibility for better or for worse, especially as Washington State tries to navigate a fluid depth chart.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 28 Washington State at Washington
Noah Williams could be the Cougars’ biggest breakthrough talent.
Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The good news for the Cougars is that there is young and promising pieces on the roster, beginning with sophomore guard Noah Williams (9.5 PPG), who had a bit of a coming out party with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals against Eastern Washington. Williams is the type of talent who will become more comfortable in Smith’s “Nerdball” dynamic system, but he’ll need more help around him at the guard spot.

Freshman guard TJ Bamba (4.5 PPG) is another likeable piece to help within that rotation, yet is growing pains are still on the horizon.

Washington State doesn’t necessarily lack for size and versatility on the interior between bruising center Efe Abogidi (9.5 PPG), Slovenian sharpshooter Aljaz Kunc (8.5 PPG), versatile swingman DJ Rodman (4.0 PPG) and intriguing Macedonian newcomer Andrej Jakimovski (3.0 PPG), who all stand between 6’ 6” and 6’ 10”, but proven and reliable options are still the question for Smith and his staff right now.

When the game is on the line, who will the Cougars turn to besides Bonton to make a play down the stretch?

Overall, Washington State sits somewhere between a solid California group and the cupcake Northwest team that the Beavers have already faced, yet on the road in a new environment, this will be a solid test for this new look Oregon State roster.

Player To Watch

Efe Abogidi (Freshman - Forward)

NCAA Basketball: Texas Southern at Washington State
Efe Abogidi is a bruising and developing big for Wazzu.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The 6’ 10”, 225-pound big man from Nigeria has struggled with foul trouble in the Cougars’ opening two contests, but when he’s on the floor, Abogidi is the type of blue-collar interior talent who makes forty minutes of action feel like a few days hard work. The freshman currently leads the squad in rebounds (6.0 RPG) and is tied for second in scoring with a 9.5 PPG average.

Game Info

  • Date: Wednesday, December 2nd
  • Time: 7:00 PM PT
  • Location: Beasley Coliseum (Pullman, Washington)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Networks