Washington State hopes to build on a solid performance in an overtime loss to Oregon last weekend, and find a path to a conference win. The Cougars bear the burden of a six game losing streak as they take on the Arizona State Sun Devils at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. P.S.T.
Washington State (11-15 overall, 2-11 conference) has lost eight of their last nine games but hopes to gain some momentum going into the Pac-12 conference tournament in Las Vegas in March. Arizona State (19-7, 8-5) is currently tied for fourth in conference play and needs a victory to propel them into a high seed and advantageous schedule in that same tourney.
The task that faces the Cougs is a daunting one. Arizona State is led by conference player of the year candidate in Jahii Carson, a dynamic 5'10" freshman guard out of Mesa who decided to stay and play ball with the home team. Carson averages 17 points and just a tick under five assists a game. At his press conference Washington State head coach Ken Bone talked about the challenge of guarding Carson.
"It will be just like last time. We will put different guys on him, but I don't know that we know anymore than we did three weeks ago. He's still really good."
The Cougars' current losing streak began when Arizona State beat them 63-59 in Pullman on January 31st. The two teams split last season with each team holding serve at home.
Washington State sophomore guard Royce Woolridge had a coming out party in a big way when he tallied 36 points against Oregon. Should he continue in that vein, combined with solid efforts from season long leading scorers Brock Motum and DaVonte Lacy, the Cougars have a fighting shot against their hosts from the Valley of the Sun.
The Cougars are short-handed with the continuing leg injury problems for Mike Ladd. The senior guard missed both of the games against the Oregon schools and is unlikely to see action in Arizona this weekend. Walk-on freshman Bryce Leavitt is expected to see more time as a result of Ladd's injury. Leavitt was solid off the bench against Oregon and Coach Bone expressed confidence in him going forward.
Wednesday night's game at Arizona State can be seen on the Pac-12 Network. Ted Robinson and Don MacLean have the call. Bud Nameck, in this 20th year with Cougar Basketball, will have all the action on the Cougar IMG Radio Network.