The season-ending road trip is among us. The Huskies travel to Pullman to play basketball. Basketball!
Ken Bone is the head coach of the Cougars. The local product has been a coach in the Northwest for quite some time. He was the head coach at his Alma Matter Seattle Pacific from 1990-2002. In 2002 he became an assistant for our very own Lorenzo Romar, until he accepted a coaching position in 2005 at Portland State. He then led them to two NCAA tournament appearances. In '09 he accepted the same position at Washington State, and has remained the head coach for the past several years.
Washington State has had a rough season, in the bottom half of the Pac-12 record-wise. They lost their leading scorer (at the time) Faisal Aden to a torn ACL in a loss against Arizona.
Picking up the scoring load has been Junior forward Brock Motum, now averaging close to 18 points per game. A large part of Motum's scoring arsenal is the ability to his shots from outside, hitting better than 40% of his three point attempts. He is an offensive weapon that the Huskies will have to watch out for. One has to believe that Desmond Simmons will draw this defensive assignment, and attempt to use his length to attempt to slow Motum. The best way to attempt to throw Motum off of his game is to be very physical with him and do not let him get to his spots easily. Potentially this is where Austin Sefarian-Jenkins could be of some use, but the shooting ability of Motum may be too much for the Freshman forward to deal with defensively.
The next leading scorer is Reggie Moore. Moore has a very unique ability that he uses in an attempt to psyche opponents out of their games. Or there is also the possibility he is amazed at hearing his hair grow. Regardless, he is good at basketball. The Junior guard leads his team in minutes, assists, steals (second including Aden), is second (third including Aden) in scoring, but has a shooting percentage under 40%. If the Huskies can force Moore to become the guy who needs to score in order for the Cougs to win, there is a good chance that he will struggle to become "the guy."
Second (to Motum) in rebounding for WSU is Senior guard Marcus Capers. He fills up the stat-sheet more like a big man. He grabs rebounds, has a low assist total, high overall field goal percentage, and respectable steal and block totals.
The third remaining leading scorer is Freshman guard DaVonte Lacy. He is averaging 9.33 points per game. He is another Cougar shooting below 40%. He does average over two assists per game, so he is capable of getting his teammates involved.
The team as a whole is actually efficient offensively according to points per possession, averaging 1.08 PPP which is good for second in the conference (UW is 7th at 1.04). Defensively on the other hand, they are worst in the conference allowing a staggering 1.11 points per possession. This does not seem like that much of a difference from UW's 5th-ranked .97 PPP, but throughout the multitude of possessions in a game, the slight difference adds up.
This game is a must-win, as is most every game left in the season if the Dawgs are to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Though Pullman is a difficult place to play, the Huskies should be able to pull this game out before they travel to SoCal next weekend.
Projected Starting Lineups:
|G – Abdul Gaddy||G – Reggie Moore|
|G – Tony Wroten||G – DaVonte Lacy|
|G – Terrence Ross||G – Marcus Capers|
|F – Desmond Simmons||G – Abe Lodwick|
|C – Aziz N'Diaye||F – Brock Motum|
Abe Lodwick is listed as a guard on statsheet.com though he is 6'-7". ESPN lists him as a G-F while SB Nation has him listed as a pure guard. Tony Wroten is listed as a pure guard but his play-style could theoretically be considered that of a forward with how he has played recently. So this does not really mean much in retrospect.