Washington State was undefeated and riding high afterwinning the Wooden Legacy Tournament on Nov. 26, but stumbled last Saturdayversus visiting UC Davis to suffer its first loss. Now the Cougars will attemptto bounce back on the road, traveling across the border Wednesday to playat Idaho.
A slow start hampered the Cougars against UCDavis as they scored only 25 first-half points en route to a season-low 67 inthe 14-point loss. Washington State, which averaged 84 points in their threeWooden Legacy wins, also had 17 turnovers and was outrebounded 37-29. “We(weren’t) going to go undefeated the whole year so we just have to kind ofbounce back and get going again,” Cougars coach Ernie Kent said in hispost-game news conference. Idaho, meanwhile, has won five of six since aseason-opening loss at Nevada and has won its last eight home games dating backto last season.
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ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (6-1): Forward RobertFranks scored a career-high 32 points and pulled down a team-best eightrebounds against UC Davis and is leading the Cougars with averages of 20.4 and6.9, respectively, on the season. With 143 points so far, Franks is only 52 shyof his 31-game total of 195 a year ago and he’s shooting a team-best 53.9percent from the floor, including 21-of-42 on 3-pointers. Guard Malachi Flynn, chosen as the WoodenLegacy’s Most Outstanding Player, is the only other Washington State playeraveraging double figures at 17.9 points, and he has a 33:9 assist-to-turnovermargin even after a season-high five giveaways in Saturday’s loss.
ABOUT IDAHO (5-2): The Vandals entered the seasonas the preseason favorite in the Big Sky Conference with five senior startersback from last season’s 19-14 squad which advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.comTournament. Four of those five starters are averaging double figures and arepaced by guards Victor Sanders (20.9 points), Nate Sherwood (13.7) and PerrionCallandret (11.7) with forward Brayon Blake averaging 11.6 and a BigSky-leading 9.9 rebounds. Idaho is pacing the Big Sky in a number ofstatistical categories, including rebound margin (plus-5.3), free-throwpercentage (76.3) and field-goal percentage defense (39.2).
1. The schools are meeting for the 112thconsecutive season in the Battle of the Palouse, marking the sixth-longestcontinuous rivalry nationally and the longest outside of the Ivy League.
2. The Cougars hold a 163-109 series lead,including a 61-48 home win last season, and have victories in five of the last six inMoscow.
3. Washington State G Carter Skaggs is shooting55.6 percent (15-of-27) from 3-point range, which would rank eighth nationallyif not for just falling under the minimum-attempt standard.
PREDICTION: Idaho 77, Washington State 74