Washington State tries to improve to 7-0 on the season when it hosts UC Davis in a non-conference contest Saturday afternoon. The Cougars are coming off a sweep through the Wooden Legacy with three victories, while the Aggies have won two of their last three entering the game.
Forward Chima Moneke leads UC Davis, averaging a double-double (21.8 points, 11.5 rebounds), while junior guards Siler Schneider (12.7) and TJ Shorts II (11.3, 4.0 assists) provide solid production from the perimeter. The Cougars have a solid 1-2 scoring punch in forward Robert Franks (18.5 points, 6.7 rebounds) and guard Malachi Flynn (17.7 points, 4.7 assists). But there’s more to coach Ernie Kent’s squad than those two, as three players — Carter Skaggs, Viont’e Daniels and Jeff Pollard — average between 9.0 and 9.7 points and nine players are playing at last 11 minutes a game. Outside shooting is a focus of the Cougars, as Flynn’s 45 3-point attempts lead six players that have attempted at least 20 this season.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT UC DAVIS (4-2): Jim Les’ team hasn’t been consistent offensively, averaging just 65.8 points per game, but the team has a winning record thanks to a sterling defense, which has held opponents to 62 points per contest. The Aggies may have shown the ultimate defensive stand in their last game against Northern Colorado, going on a 16-0 run to end the game and earn a five-point victory. For the game, Northern Colorado shot just 28.1 percent from the field, including 1-of-23 from 3-point range, and didn’t score for the final 4:27 of the contest, allowing the Aggies to pull a victory out thanks to one of the top defenses in the country.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (6-0): Kent was certainly happy with his team’s championship at the Wooden Legacy, the Cougars’ first tournament title since the 2009 Great Alaska Shootout, but it was the way they did it that has him excited. Washington State rallied from nine down in the second half against San Diego State in the title game after coming back from down 20 in the opener against Saint Joseph’s. A win over a ranked opponent (previously unbeaten Saint Mary’s) for the first time since January 2016 in the semifinals was another nice cherry on top of the tournament title, and something Kent is hoping his team can continue to build on as the season goes on.
1. Flynn ranks first in the Pac-12 and fourth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio with 28 assists and four turnovers.
2. Washington State ranks third nationally and leads the Pac-12 with 13 made 3-pointers per game.
3. The Cougars are looking to start a season 7-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.
PREDICTION: Washington State 74, UC Davis 66