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February 15, 2012

Revamped Cougars get another chance

The last time Arizona and Washington State met on the basketball floor, things changed for the Cougars.

WSU senior Faisal Aden tore his ACL in a lopsided Arizona victory as the Wildcats (18-8, 9-4) cruised on the shoulders of senior Kyle Fogg and junior Solomon Hill.

Two days later, Arizona lost to Washington. The Wildcats have not lost since, having won its last four games.

WSU, meanwhile, has had to make adjustments with Aden's loss. Coach Ken Bone said the Cougs are playing better basketball as a whole since their 85-61 loss at the hands of the Wildcats on Jan. 26, but so is Arizona.

"I think we are playing better as a team now than we were after Faisal went down in that game," Bone said. "When you lose one of your top players, one of your best scorers, you have to make some adjustments. I think we're playing better basketball now than we were at that time, but what scares me is so are they."

Reggie Moore has emerged for the Cougs since Aden's injury, scoring in double figures in three of the last five games, including a 10-point, 11-assist night against Oregon State.

"He's taken more shots per game since Faisal's been out and that's something we've asked him to look for," Bone said. "He also continues to get a lot of assists. We're asking him to look a little more to score but he's also dishing it out to teammates."

Fogg lit up WSU (13-12, 5-8) for 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Hill added 17 to go along with 11 rebounds.

That leaves the Cougars with a challenge this time around.

"We've got to concentrate on our defense (and) again our rebounding," Bone said. "We're going to be faced against at least two of the best rebounders in the league in Hill and (Jesse) Perry and a couple of the best 3-point shooters in the conference."

Arizona has knocked off conference-leading California and third-place Colorado during their current hot streak.

"They can beat you a lot of ways," Bone said. "There's a reason why they've won four straight. They're playing good basketball right now."

The Wildcats are currently tied for third place in the Pac-12, trailing California and Washington by a single game.

The Cougs will tip-off at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on FSN.

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