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February 24, 2012

WSU to honor seniors before UW tip

The Cougars will honor four seniors as they host conference-leading Washington in their final home game of the season. WSU will pay tribute to seniors Faisal Aden, Abe Lodwick, Charlie Endquist and Marcus Capers before tip-off.

Coach Ken Bone said every senior has played a decisive role in shaping the basketball program during his tenure.

"The three seniors in the program that are still playing, Faisal Aden obviously is out, but he gave us a lot during the time he was on the floor, a prolific scorer," Bone said. "Charlie Enquist, Abe Lodwick, two fifth-year seniors have been exactly what any coach would want from a player. They are the epitome of a student-athlete.

"The last senior is Marcus Capers. He's been a really good defender, a solid offensive player. What I think is most special about Marcus is just who he is as a person. Just a great young man and someone that we were proud of to be a Coug."

The Huskies (19-8, 12-3) are currently tied with California for first in the conference. The Cougs (14-13, 6-9) sit in eighth place.

WSU held a 31-25 halftime advantage the last time these two teams met, but UW engineered a 50-point second half to beat WSU, 75-65.

Washington State lost that game on the boards. The Huskies out-rebounded WSU 44-20.

That deficit was not due to the Cougars' approach, Bone said, but just due to Washington simply outmuscling the Cougs down low.

"I think our approach was right- our guys really tried to the Huskies off the glass," Bone said. "But Washington was very physical, strong, relentless, especially the last half and had their way with us."

WSU will have the daunting task of trying to slow down the Huskies, who rank sixth in the nation with 40.3 rebounds per game, and seven-foot Aziz N'Diaye, who averages 7.7 rebounds per game.

"I think they're a unique team - the way they rebound," Bone said. "A number of times in the last seven, eight years they've led the conference in rebounding, especially offensive rebounding. It's a big part of their offense."

Although the Cougars limited UW freshman phenom Tony Wroten to only 13 points on three of 14 shooting in the first meeting, Bone said it is still difficult to stop the point guard when he attacks.

"Tony Wroten is one of the best I've ever seen at shooting a shot and if it's a miss he gets his own rebound and a lot of times it ends up being an and-one," Bone said. "He's a 6-foot-5 future NBA guy, it's hard to stop that."

The Cougs have been playing some of their best basketball as of late, including a decisive 22-point victory against Arizona State last weekend.

Junior Brock Motum has averaged 21.9 points per game since WSU fell in Seattle.

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has compared Motum's offensive ability to former Cougar Klay Thomspon. Bone said the two have some similarities, but Motum does it from a different position.

"He plays a different role, but he can score a variety of ways," Bone said. "You have to respect the fact that he can post up, he has a good mid-range game, and yet he can also step out and shoot the three. If he's guarded tightly he can drive it and get to the rim."

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