football

Huge road test on tap for Wazzu

Ken Bone held his weekly teleconference on Monday afternoon to discuss
the upcoming roadtrip against the Arizona schools.
WASHINGTON STATE at ARIZONA STATE:
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.
Riding a season long six-game losing streak, the Cougars (11-15, 2-11)
look to avenge a loss to the team that started their downward spiral
when they take on the Sun Devils in Tempe tonight.  Washington
State has struggled on the road this season, winning just one game away
from home against Oregon State.  That doesn't bode well for a team
that has failed to walk away victorious from Tempe since 2009.
In their last meeting, the Cougars held a slim halftime lead but the
Sun Devils (19-7, 8-5) and star freshman guard Jahii Carson
took control of the second half as the Cougars went cold from the
field.  Carson finished with a game-high 25 points and Carrick
Felix recorded a double-double to lift the Sun Devils to a 63-59
victory.
Carson is averaging 17.7 points and 4.9 assists per game, torching the
Pac-12 as a freshman and leading the Sun Devils to their best season
since a 2009-10 NIT appearance.  Though Carson will be the key man
in the Sun Devils' attack, Felix, a senior forward, has come on strong
this season, averaging 14.2 points and 8 rebounds per game.
For the third consecutive game the Cougars will find themselves without
senior guard Mike Ladd who is still nursing a left knee injury
suffered in practice prior to the Oregon homestand.  He is also
doubtful for Saturday's game at Arizona, however Bone is hopeful that
Ladd will be able to make it back onto the court sooner rather than
later after revealing that the injury is less severe than previously
thought. 
Prior to that injury, Ladd was averaging 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, and
2.8 assists per game this season. 
The Cougars have, however, played well in his absense despite the two
losses.  Freshman guard Bryce Leavitt, seeing his first
extended minutes this season, has filled in admirably with Ladd on the
bench.  Though the stats may not show his impact on the game,
Leavitt has consistently provided quality minutes, registering 5 points
and 8 assists in 44 minutes of action.
With so precious few games left on the Pac-12 schedule, this game is
critical for the Sun Devils as they find themselves on the cusp of the
NCAA tournament.  The Cougars, though, will attempt to play
spoiler and are just fighting to get out of the Pac-12 cellar while
positioning themselves for a run in the Pac-12 tournament next month.
Wednesday will mark the 73rd all-time meeting between Washington State
and Arizona State with the Sun Devils holding a 37-35 advantage in the
series.

WASHINGTON STATE at (12) ARIZONA:
Saturday, Feb. 23, 12 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.
For the second consecutive weekend the Cougars will be looking to knock
off a ranked opponent when they take on No. 12 Arizona in Tucson on
Saturday afternoon.  Arizona has dominated the Cougars in recent
years, winning the last five contests after being swept by Washington
State in Ken Bone's first season as head coach.
Arizona visited Pullman earlier this month and walked away with a
rather easy 79-65 victory at Beasley Coliseum.  Led by a one-two
punch of Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons, the Wildcats (21-4, 9-4)
controlled the game from the get-go.  Lyons led all scorers with
20-points in just 23 minutes of action while Hill recorded 18-points
while knocking down 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Lyons is the Wildcats' leading scorer averaging 15.3 points and 3.2
assists per game.  Hill and sophomore guard Nick Johnson
are both averaging double-digits, scoring 13.7 and 11.8 points per game
respectively.
Washington State's leading scorer Brock Motum has had a tough
time scoring in recent weeks, failing to reach the 20-point plateau in
10 of his last 11 games and reaching 17-points just once in that same
stretch.  Teams have started to throw two and three players at
Motum each and every time he touches the ball, resulting in limited
opportunities at the basket, forcing Motum to give up the ball or take
a tough, contested shot.
Picking up the slack during Motum's slump, though, is sophomore guard
Royce Woolridge who is coming off of a career night, scoring
36-points in the overtime loss against Oregon.  His 36-points were
the most points scored by a Pac-12 player this season and the first
time a Washington State player has eclipsed 30-points since Klay
Thompson accomplished the feat by scoring 43-points against Washington
in the 2011 Pac-12 tournament.
Woolridge is averaging 17 points and shooting 52.6% from the field in
his last six games.
Arizona has struggled in their last three games, dropping games to
California and Colorado while escaping with a victory against
Utah.  The Wildcats could be ripe for the picking if the Cougars
can put together a complete game.
Saturday will mark the 73rd all-time meeting between Washington State
and Arizona with the Wildcats holding a 56-16 advantage. 
The Cougars are just 8-27 in Tucson.
Notes:
WSU is 47-216 against ranked opponents and is 0-5 this season
((losses to No. 12 Kansas, No. 10 Gonzaga, No. 16 Oregon, No. 8 Arizona
and No. 23 Oregon) and have lost seven-staright against ranked foes.
With 3 rebounds against Oregon, Brock Motum became the 12th
Washington State men's basketball player to score 1,000-points and haul
in 500 rebounds during his career.  He is the 33rd player to score
1,000 points in Washington State men's basketball history.
Woolridge and Thompson each have the most points in conference
action since Jerome Randle had 39 points at Washington State, Jan. 14,
2010.
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