Scouting report: Washington State
Game info: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Friel Court in Pullman (11,675 capacity).
TV: ESPNU (Dave Fleming and Sean Farnham).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Ken Bone is 66-50 in his fourth season with the Cougars. The former UW assistant has a 143-100 record at Division I schools, including a stint at Portland State (2005-09). He also coached at Seattle Pacific (1990-2002, 253-97).
Prediction: Picked to finish 10th in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: This is the 275th meeting between the schools. Washington leads 174-100 in a series that began Feb. 16, 1910. The Huskies are 72-62 away from home. UW is 7-2 in the past nine games, including a sweep in last season’s two-game series. UW needed to overcome double-digit, second-half deficits to win both games. Coach Lorenzo Romar is 5-6 in Pullman.
Previous game: Beat Idaho State 74-39.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior forward Brock Motum (right) led the Pac-12 in scoring last season averaging 18.0 points. This season, he’s even better. He averages 19.7 points, but his field goal percentage is down (49.7 from 55.4). His three-point percentage is also down from last season, 39.7 percent to 32.5. Motum accounts for 30.7 percent of WSU’s points and he’s taken a third of its shots. But in reality, Motum means everything to the Cougars. The offense runs through him. He usually gets a touch on every possession.
The Brisbane, Australian native is somewhat unorthodox because he’s 6-10, 245 pounds and he’s a lefty. He’s just a scoring machine who has a season high of 38 points. He scored a personal best 40 last season against UCLA.
Motum also leads WSU in rebounding average (7.0), blocks (1.2), turnovers (2.7) and minutes (32.5).
Romar on Motum: “I say a lot of times guys are that are 6-8 and above love to say ‘Im versatile’ because they like to play on the perimeter. But you’re not versatile because all you do is play on the perimeter. If you’re versatile, you can do it all. He plays on the perimeter. He shoots it from the perimeter. He drives it from the perimeter. He can post you up. He can pass. He makes free throws. At 6-9 or 6-10, that’s a tough cover anywhere. And that’s what he does.”
— Sophomore guard DaVonte Lacy scores 11.8 points points per game and he’s the only other WSU player who averages double-digit scoring. The Curtis High standout from Tacoma struggled against UW in their last meeting and finished with just five points. He’s a big guard at 6-3 and 206 pounds and his size and strength gives him an advantage against most guards.
— It’s difficult to access Washington State’s season to this point. The Cougars have lost three games by a combined five points, including defeats to No. 10 Gonzaga (71-69), Texas A&M (55-54) and at Pepperdine (58-56 OT). The only time they’ve been embarrassed is a 78-41 defeat to No. 6 Kansas on a ‘neutral court’ in Kansas City, Mo.
— Still the Cougars have .over a bunch of patsies for most of their wins. Their strength of schedule ranks 288th. Their RPI is 189 and their best win is against Idaho.
— Washington State leads the Pac-12 allowing 55.2 points per game. Only Kansas and Gonzaga have scored more than 70 against WSU.
— The Cougars have seemingly overcome the loss of the senior point guard Reggie Moore, who was kicked off the team and will transfer to Western Washington. He was their second leading scorer and top playmaker.
— WSU also had to overcome the loss of highly regarded freshman DeMarquise “Que” Johnson, who was ineligible this season by the NCAA due to academic reasons.
— After scoring 17 points against Idaho State, senior guard Mike Ladd is third on the team with 8.9 points per game. In his second year with WSU, the former Fresno State transfer is rebounding from an injury-plague season in 2011-2012. This season, he’s had to handle some of the point guard responsibilities and has done a decent job running the offense. He averages 2.5 assists and 1.8 turnovers. Ladd is also third on team with 5.5 rebounding average.
— Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge is getting comfortable being back on the court after missing most of the past two seasons. He redshirted last season and hardly played with the Jayhawks. Woolridge is sharing the point guard duties with Ladd and leads WSU with 2.9 assist average.
F – Brock Motum, 6-10, 245, Sr., 19.7 ppg., 7.0 rpg., 75.0 FT%
F – D.J. Shelton, 6-10, 240, Jr., 5.5, 5.8, 1.1 apg.
G – Mike Ladd, 6-5, 195, Sr., 8.9, 5.3, 58.3 FT%
G – DaVonte Lacy, 6-3, 206, So., 11.8, 2.7, 49.3 FG%
G – Royce Woolridge, 6-3, 175, So., 7.0, 2.8, 2.9 apg.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
— Motum scored 17 points on two games against Washington last season. As a sophomore, he was downright horrible while scoring eight, five and three points. Stopping Motum or at least slowing him down is essential for UW. The Huskies don’t have anyone to match up against him. Desmond Simmons will get the first crack, but at 6-7 he’s surrendering three inches. It’s likely 6-9 Shawn Kemp Jr. and 6-10 Jernard Jarreau will also see time on Motum. However, they’re somewhat inexperienced to contain someone as offensively versatile as Motum. Washington matches up well against WSU’s backcourt. Say what you will about the level of their competition, the Cougars have been tough defensively and it will be a challenge for the Huskies to figure out how to create shots for sharp shooters C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs.