Scouting report: Washington State
Game info: 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).
TV: ROOT/FSN (Justin Kutcher and Marques Johnson).
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Ken Bone is 68-63 (.519) in his fourth season with the Cougars. The former UW assistant has a 145-112 record at Division I schools, including a 77-49 (.611) mark at Portland State (2005-09). He also coached at Seattle Pacific where he was 253-97 (.723) from 1990-2002. Bone began his coaching career at Cal State Stanislaus where he was 5-21 (.192) in 1984-85. The next season he moved to Olympic where he was 4-23 (.148) in 1985-86. The SPU graduated returned to his alma mater in 1986 as an assistant before taking over in 1990. He was an assistant at Washington from 2002-05.
Prediction: Picked to finish 10th in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: This is the 276th meeting between the schools. Washington leads 175-100 in a series that began Feb. 16, 1910. UW is 8-2 in the past 10games, including a sweep in last season’s two-game series. Bone is 2-6 against UW as WSU coach. He’s 2-9 against the Huskies overall, including an 0-3 mark at Portland State. Coach Lorenzo Romar is 14-10 versus the Cougars, including a 6-4 mark in Seattle.
Last meeting: In a 68-63 Washington win, the Huskies led by as many as 17 points in the first half and trailed by four with 5:44 left before rallying for victory in the Pac-12 opener on Jan. 5. C.J. Wilcox scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, Aziz N’Diaye finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Scott Suggs (11 points) scored the last three field goals for UW. The Huskies closed on a 16-7 run while the Cougars failed to score a field goal in the final four minutes.
Previous game: Lost 73-56 at Arizona on Feb. 23.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior forward Brock Motum (near right) led the Pac-12 in scoring last season averaging 18.0 points. This season, he’s third at 17.9. His statistics are similar to the previous season, but he has to work a whole lot harder this time because he doesn’t have the help that he once did. Stopping Motum is priority No. 1 of every team that faces Washington State.
He scored 15 points in the last meeting against Washington and Huskies lauded Desmond Simmons for his tremendous defensive performance against the lanky forward.
Motum’s career high is 34 points, but for the most part he’s been held in check by Pac-12 opponents. He tallied a season-high 29 points against Stanford on Jan. 29, but hasn’t topped 20 in any other game.
He’s been a bit of a gunner this season. He leads the conference with 405 field-goal attempts, which is almost twice as many shots as the next highest player on the team. But Motum has to shoot because WSU has very few viable offensive threats.
The Brisbane, Australian native is somewhat unorthodox because he’s 6-10, 245 pounds and he’s a lefty. In seven games against UW, he’s averaging 9.7 points.
— Sophomore guard DaVonte Lacy, a Tacoma native, struggled in last year’s game at Washington when he had five points and six rebounds in 26 minutes. Still, the Curtis High standout is capable of a big game. He scored a career-high 27 points on Feb. 13 against Oregon State. In the game, he converted 7 of 9 three-pointers. Lacy, a 6-3 guard, has scored in double figures in six of the last seven games.
— Royce Wooldridge, the transfer from Kansas, had a relatively slow start, but lately he’s been on a tear. He dropped a career-high 36 points on Oregon on Feb. 16. The 6-3 sophomore guard scored in double figures in seven of the past eight games and is averaging 12.4 points against Pac-12 opponents.
—Washington State has lost eight-straight games, their longest losing streak of the season and longest since the 2002-03 season when they lost 14-straight games. The Cougars are 1-8 on the road.
— Bone is over .500 at WSU, but his critics are growing louder. A prominent WSU booster has asked for his dismissal.
— Nine of the Cougars’ 17 losses have come by seven points or less, including a two-point loss to then-No. 10 Gonzaga (Dec. 5) and a two-point overtime loss to then-No. 23 Oregon (Feb. 16). Five of the losses have come by two points or less, including two overtime defeats.
— Most of WSU’s problems stems from its lack of a floor general. Senior Mike Ladd has done an nice job filling in at point guard this season, but he’s missed the past four games due to an injury. He’s unlikely to play today.
— In their last meeting, Motum was 6 of 13 from the field but was mostly a non-factor. Bone told the Spokesman Review: “I’m not sure (the early schedule) prepared us for a Pac-12 game against a team like Washington and the way they guarded Brock. I think here we are two months down the road, we’ll be more prepared for it if they’re denying him the ball.”
— Washington State is 11th among Pac-12 teams averaging 63.3 points in conference games and last shooting 40.3 percent from the field. It’s 10th in the league allowing 70.0 points and last in field-goal percentage defense (.480).
— WSU’s poor defense has a lot to do with the absence of a true big man in the middle. It is last in the Pac-12 averaging just 1.9 blocks in league games. Without a stopper in the middle, teams are driving to the basket with impunity.
— Sophomore guard Dexter Kernich-Drew is the top reserve, who averages 6.2 points and 22.1 minutes. He’s made 10 starts this season.
— Ladd’s absence has forced the Cougars to rely on freshman walk-on Bryce Leavitt, who logged heavy minutes two weeks ago in games against Oregon State (25 minutes) and Oregon (19).
— The Cougars are seemingly still coping with the loss of the senior point guard Reggie Moore, who was kicked off the team and is hoping to 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.
F – Brock Motum, 6-10, 245, Sr., 17.9 ppg., 6.2 rpg., 2.4 tpg.
F – D.J. Shelton, 6-10, 240, Jr., 5.5, 6.1, 1.1 apg.
G – Will DiIorio, 6-5, 190, Jr., 2.8, 2.0, 51.0 FG%
G – DaVonte Lacy, 6-3, 206, So., 10.5, 2.8, 1.9 apg.
G – Royce Woolridge, 6-3, 175, So., 9.9, 2.5, 2.8