Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) - Two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum in
the Pac-12 will meet up at the McKale Center as the Washington State Cougars
clash with the 12th-ranked Arizona Wildcats on Saturday.
This is the second half of a two-game swing for the Cougars through the Grand
Canyon State. The first leg ended in a 69-57 defeat to Arizona State. The loss
was the seventh straight for the Cougars, who at just 2-11 in league play find
themselves in dead last in the Pac-12. With just one win in eight road
contests its unlikely the Cougars will grab a win in this game or their next
bout at Washington.
The Wildcats have recovered from a two-game slide with back-to-back victories.
With its 70-52 rout of Washington on Wednesday, Arizona pulled even with No.
23 Oregon for the top spot in the Pac-12 with a 10-4 mark. Arizona has a 12-2
ledger in games played at the McKale Center and a stellar 22-4 mark overall.
Arizona hits the road to face USC next.
Parity is not a word that would describe this conference rivalry. The Wildcats
have won five straight against the Cougars, while leading the all-time series
by a dominating 56-16 margin. Earlier this season Arizona secured a 79-65
victory at Beasley Coliseum.
In their loss to Arizona State the Cougars had a nearly 10-point difference in
field-goal percentage as they allowed the Sun Devils to hit 50 percent from
the field. The Cougars did manage a 15-2 edge in points off turnovers but a
15-5 deficit from the free-throw line hampered their efforts.
It doesn't take much searching to figure out why Washington State has been so
dismal this season. The Cougars are the worst offensive team in the Pac-12,
scoring just 63.9 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting. Washington State
also struggles to control the boards as it brings in the fewest rebounds (33.6
pg) among Pac-12 squads. At 6-foot-10, Brock Motum (17.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) has no
trouble filling up the bucket. The Cougars' offensive woes have become more
pronounced with Mike Ladd (11.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) missing the last three games
with left knee irritation. The 6-foot-5 guard is still listed as questionable
for this contest.
Arizona put forth a strong effort on both ends of the floor to coast by
Washington. The Wildcats shot 47.1 percent from the floor and hit 6-of-15 from
3-point range. Meanwhile, Arizona limited the Huskies to just 30.8 percent
shooting, including 1-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc.
On the season Arizona is enjoying a sizable scoring margin (+10.9) as one of
the better offensive and defensive teams in the Pac-12. The Wildcats rank
second in the Pac-12 in points (73.4 pg), while shooting just under 45 percent
from the floor. On the other end the Wildcats let up just 62.5 points per game
on 40.4 percent shooting. Mark Lyons (15.3 ppg, 3.2 apg) is the main scoring
threat for the Wildcats, also managing to lead the way in assists. Nick
Johnson (11.8 ppg, 3.1 apg) runs in the backcourt with Lyons providing solid
numbers in scoring and distributing. In the frontcourt, Solomon Hill (13.9
ppg, 5.5 rpg) is a versatile athlete with a ton of length at 6-foot-7.
The Sports Network