FACTS & STATS: Site: Gill Coliseum (10,400) -- Corvallis, Oregon. Television: HDNet. CBI Record: Washington State 2-0, Oregon State 7-2. Series Record: Oregon State leads 164-121.
GAME NOTES: It will be a all Pac-12 affair in the College Basketball Invitational semifinal matchup in Corvallis, as the Oregon State Beavers host the Washington State Cougars at Gill Coliseum.
These squads have a long history against one another with this marking the 186th meeting all-time between the conference foes. Oregon State has the upper hand in the all-time series with a 164-121 record. Washington State won both regular season matchups before falling to the Beavers in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.
Washington State struggled at the end of the regular season winning only twice in its last six games to close out the year. After the first-round exit in the Pac-12 Tournament the Cougars have found new life with back-to-back wins both coming in blowout fashion, including a 61-41 rout against Wyoming in the second round on Monday night. The win pushed the Cougars above .500 with a 17-16 overall record.
While the Cougars faltered the Beavers surged, as Oregon State won four straight games, including two in the Pac-12 Tournament before falling to Arizona in the semifinals. The momentum didn't die there as the Beavers' two wins in the first two rounds of the CBI give them a 6-1 record in March so far and a 21-14 overall tally.
It wasn't really until the second half that Washington State really took over in the second round win over Wyoming. After leading 26-21 at the half the Cougars held Wyoming to only seven field goals in the second frame and outscored the Cowboys 17-4 from the free throw line over that span to cruise to a 20-point win.
All season long it has been clear who needs to be stopped on Washington State's roster to take down the Cougars yet teams have struggled to do so. Junior forward Brock Motum (18.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) was the highest scoring player in the Pac-12 this season and after losing senior guard Faisal Aden in late January to a knee injury, he is the only player averaging in double figures for the Cougars. Motum had another mammoth game in the second round, pouring in 25 points, while bringing down seven rebounds. Abe Lodwick (5.9 ppg) took some of the pressure off of Motum by netting 16 points in the game but other than Reggie Moore (9.3 ppg) no player on the squad has shown much consistency offensively. With such a one-dimensional offense, the Cougars finished the year ranked seventh in the conference in scoring (68.6 ppg).
Oregon State's offense erupted in the second round, running out to a 101-81 victory over TCU to advance out of the quarterfinals. The Beavers shot at an incredible 65.0 percent clip in the game including a 7-for-13 effort from beyond the arc, as three different players scored at least 19 points.
The Beavers were also a bit guilty of relying heavily on one scorer this season, with Jared Cunningham (18.1 ppg) ranking second in the conference in scoring. The junior guard has bumped that average up to 24.5 points per game in the team's two CBI contests and is coming off a 27-point effort against TCU. Unlike Motum, Cunningham does have some scorers flanking him in Devon Collier (13.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Ahmad Starks (12.1 ppg), who have both been consistent offensive weapons. Starks was quiet in the win over TCU, scoring only seven points, but Collier kept his scoring up and netted 19 points. Angus Brandt (9.2 ppg) poured in 22 points in the win giving him his highest point total this season. With Cunningham leading the charge, the Beavers were the best offensive team in the Pac-12 this season, pacing the league in scoring (79.6 ppg), assists (15.9 apg) and field-goal percentage (47.8).
With the familiarity of playing a conference rival, Oregon State will know exactly who to key on in this game. With a larger stable of scorers to go to, the Beavers should be able to edge out the Cougars, providing they can somehow slow down Motum.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 80, Washington State 70
03/21 10:33:21 ET
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