Idaho State (1-9) vs. Washington State (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Toyota Center (6,000) -- Kennewick, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: ISU 1-0, WSU 7-1. Away Record: ISU 0-8, WSU 0-1. Neutral Record: ISU 0-1, WSU 1-2. Conference Record: ISU 0-2, WSU 0-0. Series Record: Washington State leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: The Washington State Cougars make their way to the Toyota Center in Kennewick on Saturday, as the team clashes with the Idaho State Bengals in non-conference action.
Washington State, which couldn't play at home this weekend due to a wrestling event at Beasley Coliseum, has rattled off three straight wins and six in the last seven outings overall, the lone setback coming in a 71-69 final versus nationally-ranked Gonzaga earlier this month. Eight days ago the team took out Buffalo on the road in a 65-54 decision, pushing WSU to 8-4 overall and giving head coach Ken Bone his 400th career win at the Division I level in the process.
As for the Bengals, they are off to a 10-game start to the 2012-13 campaign that they would probably rather forget. The squad has just a single victory thus far, against a non-Division I program in Montana Western (70-52) late last month. Idaho State, which operates out of the Big Sky Conference, has gone winless in four chances in December, the most recent setback coming against Eastern Washington (57-54) a week ago.
Washington State has won all but one of the six meetings between the two schools dating back to 1957. The most recent triumph came four years ago in a 60-41 final for the Cougars.
Idaho State led by as many as five points with just over six minutes remaining in the second half against the Eagles last weekend, but the team was outscored at the free-throw line 10-3 over the final 20 minutes of action. Ayibakuro Preh tried to keep hope alive as he delivered a double-double consisting of 10 points and 10 rebounds, shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor, while Melvin Morgan led the squad in scoring with his 14 points, but he missed all five of his 3-point tries as the unit finished a mere 3-of-16 out on the perimeter. Morgan, who has scored a total of 31 points in the two conference outings thus far, has tallied just 100 points in the other eight outing, which is why his average stands at 13.1 ppg. He is shooting a mere 37.6 percent from the floor and an awful 17.3 percent from the outside which is why the group overall is hitting at just 26.6 percent beyond the arc.
Over at Key Arena in Seattle, the Cougars trailed Buffalo by two points at the break on Dec. 21, but the local favorites then held the Bulls to a mere 17 points in the second half. DaVonte Lacy led all scorers with 19 points, hitting 5-of-7 shots beyond the arc, while Brock Motum augmented his 15 points with eight rebounds and three assists, followed by Dexter Kernich-Drew with 10 points off the bench for a team that survived just 13-of-24 accuracy at the free-throw line by converting half of their 20 chances on the perimeter. Playing close to 33 minutes per contest, Motum is clearly the driving force for the Cougars as he leads the group in both scoring (19.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg) and yet the unit is still outscoring the competition by less than seven points per contest. Lacy accounts for another 11.3 ppg and is one of the better 3-point shooters on the squad at 42.5 percent, but the team overall is still shooting just 33.2 percent on the outside.
Averaging a mere 50.0 ppg, the Bengals don't give themselves much of an opportunity to compete against most opponents, and that should be the case yet again on Saturday as well.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington State 69, Idaho State 52
12/29 10:42:54 ET