Idaho (1-3) at Washington State (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE& TIME: Wednesday, November 28, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beasley Coliseum (11,566) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Idaho 1-2, Washington State 3-0. Away Record: Idaho 0-1, Washington State 0-1. Neutral Record: Idaho 0-0, Washington State 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho 0-0, Washington State 0-0. Series Record: Washington State leads 159-107.
GAMES NOTES: The oldest continuous basketball rivalry west of the Mississippi River adds another installment on Wednesday when the Idaho Vandals battle the Washington State Cougars at Beasley Coliseum.
The Vandals have just one win in their first three games this season after a 73-58 loss to New Mexico in their most recent game. Before that Idaho had finally gotten in the win column with a 72-62 defeat of Green Bay at home. This is the second of a two-game road trip for the Vandals which will end when they face UC Davis at Cowan Spectrum on Saturday.
Washington State has split its first six decisions and comes into this game with an even 3-3 mark. All three wins have come at home for the Cougars including their 66-38 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday that snapped a three-game losing streak. Washington State can get comfortable as their next four games will also be played in Pullman.
This is the 107th straight year that the Vandals and Cougars have taken to court against one another. The first meeting ended in a 28-11 victory for Washington State in January of 1906. Washington State also leads the all-time series 161-106, including wins in 15 of the last 17 meetings. Idaho's last win in the series came in 2002.
Idaho came out of the gates hot against New Mexico and looked like it might give the Lobos a game. The Vandals shot 51.9 percent from the field including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes and went into halftime tied 36-36. In the second half the Vandals cooled off to 31.0 percent shooting and were unable to keep up. Connor Hill sank six 3-pointers and led the team with 20 points.
Idaho owns a negative scoring differential (-4.4) which is not surprising considering the Vandals are 1-3 this season. It is surprising when considering the fact that Idaho is shooting 47.3 percent from the floor, while opponents have connected on 46.5 percent of their field goal attempts. Kyle Barone (17.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is a big part of the team's shooting success and the go-to scorer for the Vandals. Barone has connected on 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts which is by far the best mark among players who have played more than 20 minutes per game. Stephen Madison (15.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.5 apg) is a strong scorer as well and contributes on the boards and in distribution. Hill (10.8 ppg) is primarily a marksman from the outside as 33 of his total 43 points have come from beyond the arc.
In its rout of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Washington State didn't turn in the most impressive offensive game of the year but was effective on defense, holding the Lions to less than 10 field goals in both halves, including only six in the first 20 minutes. The Cougars also cleaned up on the glass wit a 39-24 edge in rebounds and had 20 assists to just six by the Lions. Brock Motum scored 18 points, brought in eight rebounds and handed out four assists.
Washington Sate is scoring only 62.8 points per game this season despite shooting a respectable 45.2 percent from the field. The Cougars do own a positive scoring margin though (+3.0) thanks to their ability to slow opposing teams down from the floor, as foes shoot just 38.5 percent from the field. Motum (16.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is the go-to scorer and the only one to be scoring more than 10 points per game. The rest of the offensive responsibility is spread throughout the roster with five other players scoring at least 6.5 points per game. Dexter Kernich-Drew (9.0 ppg) is the second leading scorer and has played himself into the starting lineup.
There is a great deal of history in this rivalry but not a whole lot of competition in recent years. That trend should continue on Wednesday night.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington State 71, Idaho 61
11/28 10:37:03 ET