Portland (3-3) at Washington State (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beasley Coliseum (11,566) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Portland 3-0, Washington State 4-0. Away Record: Portland 0-3, Washington State 0-1. Neutral Record: Portland 0-0, Washington State 0-2. Conference Record: Portland 0-0, Washington State 0-0. Series Record: Washington State leads 11-2.
GAMES NOTES: The Washington State Cougars look to keep their perfect record at home intact when they host the Portland Pilots in non-conference action at the Beasley Coliseum on Saturday night.
Odds are in the Cougars' favor considering Portland is 0-3 in its first three road games this season. The Pilots' record is an even 3-3 overall though as they were able to capture wins in all three home games, including a 78-73 victory over Lewis & Clark College last time out. Portland will make the trip back home for its next game against UNLV.
After a 64-55 win over Idaho on Wednesday the Cougars are now a sparkling 4-0 at Beasley Coliseum this year. However when the Cougars venture outside of Pullman the results have been less than favorable (0-3). Luckily for the Cougars the next three games of the season will also be played at Beasley Coliseum with No. 12 Gonzaga on the docket next.
With an 83-73 win on the road last season Washington State won its fifth straight game against Portland, extending its all-time series lead to 11-2.
Portland got a lot more than it might have expected from Lewis & Clark and didn't make things any easier by connecting on only 3-of-6 free throws in the final minute. Luckily that was enough for the Pilots, who shot 50.9 percent in the game but were outscored 42-12 from 3-point range. Ryan Nicholas, who scored 12 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double, missed a pair of free throws in the final minute.
When it takes to the road Portland has not just lost, but lost badly. The Pilots currently have been outscored by an average of 21 points per game in three road losses. Overall Portland has a scoring differential of -5.7 as it scores 63.3 points per game, while surrendering an even 69. That margin comes despite shooting 44.1 percent from the field. Nicholas (12.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg) is a threat for a double-double on most nights but really needs to improve his touch as he connects on only 40.3 percent of his shots from the field. Kevin Bailey (11.8 ppg) is the best backcourt option with no other player on the team scoring in double figures. In fact other than Tanner Riley (7.0 ppg), no player scores more than seven points a game.
Washington State didn't play its best game against Idaho connecting on 45.6 percent of its shots including a 3-of-15 effort from beyond the arc to go along with a 9-of-17 showing from the free throw line. The Cougars were also on the short end in the rebounding department (36-33) but won by holding the Vandals to 41.5 percent shooting. Brock Motum continued his run as the team's best scoring option, pouring in 26 points while coming a rebound shy of a double-double.
Keeping opponents from lighting up the scoreboard has been the key to the success of Washington State this season. The Cougars are limiting teams to just 57.4 points per game and just a 38.9 field goal percentage. That has largely allowed the Cougars' offensive numbers 63.0 ppg to go unnoticed, especially at home. Motum (17.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is the only player in the double figures. Dexter Kernich-Drew (9.9 ppg) has scored efficiently though, connecting on 52.0 percent of his attempts and has worked his way from the bench into the starting lineup. D.J. Shelton (7.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is Motum's battery mate on the inside, while Royce Woolridge (6.9 ppg) and Mike Ladd (8.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) team with Kernich-Drew in the starting backcourt.
Both of these teams have struggled on the road. Portland has the unfortunate burden of being the visitor this time around, giving Washington State a major edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington State 70, Portland 58
12/01 10:37:38 ET