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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pauley Pavilion (12,829) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: WSU 8-5. UCLA 12-3. Away Record: WSU 1-5, UCLA 3-1. Neutral Record: WSU 2-2, UCLA 2-2. Conference Record: WSU 2-8, UCLA 7-3. Series Record: UCLA leads, 101-14.
GAMES NOTES: After a thrilling win against Washington on Thursday, the UCLA Bruins take to the floor again to host the Washington State Cougars in Pac-12 Conference action at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night.
Washington State came so close to putting an end to a losing streak on Thursday but came up short in a 72-68 loss to USC. It was the fourth straight setback for the Cougars who have fallen to 11-12 overall by losing eight of their 10 contests since conference play began. The Cougars are currently in a three-way tie with Oregon State and Utah for last place in the Pac-12. Heading on the road has not helped Washington State as it is 1-5 in away contests.
Larry Drew II's jumper as time expired lifted UCLA to a 59-57 win over Washington on Thursday. The victory put a stop to a short two-game slide for the Bruins who improved to 17-6 overall and 6-3 in league play with the win. The record in conference action has the Bruins in a three-way tie with Arizona State and Oregon for second place in the Pac-12. Games at Pauley Pavilion have generally gone the Bruins' way as they are 12-3 on their home floor. However, a three-game road trip awaits UCLA with dates against California, Stanford and USC.
This is one of the more lopsided conference series in the Pac-12. The Bruins have won 101 of a total 115 previous matchups. That includes victories in each of the last seven matchups and 16 of the last 17.
In a game that featured nine ties and 12 lead changes, Washington State just couldn't hold on against USC. The Cougars hit just 36.4 percent of their shots from the floor in the second half when they were outscored 17-7 from the free- throw line.
The road to the Pac-12 basement has been paved by poor offensive showings for Washington State. The Cougars are the lowest scoring team in the conference (63.7 ppg), managing to shoot just .422 from the field. The Cougars are also last in the league in rebounds (34.5 pg) and second to last in assists (11.6 pg). The only thing keeping the Cougars from completely bottoming out is their work on defense where they hold teams to 61 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting. Brock Motum (18.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg) can score with anyone, ranking third in the conference. Mike Ladd (11.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the only other player on the roster scoring in double figures.
Going into the final minute against Washington, UCLA clung to a 56-55 lead. Shabazz Muhammad stepped to the line with 37 seconds left to go but split his two free throws to open the door for Washington. The Huskies got the game- tying layup from C.J. Wilcox 27 seconds later but thanks to Drew the Bruins survived.
The Bruins could not be more different than the Cougars. UCLA is not only leading the Pac-12 in scoring (76 ppg) and assists (17 pg) but is also among the top 30 teams in the country in both of those categories. UCLA is also second in the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (.459) and rebounds (38.1 pg). Muhammad (18.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has largely lived up to the hype he accrued coming into his freshman season as the second-leading scorer in the Pac-12. Jordan Adams (14.7 ppg) has done a nice job filling in the gaps as the second option, while Travis Wear (12.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) has been more than competent when called upon. Kyle Anderson (9.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 3.6 apg) is one of the more versatile players in the Pac-12 and Drew (6.4 ppg, 7.9 apg) has preferred to be a facilitator rather than shot-maker as the Pac-12 leader in assists.
As long as UCLA can get back to what has made it successful this season, namely lighting up the scoreboard with frequency, the Bruins should have no problem with Washington State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 73, Washington State 63
02/09 10:33:38 ET