FROM PULLMAN — We're on press row preparing to cover WSU's final game at Beasley Coliseum this season (for real, this time). And, as expected, the Cougars will be without leading scorer Brock Motum.
Technically, there's been no official word from WSU on Motum's status. But he just walked out of the locker room on crutches and is wearing a suit, so I think it's safe to say we're not going to see him tonight. He had a seat on WSU's bench and is chatting with assistants and managers as the rest of the Cougars go through warm-ups. … So the biggest question, then, is whether WSU can win another game with its leading scorer on the sidelines. The Cougars had surprisingly little trouble without him against Oregon State, thanks to big scoring nights from Abe Lodwick and Reggie Moore. That, and they played really sound defense for most of the night. … As we wrote in our advance, rebounding is going to be essential. It always is. But Pitt ranks 12th in the nation in rebounding margin, and could really have an edge there tonight with Motum not playing. … You don't have to go very far back to remember the last time a WSU team played an important game in this building without its star player. Everyone remembers the UCLA game last season when the Cougars took the Bruins to overtime without Klay Thompson, who was serving a one-game suspension for his marijuana arrest. Starting point guard Reggie Moore missed that game with a bum ankle, too. UCLA won, but the Cougars came together as a team and battled every single minute without two of their leaders. And WSU proved last week that it has at least some of that resiliency this season, too. Basketball can be a funny game that way.
We'll be back afterward with our usual coverage.