The first time Washington State played tonight’s opponent, Arizona State, the Cougars didn’t fare all that well.
WSU started a makeshift lineup – reserves Charlie Enquist and Xavier Thames in place of DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers, who were late for team activities that morning – but began the game in a decent fashion, jumping out to a 7-1 lead. Then the Sun Devils scored the next 16 points and the rout – ASU won 71-46 – was on.
The Cougars never figured out how to attack ASU’s 2-3 matchup zone, and got especially out of sorts in the second half, missing 18 of their 25 shots.
“They do a great job with their matchup,” WSU coach Ken Bone said. “Their rotations are really precise, they’re quick, they get a hand up on shots.”
Washington State hopes to attack the Sun Devils’ zone better this time around, with Bone putting the emphasis on movement.
“I think the key is going to be keep the ball moving – keep ourselves moving and be patient for a good shot,” he said.
Not so Super
It’s not as if Sacramento State needed another challenge as far as home attendance at its men’s basketball games is concerned. But the Hornets, who have averaged just 667 fans in the nine home games they’ve played this winter, will face a big one Sunday when they entertain Eastern Washington University in a matchup of struggling Big Sky Conference teams that tips off at 1:05 p.m. in the 1,200-seat Hornets Nest.
Along with trying sell a game between teams with only four combined Big Sky wins, Sacramento State officials must also contend with the Super Bowl matchup between Indianapolis and New Orleans that will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on attendance.
As a way of trying to minimize that effect, the school is offering a 2-for-1 ticket deal for the game.
“We know it’s still a difficult time to play,” said Ryan Berger, Sacramento State’s media relations director. “We’re directing that (2-for-1 promotion) more toward the students, who can come to the game and get back in time to watch the Super Bowl. … But we’re probably still going to take our lumps at the gate.”
Portland senior guard Nik Raivio, younger brother of ex-Zag Derek Raivio, will miss tonight’s game against Gonzaga with a strained right Achilles tendon. The injury has sidelined Raivio – who leads the team at 14.1 points per game and is third in rebounding at 6.1 – the last four games.