Expect a different game between Washington State and Arizona this time around, if for no other reason than the Cougars consider themselves a different team.
In the first game between the two, WSU lost reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, Faisal Aden, to a torn ACL in the first half. The Cougars had already struggled to defend Arizona’s 3-point barrage, but were lifeless on offense without Aden.
Given three weeks to adjust to his absence, though, the Cougars may be better prepared to challenge an Arizona team that enters tonight’s contest on a four-game winning streak.
Guard Mike Ladd was the first player off WSU’s bench against Oregon. Marcus Capers has chipped in on the offensive end. D.J. Shelton had career-highs in points and rebounds against Oregon State last weekend. And Brock Motum remains in a battle with OSU’s Jared Cunningham for the conference scoring title.
“It’s definitely a different squad,” point guard Reggie Moore said. “You’ve got Brock just taking over now, I’m being a little more assertive, Mike coming in and doing what he’s done, DaVonte’s more confident. So I feel like we’re a completely different team than when we played them down there.”
“When you lose one of your top players, one of your best scorers, you have to make some adjustments and I think we’re playing better basketball now than we were at that time,” coach Ken Bone said. “But what scares me is so are they. They’re playing very well.”
Freshman guard Kevin Pangos has essentially played 3 1/2 games without committing a turnover. His last turnover came in the first minute of the second half against BYU. He’s been turnover-free over his last 74 minutes. … Robert Sacre is closing in on Ronny Turiaf for second place on the career blocked shots list. Sacre has 176 blocks, three behind Turiaf. Casey Calvary is No. 1 with 207. … GU ranks in the top 20 nationally in winning percentage (83.3 percent, 17th), rebounding margin (6.8, 18th) and fewest personal fouls per game (14.9, 9th).