January 8, 2014 in Sports

Cougars play Colorado at the Arena

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Pac-12 schedule of the Washington State men’s basketball team may have started, but the Cougars will have to wait to welcome a conference foe to Friel Court. First they will try to find their offense in Spokane today, against No. 15 Colorado.

The Cougars (7-7, 0-2 Pac-12) will have to try and earn their first Pac-12 win 80 miles north of Pullman, in Spokane Arena.

“It feels like a home game because we’ll probably have a better turnout here than we would if we played back in Pullman,” guard Royce Woolridge said. “So it’s basically a home game.”

They face a Colorado (13-2, 2-0) team that boasts what is widely considered to be one of the top backcourts in the conference. The Cougars will have to contend with Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker, a formidable guard duo that combined to score 50 points in the Buffaloes’ win over then-No. 10 Oregon last weekend.

In fact, the pair matched WSU’s scoring as a team in the first week of Pac-12 play with 72 points. The WSU offense struggled in Arizona without leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, who missed the Arizona game after undergoing an appendectomy a week earlier and then left the Arizona State game midway through the first half.

Coach Ken Bone said on Tuesday that Lacy experienced rib pain against ASU unrelated to his previous surgery, and will be out for at least a week.

Rather than dwell on what isn’t going well, WSU is focusing on what’s working.

“We tried to praise them and let them know they’d done a real good job defensively,” he said. “We were proud of the fact our guys really guarded well.”

WSU is fourth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 63.6 points per game. However, opponents have been efficient against WSU, hitting 43.1 percent of their shots. The Cougars, conversely, are last in the conference in field goal percentage at 42.2 percent.

“Things haven’t been going how we would plan for them to go,” Woolridge said. “But right now is a good time to regroup and fix the things that we need to fix in order to get better.”

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