PULLMAN – The Washington State men’s basketball team may not have gotten the win in Wednesday’s 71-70 overtime loss to No. 15 Colorado, but the Cougars (7-8, 0-3 Pac-12) didn’t come away entirely empty- handed.
The game, possibly the Cougars’ most impressive of the year considering the opponent and the circumstances, gave them a big dose of confidence. Playing without leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, who remains sidelined with an apparent rib injury, WSU nearly picked up its first Pac-12 win of the season.
If that confidence allows the Cougars to sustain the level of play they showed against the Buffaloes, the team could win its first conference game today against Utah (12-3, 1-2 Pac-12).
“I think it’s very big,” forward Junior Longrus said. “Obviously, DaVonte’s pretty much one of the best scorers in the country, so for us to be able to go put up points and compete with the good teams without him is definitely a good confidence boost for us.”
They face a Utah team that leads the conference with a scoring margin of plus-22.6 points. Granted, the Utes have played the 299th easiest schedule to date among Division-I teams. But Utah has executed well, regardless of the foe, and is first in the Pac-12 in shooting percentage, and second in field goal percentage defense.
“They’re a good ball club,” WSU coach Ken Bone said.