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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Scouting the WSU opponent: Arizona State

The Washington State Cougars begin their desert road trip with Thursday's game against an Arizona State team whose back is already up against the wall.

Bobby Hurley's club began Pac-12 play with a rough slate of games, taking on rival Arizona and then traveling to both of the Los Angeles schools. The Sun Devils have yet to pick up Hurley's first Pac-12 win after going 0-3 in those contests, putting ASU in a hole that makes a victory over the Cougars imperative.

And the Sun Devils have looked pretty good under Hurley. ASU beat No. 15 Texas A&M and took a good Marquette team to overtime. Point guard Tra (aptly pronounced "trey") Holder has become a much better shooter over the past year and has hit 10-of-18 3-point attempts against Pac-12 teams.

Winning at Arizona is always a monumental challenge, so Thursday's game is also critical for the Cougars to avoid a 1-4 start.

Here's a quick glance at the Sun Devils:
Record: 10-6, 0-3 Pac-12
Points per game: 75.2
Opponent points per game: 70.9
Field goal percentage: 43
3-point percentage: 31.5
Free throw percentage: 70.7
Rebounding margin: +3.1
Assist/TO ration: 1:1
Steals per game: 5.4
Blocks per game: 3.3
Average home attendance: 5,474

And here are some more detailed statistics, courtesy of

Adjusted efficiency national rank (offense/defense): 77/61
Adjusted tempo national rank: 174
Average possession length: 17.5 seconds (No. 213 nationally)
Turnover percentage: 17.4 (No. 101)
Offensive rebound percentage: 33.8 (No. 64)
3-point percentage: 31.5 (No. 266)
Block percentage: 12.8 (N0. 332)

There has been some movement in the Sun Devils starting lineup recently, so don't be surprised if there's a surprise, but here is who I expect to start:
PG: Tra Holder 16. 3 ppg, 3.4 apg, 38.7 3FG%
G: Gerry Blakes 11.3 ppg, 2 ap, 6.1 rbg
F: Obi Oleka 7.8 ppg, 4.5 rbg, 13 blocks
F: Willie Atwood 10.3 ppg, 5.8 rbg, 81.8 FT%
C: Eric Jacobsen 7.4 ppg, 5.4 rbg, 59 FG%
Injured players: Forward Andre Adams is out for the season with a knee injury.

Jacob Thorpe
Jacob Thorpe joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Washington State University athletics.

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