WASHINGTON STATE AT ARIZONA
Sole possession of second place in the Pacific-10 Conference and perhaps even a chance to overtake leagueleading UCLA will be on the line when the Cougars (5-2 in the Pac-10 and 10-5 overall) face the 12th-ranked Wildcats (5-2 and 15-4) at McKale Center. Tipoff has been moved up to 5 p.m. (PST)<. At a glance
Having lost 18 in a row to the Wildcats, the Cougars really didn’t have to spot Arizona a point guard. But that’s what they will do, thanks to the absence of sophomore starter Donminic Ellison, who stayed home with a severe case of chicken pox. That makes the matchup at the point-guard position, where Arizona’s Damon Stoudamire has ruled for the last three seasons, nearly impossible for WSU. Cougar coach Kevin Eastman will try to counter Stoudamire’s speed, court awareness and scoring ability by alternating freshman Chris Griffin and junior Shamon Antrum. The strategy was a bust earlier in the season against UCLA, when Ellison was serving a one-game suspension, but it’s the only realistic thing Eastman can do. “I might play the point a little,” Eastman joked earlier in the week. “I’m the next best point guard in our program, and if you’ve seen me play, that will tell you we’re not very good right now.” The Cougars, who have won four straight, will also have some matchup problems inside where Mark Hendrickson and Tavares Mack will have to get a body on Arizona’s 6-foot-10, 265-pound center Joseph Blair.
WSU: Isaac Fontaine, 17.3 points per game, 3.2 assists; Shamon Antrum, 12.5 ppg; Mark Hendrickson, 14.9 ppg, 9.6 rebounds.
Arizona: Damon Stoudamire, 22.0 ppg, 7.4 apg; Ray Owes, 15.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg; Joseph Blair 12.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg.
KXLY (920 AM) Spokane, KWSU (1250 AM) Pullman, KORD 870 AM) Tri-Cities, KCLX (1450 AM) Colfax, KCVL (1240 AM) Colville, KWWW (1340 AM) Wenatchee, KBSN (1470 AM) Moses Lake, KNSN (97.1 FM) Walla Walla, 4:40 p.m.
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT AT GONZAGA
Gonzaga (11-7, 0-6 in the West Coast Conference) takes on Loyola Marymount (10-8, 2-4) for a 7 p.m. encounter at the Martin Centre.
At a glance
GU coach Dan Fitzgerald, now that he’s a member of the NCAA rules committee, has decided what he wants to change first: “I want games to only be 35 minutes, that’s my solution, active immediately. Fitzgerald’s reasoning is simple, his Bulldogs have played like French poodles in the final few minutes of games as they have lost six in a row.
The problem, though, is not one of effort, which Fitzgerald sees as being still very strong. “The problems are physical. We’ve had some opportunities but we just can’t get the shots to go down,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m really proud of the kids and the way they’re hanging in there and playing hard. It’s not like we’re getting blown out in these games.”
That six-game losing streak is GU’s longest since 1990. What has been the difference between GU’s 11-1 start and its winless streak? Simple: field goal percentage has fallen from 50.1 to 32.7; 3-point percentage from 40.8 to .327; free-throw percentage from 74.1 to 64.4; and rebound margin from plus 8.2 to minus 7.6.
Much of that, of course, is due to tough WCC competition, which the Bulldogs will face again tonight. GU’s weakness has been in interior defense, and LMU’s center Ime Oduok will offer a stern test.
Gonzaga: Jon Kinloch, 12.6 points per game; Jason Rubright, 6.0 rebounds; Kyle Dixon, 3.8 assists. LMU: Wyking Jones, 14.2 ppg; Ime Oduok, 10.6 rpg; Jim Williamson, 5.4 apg.
Radio: KJRB (790 AM), pre-game 15 minutes before tipoff.
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