OREGON AT WASHINGTON STATE
Following a lost weekend in Los Angeles, the Cougars (2-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference and 6-5 overall) return to Friel Court to take on the surprising Ducks (3-0 and 11-1). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
At a glance
Oregon brings a decided experience edge to the table. The 17th-ranked Ducks, who lead the Pac-10, start four seniors - including guard Orlando Williams, a longrange bomber, who ranks 5th in the league in scoring with an average of 18.3 points per game. “Oregon is a very difficult team to play,” WSU coach Kevin Eastman said. “They’re experienced, they shoot the ball well, they shoot a lot of threes and they make a lot of threes.” In addition, the Ducks go nine deep. Eastman hopes to counter with quickness on the perimeter. Sophomore point guard Donminic Ellison and backup forward Tavares Mack are back after serving a one-game suspension for breaking curfew. That should help Eastman keep his players more rested than they were in last Saturday’s 91-78 loss at UCLA. Mark Hendrickson, who leads the Pac-10 in field-goal percentage (64.2) and ranks second in rebounding (10.1), is playing the best basketball of his career and will need another big showing on the front line against an Oregon team that ranks No. 2 in the league in rebounding. School is back in session at WSU, which should help pump up attendance figures and the crowd noise. The Cougars have won eight straight at home, including five this season.
Orlando Williams, 18.3 points per game; Zach Sellers, 6.3 rebounds per game; Kenya Wilkins, 12.1 ppg, 5.7 assists per game.
Isaac Fontaine, 17.1 ppg; Shamon Antrum, 14.4 ppg; Mark Hendrickson, 13.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg; Donminic Ellison, 11. 3 ppg, 6.6 apg.
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, 6:40 p.m.
SANTA CLARA AT GONZAGA
Gonzaga (0-2 in the West Coast Conference, 11-3) plays host to Santa Clara (3-0, 11-3) for a 7 p.m. encounter at the Martin Centre.
At a glance
With the nation’s third-longest homecourt winning streak at 34, Gonzaga now entertains the last visiting team to win in the Martin Centre. The Broncos scored a 61-58 win over GU in the final regular-season game of the 1992 season.
This could be the toughest home game of the year for GU, considering the Broncos lead the West Coast Conference in wins, rebounds, defense and field-goal defense. In addition, the Broncos are led by perhaps the league’s best individual player, guard Steve Nash. Nash, a junior, may be recalled as the unruffled freshman who made six straight free throws in the final 31 seconds to secure the biggest win in Broncos history - a stunning upset of Arizona in the NCAA first round two years ago. In three league games, Nash has scored 24.7 points a game and netted 92.7 percent of his free throws.
In road losses to San Diego and San Francisco last weekend, the Bulldogs were paced by center Paul Rogers and point guard Kyle Dixon. Rogers had career highs of 26 points and 14 rebounds at USF, while Dixon put in 27 against USD. Rogers sank 76 percent of his shots in the two games. Gonzaga had been leading the nation in scoring defense before yielding 106 points in an overtime loss to USF.
GU guard Jon Kinloch now leads the conference in 3-point percentage, having netted 48.4 percent of his long-range attempts.
This is the first road outing for the Broncos since a 5-point loss at Kansas on Dec. 20.
Gonzaga: John Rillie, 13.4 points per game; Paul Rogers, 6.1 rebounds; Kyle Dixon, 4.0 assists. Santa Clara: Steve Nash, 20.7 ppg; Kevin Dunne, 7.4 rpg; Nash, 4.9 apg.
KJRB (790 AM), pre-game 15 minutes before tipoff.
SACRAMENTO STATE AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
The Hornets (3-12) of the American West Conference visit the Eagles (3-9) of the Big Sky for a 7:05 p.m. game at Reese Court.
At a glance
Sac State fell 87-72 at Idaho on Tuesday, giving the Hornets their second straight loss after winning three of four. Eastern, which fell to 0-2 in the Big Sky with home losses to Boise State and Idaho State last weekend, needs a win before three straight conference road games. “We need to get out and take the bull by the horns,” said Eastern coach John Wade, upset at what he called the worst opening weekend in his five seasons with the Eagles. “Overall, we weren’t aggressive.” Eastern was outrebounded in both weekend losses and blew a 13-point lead against Idaho State. “Let’s go to Idaho State,” Wade said. “They shoot 61 percent in the second half and they get offensive rebounds. You put 61 percent with five offensive rebounds and that boosts them up to 70, 75 percent.” Tonight’s most interesting matchup figures to be at off guard, where Eastern junior Curtis Porter faces Sac State junior Damond Edwards.
Eastern: Kevin Groves, 12.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game; Joshua Lewis, 11.9 ppg; D’mitri Rideout, 10.0 ppg; Curtis Porter, 9.7 ppg; Craig Stinnett, 7.9 ppg; Melvin Lewis, 7.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg. Sac State: Damond Edwards, 14.5 ppg; Mark Hunter, 11.1 ppg; Adrian Hillman, 10.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg; Abie Ramirez, 8.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg.
KSBN (1230 AM).
UTAH VALLEY AT NORTH IDAHO
North Idaho College (2-5 Scenic West, 10-9 overall) tangles with Utah Valley (5-2, 15-4) at 7:30 at Christianson Gym.
NIC’s women (2-5, 6-10) face No. 6-rated Utah Valley (7-0, 18-0) at 5:30.
At a glance
Utah Valley may have the SWAC’s best player in Bryon Ruffner, who was the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year at Utah State last season. The 6-foot-6 forward has signed with Brigham Young. He set a school-record with 42 points against Dixie earlier this year as he posted up a smaller defender. The next night against Salt Lake, Ruffner poured in 39 points on a taller defender. “They run pick after pick for him,” Salt Lake coach Norm Parrish said.
NIC’s problems are two-fold - Ruffner, and three other Wolverines who average in double figures.
Utah Valley’s women are led by guard Kim Morris (15.7 points per game) and center Marci Stilson (15 ppg, 8.8 rebounds). But scoring isn’t Utah Valley’s cornerstone. The Wolverines rely on defense and are rated No. 2 nationally, yielding 49.4 points per game.
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