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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cougars ready to take their shot at Ducks

The Washington State men’s basketball team has struggled in the early part of Pac-12 play, but has a chance to collect a win today against Oregon, a team in flux. The Cougars have lost six of their last seven games while the Ducks come to Pullman riding a five-game losing streak. During coach Dana Altman’s four years the Ducks have found success with players who transferred from another school, and were able to quickly join with the players already on the roster to form a cohesive unit. But despite talented players such as UNLV’s Mike Moser and Houston’s Joseph Young joining the team, this year’s squad has struggled in Pac-12 play, particularly defensively. After going undefeated out of conference, the Ducks (13-5, 1-5 Pac-12) have been unable to stop Pac-12 opponents. While UO’s offense ranks first in the conference, it has allowed opponents 77.9 points per game, worst in the Pac-12. That’s welcome news for a WSU (8-11, 1-6 Pac-12) team that is scoring just 63.0 points per game, the conference’s worst mark by a wide margin. Leading scorer DaVonte Lacy has played just 11 total minutes in the team’s seven conference games, and remains out at least two more weeks with a rib injury. “There’s no sense denying it, it’s tough … They’re down and it’s tough to stay together, but we’re pulling it together and we’re going to be fine,” Altman said after Thursday’s loss to Washington. Altman has yet to find a rotation he likes, and has used a different starting lineup in each of the team’s past four games. The Cougars, conversely, have shortened their rotation and coach Ken Bone is asking his starters to play big minutes. While that can take a toll on the players, WSU is benefitting from an extra day of rest, having not played since Wednesday.