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Sports >  WSU basketball

Washington State gets another shot at the upset against No. 5 Arizona

Arizona guard Kadeem Allen (5) drives on Washington State guard Malachi Flynn during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated Washington State 79-62. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Arizona guard Kadeem Allen (5) drives on Washington State guard Malachi Flynn during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated Washington State 79-62. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

PULLMAN – Washington State will get another shot at the conference leader when No. 5 Arizona cames to town for Thursday’s 5 p.m. tilt. The Cougars battled admirably the last time they faced the Wildcats before falling, 79-62, in Tucson.

WSU (11-14, 4-9 Pac-12) could use a signature win this season. The Cougars have given scares to No. 6 UCLA, No. 7 Oregon and nearly upset Utah on the road last week. But close is not the same as closing, and now the Cougars are on a four-game losing skid.

“We know how hard we’re working. We know how hard we’re battling,” coach Ernie Kent said. “We feel like we’ve got an excellent blueprint. We’ve made some great progress this year, we want to close it out with some wins, that would be huge for us down the stretch.”

For Arizona (23-3, 12-1) every game is a big one, since it sits all alone at the top of the Pac-12 standings and is in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are led by 7-foot forward Lauri Markkanen. The Finnish freshman averages better than 15 points and 7 rebounds per game, and made four 3-pointers against WSU the first time the teams played.

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