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LAS VEGAS – When the losses piled up for the Washington State Cougars in the latter half of the men’s Pac-12 season they were of little consequence. As WSU’s record (10-20, 3-15 Pac-12) spiraled and its chances of earning an invitation to any postseason tournament went the way of the mid-range jumper, postgame joy or sorrow became the Cougars’ only stakes.
When the losses piled up for the Washington State Cougars in the latter half of the men’s Pac-12 season they were of little consequence.
PULLMAN – It was a pair of freshmen that sent Washington State’s seniors off in style Saturday night. In the final game of the regular season the Cougars upended the conference’s second-best team, playing their best game of the season and beating UCLA 73-55. Not even a halftime dunk contest by members of the WSU football team could pull focus from the struggling basketball team on Saturday night, which gave D.J. Shelton and Will DiIorio a Senior Night to remember in their final game at Beasley Coliseum.
PULLMAN – Playing against the only Pac-12 team Washington State could reasonably have claimed was in worse shape, the Cougars couldn’t even keep it close at home. WSU hit rock bottom as USC won the basement battle, 79-68.
In Washington State’s loss at Washington last week the Cougars shot poorly enough to have their hunting license revoked. The team was 14 of 35 from the field and 4 for 23 on 3-point attempts.
SEATTLE – Only DaVonte Lacy could match Washington’s efficiency on Friday night. But he couldn’t keep up with the Huskies’ pack by himself and the UW cruised to a 72-49 victory in front of 7,647 fans in the rivalry rematch. The Cougars were held without a field goal over the game’s final 13:04. In that time, Washington extended its lead from 53-44 to the final 23-point margin.
COMING UP: Friday at Washington, 7:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Wash) OUTLOOK: The Cougars (9-16, 2-13 Pac-12) hope to avoid a second-straight last-place finish in the Pac-12 and can go a long way toward locking up the 11th spot with a win against the Huskies. The Cougars have already beaten UW once this season, and a sweep would put some distance between WSU and USC (10-17, 1-13 Pac-12). If the Cougars lose on Friday, next week’s matchup with the Trojans will likely determine who finishes last in the conference. WSU will need to hold the Huskies’ C.J. Wilcox in check. The senior guard has struggled lately, but did score 23 points in last week’s win over Oregon State.
Though the Washington State basketball team has slogged through a disappointing year, the Cougars can still come away from the 2013-14 season with bragging rights, if not much else. WSU (9-18, 2-13 Pac-12) beat rival Washington 72-67 in February. On Friday the Cougars can complete a regular-season sweep of the Huskies (15-13, 7-8 Pac-12) for the first time since 2011.
EUGENE – The Washington State men’s basketball team frustrated the Pac-12’s highest-scoring offense, rebounded well and held off comeback attempts on the road Sunday night. Unfortunately for WSU, the game didn’t end at halftime.