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Sunday Matinee Pits the Cougs Against Portland State

Dec 11, 2020

2020 21 WSU MBB Notes 05 PSU

vs Portland State (1-1) | Sun., Dec. 13 | 2 p.m.
  Live Stats | Sidearm Stats
  Watch | Pac-12 Network (Greg Heister & Dan Dickau)
  Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Matt Chazanow & Craig Ehlo)

> The Cougs are off to their best start since 2017-18 (6-straight to open the season) having gone 4-0 to begin the year and are receiving votes in the AP Top-25 for the first time since that 6-0 start in 2017-18. All four wins are by four or less points having won by a combined 14 points in the four games.
> WSU takes on a Portland State squad that is 1-1 on the year with a loss to Portland and a win over NAIA Northwest University Tuesday. The Cougs are 8-0 all-time against the Vikings. 
> A tale of two halves the Cougs have been dominant in the second half of games, coming back from four-straight halftime deficits while also overcoming double-digit deficits in the last three contests. The Cougs are +32 in the second half of games.
> Sophomore Noah Williams is emerging offensively as the second-year defensive star has now scored double-digits in three-straight games including a career-best 19 pts vs EWU and Idaho.
> Smith's Cougs continue to dominate the Pacific NW beating Eastern Washington, Oregon State and Idaho. Last year the Cougs were a perfect 7-0 against regional rivals.

The Cougs stay home for a 2 pm tip Sunday against Portland State as part of the first double-header with the women's basketball program. The matchup is the first between the two teams since 2015 with the Cougs holding a perfect 8-0 record against the Vikings including 6-0 record at home that includes the last four meetings. PSU will be the third Big Sky opponent for the Cougs after beating preseason favorite Eastern Washington, 71-68, two weeks ago, and Idaho, 61-58, Wednesday. The Vikings, picked fourth in the Big Sky, fell to Portland, 86-73, in their season opener while they took down NAIA Northwest University, 88-48, Tuesday.

WSU 61 - UI 58 | Dec. 9, 2020 | Pullman, WA

Noah Williams scored 19 points, including a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left, and Washington State rallied out of a double-digit deficit for the third straight game to edge Idaho 61-58 Wednesday night. It was the second-straight win over the Vandals for the Cougs and the 99th at home in the longest running rivalry in college basketball.

In four-straight games to start the year the Cougs have erased half-time deficits (3 vs TSU, 6 vs EWU, 3 vs OSU, 6 vs UI). Last season the Cougs were just 3-11 in games when trailing at half with their biggest comeback coming against UCLA, winning in OT after trailing by 7 at the break.
In addition to halftime comebacks, the Cougs have overcome three-straight double-digit deficits including a 13-point deficit against the EWU which was the biggest comeback since erasing a 20-point deficit against Saint Joseph's on 11/23/17. Against Oregon State, the Cougs trailed by 10 with 14:24 to play in the game. Against Idaho, WSU trailed by 11 with 4:51 to play in the first half.
The three double-digit comebacks is the most consecutive double-digit comebacks for the Cougs since in the three-point era.
The Cougs also snapped a 16-game winless streak in the Coach Smith era when trailing with five minutes to play in the game as EWU held a slim one-point advantage at the five minute mark before WSU took its first lead of the game with 4:48 to play, never to trail again.

Through four games the Cougs have made their mark on the defensive end of the floor leading to a 4-0 start. WSU enters the weekend ranked #27 in the country in defensive FG% allowing teams to shoot just 36.0% with an effective FG% of just 41.8% (#27 in the DI). WSU's defensive efficiency ranks #86 at 95.0 per 100, nearly five points better than the DI average of 99.4 per 100.
The Cougs rank #25 in 2-ptFG% allowing teams to shoot just 40.3%, nearly nine points below the DI average of 49.3%.
WSU has kept opponents off the offensive glass grabbing 30.5 defensive rebounds per game ranking #44 (allowing opponents to grab just 25.2% of offensive rebound chances).

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