Back on the Road, Cougs Head to Westwood
WASHINGTON STATE (9-2, 2-2)
at UCLA (9-2, 5-0) | Thur., Jan. 14 | 2 p.m.
Live Stats | Statbroadcast
Watch | FS1 (Joe Davis & Casey Jacobsen)
Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Matt Chazanow & Craig Ehlo)
> Cougs head to LA to take on UCLA, the last unbeaten team in conference play and the preseason pick to win the conference. Last season, the two teams squared off in a pair of OT contest with each holding serve on their home courts. WSU is looking to snap a nine-game losing streak at UCLA dating back to 2009.
> Senior Isaac Bonton has been hot for the Cougs in the 2021 averaging 21.7 ppg on 51.1% (24-47) shooting including hitting 42.1% (8-19) from deep while also averaging 5.3 assists per game.
> Freshmen have powered the Cougs as Efe Abogidi (11), Andrej Jakimovski (9), and Dishon Jackson (3) have moved into the starting lineup. Their combined 23 starts is the fourth most in Division I.
> WSU enters the game one of the top defensive units in the country ranking #1 in defensive FG% (.355) and #2 in defensive effective FG% (.401) as well as #27 in scoring defense (62.0).
Additionally the Cougs are #9 in the country in rebounding at 42.6 rpg the highest rebounding average since 1971-72 (45.3 rpg).
> Freshman Andrej Jakimovski has established himself as the Cougs' top sniper hitting 50% (9-of-18) from behind the arc in the last three games. 22-of-56 (39.3%) for the season.
GAME INFORMATION - AT UCLA
The Cougs stay on the road in California as they head south to take on UCLA and USC. First up for WSU is preseason favorite UCLA who remains the only team in the conference undefeated in Pac-12 play at 5-0 entering the weekend. The Bruins and the Cougs played two classic overtime games last season with both teams holding serve on their homecourts.
UCLA has five players averaging double-figures but is still adjusting to play without their top player after losing All-Pac-12 talent Chris Smith (12.6 ppg) to a torn ACL four games ago.
LAST TIME OUT - AT STANFORD
STAN 75 - WSU 60 | Jan. 9, 2021 | Santa Cruz, Calif.
The Cougs rallied from 15 down to take the lead late at Stanford but could not finish off the comeback as the Cardinal scored 22 of the final 27 points to take the win. Andrej Jakimovski had a career night shooting draining 5 of 9 from deep while leading the Cougs with 19 points.
JAKIMOVSKI THE MACEDONIAN SNIPER
Finding his groove in both college basketball and the United State, freshman Andrej Jakimovski has proven to be the Cougs' top sniper as the first-year forward leads the team from deep at 22-of-56 (39.3%). He has hit multiple three-pointers in 7-of-11 games including a best five at Stanford.
His 2.0 per game average ranks 6th in the Pac-12 and 1st among freshman.
While it's still early in the season, Jakimovski has a chance to put himself among the elite freshmen in WSU history with the top-10 beginning at 31 3-pt makes (Eddie Hill, 1991 & Isaac Fontaine, 1994). The freshman record is held by Klay Thompson (2009) with 68.
FRESHMEN FRONT COURT
Entering the year one of the youngest teams in the conference the Cougs youth has been served as the freshmen have taken over on the Palouse. Against Arizona, freshmen Efe Abogidi, Andrej Jakimovski, and Dishon Jackson (1st career start) became the first trio of true freshmen to start a game for WSU for the first time since March 9, 2006 vs Oregon at the Pac-10 Tournament (Aaron Baynes, Caleb Forrest, Chris Matthews). The trio finished the game with a combined 34 points on 22 FG attempts, 22 rebounds, 3 blocks and only 3 turnovers.
In three games the trio is shooting 25-of-62 (40.3%) for 28 ppg while grabbing 52 combined rebounds and eight blocks.
On the year, the trio has started 23 combined games the fourth most in Division I. Abogidi leads the way having started all 11 games.
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