Cougs with a second crack at ending perfection
> The Cougs split the opening week of Pac-12 play, dominating ASU on the road before a tough 2-pt loss to #20 USC in Beasley Saturday.
> WSU heads into the final weeks of non-conference play with five games remaining (two of which take places in Spokane including Saturday's game vs South Dakota State). Cougs are looking to close out non-con action 11-1. Wednesday's game pits the Cougs against a second-straight undefeated squad as Weber State (8-0) comes to town one of 12 teams still without a loss.
> WSU began the week #61 in the NET rankings. Last season the Cougs finished the year #84 while the year prior (Smith's first year) the Cougs finished #115.
> Defensively the Cougs have held strong early with a 93.2 per 100 defensive rating (ranks #46). Teams are shooting just 43.6 Effective FG% (25th in the nation) on the year thanks to an interior defense that has blocked 5.8 shots per game (22nd in the nation).
> Noah Williams taking control - the junior has scored in double-figures in 6 of 7 games played - he leads the team in scoring at 13.6 ppg while adding 4.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, and 1.0 spg.
GAME INFORMATION - vs WEBER STATE
The Cougs jump back into non-conference play with Weber State coming to town Wednesday, Dec. 8. The game starts a final run of non-conference play for the Cougs with five contests to finish off the first half of the season. The Wildcats are a perfect 8-0, one of 12 teams in the country to remain unbeaten in 2021-22. At 8-0, Weber State is off to its best start since the 1985-86 season. All-time the two teams have met just once in 1983 facing off in the NCAA Tournament in Boise, ID in a contest the Cougs would win, 62-52.
The Wildcats make their money through turnovers at 18.00 per game (22nd in the nation). Koby McEwen leads the attack at 16.8 ppg while Dillon Jones has been one of the best rebounders in the nation at 11.2 per game (6th overall).
The Cougs head to Spokane for the first of two neutral site non-con contests, the first pitting WSU versus South Dakota State Saturday afternoon. The Jackrabbits are 8-2 on the year as they head to the Palouse where they will take on Idaho Wednesday before crossing the border to take on the Cougs. Saturday's matchup will be the first in program history for the Cougs against the Jackrabbits.
LAST TIME OUT - vs USC
USC 63 - WSU 61 | DEC. 4, 2021 | PULLMAN, WASH.
Chevez Goodwin sank a layup and a free throw with 16 seconds left to lift undefeated No. 20 Southern California to a 63-61 victory over Washington State on Saturday.
Michael Flowers scored 13 points to lead Washington State (6-2, 1-1). Noah Williams finished with 12 points, but missed two shots in the closing seconds - including a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have given the Cougars the win.
The loss was the first December loss under head coach Kyle Smith in his career at WSU snapping a 13-game streak in the month.
The sophomore leap has the Cougs looking ready to break out. In the last two seasons the Cougs have seen stars CJ Elleby and Noah Williams take giant leaps in their second year on the Palouse and now look for their four sophomores to do the same.
Off and running in the second year of action, Efe Abogidi, Dishon Jackson, TJ Bamba, and Andrej Jakimovski have not disappointed in the first weeks of the season.
Abogidi enters the game 49th in the nation with 2.0 blocks per game while averaging 7.4 ppg and 5.1 rpg while shooting 59.2% effective FG%. On the offensive glass he is grabbing 14.3% of the chances (56th in the country).
Jackson nabbed his first career double-double against ASU to tip-off Pac-12 play posting 10&10. He would record a career-high 5 blocks against Eastern Washington.
Bamba has broken out scoring double-digits twice on the year and is averaging 7.3 points and 3.6 rebounds off the bench. He leads the team with 1.1 steals per game.
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