Utah (12-3) at Washington State (7-8)
01/12/2014 7:37 AM
01/12/2014 7:44 AM
GAME NOTES: The Washington State Cougars look to correct a three-game losing streak, but they'll have to do it against the high-flying Utah Utes in Pac-12 play Sunday at Beasley Coliseum.
Utah has lost two of its last three games, which is uncharacteristic of the season the Utes are having at 12-3 overall. Those two losses were by a combined four points. In the team's most recent game, Utah lost to Washington, 59-57.
Washington State has lost three in a row and four of its last five games in the midst of a 7-8 campaign. The Cougars have been on two three-game losing streaks this season, but have yet to lose four straight. They lost an overtime thriller to No. 15 Colorado, 71-70, on Wednesday.
Utah has a commanding lead in the all-time series against Washington State, 14-3, but lost last season in Pullman by 10 points, 75-65. It was Utah's first loss ever at Beasley Coliseum.
Utah narrowly lost its last conference battle with Washington, 59-57, on Wednesday. A desperation 3-pointer by the Utes at the buzzer didn't fall, giving the Huskies the victory. Delon Wright scored a game-high 27 points for Utah on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor. He added 11 rebounds to make it a double-double and contributed a team-high three steals in the loss. Jordan Loveridge added 10 points and seven rebounds for Utah, going a cold 0-of-2 from 3-point distance.
Loveridge and Wright are the team's top two scorers, respectively. Loveridge pours in a team-best 16.5 ppg and a leading 8.6 rpg. Wright's 15.6 ppg is complemented by his 66.9 shooting percentage from the field this season through 15 games. His 7.3 rpg mark isn't too shabby either. Brandon Taylor is the third and final Utah player averaging scoring numbers in the double digits at 11.2 ppg.
Washington State played against Colorado without DaVonte Lacy, the team's leading scorer, and managed to hang on into overtime. The Cougars eventually fell by a narrow 71-70 margin to the Top 25-ranked Buffaloes. Dexter Kernich- Drew scored a game-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor, which included an impressive 6-of-8 from 3-point distance in the contest. D.J. Shelton contributed 14 points, while Royce Woolridge netted 10 points and dished out 11 assists for the double-double.
Lacy was missed by the Cougars in the contest, who almost ended a two-game skid. Lacy, who tore cartilage in his ribs, is averaging 17.7 ppg this season, and is the only Washington State player to average double-digit points this season on a team netting 66 ppg. Woolridge isn't far under the mark at 9.9 ppg, and sports a team-best 47 assists this season. The Cougars are shooting 42.4 percent from the floor on the year.
Utah has struggled a bit in its last three games, having lost two. But against Washington State without its top scorer, the Utes should be able to turn things around as their tour of Washington ends.
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