Posted on December 5, 2012 at 1:18 AM
Wednesday, Dec 5 at 1:36 PM
Washington State (5-3) hosts No. 10 Gonzaga (8-0) Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. in Beasley Coliseum. The game will be televised by ESPNU.
The Stats – The Zags have the edge in almost every major statistical category. But the two teams are pretty even in one of the more important numbers – points allowed per game. Gonzaga is tied for 32nd in the nation at 57.5, with the Cougars 38th just .3 points back. It’s on the other side of the ball that GU has been among the best teams in the nation. Their 53.3% shooting was the tops in all the land as of Sunday. They also sat third in scoring margin (27.8 points) and fifth in points per game (85.3).
The Stars – You might as well pick a name out of a hat when it comes to the Zags, but it’s a much clearer picture for Washington State. His name is Brock Motum. No surprise the 6-foot-10-inch Aussie senior forward has been a rock for the Cougars. He’s averaging 18.9 points and 7 rebounds while hitting nearly 50 percent of his shots. In the last week he posted 26 and 9 against Idaho, followed by a 29 and 7 performance against Portland. Of course, the task gets considerably tougher when faced with the GU quartet of Elias Harris, Sam Dower, Kelly Olynyk and Przemek Karnowski. Those four have combined to average 48.9 points and 24.9 rebounds, and are viable candidates to pace the Zags. But you can’t rule out a guy that dropped 33 in this very matchup last year. Without the demand for many big nights, Kevin Pangos has been steady this year - the main exception being his 23-points against Davidson. But you can’t help but expect him to go off at some point. He drilled nine threes to beat the Cougars last season. It would be unfair to expect a repeat effort, but not unreasonable to anticipate another stellar showing.
The Storylines – Where to begin… how about in Pullman? That’s where the Cougars are 5-0, and the Zags get their first true road test of the season. The teams have split their last two meetings, with both winning on their home floor. All-time the series belongs to WSU (98-48). When GU is ranked, the Bulldogs are 7-2. When facing top-10 teams the Cougars have just seven wins. Interestingly enough this is Gonzaga’s first time ranked in the top-10 in both polls since December 22nd, 2008. On December 23rd Portland State dropped GU from No. 7 with a 77-70 upset in Spokane. That PSU team was coached by Ken Bone. For his career Bone is 2-4 against the Zags. Mark Few heads into the game with a 9-3 mark against Washington State. On top of all that, GU is going for its first 9-0 start in program history. You got all that? Good. Let’s play some basketball.