Top-25 foes meet in key Pac-10 tilt
Eugene, OR (Sports Network) – The ninth-ranked Washington State Huskies are
perhaps the nation’s most surprising team, and they will attempt to keep
hope alive for a Pac-10 regular season title as they battle the 23rd-ranked
Oregon Ducks this evening.
Washington State is riding a five-game winning streak that has enabled the
club to move to 22-4 overall and 11-3 in league play, trailing only UCLA in
the standings. The team has been idle for eight days, as its most recent win
came over Washington last Wednesday. The Cougars, who improved to 7-3 in true
road games with that victory, own the highest ranking in program history.
Oregon got off to a tremendous start this season, but the team has struggled
mightily over the last four weeks. In fact, the Ducks have currently lost
three straight games and six of the last eight, including an 88-69 setback at
Stanford on Saturday.
Oregon recorded a memorable 77-74 overtime victory over Washington State last
month, and the Ducks own a 153-116 series advantage over the Cougars.
Washington State does not put up huge offensive numbers, as the team is
scoring 67.1 ppg this season. The Cougars rely on smothering defense, and they
are yielding a mere 57.7 ppg on 39.4 percent shooting from the floor by
opponents. The top scorer for WSU has been Derrick Low, as the native of
Hawaii is netting 14.3 ppg on the strength of his 42.3 percent shooting from
three-point range. Kyle Weaver adds 11.2 ppg, 127 assists and 56 steals to the
mix as the team’s most versatile performer, and Daven Harmeling rounds out a
trio of double-digit scorers with 10.0 ppg. Against Washington last week, the
Cougars shot 51 percent from the floor and limited the Huskies to 37.5
percent. Taylor Rochestie came off the bench to pace Washington State with 16
In the 19-point loss to Stanford on Saturday, Oregon’s Aaron Brooks scored 25
points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field, and teammate Tajuan Porter tallied
20 points. The Ducks only turned the ball over seven times, but a 38-29
rebounding disadvantage and a 25-9 deficit in points from the foul line proved
costly. Oregon allowed Stanford to shoot 51.9 percent from the field and only
forced six giveaways. Brooks is scoring 17.6 ppg this season to pace a
balanced offensive attack, and he has dished out 110 assists as well. Bryce
Taylor adds 14.8 ppg to the lineup, and Porter is netting 13.6 ppg. In all,
five players are averaging double figures for the Ducks, but they have been
inconsistent at the offensive end in recent weeks after seemingly scoring at
will early on this season.