In case you had crawled under a rock during the second half of today’s Sun Bowl game and, after watching that second half, I don’t think any self-respecting Bruin fan would blame you, football season is officially and finally done. That means it’s basketball season!
What better way to transition to basketball season than a game in Pullman against the hapless Cougars!
Not so fast, my friends.
The Cougars have not lost to UCLA in Pullman since January 30, 2019. That’s a month short of four years. But this year’s Bruin team is ranked 8th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 11th in the AP Poll. And, Washington State is, well, Washington State. The Cougars enter tonight’s game 0-2 in Pac-12 play so far and 2-6 in the month of December. Those two wins came against Northern Kentucky and George Washington.
How bad are these Cougs? Well, let’s just say that when I saw their record I thought that maybe Ernie Kent was still their head coach, even though Kyle Smith is now in his fourth season running the program. To be sure, last season under Smith, Wazzu had their first winning season in Pac-12 play since 2007-2008 and he does actually have an overall winning record of 57-52 with the Cougars.
But looking at the list of teams these Cougars have lost to makes me think that Smith will not be above .500 for very long. It’s ok, though. He can join Chip Kelly on the under .500 list. Kelly will be there until at least mid-September next season after this afternoon’s loss in the Sun Bowl.
But I digress.
Let’s look at the Cougar starting five.
Junior guard TJ Bamba leads this year’s Washington State team. Bamba is averaging 16.8 points per game and he has the second-best three-point percentage on the team at 41.7%.
The Cougars’ other guard is junior Justin Powell. In addition to scoring an average of 10.5 points per game, Powell leads the team in assists with 43 and is second on the team in steals with 13.
Smith will start three forwards tonight and the best of the bunch is sophomore Mouhamed Gueye. The native of Senegal is averaging 13.5 ppg and leads the team in rebounds with an average of 8.2 per game. His 51.1% shooting percentage is the best on the team as are his 12 blocks.
The lone starting senior is DJ Rodman, son of notorious bad boy and sometimes US Ambassador to North Korea Dennis Rodman. DJ is only averaging 6.8 ppg but he’s second on the team in rebounds with 5.3 per game. Rodman also leads the team in steals and he has drawn 13 charges already this season.
Smith’s third forward is freshman Kymany Houinsou. Houinsou joins the Cougars from Mulhouse, France, though I can’t imagine any kid growing up in France who might happen to dream of playing for Washington State some day. Houinsou can raise his shooting percentage to 50% if he can hit his first shot tonight. As it stands, he’s just under 50% so far this season.
The best Cougar coming off the bench is junior guard Jabe Mullins. Mullins is one of just three guys on the Washington State squad who actually grew up in Washington. Despite not starting, Mullins is third on the team in scoring with 11.3 ppg. Look out for him in crunch time because he is the Cougars’ best free throw shooter. How good is he? He’s missed just one of his 14 free throw attempts this season.
The other two guys who will see the most time off the bench are Carlos Rosario and Dylan Darling, but neither of them will contribute much besides eating minutes.
Personally, I expect the Bruins to crush the Cougars tonight. Sure, the Cougs only lost to Baylor by six points when the Bears were ranked 11th in the country, but that doesn’t mean that Washington State is that good. Look for the Bruins to win by at least 20 points tonight despite being on the road.
Today’s game will be on Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson and national treasure Bill Walton calling the game. Personally, I’m not sure why you would want to turn down the volume and not listen to Big Red, but if you do, you will be listening to Nick Koop, who’s filling in for Josh Lewin who is in El Paso for the Sun Bowl, and Tracy Murray. Just be sure to right-click on it so that you can open up another tab and have it going while you chat in the comments below. Listen to today’s game online.
This is your UCLA men’s basketball vs. Washington State Cougars game thread. Here’s how to watch today’s game:
Opponent: Washington State Cougars (5-8, 0-2)
Series Record: UCLA leads, 112-19
When: 8:00 pm PT, Friday, December 30, 2022
Where: Beasley Coliseum, Pullman, WA
TV: Pac-12 Networks National, Los Angeles and Washington with Ted Robinson and Bill Walton
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Local Radio: AM 570 with Nick Koop and Tracy MurraySatellite Radio: SiriusXM Ch. 83 (UCLA Call)
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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I made it
U clap clap
No Amari tonight.
No one cut for bona.
Bona running like a guard on that fast break! And gets the And-1!
I'm switching bbetween this game and the Orange Bowl, and I cant believe that Clemson pushed out their starting QB for true freshman Cade Klubnik who has been ineffective all day today.
The QB they pushed out will be going to Oregon State btw so we will face him next year.
UCLA starting off ice cold… to be expected on the road… but 0 assists so far
His feet were not set on that charge… bad call. Followed by a missed walk in the base line for a layup
Man, I'm not in the mood for this. Come on, Bruins.
Tyger needs to stop holding the ball and dribbling… time to sit on the bench
Great defensive play by McClendon!
Interesting McClendon first guard off the bench rather than Andrews
Jeezus! SIT TYGER DOWN! It’s so obvious
Time to pour out some whiskey
This is shaping up to be a lousy day.
Down by 10 to the mighty Cougars. Breathe...
7/7 ft. Try e bright spot
The tyger and Jaime offensive show is back… and it’s offensive.
And still no Dylan Andrews… is he hurt too
Bona is a beast though
Monster finish by Bona!
Ummm… that’s a flop
wow should' e been a flop technical.
Open three by wsu is due to Clark sliding to help when he didn’t need to
Have, et and am not happy.
The lack of putting in Andrews this half is a complete coaching fail… sorry mick, you’ve dug yourself into a hole but it could have been avoided by benching tyger much earlier in this game… now you going to have to make a 2nd half come back
No answer for Gueye.
BENCH TYGER! He dribbles for the first 15 seconds of every possession! Mick being a stubborn idiot
Keep saying BENCH TYGER!!! it’s working for him.
It's closer than it seems like it should be. Nice finish by Tyger.
Hopefully they wake up for the 2nd half.
The lack of scoring punch in this game is obvious.
UCLA shoots 26.7%, only down 5 at the half
Why is Andrews sitting on the bench ? Didn’t he win a few Pac12 freshman of the week awards ?
Cronin has a set of substitution pattern I’ve never understood.
Sun Bowl highlights? time to change the channel
Well this is sucking again. It's midnight out here and my pumpkin has arrived. Good Night, Mighty Bruins!
Bona needs to set better screens. Guy's the biggest on the court, he can easily free dribblers, but he seems to be getting in their way more often than not.
Also, Jaquez has only scored on free throws which is concerning.
Clark with 2 straight steals and Singleton hits a 3 to tie, but Wazzu quickly scores to go up by 2.
Change to tyger dribbling 15 seconds off of every clock to start the second half… good start
Hopefully that gets Jaquez going
Cougars are not playing like a 5-8 team.
Had a bad feeling about this game after the football game. The Palouse feels like a graveyard for The Bruins.
Zero ball movement. Standing around on both ends. Flat.
No Bailey hurts… no Andrews is double the pain. Tyger has got to be tired. He’s only sat 2 minutes this whole game? Actually not surprised though. Bailey provides a lot of talent that can’t be replaced
That’s not a foul… come on
UCLA is harmed by Clark shooting 3-12 and Jaquez shooting a surprising 1-7.
Need some defense now