The Bruins got back into the win column on Thursday with a 70-61 victory over the Washington Huskies. The game was a tale of two halves, with the Bruins absolutely dominating all facets of play in the first half before coasting in the second, allowing Washington to cut into the lead.
Now you might have noticed I did not write the post-game for that one. That’s because I was busy doing some ADVANCED SCOUTING and was at the Galen Center Thursday night to watch tonight’s opponent, the Washington State Cougars, live and in person.
In reality, I was offered tickets by a Cougar alum friend and could not pass them up. What can I say, the Cougs are basically my favorite non-UCLA team in the conference.
The Cougs could not get the job done against the Trojans on Thursday, losing by the final score of 80-70. The game was a back-and-forth affair, but it became clear early on that Wazzu was going to be in trouble because of how short-handed they were. Three Cougars - DJ Rodman, Adrame Diongue, and Dylan Darling - were out for the game due to illness, leaving the Cougs down to effectively seven useable players for the game. Eventually, that fatigue caught up to them and the Trojans were able to outscore the Cougars 11-2 in the final two minutes to seal the deal.
The good news for the Cougars (and bad news for UCLA) is that Mouhamed Gueye really came into his own in this game and looked like the only sure-fire NBA prospect for either team. Gueye lit up the Trojans to the tune of 31 points on 14 of 21 shooting. Gueye had his original coming-out party against UCLA in the last meeting, when he put up 18 points and 18 rebounds and, depending on the status of those sick Cougs, he might feel the need to put the team on his shoulders again. That said, fatigue proved to be a factor late in the game for him, as he played 38 minutes and had to pull double-duty on defense, often switching onto Drew Petersen to shut him down offensively. Adem Bona will have his hands full here.
TJ Bamba was Washington State’s leading scorer until he missed three games with a hand injury, though he still leads the team on a per-game average with 14.2. That said, he looked dreadful against the Trojans, putting up seven points on a miserable 2-10 shooting night, with his first make coming in the second half. I don’t know if Bamba will put up that kind of performance two games in a row, so the Bruins will need to focus on shutting him down early.
The rest of the Cougs had perfectly ok but uninspiring games. Justin Powell had a good shooting night and was the only other Cougar to hit double-digit scoring, but he didn’t shoot at near the clip he needed to for Wazzu to have a chance. Andrej Jakimovski had a quiet night, going efficient from the field but struggling with the Trojans’ athleticism. Jabe Mullins started for the sick Rodman and had a nightmare game, though that doesn’t mean the Bruins can take him lightly, as he had an impressive game against the Bruins in Pullman. The Wazzu bench, which consisted of Carlos Rosario and Kymany Houinsou, were essentially non-factors, and the lack of depth meant the Cougs had to turn to Jack Wilson for some spot minutes at center; for those who don’t know, Wilson was playing offensive tackle for the Cougars as recently as this November.
Washington State desperately needs DJ Rodman to be healthy for today’s game. Rodman was unconscious against the Bruins last time out, putting up 19 points on 7-10 shooting. Dylan Darling isn’t a big scorer but at least provides some backup minutes that the Cougs desperately need.
All of that said, I’m not sure Washington State has enough in the tank for this game. Even if Rodman comes back it’s hard to believe he’ll be 100% healthy for this one, and the Southern Cal game was a taxing one for Washington State. On top of that, the Cougars have not been a good road team this year. Sure, they had an excellent road victory over Arizona, but they’re 2-7 overall on the road this year, and in conference play in particular their defense has not traveled well. I think Kyle Smith is an excellent coach - one of the best in the conference to be quite honest - but he’s stuck with a huge talent disadvantage that can be hard to overcome.
I think UCLA should pick up the victory here, but given how the offense has played in recent games, this will be pretty close for the vast majority of the game. If UCLA can get things going on offense, and their defense can lock in for more than three minutes at a time, then they could turn it into a comfortable win, but I don’t know if I’m confident in predicting that at the moment.
Today’s game will be on Pac-12 Network with J.B. Long and Don MacLean calling the game. If you prefer, you can listen to Josh Lewin 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 (10-14, 5-8)
Series Record: UCLA leads, 112-19
When: 4:00 pm PT, Saturday, February 4, 2023
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Pac-12 Networks National, Los Angeles and Washington with J.B. Long and Don Maclean
Live Stream: Pac-12.com and the Pac-12 Now app
Local Radio: AM 1150 with Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 136 & XM Ch. 197 (UCLA Call)
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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WSU is supposedly still down 3 scholarship players.
Thanks for the scouting, Dimitri!
U clap! clap!
Hi all and go Bruins! Was just enjoying all the photos our daughter has been sending from campus. So jealous!
Good evening, Bruins! Streaming in from kingjim's and Terry's time zone tonight!
40 good minutes tonight, Bruins!
Tygrrr gets the first deuce!
Bailey for an answer three!
Bona over Gueye!
Okay the live stats are ahead of the TV feed. That being said based on my "crystal ball" we need to defend beyond the arc. WSU is hitting all of theirs.
Jaime is here to play!
It will be hard to win tonight if WSU makes every one of their shots.
Both teams playing well. Difference right now is an absurd offensive foul on Bailey to start the game. And Bona forgetting to go back to guard Gueye leading to an open dunk
Both schools shooting 71.4%, Wazzu's threes are the difference.
Great D Jaime!
Great D leads to the offense. That is the way.
Look, up in the sky, it's Nuba-man!
Clark hits his 3!
WSU much better than their record. Going to be a close game.
Beautiful cut by Bailey!
Purdy, Singleton to Bailey!
Pac 12 refs again
Baileys one of the best ambidextrous players we’ve ever had it seems
And that is a flop. Bailey went around the defender!!
Pretty clear flop. SPTRs SPTRing.
Andrews checks in and delivers
Suweet! Jaime to Andrews! 7 unanswered.
Singleton not shooting well but has great defensive energy today!
Why is the WSU coach complaining about that oh so obvious and blatant foul?!
Take the whistles away. Both sides will approve this move.
Good intensity at the moment
Excellent ball denial by andrews that forces the TO
Nice to see some cutters today and feeding the post.
Jaquez with the triple!
Jaquez should shoot more 3s!
Jaime for three!
Tygrrr and Jaime at the races!
Singleton hits his 3!
So nice to see Jaquez hitting his 3 ball
Kenny playing good D on the baseline!
The key will be whether they can bring the same intensity in the second half
Great half for Bona.
Bona has come so far already this year / good to see him develop
9 point lead at the half, 35-26.
Gueye 1-6 with 2 pts and 0 rebounds. I think Bona’s been pretty good.
For as hot as WSU started shooting, that was a really good first half...which we have seen plenty of lately. Now we need to see them play a second half like that.
Pretty good half, Wazzu is stuffiing the key but Jaime is hitting from outside, no one expected that, but we knew it is possible, Gueye has 2 points and no rebs, Jaime has 12 pts and 5 boards.