Cougars host Cardinal in last regular season game

WSU has not beat Stanford at home since 2015



Then-freshman guard Ryan Rapp dribbles in front of Omaha defender on Nov. 21, 2019.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball will take on the Stanford Cardinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at Beasley Coliseum to cap off a five-game homestand for the Cougars (13-10, 6-10).

WSU comes off an immense win over Cal on Thursday winning 82-51, which is now the largest margin of victory in the history of the matchup for WSU. Sophomore guard Noah Williams and freshman forward Andrej Jakimovski both had career nights as both approached triple-doubles across their stat line.

Jakimovski said he’s glad for the big performance from the team in the win against Cal, but it’s on to the next one against Stanford (14-8, 10-6).

“I think our zone was good [against Cal], maybe we’re going to play more zone,” Jakimovski said. “I think we are on a good path to victory.”

The last time out against Stanford was nothing like the Cal game on Thursday. The Cougs lost 75-60 on the road against the Cardinal as Stanford’s senior forward Oscar da Silva put up 27 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks.

Stanford’s other star forward and freshman sensation, Ziaire Williams, put up 16 points in the win as well. Williams, da Silva, and two others average double-digit points per game this season. Stanford is one of four teams in the conference to have at least four players average double-digit points per game this year.

Jakimovski achieved his career-high in points against Stanford the last time out with 19 points, which included a career-high five three-pointers. He said the matchup against da Silva and Williams will definitely be a point of emphasis for the Cougars heading into Saturday’s contest.

“We know we have to play good defense on them, especially da Silva,” Jakimovski said. “I think he’s a really good player.”

WSU head coach Kyle Smith said the team needs to do a better job on defending da Silva this time around. But it’s more important for the team to be better down the stretch in order to pull out with a win if the opportunity presents itself.

“We made some shots down there that got us in that game,” Smith said. “The last four minutes of the game, we got to do better there.”

Throughout the month of February, Stanford is 4-2, all four of those wins coming against teams in the bottom half of the conference standings. Stanford continues to be a top-50 team in the nation in field goal percentage. Da Silva has continued his big performances as the leading scorer for the Cardinal as he averages 18 points per game throughout the month of February.

Da Silva currently sits in second place in the conference standings for individual points per game this season, just one spot in front of WSU senior guard Isaac Bonton. Bonton has missed the past two games for WSU due to a pair of rolled ankles, and Smith said his status is still unknown for Saturday’s game.

WSU is 53-78 historically against Stanford and has not won a home game against them since Jan. 31, 2015. In fact, that’s the only win WSU has recorded in the past 15 matchups against Stanford.

“They’re a little different team,” Smith said in comparison to the last matchup this season. “I think they’re close to having all their guys back.”

Tip-off will commence at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Beasley Coliseum, and the game will air on ESPN2.