Men’s hoops hops down to Texas for a game bigger than basketball

Cougs look to bounce back against Prairie View A&M



WSU guard TJ Bamba shoots a free throw during an NCAA men’s basketball game against Texas State, Nov. 7.

HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor

WSU men’s basketball is playing away again on Tuesday against the Prairie View A&M Panthers.

The Cougs are heading to Texas 1-1 coming off of a tough loss to Boise State on Saturday. In the 71-61 loss, the Cougs had many of their issues from last season exposed again. Scoring droughts and giving up runs tended to coincide, leading to a game where it was a struggle to get close and seemed to be impossible to take the lead.

Heading down to Prairie View, the Cougs will look to exorcise some of those demons against a 2-0 Panthers team that will be facing their first Power Six competition of the year. So far, they have looked dominant in their two wins, both of which were against very small schools.

Currently leading the Panthers in scoring is senior breakout Hegel Augustin, who had 23 points against North American University. He is tied with senior guard Will Douglas as both are averaging 15.5 points and will likely be focal points of the offense for Prairie View.

The game on Tuesday is more than just a non-conference matchup for each side. It is a part of the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series, a program that was established in 2021 to set up basketball matchups between the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Pac-12.

The SWAC is made up entirely of Historically Black Colleges or Universities and the Legacy Series looks to educate a wider audience on the importance of HBCUs and supporting their athletic programs. 

This is the first game of the series for the Cougs, but it will be their third matchup with Prairie View all-time. Wazzu is 2-0 in these games, which took place in 2001 and 2020.

Head coach Kyle Smith spoke about the opportunities presented by the Legacy Series at Pac-12 media day earlier this year.

“We have a very diverse group and to be able to understand a little bit about the historically black colleges and universities will be impactful for us,” Smith said. “These guys don’t get opportunities to play Power Five at home.”

TJ Bamba also spoke on the subject at the same event.

“The whole idea of it, like doing a game versus the SWAC conference is great,” Bamba said. “I’m from New York, the Bronx, it’s primarily Black people there and you know not a lot of people get the same opportunities.”

This one is bigger than basketball and while you always like a road victory, the more important win will be helping to get more people paying attention to and respecting the rich and important history of HBCUs in both collegiate sports and higher education in general.

The game will be at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Fans can watch on the Pac-12 Network.