WSU returns to Beasley on Wednesday

Cougars host UCLA after tough Oregon road trip in hopes to regain home winning streak, second conference win



Freshman guard Matt Bradley, left, defends WSU freshman guard CJ Elleby on Thursday at Beasley Coliseum.

ISAAC SEMMLER, Evergreen reporter

WSU men’s basketball returns home after a tough road trip in Oregon where they fell by 13 points to the Beavers on Friday before being defeated by 20 Sunday night against the Ducks.

The Cougars now come back to Pullman for a two-game home stand against a pair of Southern California teams.

Despite only having one conference win, Head Coach Ernie Kent said he still believes in this team and his staff.  He also said having a lot of new players will lead to some speed bumps along the way.

“Losing tough games is part of the process of overcoming adversity,” Kent said. “When you look at the staff at hand right now I think they’re doing an excellent job of keeping this team together and we’re moving in the right direction.”

The Cougars will host UCLA this Wednesday hoping to bounce back at home after losing their first game of the season in Pullman to Stanford last week.

The Bruins come off a big win this past Saturday when they took down a tough Arizona team. However, they failed to meet expectations this year with an 11-9 record. This has given WSU a real chance to come away with a win.

This will still be a tough contest for the Cougars as they have dropped nine of their last 10 games. With their 8-1 record at home, WSU will look to use their home court as an advantage to pick up their second conference win.

Senior forward Robert Franks and freshman forward CJ Elleby have been two crucial players for WSU this season. Franks leads the team in points, averaging 21.6 per game followed by Elleby with 16.1 points per game.

Unfortunately, they are the only two players averaging double figures this season for the Cougar team while UCLA has four.

Sophomore guard Kris Wilkes of the Bruins will be the Cougars’ biggest challenge. A productive player down below and a physical defender makes this 6-foot-8-inch guard a dangerous threat on both ends of the court and stopping him is a necessity in order to secure a much needed win.

This past week, Kent said the development he sees in his team can help them beat their tough opponents.

“We have a lot of growth potential with our guys,” Kent said. “With the injuries we’ve had this year there has been a lot of individual growth with our new guys and we can get better. Our lack of success on the road opens up a lot of opportunity for improvement.”

The Cougars and Bruins will tip-off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Beasley Coliseum. The game can also be found on the Pac-12 Network.