WSU looks to close out road trip with win

Cougars have lost 11 straight; never won on the road against Utah



Then-sophomore forward Marvin Cannon shoots a shot on Feb. 23 at Beasley Coliseum.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

The WSU men’s basketball team will finish its road trip against the University of Utah Utes at 4 p.m. PST Saturday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

WSU (12-8, 3-4) comes off a 78-56 loss to the No. 23 University of Colorado Buffaloes where Sophomore forward CJ Elleby led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points. WSU allowed three double doubles and scored a season low 23 points in the second half.

Utah (11-7, 2-4) started the season off with a 9-3 record in non-conference play. Since then, the Utes have lost four games of their last six conference games. Utah ranks last in the Pac-12 standings so far this season while WSU is in sixth.

Utah has a 46.2 field goal percentage and a 74.7 free throw percentage both ranked 59th in the country, respectively. Utah freshman guard Rylan Jones carries the team’s 3-point attack by shooting 44 percent this season, ranking second in the Pac-12.

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2012, the Cougars have defeated the Utes twice in Pullman and have an 11-game losing streak. Head coach Kyle Smith defeated Utah in the 2016 Diamond Head Classic when coaching for the University of San Francisco.

Senior forward Jeff Pollard is from Bountiful, Utah, fewer than 15 miles away from the University of Utah. Pollard won a state title his junior year of high school in the Huntsman Center. He is excited to return to his hometown on Saturday, he said.

Utah sophomore forward Timmy Allen leads the team and the Pac-12 in scoring with 19.8 points per game. When Allen and WSU sophomore forward Elleby matched up in January 2019, Elleby outscored Allen 21 points to 15. Elleby averages 23.5 points per game and shoots 44.9 percent against top five Pac-12 scorers this season.

Utah escaped with a 67-66 win against the University of Washington Huskies on Thursday that brought the Utes out from the bottom of the Pac-12 rankings. WSU looks to find its first Pac-12 road win and match its Pac-12 win total from last season.

WSU tips off against Utah at 4 p.m. PST Saturday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game will air on the Pac-12 Networks.