Men’s basketball hosts Sun Devils

Cougs look to end two-game losing streak, fix issues with confidence



Guard Noah Williams defends the ball against the Oregon State Beavers during the Klay Thompson jersey retirement game on Jan. 18, 2020 at Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars swept the Beavers 89-76.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

After a pair of road trip losses in Boulder and Salt Lake City, the WSU men’s basketball team returns to the Palouse to face the Arizona State University Sun Devils at 8 p.m. tonight at Beasley Coliseum.

WSU (12-9, 3-5) are 39-42 against ASU (12-7, 3-3) historically and 24-15 at home. The Cougars’ won last season’s lone matchup 91-70 in Tempe, Ariz., and the last time they won in Beasley was back in February 2017.

Two weeks ago, WSU had a home sweep against then-No. 8 Oregon and Oregon State, and WSU retired Klay Thompson’s jersey.

Junior guard Isaac Bonton continued to perform well on offense during last week’s road trip. Bonton is the only Cougar who scored in double figures in every Pac-12 game of this season.

Head coach Kyle Smith said Bonton is starting to succeed at doing what he has done this season – shoot with confidence.

“I think it’s more in between the ears,” Smith said. “I think he’s settled in, growing in confidence and he’s trying to be better.”

Junior forward Daron Henson played in three of the last five games for WSU and averages about nine points and almost 16 minutes per game during this span. Henson shoots 57.1 percent from the 3-point line this season on eight of 14 shooting and leads the team.

The shooting success is because of his own personal playing style, and the team’s overall work ethic, Henson said.

“I think as you continue to put the work in, the shots will fall,” Henson said.

The Sun Devils defeated their instate rival University of Arizona 66-65 on Saturday. Arizona State’s leading scorer junior guard Remy Martin scored 24 points against the Wildcats. Martin averages 19.7 points per game, tied for first in the Pac-12.

Freshman guard Ryan Rapp said ASU’s transition offense as an initial point when scheming against the Sun Devils.

“Defensively, that’s a major focus that we have been focusing on,” Rapp said. “Their point guard is really good at pushing the ball.”

When coaching for the University of San Francisco, Smith lost to the Sun Devils 75-57 in December 2017. USF held then-freshman Martin to 12 points.

Henson said the team has their own bit of confidence to bring regardless of last week’s struggles.

“I think after those two losses we’ll get back to it being about us,” Henson said. “I think with our confidence we have coming in we’ll be fine.”

WSU will tip off against the Arizona State Sun Devils at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Beasley Coliseum. The game will air on ESPNU.