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Cougar basketball opens season Friday against Northern Arizona

The Cougs look to come out strong in Ernie Kent's second year as head coach.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The WSU men's and women's basketball teams will start their season Friday night with a pair of games in Beasley Coliseum. The men play the Northern Arizona Lumberjack at 5:30 pm and the women will follow at 8:30 pm against UC Santa Barbara.

The men are coming off an impressive 97-70 victory over Pacific (Ore.) in their second exhibition game last Friday. Junior guard Renard Suggs impressed in that game shooting 4-8 from three. Suggs, who trasnferred to WSU this year, finished that game with 18 points.

While the Cougs won each of their two exhibition games with relative ease it will be interesting to see how they play against their first Division I opponent. It will be interesting to see the different lineups Kent tosses out there and how they evolve in non-conference play.

Jacob Thorpe tweeted out earlier this week that Conor Clifford has been cleared and should get to see his first minutes in a Cougar uniform after missing both of the exhibition games. In those games Junior Longrus started alongside Josh Hawkinson as the other big with Valentine Izundu coming off the bench.

It seems likely that Que Johnson and Ike Iroegbu will be starting in the backcourt, and if Kent sticks with his lineup from the exhibition contests Charles Callison will be the third starting guard. Expect Suggs to see plenty of playing time after he was the first man off the bench against Pacific and shot like he did.

Northern Arizona comes into the season ranked 204th by kenpom (WSU is 152) and the Lumberjacks return their second leading scorer from last season. Junior guard Kris Yanku averaged 13.8 points a game last season along with 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds.

The Cougs will have a size advantage as the only players taller than 6' 7"  that NAU boasts are both freshman. Hawkinson, Clifford, and Izundu should be able to exploit this while even the usually undersized Longrus will be going up against forwards his size.

Ideally the Cougs come out fast Friday, jump out to an early lead and never look back. However, if WSU starts like they did last year that won't be the case. Ernie Kent has said this season is like round two of a prize fight, here's to them landing the first knockout punch.

The men's game will be broadcasted on Pac-12 network.


Men's Basketball:

Meet Charles Callison: He is DaVonté Lacy’s replacement - - Nov. 12, 2015
When Charles Callison arrived at Washington State for his first summer workouts with his new team, he was a real pain. He didn’t treat the games like regular offseason runs where dunking was more important than defense, he got into guys.

Meet Renard Suggs: He is DaVonté Lacy’s replacement - - Nov. 12, 2015
WSU’s junior guard gorged on 3-pointers, hitting his first four attempts, scoring 14 points in just four minutes against Pacific.

Meet Ike Iroegbu: He is DaVonté Lacy’s replacement - - Nov. 12, 2015
The Sacramento 24 Hour Fitness was a tornado of Iroegbus. Eldest brother Chukwuemeka "Chuks," middle brother Ikenna "Ike," and Uchenna, the youngest, zipped around a non-regulation court that was too small for their speed, forcing them to get used to arriving at the rim at a dead sprint.

On second thought . . . DaVonté Lacy replacement not needed - - Nov. 12, 2015
Washington State basketball coach Ernie Kent doesn’t want an alpha dog. He doesn’t want a DaVonté Lacy.

Meet Que Johnson. He is DaVonté Lacy’s replacement - - Nov. 12, 2015
Que Johnson, nne of the most highly ranked college basketball recruits to ever sign with Washington State, has always been enormously talented.

New Student Entrance for Men’s Basketball - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The new student entrance is located off of Stadium Way.

Men's Basketball Position Preview: The Guards - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Take a look at what you can expect from the Cougar guards in 2015-16.

Women's Basketball:

Cougars Open 2015-16 Season Against Gauchos - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
WSU will begin its 2015-16 campaign Friday, Nov. 13, at 8:30 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum.


Washington State players are excited to return to Southern California - LA Times
he Cougars have 33 players from the region on their roster who will be returning to close to home for Saturday's Pac-12 Conference football game at the Rose Bowl.

Pac-12 Week 11 game picks: Cardinal looking to clinch Pac-12 North - College Football Nation Blog - ESPN
Stanford can clinch its place in the Pac-12 title game with a win over Oregon. Elsewhere, two of the league's top QBs face off when UCLA hosts Wazzu.

UCLA freshman quarterback Rosen is, indeed, that good - - Nov. 12, 2015
He has, for the most part, lived up to the hyperbolic expectations placed on The Chosen One since long before he ever enrolled in college.

WSU Thursday Night Football and recruiting notes | The Spokesman-Review
The Washington State Cougars held their weekly underclassmen scrimmage. Then, they got a new recruit.