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HCA: Cougar basketball looks to break losing skid tonight at home

After an embarrassing loss on Sunday, the Cougs have a short turnaround Wednesday night.

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night was a game to forget for Washington State basketball.

The Cougs shot 77 percent in the first half against Oregon, taking a 5 point lead into the break. But from there, everything fell apart. WSU went 8 of 24 from the field, including 2 or 11 from deep, before losing to the Ducks 78-58.

And after a loss like that, it’s probably a good thing that Ernie Kent and company get to take the court just three days later, looking to bounce back at home. The Cougs will take on UCLA tonight at 7 in Beasley, in the only meeting of the two programs this season.

Washington State is looking to snap an ugly 3-game skid after getting swept on the road in Oregon over the weekend. They enter this game with a 1-6 conference record, but they hoping to capture the magic of the 2015-16 season when the Cougs inexplicably picked up their only conference win against the Bruins.

On the other side, despite a historically bad start, the Bruins are playing to stay in contention for the Pac-12 title. UCLA went 7-6 in non-conference play, including bad losses to Liberty and Belmont at home. That start led to the firing of Steve Alford, marking the end of his 6 season lackluster UCLA tenure. In his place interim coach Murray Bartow has taken over, leading the team to a 4-3 start in conference play. In their last game, they picked up a surprisingly dominant 90-69 win over Arizona on Saturday.

That start to conference play puts them firmly in the middle of the Pac-12 log jam. They’re one of seven teams within 3 games of first place in the Pac-12. There is plenty for the Bruins to play for, but the good news is that this may be a bit of a trap game for the Bruins. They have a date with first place Washington on Saturday, hoping to hand the Huskies their first conference loss this season.

But, of course, history is not on the side of the Cougs. Tonight will mark the 125th meeting between the two programs, and Washington State trails the all-time series 107-17. But, incredibly, Washington State has won three out of the last four in Pullman.

Tip off set for 7 PM tonight with TV coverage on the Pac-12 Network.

Cougars Host Bruins in Wednesday Night Matchup - Washington State University Athletics
WSU takes on UCLA Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum.

Following two more road losses, Washington State looking to recapture its rhythm at home against UCLA | The Spokesman-Review
In a season that’s becoming more and more about the silver linings, WSU can still fall back on its play at Beasley Coliseum. The level of competition considered, the Cougars are still 8-1 there and have two more opportunities at home this week, hosting UCLA (11-9, 4-3) on Wednesday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) and USC (12-8, 5-2) on Saturday (4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

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