The Pac-12 Tournament hasn't been kind to the Cougars. They haven't won a game there since 2009 when Tony Bennett took down Ernie Kent and his Ducks. But these Cougars are a different team this year and Coach Kent has team ready to try and play spoiler.
Surprisingly, the Cougars and Golden Bears have never faced before in the tournament. This season, WSU split the series with Cal. The first game was an unlikely 69-66 win in Berkeley to give Kent his first conference win with the Cougs. Hopes for this team were at an all-time low going in, but Ernie Kent and his team managed to claw one out with a great defensive performance. The game was the conference coming out party for Josh Hawkinson, who scored 18 points and put up 13 rebounds for his 6th straight double-double, and featured a star performance from Jordan Railey who scored 17 points. Our own Kyle Sherwood raved about the good performance in this one saying the win, "really didn't seem like a fluke."
Later in January, Cal traveled to the Palouse to hand WSU a 76-67 loss. It was a close game that saw WSU leading in the 2nd half after trailing by 12. Tyrone Wallace put up 21 points in the first half and Jordan Matthews had 9 points in the final minutes to close out the Cougars. DaVonte Lacy led the way for WSU with 24 points and Josh Hawkinson put up another double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. No other Cougar got into double figures.
Today, with a chance to extend the season, the Cougars will have to recapture the spirit of the first matchup. They'll have to shut down Tyrone Wallace, who averages a little over 17 points per game. They'll also have to make sure big man David Kravish stays grounded. He averages 11 points and almost 8 rebounds a game.
The winner takes on top-seeded Arizona on Thursday.
The game tips off at 12:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network, with Kevin Calabro and Don MacLean on the call. If you're at work or on the go you can watch it online on Pac-12.com. You can also listen on the radio or on the TuneIn Radio app where Bud Nameck has the call.