Finishing Strong in Pac 10

After ending its recent losing streak, Washington State appears focused on finishing strong in the Pac-10.

The 21st-ranked Cougars look for another dominating performance when they visit struggling Oregon State on Thursday night.

Washington State (18-5, 6-5) won 74-50 over Southern California on Saturday to snap a season-high, three-game losing streak and finish 1-3 during a home stretch.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Washington State –11.5 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 87% of bets for this game have been placed on Washington State –11.5 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

The margin of victory was the biggest in conference play this season for the Cougars, who despite being tied with USC for third place in the league - three games back of co-leaders UCLA and Stanford - feel there is much to play for.

"Yeah there's a sense of urgency, but there's also seven games left and there's a lot of basketball out there," said Washington State coach Tony Bennett, whose team is 4-5 since winning 14 straight to open the season. "I like that we put it together.

"I don't think they were shaken and rattled too bad. But the timing after dropping three at home was important."

Washington State, which will play four of its final seven games on the road, will try for its fourth straight win over Oregon State (6-17, 0-11), the only winless team in Pac-10 play.

The Cougars then travel to Oregon on Saturday before returning home to face Arizona State and Arizona. They'll finish the season with games at California and No. 7 Stanford before hosting Washington in the regular-season finale.

"I think it gives us a little bit of our swagger back and a little bit of that confidence to know that we can work hard and put together 40 minutes, especially heading on the road," Washington State guard Taylor Rochestie said of beating USC.

On Saturday, Kyle Weaver scored 17 points to top 1,000 for his career, and added seven rebounds and five assists for Washington State, which shot 59.6 percent - its best in league play this season.

"This was one of the first games we actually got ourselves, before the game, a little riled up to play," said Weaver, who is averaging 12.1 points on the season and 17.0 in his last four contests.

The senior guard also shut down USC freshman star O.J. Mayo, holding him to 14 points, well below his 20.2 average.

The Cougars, third in the nation allowing 55.5 points per contest, held an opponent to fewer than 60 for the first time in four games.

Prior to Saturday, Washington State's biggest margin of victory in league play this season came in a 69-46 home win over Oregon State on Jan. 17.

Aron Baynes scored 17 points and Derrick Low 15 in that contest for the Cougars, who held the Beavers to 41.5 percent shooting and had a 33-17 rebounding advantage.

Oregon State fell 71-56 at Stanford on Saturday to extend the school's longest losing streak to 13 games.

Marcel Jones had 13 points for the Beavers, who shot 36.4 percent and were outrebounded 46-21.

Oregon State, which is 0-5 since Kevin Mouton took over as coach when Jay John was fired last month, looks to avoid its sixth consecutive home loss.

Washington State snapped an eight-game road losing streak to Oregon State with a 58-54 win on Feb. 24.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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