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Washington St. faces Oregon St., out to stay perfect at home

washington-st-faces-oregon-st.,-out-to-stay-perfect-at-home

Washington State puts its unbeaten home mark on the line when it battles Oregon State on Thursday night in Pac-12 play at Pullman, Wash.

The Cougars are 7-0 at home with an average winning margin of 22.6 points. They have won each game by at least 10 points.

Washington State (9-4, 0-2 Pac-12) began conference play with two road losses. The Cougars were routed 80-58 by Utah on Friday before losing 74-67 to Colorado on Sunday.

Oregon State (9-4, 1-1) will be playing its first true road game of the season and its first game away from home since Nov. 24.

“We know it’s going to be tough, but that’s kind of the next step for this group,” Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said of a road trip that continues Saturday at Washington.

Oregon State shot a stellar 59.6 percent from the field while rolling to an 86-70 home win over Southern California on Saturday. But they committed 21 turnovers.

“We felt like we could have played even better,” Tinkle said. “Obviously, way too many turnovers. I just loved our guys’ focus. It was the most complete game we have played on both ends.”

Tyler Bilodeau stood out with a career-best 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

“He played with a different level of confidence,” Tinkle said of Bilodeau. “He didn’t play nervous or edgy.”

Bilodeau is third on the Beavers with a 12.5 scoring average. Jordan Pope leads at 16.8 and Dexter Akanno averages 13.1.

Washington State is looking to defeat Oregon State for the fourth consecutive time and sixth in seven meetings.

However, Cougars coach Kyle Smith sees a tough foe coming to town.

“They have done a nice job,” Smith said. “There’s not a lot of holes in their game. I am impressed with their size and how much they’ve matured in a year.”

Washington State will look to rebound from a close call against Colorado. The Cougars trailed by just one with 3:24 left before the Buffaloes held off the charge and dropped Washington State to 0-13 all-time in Boulder.

“We turned it over a few times down the stretch when we needed to get shots,” Smith said. “That was disappointing. We don’t see those guys very often. We’ll get them back. We have another chance.”

Andrej Jakimovski paced the Cougars with 19 points.

Jakimovski ranks third on Washington State in scoring at 10.2. Isaac Jones leads the Cougars in scoring (15.4) and rebounding (7.5), while Myles Rice averages 14.2 points per game.

–Field Level Media

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