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Washington State puts streak on line at neutral site vs. Santa Clara


Washington State has built its 8-1 record by going undefeated in seven home games this season.

The Cougars are about to stray from home.

Washington State is scheduled to meet Santa Clara on Saturday at the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix.

After that, the Cougars will face Boise State on Thursday in Spokane, Wash., before beginning Pacific-12 Conference play.

WSU’s Myles Rice was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive time. He had 14 points, seven assists and seven steals, one shy of the school record, in an 83-65 victory against visiting Grambling on Sunday.

“He’s really good at that,” Cougars coach Kyle Smith said of Rice’s defensive prowess. “He starts sniffing things out, he can really be a disruptive force, especially off the ball.”

Jaylen Wells scored a team-high 17 points, making 5 of 6 3-point attempts, and Isaac Jones added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Cougars, who have won six in a row. Freshman Rueben Chinyelu scored a career-best 14 points.

“It helps balance the equation,” Chinyelu said of the outside shooting by Wells and Rice. “Just keep a good equilibrium. If you don’t play this guy, this guy’s open. If you overplay this guy, then this guy’s open. It gives us a variety of options to go through.”

Santa Clara (7-4) has dropped three in a row, including an 84-82 defeat to visiting Utah State on Wednesday.

Adama-Alpha Bal led the Broncos with 18 points in the loss, with Carlos Marshall Jr. scoring 16 and Johnny O’Neil 15. Bal leads Santa Clara with 14.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, while Marshall averages 14.1 points and a team-best 6.1 rebounds.

“I thought our guys really competed, gave everything they had,” Santa Clara coach Herb Sendek said. “It’s a very difficult loss to swallow.”

The Broncos have also lost to Cal and New Mexico during their skid. They had victories against Oregon and Stanford earlier this season, so they’re familiar with Pac-12 teams.

“You learn every time you play,” Sendek said.

–Field Level Media

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