Pac-10 Notebook: Washington State Surging

    
February 7th, 2007

Player of the week
The player of the week is Washington State forward Daven Harmeling who helped the Cougars sweep Arizona and Arizona St. for the first time in school history. Harmeling averaged 14 points including 10-of-22 shooting from the field and 5-for-12 from beyond the arc.

Power Rankings

#1 UCLA BRUINS
Record: Conference (9-2) Overall (20-2)

Coming off a disappointing loss against Stanford last week, the Bruins looked to avenge their other loss earlier in the season against the Oregon Ducks. In that loss, the Bruins struggled to start the game and the Ducks shot their way to the win. The Bruins made good this time around putting together a complete game from start to finish edging out a tough Ducks team. Another great team defensive performance gave the Bruins what they needed down the stretch. Arron Afflalo led the Bruins with 17 points in the win. Later in the week, the Bruins hosted the Oregon St. Beavers. On this night, there would be no letdown as the Bruins steamrolled the Beavers extending their home winning streak to 17 games at Pauley Pavilion. Arron Afflalo finished with a team-high 16 points. The Bruins move up to second in the latest AP Poll.

The Bruins face a surging nineteenth ranked USC team before heading on the road to face West Virginia of the Big East Conference.

Game results this week:
Thu, Feb 1 (9) Oregon W 69-57
Sat, Feb 3 Oregon St. W 82-35

#2 OREGON DUCKS
Record: Conference (7-4) Overall (19-4)

The Ducks looked to sweep the season series against the Bruins after taking the first game at home. Heading to LA to face the Bruins, the Ducks knew the challenge would be even tougher than the first. The Ducks had their chances but in the end, the Bruins pressure defense was too much to overcome forcing the Ducks to shoot just 36.8%. Bryce Taylor was the high scorer for the Ducks finishing with 17 points in the loss. A bad week got even worse as the Ducks late rally fell just short losing the season series to the Trojans. Again, the Ducks shot a paltry 33.3% from the field. Aaron Brooks finished with 16 points in the loss. The Ducks finished their four-game road trip losing three-of-four. The Ducks currently drop to thirteenth in the latest AP Poll.

After a terrible road swing, the Ducks look forward to hosting Arizona St. then twenty-four ranked Arizona later in the week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Feb 1 at (5) UCLA L 57-69
Sat, Feb 3 at USC L 68-71

#3 WASHINGTON ST COUGARS
Record: Conference (8-3) Overall (19-4)

What seem unthinkable to start the season has now become reality as the Cougars swept the season series against the Arizona Wildcats with a narrow win earlier in the week. The game was close throughout, but the Cougars locked down on defense when it counted to come away with the win. Ivory Clark had 18 points in the win for the Cougars. In their second game of the week, the Cougars nearly became the goat themselves blowing a 16-point halftime lead to survive with a one-point win against the Arizona St. Sun Devils. The Cougars went on an inexplicable scoring drought that allowed the Sun Devils to chip away at the lead but managed to hang on in the end. Daven Harmeling finished with 16 points in the win. The Cougars move to fourteenth in the latest AP Poll.

The Cougars host twenty-fifth ranked Stanford then California later this coming week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Feb 1 at (20) Arizona W 72-66
Sat, Feb 3 at Arizona St. W 48-47

#4 USC TROJANS
Record: Conference (8-3) Overall (18-6)

The suddenly hot Trojans continue to impress looking for wins at both Oregon St. and Oregon this past week and got both. The Trojans took the momentum in the second half and never looked back to cruise to an easy win over Oregon St. Nick Young turned in a 19-point performance to lead the Trojans. The Trojans looked for the season sweep over Oregon in their second game this week but knew the Ducks would be looking for revenge after losing the first game of the series. The game was even throughout but the Trojans made key plays down the stretch that made the difference. Taj Gibson finished with a game-high 18 points in the win. The Trojans blasted back into the latest AP Poll at nineteenth overall.

A showdown against second-ranked UCLA looms this coming week.

Games this week:
Thu, Feb 1 Oregon St. W 73-56
Sat, Feb 3 (9) Oregon W 71-68

#5 ARIZONA WILDCATS
Record: Conference (6-5) Overall (15-7)

Following an embarrassing thumping at the hands of North Carolina at home, the Wildcats looked to get back on a winning note hosting Washington St. The Wildcats though, continued to struggle shooting the ball and came up empty down the stretch. The Wildcats were swept in the season series by the Cougars for the first time since 1983. Chase Budinger finished with a game-high 19 points in the loss. The best chance for the Wildcats to get back to winning came in their second game of the week hosting the struggling Washington Huskies. Lute Olson shook up his lineup starting Jordan Hill in place of the struggling Jawann McClellan. It worked for both as Hill finished with a game-high 16 points while McClellan came off the bench to score 15 points in the win. The Wildcats seemed to have found their shooting touch for one game at least shooting 57.4% from the field. The Wildcats continue to fall in the rankings and settle at twenty-four in the latest AP Poll.

The Wildcats host Oregon St. then thirteenth-ranked Oregon later in the coming week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Feb 1 (18) Washington St. L 66-72
Sat, Feb 3 Washington W 84-54

#6 STANFORD CARDINAL
Record: Conference (7-3) Overall (15-6)

Heading into the game, nobody would’ve thought that it would be unranked Gonzaga facing ranked Stanford. The Bulldogs came into the game red-hot with five wins in their last six games. Meanwhile the Cardinal coming off upsets over USC and UCLA. The game went back and forth several times before the Bulldogs pulled out in front for good in double-overtime. Lawrence Hill finished with 22 points in the loss. The Cardinal bounced back in a big way with a road win over California later in the week avenging an earlier loss to the Bears last month. The Cardinal used a balanced offense featuring double-digit scoring from Lawrence Hill, Brock Lopez, and Fred Washington to overwhelm the Bears. The Cardinal are ranked twenty-fifth in the latest AP Poll.

The Cardinal head on the road to face fourteenth-ranked Washington St. then Washington later in the upcoming week.

Game results this week:
Wed, Jan 31 Gonzaga L 86-90
Sat, Feb 3 at California W 90-71

#7 WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Record: Conference (4-7) Overall (14-8)

The Huskies looked for and earned their first conference road win with a close win over Arizona St. earlier in the week. Jon Brockman finished with a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in the win. Later in the week, the Huskies faced Arizona looking to salvage a split in the season series having lost to the Wildcats already last month. The Huskies could not match the intensity of the Wildcats and was badly outrebounded 42-25 and would lose by 30 points. Artem Wallace was the high-scorer for the Huskies with 12 points in the loss.

The Huskies host California and twenty-fifth ranked Stanford later this week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Feb 1 at Arizona St. W 66-61
Sat, Feb 3 at (20) Arizona L 54-84

#8 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
Record: Conference (4-6) Overall (12-10)

A tough stretch of four games saw the Bears facing four straight ranked opponents in PAC-10 play with the latest coming against the Stanford Cardinal late in the week. The Bears beat the Cardinal last month and looked for a season sweep. A slow start plagued the Bears while leading scoring freshman Ryan Anderson was held to just 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting was too much for the Bears to overcome. Jerome Randle finished with a team-high 19 points in the loss.

The Bears head on the road to face Washington then fourteenth-ranked Washington St. later in the week.

Game results this week:
Sat, Feb 3 (23) Stanford L 71-90

#9 OREGON ST BEAVERS
Record: Conference (1-10) Overall (9-15)

The Beavers, losers of six straight and ten of their last eleven, faced a tough task this week heading on the road to face USC then fifth-ranked UCLA. The Beavers managed to stay with the Trojans in the first half, before the wheels fell off in the second half. Kyle Jeffers finished with 15 points and eight rebounds in the loss. The second game of the week was a forgetful one for the Beavers as they managed just 35 points to UCLA’s 82. Marcel Jones had a team-high 16 points in the loss.

The Beavers host twenty-four ranked Arizona before looking to sweep the season series against Arizona St.

Game results this week:
Thu, Feb 1 at USC L 56-73
Sat, Feb 3 at (5) UCLA L 35-82

#10 ARIZONA ST SUN DEVILS
Record: Conference (0-11) Overall (6-16)

Winless and conference play, and losers of 12 straight, the Sun Devils looked to play spoiler for both Washington and Washington St. Christian Polk led the Sun Devils with an inspired effort but ultimately the rally came up short against Washington. Head coach Herb Sendek was ejected midway through the second for arguing with the officials. The second game of the week saw the Sun Devils come closer to a conference win than they’ve ever had but Polk rimmed the potential game winner with time expiring giving the Sun Devils a one-point loss. Jeff Pendergraph finished with a game-high 18 points.

Game results this week:
Thu, Feb 1 Washington L 61-66
Sat, Feb 3 (18) Washington St. L 47-48

Big Games Next Week

Wed, Feb 7 (14) USC at (2) UCLA 10:30 pm

The Trojans are perhaps the hottest team in the PAC-10 after winning five of their last six. The last time these two teams played, UCLA escaped with a close one-point win with Arron Afflalo scoring the game winning jumper. Offensively, the Trojans are getting solid contributions from Taj Gibson and Gabe Pruitt in addition to leading scorer Nick Young. They matched up well against UCLA’s defense in the last game but will be playing at Pauley Pavilion this time around. For UCLA, it is always about the defense. If they can continue to create turnovers and force bad shots, they will be tough to beat and especially tougher at home.

Sat, Feb 10 (24) Arizona at (13) Oregon 3:30 pm

When Oregon beat Arizona last month, it was Arizona that was the tenth-ranked team and Oregon ranked fifteenth. This time around it’s Oregon that is the higher ranked team while Arizona has slipped considerably. However both teams have limped into this important matchup. Oregon’s recent slump on the road has exposed some of their weaknesses. Both teams live and die with perimeter shooting. The Wildcats found their shooting touch for one game at least against Washington but has been horrendous lately with their shooting. The game should be high scoring and close throughout.

Thu, Feb 8 (25) Stanford at (14) Washington St. 10:00 pm

Both teams are still searching for respect with Washington St. having added incentive to avenge the close loss last month at Stanford. The Cardinal have won seven of their last nine including wins over USC and UCLA. The Cardinal offense is clicking right now with the inside-outside game working to perfection. Meanwhile the Cougars continue winning with superior defense. The Cougars have a tendency to blow big leads so watch for that in this game.