Washington State (9-6) at California (9-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (11,877) -- Berkeley, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: WSU 7-2, California 4-4. Away Record: WSU 0-2, California 2-2. Neutral Record: WSU 2-2, California 3-0. Conference Record: WSU 0-2, California 1-2. Series Record: California leads, 73-47.
GAMES NOTES: The two top scorers in the Pac-12 will clash on Saturday afternoon when Allen Crabbe and the California Golden Bears host Brock Motum and the Washington State Cougars at Haas Pavilion.
Getting into conference play has not proven favorable for Washington State which is winless in each of its Pac-12 tilts after winning seven of its final eight non-conference games. The Cougars still have a decent overall record (9-6) but playing on the road hasn't helped, with Washington State winless in both trips. Washington State will be back at home for a pair of games beginning against Utah on Wednesday.
Conference play has also not been kind to the Golden Bears who have lost three of their last four, with two of those losses coming against league foes. California is also 9-6 overall this season but really hasn't been aided all that much when it takes on teams at home with a split of its eight home contests. This is the first contest in a three-game homestand for California which will also face Utah in its next bout, though not until next Saturday.
Last year Washington State came out victorious, 77-75, in the only meeting between the squads. Even with the victory the Cougars have still struggled against California, which holds a 73-47 advantage in the all-time series.
In a 78-67 loss to Stanford last time out, Washington State was dreadful in the first half shooting just 31.0 percent. The Cougars improved in the final 20 minute4s hitting an even 50 percent of its field goal attempts, including 6-of-11 from beyond the arc but it wasn't enough to top the Cardinal which closed out the game with an 18-2 edge from the free throw line in the second half.
It isn't exactly a secret that Washington State relies heavily on Motum (20.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), the conference's second-leading scorer. The 6-foot-10 forward has scored in double figures in every game this season, including seven efforts of 20 or more, and has had double-digit field goal attempts in each contest as well. That includes a 24-attempt night against Stanford on Wednesday. After Motum, the scoring options are more sparse, with DaVonte Lacy (10.8 ppg) the next best option. Despite one of the conference's best scorers, Washington State still ranks near the bottom offensively in the league. The Cougars score 64.1 points per game (11th) and shoot 43.7 percent from the field (10th). Washington State has made up for that by clamping down defensively by letting up just 57.5 points per game on less than 40 percent shooting.
Crabbe and company really struggled in their 62-47 loss to Washington on Wednesday. The Golden Bears shot just 37.7 percent from the filed in the contest, including just a single 3-pointer, while missing on 10-of-16 shots from the free-throw line. The Golden Bears were also beaten up on the boards with a 48-33 deficit in rebounds.
In the loss, Crabbe, the Pac-12's leading scorer, had a streak of 19 games in double figures end, as he managed just nine points. Crabbe (20.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg) is normally a prolific scorer that uses his size (6-foot-6) to get to the rim against smaller guards, while dropping in a solid rate of shots from beyond the arc. Running in the backcourt with Crabbe is Justin Cobbs (15.2 ppg) who has been another prolific scorer and the only other player on the roster averaging in double figures. Like Washington State, the Golden Bears have lacked a multitude of scorers and rank just ninth in scoring (69.5 ppg) this season. California is also holding foes to less than 40 percent shooting but giving up more points on the defensive end (65.9 pg) than Washington State.
It's unlikely that Crabbe will have another offensive performance like he had against Stanford. If the rest of the team follows suit the Golden Bears will bounce back.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 70, Washington State 65
01/12 10:32:39 ET