Here's a look at Washington State, Oregon State's opponent for a Pac-12 game Wednesday night at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington.
The Cougars (8-5 overall) opened conference play Sunday with a 79-74 win at Washington. Senior forward Josh Hawkinson had 26 points and eight rebounds and freshman guard Malachi Flynn 16 points and six assists.
"Everybody’s good in this league. Everybody can beat anybody on any given night," Beavers head coach Wayne Tinkle said earlier this week. "That was a big win for them and they’re going to have a lot of confidence rolling into our game (Wednesday) night."
WSU has now won a season-best three straight games, including home wins against Santa Clara and Sacramento State.
Hawkinson averages 16 points and 10.5 rebounds. He has the second-most double-doubles in school history (48) and eight this season. However, the Cougars are 12th in the Pac-12 in rebounds (35.3 per game) and a distant 12th in offensive rebounds (6.3).
Hawkinson gets help down low from senior center Conor Clifford (10.2 points).
Flynn (11.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists) and senior guard Ike Iroegbu (10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists) have proven to be an effective backcourt. Flynn shoots a team-best 52.1 percent from the field and 48 percent (24-50) on 3-pointers.
"Their guards can score, and obviously their bigs can score well in the paint. The main thing is paying attention to the gameplan again and shutting out their key guys," said OSU's Stevie Thompson. "We’ve got to limit them to one shot. Hawkinson really gets on the boards and likes the offensive rebound. We’ve got to cut him out and force them to take tough, long jumpers."
Tinkle returns to Spokane, where he spent part of his youth and went to high school.
"That’s a neat little sidepoint to the whole deal," he said. "It’s a conference game on the road. But it’s neat … we’ve got a lot people coming over from Montana, and friends and family in and around the Spokane area, so it should be a fun atmosphere."
Tinkle will see his youngest daughter Elle, a senior forward for Gonzaga, play for the first time this season. The Bulldogs (9-4, 0-2 West Coast Conference) host San Francisco on Thursday night.
Oregon State will practice Thursday at Gonzaga and travel Friday to Seattle, the site of its Saturday afternoon game with Washington.
Against the Cougars, Tinkle says his team needs to control play around the basket.
"They’re really making an effort to go into (Hawkinson) and Clifford, and we’ve done a nice job the last couple of years of protecting the paint against Washington State," the coach said. "And then keep them in the halfcourt. Igroegbu likes to get out and really push the tempo. The freshman, Flynn, is playing really well."
Ernie Kent is in his third year as Washington State's head coach.
He's taken six teams to the NCAA tournament as a head coach. He's previous head coaching positions included St. Mary's and Oregon.