IF YOU DON'T THINK there will be a little payback on the minds of Washington State's basketball team tonight when they host Oregon, then there's but one conclusion to draw: You weren't paying attention last season when Oregon took the first game against the two teams in double overtime thanks to one of the most bogus officiating calls in conference history.
And then they proceeded to win the subsequent game in Eugene, plus the match up in the opening contest of the Pac-10 tourney.
Yep, the Ducks both torpedoed the serious momentum the Cougs were riding into conference play a year ago and then put an exclamation on the Cougars' meltdown of a season with two losses in the span of five days in March to conclude the season.
The Ducks are riding a three-game win-streak against the Cougs as they arrive in Pullman for a 7:30 p.m. tip off that will be televised on FSN-NW. Prior to that trifecta of plain, the Cougars had won six-straight over the Ducks.
Here are two things you can bet on when these two tangle tonight:
Ken Bone and team can say all they want that this is just another Pac-10 game that you have to be ready to play, but last season's calamities with the Ducks is absolutely going to be top of mind. The Cougs want revenge.
Cougar players won't step onto the court if DeAngelo Casto hits another game-winner at the buzzer. For those of you with short memories, jumping out of their chairs at the buzzer to rejoice in the winning basket was what cost the Cougs victory in their opening game with the Ducks last season. The technical foul that was called was so outrageous that CF.C editors, for the first time ever, were moved to write a headline with an expletive in it: HORSE$#@! ON THE PALOUSE!
THE COUGARS ARE AIMING for a weekend sweep tonight, having downed Oregon State 84-70 on Thursday. WSU is 11-4 overall and 1-2 in conference action. Oregon is 7-8 and 0-3 after losing to Washington on Thursday.
The Cougs are 5-1 at Friel Court this season, with the lone setback a 63-58 loss to then-No. 5 Kansas State on Dec. 3. The Cougars are averaging 80.2 points per game in home games this season, 22.5 more than their opponents averaging 57.7 points.
Klay Thompson is of course the Cougars' main man. He leads the Pac-10 in scoring and is No. 10 in the nation with 22.7 points per game. He also ranks in the Pac-10's top-five in 3-point field goals made, free throw percentage, assists, steals and 3-point field goal percentage.
First-year Cougar, junior college transfer Faisal Aden, is second and the team and seventh in the Pac-10 with 15.4 points per game, while Casto is close to double figures with 9.6 points per game while leading the team with 5.9 rebounds per game (17th in the Pac-10). Forward/center Brock Motum leads the league in field goal percentage with a .658 clip and is tied for fourth on the team with 8.0 points per game.