THE OFT-REPEATED AXIOM this week surrounding Cougar basketball -- it's hard to beat the same team three times in a row. But Ken Bone says the primary reason that is the case won't be in play Wednesday when Wazzu goes for its third win this season against Oregon State (TV: Root, FSN; 12:10 p.m.) Meanwhile, Brock Motum has been named first-team All-Pac-12 and Most Improved Player of the Year.

Ken Bone said the reason it's hard to win 3 in a row against a team on the hardcourt, be it in the pros or college, is because there's the potential for the players to take the other team for granted. He was adamant that will not factor in on Wednesday.

"That is not the case with us," Bone said emphatically. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for them…we know how good Oregon State can play."

Bone named the keys to victory against Oregon State, the ones that have led the Cougars in their two previous wins this season that he hopes to carry over include sharing the ball, keeping adequate spacing and taking good shots. On defense, he said the Cougs must effectively guard the OSU strengths.

Jared Cunningham is one of the conference's best players and the top scorer, while Ahmad Starks has the potential to drill threes in a hurry, as he did in the win over Colorado.

BONE SAID THE early start time won't be an issue, saying both teams have to play at 12:10 p.m. More important, he said, will be how WSU attacks the Beaver defense.

"They're known for playing that 1-3-1 defense…they use it just enough, especially if they get down a few and it's a solid defense. ..We worked on it today, we'll work on it tomorrow…but it's just different…No one else in our conference plays it. It's just different than your standard 2-3," said Bone.

But Bone said it's not something he necessarily wants to get them out of, simply because WSU has had success against it in both previous meetings. Rather, it's just a matter of preparing for it, which Bone has said they've been doing.

WSU STAYED IN L.A. following Saturday's game because traveling back to Pullman, and then flying back out on Monday night or Tuesday morning, would have been detrimental. He's given the players some time off, trying to get them as sharp mentally and physically as he can -- they went to the beach for a couple hours today. They've also had some extra time to work on things basketball-wise, including film, that they wouldn't have had they chosen to make two extra flights.

"We've all been working hard for months and the reality is if you're hot at the end and if you're healthy, you have a chance to win (the Pac-12 tournament)," said Bone, though he also acknowledged the 1-4 seeds hold the advantage since they don't start play until Thursday. "But nothing is guaranteed, and if you get hot at the right time…"

Bone cited Stanford's win over Cal and ASU's over Arizona as examples of top teams "getting dropped"..."And Oregon to me seems to me the team that is as hot as anybody right now."

Bone also said playing on the Staples Center court, for the team that advances on Wednesday, could be an advantage over the higher seed. It also goes without saying that a hot-shooting Brock Motum would be a crimson advantage, if not a necessity.

Motum today was named to the first team All Pac-12 squad -- and took home the Most Improved Player of the Year award. Reggie Moore was named honorable mention, Marcus Capers was named all-defense honorable mention and DaVonté Lacy was an honorable mention all-freshman team member.

"We work on shooting every time we're in the gym, and we work on it in different ways. Fortunately, Brock Motum has continued to be a really consistent scorer for us," said Bone, adding that no matter the offensive set or play the Cougs are running, they're looking to get Motum the ball, as they did with Klay Thompson last year.

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