WSU hoops: Shades of 1989-90?

WITH A LOSS in Eugene on Wednesday (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network) the Cougs would match the 14-game losing streak from 2002-03. The next longest slide in Washington State program history took place 26 seasons ago: an 18-game losing streak in 1989-90. But WSU hoops fans might not mind seeing history repeat itself.

Unlike Ernie Kent, who is in his second year in Pullman, a third-year coach was at the helm for WSU in 1989-90.

Kelvin Sampson in Year Three at Washington State went 7-22 overall, 1-17 in Pac-10 play, finishing the 1989-90 campaign on the aforementioned 18-game slide.

But the next year under Sampson, WSU posted a winning season (16-12) and upped its conference wins in a big way, going 8-10 after only winning a single Pac-10 game the year before.

Can Kent author a similar turnaround? 

The Cougs have suited up 12 players each of the last two games, and all 12 have played.

Kent has said he will continue to go deep into his bench the rest of the way as he considers his lineup for next season while still playing the veterans enough to give WSU the best chance to win. 

A pair of true freshmen in particular -- guard Viont'e Daniels and forward Robert Franks -- figure to see more minutes over the final games, Kent has said.

Daniels started the last game against Cal and played 16 minutes, while Franks played 7 minutes in the loss.

Washington State (9-18, 1-14) has three regular season games left in Kent’s second season at WSU -- vs. Oregon, Oregon State and UW. All three games are on the road.

The Cougs will then enter the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas as the No. 12 seed matched up against the No. 5 seed.  Possible first round opponents for the Cougs include UW, USC, Cal or Colorado.

After tonight's game at Oregon, the Cougs don’t play Oregon State until Sunday (3:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).  The regular season finale at UW is next Wednesday, March 2 at 8 p.m. on ESPN U.

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