Cougs and K-State to battle in hoops

WASHINGTON STATE has reached an agreement on a home-and-home series with Kansas State. The Cougs will play the Wildcats in the Sprint Center in Kansas City this upcoming season. K-State will play the Cougs at the Spokane Arena the following season. As fate would have it, WSU’s brand new president Kirk Schulz, who starts work next week in Pullman, comes to WSU from Kansas State.

WSU will meet Kansas State on Dec. 10 this season. The return contest will take place at Spokane Arena, Dec. 20, 2017.

“We’re excited about the two-year series with Kansas State because it gives us a great opportunity to play a well-coached, high-caliber team early in the season,” Kent said in a statement released by WSU. “Coming off the Paradise Jam in late November and playing K-State at Kansas City in December will be a great test and will help us see where we’re at as we prepare for Pac-12 play.”

The Wildcats (17-16, 5-13 Big 12) return a veteran roster in 2016-17 with nine returning lettermen and six players returning with starting experience. K-State returns five of its top six scorers from last season, along with nearly 70 percent of its rebounding, assist, steal and minute totals.

Washington State is set to return seven lettermen, including three starters and rising seniors in forward Josh Hawkinson (15.4 ppg, 11.1 rpg) and guards Ike Iroegbu (12.7 ppg, 3.6 apg) and Charles Callison (7.9 ppg, 3.0 apg). WSU returns four of its top five scorers from 2015-16, bringing back 67 percent of its scoring and 68 percent of its assists. Hawkinson is on pace to become the first Cougar, and the 13th Pac-12 player, to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in a career.

The Cougars have faced a Big 12 opponent each season since 2007-08. WSU last played at the Sprint Center in the College Basketball Experience (CBE) Classic in 2012.

This season's game game will mark the seventh meeting between Washington State and Kansas State and the first at a neutral site. K-State holds a 4-2 edge in a series that dates back to 1941. The Wildcats swept a home-and-home series in 2009 and 2010.

It was announced earlier in May that WSU will take on Creighton in the first round of the 2016 Paradise Jam on Nov. 18. Washington State’s complete nonconference schedule will be announced at a later date.

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