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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 8 Arizona MBB heads to Pullman to face Washington State

Mason Kumet
Players from both Arizona and Wisconsin help their teammates up after a messy foul by Wisconsin in McKale Center on Dec. 9. Both teams finished the game with an equal 34 fouls a piece.

The No. 8 Arizona men’s basketball team is scheduled to face Washington State in Pullman, Washington, on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 4 p.m. The Wildcats (12-3, 3-1 Pac-12) will make their final trip to the Washington area as a Pac-12 team before returning home for two matchups against USC and UCLA next week.

History vs. Washington State

This Saturday marks the 87th meeting between the two programs, with Arizona leading the series 68-18. The Cougars held a 9-4 lead in the first 13 meetings, but the Wildcats have dominated since, going 64-9 over the last 73 meetings, including a 38-game win streak between 1986 and 2004. Washington State’s last home victory came on Feb. 6, 2010, when they defeated the Wildcats 78-60. However, Arizona is 10-0 on the road and 17-2 overall since its last road loss against Washington State.

Washington State players to watch

The Cougars, led by fifth-year head coach Kyle Smith with an 80-66 record, have had a roller coaster season. After opening 8-1, they are 3-4 since mid-December. A recent 72-64 victory over USC could provide the momentum needed to upset the Wildcats on Saturday.

Isaac Jones

The senior transfer from the University of Idaho has been a leading force for the Cougars, averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Jones consistently performs, scoring double figures in all but two games and recording four double-doubles. In the recent victory over USC, he scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Myles Rice

Rice, a redshirt freshman, ranks second in scoring behind Jones, averaging 14.4 points and 3.3 assists per game. While showcasing breakout performances, Rice’s ball security has been an issue, leading the team with 2.4 turnovers per game.

Andrej Jakimovski

Jakimovski, a senior from Macedonia, is the third and final scorer for the Cougars averaging double figures in scoring. The senior forward averages 10.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, both career highs.

Wildcats to watch

The Arizona Wildcats boast one of the most potent offenses in college basketball, averaging an impressive 92.6 points per game, ranking first in the country. The Wildcats also rank in the top five in both rebounding and assists. According to, Arizona’s offense ranks fifth in adjusted offensive efficiency, while their defense ranks fourth. It’s worth noting that all five Wildcat starters are averaging double figures.

Caleb Love

Love, recently named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List, has been one of the top playmakers for the Arizona offense. Transferring from the University of North Carolina, Love leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.7 points and 3.1 assists per game. He has scored 20 or more points in seven of Arizona’s 15 games, including six times in the Wildcats’ last eight matchups.

Keshad Johnson

Johnson opened the season with ten straight double-figure scoring performances. However, the senior transfer from San Diego State failed to reach double figures in each of the Wildcat’s next four games before a breakout 20-point performance against Utah last weekend snapped his low-scoring streak. Johnson is averaging 12.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, both career highs. Johnson’s ability to score and get to the rim has proven vital for the Wildcats, as they are 10-1 when he scores 10 or more points and 2-2 when he scores under 10.

Oumar Ballo

Ballo has been a force on the boards and a key scorer for the Wildcats, averaging 12.8 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game. Ballo is shooting 61% from the field, ranking 23rd in the country. However, Ballo is shooting a career-worst 44.1% from the free-throw line, which has led to teams utilizing the “Hack-a-Ballo” tactic. In late-game scenarios, teams intentionally foul him and force him to beat them at the line.

Kylan Boswell

Boswell is averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 4.3 assists per game. The sophomore guard got off to a hot start to the season but was ice-cold throughout the month of December. Plagued by shooting struggles, Boswell averaged less than nine points per game and shot a meager 32.4% from the field. However, back-to-back double-digit scoring performances to open the month of January could be a sign that Boswell is exiting his December slump and trending in the right direction.

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