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Citizen Staff Writer



Arizona vs. Washington State: Steve Rivera’s breakdown of the game • Wildcat notes • Players to watch

The Bounce: UA needs to adjust to slow pace of WSU


Advantage: Arizona

Nic Wise is proving to be one of the Pac-10′s better guards. He’s hit key shots and helped lead UA to 18 wins. He’ll need to continue his solid play. He’ll go head to head (in the zone) with WSU’s Taylor Rochestie, who scored 33 at UCLA. Both are playing nearly every second. Great battle is expected.


Advantage: Arizona

WSU is one of those teams that is tough to gauge because you don’t know which team will show up. In a sense, that’s the same with UA. UA’s Jordan Hill will be challenged for every rebound. WSU Aron Baynes is a tough guy to handle inside. UA’s Chase Budinger has been aggressive with rebounds. That will be key because every possession will count.


Advantage: WSU

WSU’s defense ranks first in Pac-10 in field-goal percentage at 38.7 percent. UA ranks fifth. UA’s defense has improved from the beginning of the year, but WSU’s has been steady. Tough one to call but the Cougars are known for defense in recent years. Good shots for UA will be at a premium.


UA has the advantage in the backcourt and frontcourt, so why is this going to be a close game? Because winning on the road in the Pac-10 is so hard. I’d say the home-court advantage is six to seven points. And against WSU, that’s three or four possessions. I expect UA to struggle and then lose.

Prediction: WSU by 5


All-time meetings: UA leads 51-13

Pac-10 meetings: UA leads 50-12

Longest UA win streak: 38 (1986-2004)

Longest WSU win streak: 3 (1979-81 and 1983-84)

Current series streak: UA, 3 in a row

Earlier this season: UA 66, WSU 56 (Jan. 31 in Tucson)

Last season: UA 76, WSU 64 (Jan. 24 in Tucson); UA 65, WSU 55 (Feb. 23 in Pullman, Wash.)

First meeting: WSU 64, UA 58 (1959 in Tucson)


Cats must control Cougars’ Rochestie

Against Arizona last month, Washington State guard Taylor Rochestie had 22 points. Last week, in a victory over UCLA, the fifth-year senior had a career-high 33 points, hitting shots from well beyond the 3-point arc.

UA knows what it’s up against.

“You can’t let him get going,” UA interim coach Russ Pennell said. “When the game gets on the line, he’s going to (try to) take over. He’s a very underrated guard in our league.”

Play hard

One of the many things Pennell is looking for from his team is consistent play. Another is an aggressive, workmanlike effort. He didn’t see it for 40 minutes in a 70-68 loss at Arizona State on Sunday.

He admired UA’s comeback after being down by 17. But, he said, “If you don’t play hard and your effort isn’t any good, you’re going to get what you deserve.”

Thoughts on Russ

WSU coach Tony Bennett was asked this week if he could put in context what Pennell has been able to do after replacing Lute Olson to begin the season. Olson retired just two weeks after practice started.

“Russ has done a terrific job. They are playing some of the best basketball in the league without a doubt,” Bennett said. “He and coach (Mike) Dunlap have teamed up to do a remarkable job. It was a little rocky to start but they’ve got (the players) believing. Russ is a good coach. He knows the game.”




Arizona (18-9, 8-6) at Washington St. (14-13, 6-9)

When: 7 p.m. Thursday


Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM

Arizona at No. 21 Washington (20-7, 11-4)

When: 1 p.m. Saturday


Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM

How teams match up

Arizona WSU

72.0 Points per game 59.3

47.5 Field goal % 43.9

66.7 Points allowed per game 55.1

42.8 Foes’ field goal % 38.7


‘Washington State is a bit older, more mature. They’re playing good basketball.’


UA interim basketball coach


Thursday’s games: Arizona at Washington State, 7 p.m.; UCLA at Stanford, 8 p.m.; USC at California, 8:30 p.m.; Arizona State at Washington, 9 p.m.

Saturday’s games: Arizona at Washington, 1 p.m.; Arizona State at Washington State, 3 p.m.; USC at Stanford, 6 p.m.; UCLA at California, 7 p.m.

Sunday’s game: Oregon State at Oregon, 8 p.m.



1. James Harden, ASU 21.2

3. Jordan Hill, UA 18.0


1. Jon Brockman, Washington 11.3

2. Jordan Hill, UA 11.1


1. Jerome Randle, California 5.0

5. Nic Wise, UA 4.7


1. Taj Gibson, USC 2.7

2. Jordan Hill, UA 2.0


Conf. All

School W L W L

Washington 11 4 20 7

Arizona State 10 4 21 5

California 9 5 20 7

UCLA 9 5 20 7

ARIZONA 8 6 18 9

USC 7 7 16 10

Oregon State 7 8 13 13

Washington State 6 9 14 13

Stanford 4 10 15 10

Oregon 1 14 7 20

Chase Budinger

The Arizona junior forward thrives in up-tempo situations, but this won’t be that type of game. If he can hit some shots in the first half, it will give him confidence for the second. UA and Budinger feed off confidence.

Jamelle Horne

Where has Horne gone during UA’s run? He needs to emerge from the shadows and gain confidence as UA closes out the season. He must hit the boards and attack on offense. He’s certainly capable of doing it.

Taylor Rochestie

The 6-1 senior guard for WSU looks smallish and unathletic, but he can beat you with a long-distance shot or a drive to the basket, as UCLA found out. He’s deceptive and smart, exactly what you need in a leader.

Aron Baynes

Big, burly guy who is third in the league in rebounding (8.9 rpg). He looks the part of a WSU player: a mountain- man type who gets the job done. He had 14 rebounds and 12 points in the last game with UA.

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