The Cougars are 1-0, coming off a win over Texas Southern, but no part of it was pretty except for the performance from freshman center Efe Abigodi.
The freshman excelled in every aspect of the game. He shot well from the field (including showing his ability to space the floor), he protected the paint and he dominated on the glass. Going forward, we should expect to see his role increased.
The offensive approach to the Texas Southern game was to let senior guard Isaac Bonton control the rhythm of the offense and be the only shot creator on the floor. Although Bonton came through in a major way, I’d expect that to change.
Only four Cougs scored during the entire game and that can’t continue. You’d assume sophomore guard Noah Williams won’t score zero points again in a game any time soon.
The movement on offense was absent but on the defensive side of the ball, WSU was gritty and determined to shut down their opponent. Texas Southern had 17 turnovers and the most important part about them is they were forced.
The Cougs were in the passing lanes playing denial defense forcing Texas Southern to start their offense farther from the basket than they’d like.
The most intriguing part of this WSU team is their ability to take charges. The Cougs put their bodies on the line at every opportunity and the refs were making calls their way.
It all started with junior forward Aljaz Kunc who may not pack the biggest punch offensively, but will give everything he has on defense.
Expect to see Kunc forcing his will on the defensive side of the ball forcing turnovers and taking charges all game long.
In terms of Eastern Washington, they will be missing five players tonight, but we most likely won’t know which players will be inactive until game time.
Similar to WSU, this EWU team is very young. Their team is made up of five freshman, seven sophomores, two juniors, and two seniors.
The Eagles first game against the University of Oregon was scheduled for Wednesday, but the game was canceled meaning EWU is still 0-0 and Saturday nights game will be their season opener.
Redshirt senior Jacob Davidson is the focal point of the offense for the Eagles. During Davidson’s junior season he led EWU in scoring at 18.4 points per game. The Cougs must contain him in order to get a win tonight. Expect to see a combination of Williams and Kunc guarding Davidson, giving him different looks on defense all game long.
The main key tonight for WSU is to simply finish possessions, They shot 14-for-50 against Texas Southern and they can’t expect to win many more games like that.
The game tonight is at 8 p.m. and it will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
(Picture via: Bob Hubner WSU Athletics)