Josh Hawkinson is quietly building a resume that rivals anyone in the nation. The Cougars forward leads the Pac-12 with 10.7 rebounding average and ranks fifth in the conference at 16.9 points per game.
Scouting report: Washington State.
Game info: 12 p.m. Saturday at Beasley Coliseum (11,671).
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Aaron Goldsmith and Lamar Hurd).
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM and FM 97.7 (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Ernie Kent, 60 is 22-23 (.489) in his second season with the Cougars. He has 347-277 (.556) during his 15 years career, which includes a 13-year stint (1997-2010) at his alma mater Oregon where he was 235–173 (.576) where he had five NCAA tournament teams and made two trips to the Elite Eight (2002 and ’07). He also spent six years (1991-97) at Saint Mary’s 90–80 (.529) that included a trip to the NCAAs in ’97.
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Prediction: Picked to finish 12th in the Pac-12 preseason media poll.
Series: Washington leads 179-102 in a series that began Feb. 16, 1910. The Huskies have won seven of the past nine meetings, including three of the last four in Pullman. Lorenzo Romar is 17-12 against the Cougars. Kent is 11-18 versus UW. Nine of the last 10 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
Last meeting: Andrew Andrews drilled a three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to give the Huskies an 87-84 victory at Beasley Coliseum. He finished with a career-high 35 points to snap UW’s seven-game losing streak. As good as Andrews has been recently, he was never better than he was on Feb. 22, 2015 when he converted 11 of 18 field goals, including 6 of 12 from downtown and 7 of 7 at the free-throw line. Nigel Williams-Goss also had20 points.
Previous game: USC won 90-77 at Washington State in Friday’s Pac-12 opener.
Point spread: The Cougars are favored by 1.5 points.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Josh Hawkinson, a 6-10 junior forward, is one of three Pac-12 player averaging a double double. In fact, he tied the WSU record with nine straight double doubles. He leads the conference with 10.7 rebounds per game and he’s fifth in the league with 16.9 points per game. Hawkinson is the only person in the Pac-12 shooting 80 percent on free throws, 59 percent on field goals and 50 percent on three-pointers. Last season, he set the WSU single-season rebound record with 334. The former Shorewood High product had 17 points and 14 rebounds a year ago in his last outing against Washington.
Hawkinson on rebounding: “It’s just practicing, seeing the way my teammates shoot, whether they have a high arc, or if someone shoots a three, knowing that it bounces wider. All those little things contribute to maybe an extra one or two rebounds here and there.”
Romar on Hawkinson: “He just has a nose for the ball. He gets far more defensive rebounds than he does offensive rebounds and he just kind of hangs around, hangs around (and) has that great feel for where the ball is – where the open spots are. You can concentrate on him a lot, but he still kind of finds a way. He’s just a very, very innately smart basketball player.”
— Ike Iroegbu, a 6-2 junior guard, averages 13.0 points and leads WSU with 4.3 assists per game. He’s a deadly shooter who is first among Pac12 players with a 52.8 three-point percentage (19 of 36).
— In just his second year, Kent has nearly revamped the roster. Only five players remain from the 2013-14 team, the last season under former coach Ken Bone. Washington State has four junior-college transfers (Charles Callison, Renard Suggs, Connor Clifford and Derrien King) in the rotation. The Cougars brought in a six-man recruiting class that includes Vionte Daniels, a freshman guard from Federal Way and Robert Franks, a freshman forward from Vancouver, Wash.
— Washington State returned three starters (Hawkinson, Iroegbu and Ny Redding) from last season’s team that finished 13-18 and 7-8 in Pac-12. The Cougars have three new starters this season, including junior guards Que Johnson and Callison and senior forward Junior Longrus.
— Johnson was one of the most hyped WSU recruits in recent memory who declined offers from UW and Gonzaga. However, the former four-star prospect from Pontiac, Mich. has been in and out of the starting lineup his first two years. This season, he’s started all but one game while averaging 10.6 points.
— Backup center Valentine Izundu, a 6-10 junior transfer who played at Houston, is averaging 2.7 blocks per game which is ranked 15th in the nation and third in the Pac-12. The Cougars have blocked 75 shots, averaging 5.8 blocks per game.
— Before the big win over UCLA, Washington State hadn’t beaten a team with a RPI ranking lower than 123.
— Thanks in large part to Hawkinson, the Cougars lead the Pac-12 and are 24th in the nation with a 49.1 field goal percentage.
— Only twice this season has neither Iroegbu nor Hawkinson led WSU in scoring, and just once neither of them led the Cougars in rebounding.