Regional counterparts Washington State and Eastern Washington meet Monday for a neutral-court game in Spokane, Wash., with both trying to rebound from shaky starts to the season.
Washington State (1-2) comes in on a two-game skid, most recently dropping a 70-59 decision at Prairie View A&M as part of the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series.
“Really outcompeted us,” Cougars coach Kyle Smith said in his postgame media availability. “You tip your hat to them, but I thought we should have had a little more fight tonight. We got humbled tonight.”
Washington State was without DJ Rodman, a late scratch due to illness. Rodman has been the Cougars’ top rebounder and one of four players averaging in double-figures scoring. TJ Bamba has set the pace among that quartet with 16 points per game.
Rodman’s absence led to increased minutes for freshman Dylan Darling, a Spokane native. Smith praised Darling’s effort.
“He’s a fighter. He competed, he tried to get us back in there,” Smith said.
While Washington State heads into Spokane looking to snap a two-game losing streak, including a loss at Boise State, Eastern Washington is aiming to build on its first win after losing the season’s first three contests.
The Eagles (1-3) salvaged their trip to Hawaii last weekend for the Outrigger Rainbow Classic with a final-day win over Mississippi Valley State 60-52.
“The one thing we’ve done a good job of, since I’ve been here, is to take steps to get better,” Eastern Washington coach David Riley said following the win, per the school’s official athletic site.
“What stood out for me in the first games was rebounding. We watched a ton of film, and I said that we were not going to move on if we don’t fix our rebounding,” Riley said.
The Eagles had a 43-28 advantage on the glass against Mississippi Valley State. Through games played Nov. 19, Eastern Washington ranked in the nation’s top 100 for defensive rebounding at 28.3 per game.
–Field Level Media