On Thursday afternoon, Stanford men’s basketball (9-4, 2-1 Pac-12) is set to face off against the Washington State Cougars (9-6, 2-2 Pac-12) in Pullman, Wash. The Cardinal are coming into the game with a lot of momentum, boasting a 5-1 record over their last six games after having defeated then-No. 5 USC 75-69 on Tuesday afternoon.
Washington State is coming off a 77-61 dominating victory against Utah on Saturday.
The Cardinal hope that both freshman forward Harrison Ingram and junior forward Spencer Jones can carry over their play from Tuesday to Thursday’s game. In the game against USC, both Ingram and Jones had 21 points and made a combined eight threes. In addition, Ingram had 10 rebounds, giving him a double-double in the game.
For Stanford to continue its momentum, it must see production not only from Ingram and Jones, but also from senior forward Jaiden Delaire. Prior to Tuesday’s game, Delaire topped the Cardinal’s stats as the team’s leading scorer for the season, though Ingram took over the top spot after his 21-point performance.
Delaire has demonstrated his ability to make large scoring contributions throughout the season, and the Cardinal will look for that type of production from him as they get deeper into conference play.
The Cougars, under the direction of head coach Kyle Smith, have a balanced scoring attack led by the trio of guards Michael Flowers, Noah Williams and Tyrell Roberts. All three guards average double-digit points. Washington State is fourth in the conference in scoring average per game and second in the league in free throw percentage.
For the Cardinal to limit Washington State’s offense, they must play defense without excessive fouling, which will give the Cougars more free throw opportunities.
However, WSU’s main strength lies in its defense, where it ranks second in the conference in opponent field goal percentage and also averages a solid 4.8 blocks per game. To be successful against this prolific defense, the Cardinal must share the ball effectively and look to get good, efficient shots.
While Washington State is certainly an easier matchup for Stanford than USC was, the Cardinal cannot overlook any team if they want to get back into contention for postseason play.
Tip-off is scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum.