Washington State is enjoying its hottest stretch of the season and the Cougars look to increase their winning streak to six when they visit Washington in Pac-12 play on Thursday night in Seattle.
Washington State (15-15, 10-9 Pac-12) is tied for sixth place in the conference due to a streak that began with a 56-51 home win over the Huskies on Feb. 11.
Washington (16-14, 8-11) is in eighth place in the 12-team conference after having a three-game winning streak halted with Sunday’s 81-69 road loss to Stanford.
Meanwhile, the Cougars defeated host Cal 63-57 on Saturday as standout big man Mouhamed Gueye recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds for his Pac-12-best 14th double-double of the season.
“Mo was great,” Washington State coach Kyle Smith said of Gueye on the postgame radio show. “He was a beast. Had 20 and 10, three assists and no turnovers. That’s a good game.”
Gueye averages 14.4 points and a team-best 8.6 rebounds per game. He ranks second in scoring behind TJ Bamba (14.9).
Bamba scored 19 points against Cal after scoring 22 two days earlier in a 67-63 win over host Stanford.
Bamba’s scoring average is nearly double the 7.7 per game he put up as a sophomore.
“I can’t wait to see what he does with another offseason,” Smith said. “I think he makes another jump.”
Bamba scored 20 points and Gueye had 17 points and 15 rebounds when the Cougars defeated the Huskies last month in Pullman.
The Huskies have dropped five of the past seven in the Apple Cup rivalry, and this season’s subpar overall showing has sixth-year coach Mike Hopkins on the hot seat.
After compiling a 48-22 record in his first two seasons in Seattle, Hopkins is just 53-67 over the past four.
Hopkins addressed the rumors earlier this week.
“Listen, I love it here,” Hopkins said. “I’ve always loved it here. I love who I work for. I love who I represent. Do I wish the last couple of years that we had better seasons? Did I wish things happened another way? Of course.
“My job is not finished because this is a championship-level caliber program and that’s what I was hired to do. My standards, my expectations. I want to do it for the fans.”
Washington is coming off the shaky performance against Stanford in which it never once led and allowed the Cardinal to make 12 of 24 from 3-point range.
“We knew we had to defend the 3-point line and we didn’t do a good job of that,” Hopkins said.
Jamal Bey had season bests of 21 points and eight rebounds against Stanford. Leading scorer Keion Brooks Jr. (17.7) added 17 points.
–Field Level Media