Sat, 10 Apr 2021

Washington State aims to keep up momentum vs. Arizona

Field Level Media
25 Feb 2021, 09:55 GMT+10

Two hot players will clash when Washington State plays at Arizona on Thursday night in Tucson, Ariz.

The Cougars' Noah Williams picked up national weekly honors as well as the Pac-12 Player of the Week award after he led Washington State (14-10, 7-10 Pac-12) to a sweep of Cal and Stanford by scoring a total of 72 points.

Williams boosted his scoring average to 14.5 points per game and is shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range (45 of 108). He was 4 of 27 from behind the arc last season as a freshman.

"I'm sure if you scour the history books, you'll have a hard time finding someone that made that kind of jump," said WSU coach Kyle Smith.

While Williams and the Cougars come in on a roll, Arizona (15-8, 9-8) pulled itself out of the late-season doldrums with its best win of the season -- 81-72 over then-No. 17 Southern California on Saturday. The Wildcats had lost five of seven games before that.

Azuolas Tubelis earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors with a total of 34 points and 23 rebounds in Arizona's road split of the L.A. schools. He had 16 points and a career-best 15 boards against USC, and he has scored at least 16 points in five of the past six games.

For the season, Tubelis is averaging 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 50.7 percent from the field.

"That's one heck of a freshman year," said Wildcats coach Sean Miller. "He's done so many good things. He's better than I thought. Those statistics are nothing to gloss over.

"It's one thing if I'm talking about his nonconference season or we're in early January, but we're at the very end here and he's proven -- home, away, against almost every style -- that he's a very good player and the best is yet to come."

Arizona won the first meeting against Washington State 86-82 in double overtime on Jan. 2 in Pullman, Wash. Washington State's Isaac Bonton scored a game-high 25 points, but his availability is in question for the rematch.

Bonton, averaging 18.4 points, has missed the past three games because of an ankle injury. He is considered day-to-day, Smith said Tuesday, as is Ryan Rapp (4.0 points), who was sidelined last week due to a leg injury.

Arizona is playing its final home Pac-12 series of the season, looking for its first home sweep in conference play. The Wildcats, who are ineligible for the conference tournament after imposing a one-year postseason ban while waiting for a ruling on potential NCAA infractions, play Washington on Saturday before finishing at Oregon on Monday in a rescheduled game.

--Field Level Media

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