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First look: Washington State at UCLA

2/8/2013

What: Washington State Cougars (11-12, 2-8) at UCLA Bruins (17-6, 7-3)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m. PT

Where: Pauley Pavilion

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: AM 570

Scouting the Bruins: UCLA stopped the bleeding a bit with a 59-57 buzzer-beating victory over Washington on Thursday, ending a two-game slide. Still, the Bruins are 2-3 over their past five games and haven't won consecutive games since Jan. 12 and 17. Shooting and rebounding have been the Achilles' heel for the Bruins, who are shooting 39.9 percent the past five games, and 35.4 percent the past three games. That stretch includes three of their four worst shooting games of the season. On the glass, UCLA has been outrebounded, 146-105, over the past three games. No UCLA player has had more than eight rebounds during the past three games, and the Bruins are last in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin (+0.1). Shabazz Muhammad continues to lead the team in scoring with 18.6 points per game -- a figure that makes him the leading freshman scorer in the nation and second overall in the Pac-12. Jordan Adams is the team's second-leading scorer with 14.7 points per game, but he has been in a slump of late, shooting just 35 percent over the past five games. He was 2-of-11 on Thursday, and is 2-of-22 on 3-pointers over the past six games.

Scouting the Cougars: Washington State has lost three consecutive games and five of its past six, though the Cougars have played tough in many of those games -- losing by four at USC, by four against Arizona State and by seven at Oregon. Seven of Washington State’s 12 losses have come by seven points or fewer. Forward Brock Motum, a 6-10 senior who led the conference in scoring last season, is back and averaging 18.2 points and 6.6 rebounds to rank third in the conference in scoring and 17th in rebounding. D.J. Shelton, another 6-10 forward, also presents a matchup problem because of his size and shooting range. He averages only 5.3 points, but gets 6.1 rebounds per game and has made 15 of 36 3-pointers. Guard Mike Ladd is also a threat with 11.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The Cougars play a slow, grinding style, and they are last in the conference in scoring at 63.7 points per game, but first in the league in scoring defense at 61 points per game. They have shot 457 3-pointers, which is third most in the conference, and average 6.6 made 3-pointers per game. Washington State plays a lot of zone on defense.

The series: UCLA has dominated the all-time series 101-14. The Bruins have won the past seven in a row and 37 of the past 39. Last season, UCLA won 63-60 in Pullman and 78-46 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Bruins are 53-2 against the Cougars in Los Angeles. Washington State’s only victories at Pauley came in 2004 and 2009.

Quick Quote: “They are very capable,” coach Ben Howland said. “They run a lot of good stuff offensively and we’re going to have to play well and do a good job … We have to be ready for the type of game that will be grinding.”