Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Washington State are desperate to jump back into the win column in men’s basketball. Saturday night, only one of them will.
Both teams are coming off losses heading into their meeting at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash. UAPB (1-3) was blown out 79-43 at 25th-ranked San Diego State late Wednesday night, but has a chance to pick up its second victory in three games against a Washington State (2-3) team that has lost three straight.
UAPB has yet to defeat a team from a Power-Six Conference under fifth-year coach George Ivory — let alone win a second nonconference game of the season. The Golden Lions will need solid contributions from both their frontcourt and backcourt plus good shooting to have a chance at downing the Pacific-12’s Cougars.
Senior swingman Mitchell Anderson (7.0 points per game) hopes to break out of a slump that has him shooting 11 of 39 (28.2 percent) from the field. He was UAPB’s leading returning scorer from last season, but he’s come off the bench in two games this year.
Forward Davon Haynes, the junior transfer from Bowling Green, has emerged as UAPB’s go-to guy, leading the team with 13.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He’s also hitting 50 percent (21 of 42) from the field.
Haynes is getting help inside from senior center Terrell Kennedy, who’s averaging 12 points and 4 rebounds a game. Senior guard Lazabian Jackson is the only other Lion scoring in double figures on average (12.3).
Two of Washington State’s losses went right down to the wire. The Cougars dropped a 58-56 overtime decision at Pepperdine on Nov. 16, giving up the go-ahead layup with 12 seconds left in the game and turning the ball over on the ensuing possession.
A day after a 72-49 drubbing by Kansas in Kansas City, Mo., Washington State was stunned again 55-54 by Texas A&M in the same location on a three-point basket with 2 seconds left.
Washington State has only one player averaging such in 6-foot-10 senior forward Brock Motum (16.4). The Cougars’ next five scorers average 6 points or more, with sophomore guard and Motum’s fellow Australian, Dexter Kernich-Drew (8.8), leading the team in field-goal shooting at 54.8 percent.
UAPB also hopes to have its best free-throw shooting game of the season and control the boards against Washington State. The Lions are hitting only 54.3 percent from the line and have a rebounding margin of minus-9.2 through four games.
UAPB (1-3) at Washington State (2-3)
• When: 8:30 p.m. Central Saturday
• Where: Beasley Coliseum, Pullman, Wash.