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Sun Devils Tangle With Washington State, 8:00 P.M. AZT

GAME NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils have traveled to Pullman for a Pac-10 Conference clash with the Washington State Cougars.

Arizona State is the only Pac-10 team to post 20 or more wins in each of the last three seasons, a credit to coach Herb Sendek and his staff. It appears that the streak will come to an end this season, however, as the Sun Devils are just 9-8 thus far, including a disappointing 1-4 mark in league action. Three of the last four outings have resulted in defeat, including an 80-69 setback to rival Arizona last Saturday.

Wins in three of the last four outings have enabled Washington State to improve to 13-5 overall and 3-3 in conference action. Last Saturday, the Cougars managed to knock off Stanford on the road by a 61-58 final and now return home where they are 7-1 to date.

The Sun Devils took a 34-33 series lead over Washington State after sweeping the season series between the teams last season.

ASU is a strong defensive squad, limiting opponents to 63.5 ppg on 41 percent shooting from the floor through 17 outings. Unfortunately for coach Sendek, the lack of an offensive punch has rendered his squad mediocre. The Sun Devils are scoring a modest 63.0 ppg on 42.7 percent field goal efficiency, and they are being outrebounded by nearly three boards per contest. Trent Lockett paces ASU with 13.7 ppg on 57.5 percent shoots from the floor, and while Ty Abbott is close behind with 13.4 ppg, his 39.1 percent shooting could certainly stand some improvement. Against Arizona last Saturday, Arizona State shot 52.1 percent from the floor and turned the ball over just nine times. Unfortunately, a 35-21 rebounding disadvantage and a 26-13 deficit in points from the foul line did the team in. Lockett scored a club-high 17 points in the setback.

Washington State possesses one of the nation's truly gifted scorers in Klay Thompson, who is pouring in 22.9 ppg on the strength of his 44.1 percent shooting from three-point range. In addition to his scoring output, the versatile Thompson ranks second on the roster with 5.2 rpg, 18 blocks and 4.0 apg while holding down the top spot with 32 steals. Faisal Aden is the only other double-digit scorer for the squad, as he is posting 14.6 ppg. The Cougars are generating 75.8 ppg while holding opponents to 64.5 ppg on 38.2 percent shooting from the field. In the three-point triumph over Stanford, Thompson posted 21 points while Aden was close behind with 20 points. Clearly, strong defense was the major reason that the Cougars were able to finish on top, as they held the Cardinal to 34.4 percent field goal efficiency.

Thompson gives Washington State a chance to win every game and he is a serious candidate for Pac-10 Player of the Year honors. In front of the home crowd tonight, expect the Cougars to hand the Sun Devils another loss.

GAME NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils have traveled to Pullman for a Pac-10 Conference clash with the Washington State Cougars.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Beasley Coliseum (11,671) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: None. Home Record: ASU 5-3, WSU 7-1. Away Record: ASU 2-4, WSU 3-3. Neutral Record: ASU 2-1, WSU 3-1. Conference Record: ASU 1-4, WSU 3-3. Series Record: Arizona State leads, 34-33.

Thursday, January 20th, 10:00 p.m. (et)

Washington State 72, Arizona State 65