WSU is 2-6 in past 8 games, but Ernie Kent says Cougars need Saturday’s game against UW

Kent on WSU-UW matchup: ‘They’re big games and you tend to throw how you play out the window because the game takes on a whole new meaning.’

Washington State men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent covered a litany of topics ahead of Saturday’s 1 p.m. matchup at Beasley Coliseum against in-state rival Washington.

He touched on the Cougars’ reliance on three-pointers and how the WSU offense can attack UW’s 2-3 zone.

Washington State (8-6, 0-2 Pac-12) is 2-6 in the past eight games following a 6-0 start, but Kent said the team’s confidence isn’t shaken. Meanwhile, Washington (11-4, 1-1) is off to a better than expected start.

Kent talked about the maturation of junior forward Robert Franks and Husky junior forward Noah Dickerson.

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And Kent discussed the reunion between WSU assistant Ed Haskins and UW freshman Jaylen Nowell. Haskins coached Nowell at Garfield High.

Here is everything Kent said Thursday during his weekly teleconference.

(Seems like it’s been a tale of two seasons for you guys with a 6-0 start followed by a 2-6 stretch) “Exactly like you said it, a tale of two halves. I think we jumped off to a terrific start. I don’t think we handled our success well early on. Yet in those last set of games that you talked about, we’ve been right there to close out three of those games but haven’t been able to do it. Some of that has to do with injuries. With Drick (Bernstine) being beat up a little bit. He’s back healthy now. I just think for us right now, it’s about protecting your home court. The conference obviously is tough. It’s tough winning on the road. UW got their split. We didn’t get ours done. Not having Drick in the UCLA game hurt us, but there’s nothing we can do about that now but get back here and get ready for a great game here.”

(You guys are relying a lot on three-pointer this season. Is that by happenstance or choice?) “It was a staple of my teams at Oregon when we got up and down with the speed of the game. And I’ve been trying to get pieces in place here where we can play a more faster brand of basketball. We are a really good shooting team when we take good shots. We’re really good. Being able to shoot it that well, I don’t mind them shooting the 3 because we can get going and really shoot it well. And that’s been a good thing…

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