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Washington State hosts California, aims to maintain momentum

Jan 7, 2023; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Washington State Cougars forward Mouhamed Gueye (35) goes up for a layup against Arizona Wildcats guard Courtney Ramey (0) and Arizona Wildcats center Oumar Ballo (11) during the first half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Two Pac-12 foes trending in the right direction will meet Wednesday when California visits Washington State in Pullman, Wash.

Washington State (7-10, 2-4 Pac-12) is looking to build on arguably its biggest win in program history after ending Arizona’s 28-game home-court winning streak with a 74-61 victory on Saturday in Tucson. The win was the Cougars’ first over a top-5 opponent since 1983.

Cougars forward Mouhamed Gueye spearheaded the upset with his seventh double-double of the season, finishing with a season-high 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Washington State made 12 3-pointers while holding Arizona to its lowest point total of the year and a season-low 31.7 percent shooting, including 16.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The Cougars also received another strong effort from guard TJ Bamba, who averages a team-high 15.1 points and made several key plays in the final minutes against Arizona.

“He’s our leader, he’s our captain,” Washington State coach Kyle Smith said. “No one cares more than that guy. No one works harder. It’s just part of the process of becoming an all-league player. He just made all the winning plays late.”

Washington State will look to avoid a letdown against Cal (3-13, 2-3), which has won three of its past four games since opening the season with 12 losses.

The Golden Bears won their second straight and tied a school record with 16 3-pointers in a 92-70 victory over Stanford on Friday.

Guard DeJuan Clayton has made an immediate impact since missing the first 13 games of this season with a hamstring injury. The graduate transfer was 6 of 8 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 26 points against Stanford.

“It’s amazing the difference that DeJuan makes in our team,” Cal coach Mark Fox said. “You’ve seen it the last couple of games. If we had him the first 13 games, who knows what we could have been? He makes everybody better.”

Washington State has won the past five meetings against Cal, which is hoping to have leading scorer Devin Askew back after the junior missed the past two games due to a foot injury.

–Field Level Media