> Hardwood Classic: Portland vs. WSU at Seattle
Tipoff: 7:30 tonight, Key Arena, Seattle
Records: Washington State 2-0 overall, 0-0 Pac-10 Conference; Portland 4-1 overall, 0-0 West Coast Conference.
Players: In Reggie Moore’s absence (wrist injury), junior newcomer Faisal Aden has picked up the slack averaging 22 points a contest. WSU gunner Klay Thompson isn’t far behind at 19 ppg while dishing out 7.5 assists a game. The Pilots are led are senior sharpshooter Jared Stohl (14.8 ppg) and nifty post Luke Sikma (9.5 ppg).
The Cougars will look to counter Sikma with junior DeAngelo Casto (13 ppg, 2.5 bpg) and 6-foot-11 Brock Motum (11 ppg).
Game themes: The sixth annual Cougar Hardwood Classic in Seattle will be the first time WSU plays outside Beasley Coliseum this season. The Pilots, who have defeated UW-Milwaukee, UC-Davis, Florida Atlantic and Idaho but fell to No. 9 Kentucky, have been on the road plenty. However, after Stohl – perhaps the purest shooter in the country – and Sikma, son of Jack Sikma and one of the better big men in the WCC, the Pilots drop off significantly and rely on a bevy of freshmen. WSU is 5-0 all-time in the Hardwood Classic, nipping LSU 72-70 in overtime last year.