Washington St. Cougars vs. Prairie View A&M Panthers Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 10th 2023

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Myles Rice’s long-awaited Washington State debut lived up to the billing.

After redshirting the past two seasons, last year while receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the point guard scored 13 points as the host Cougars defeated Idaho 84-59 on Monday in the Battle of the Palouse.

Rice and the Cougars will play host to Prairie View A&M on Friday night.

“It was kinda surreal,” Rice said of his first collegiate game. “It’s been two years coming, just staying true to who I am. Being that energy guy for the team, just being the guy that always has a smile on his face, no matter what hardships he goes through.

“I had to kinda calm myself down. I had a lot of emotions. I just made sure I stayed around my family, stayed around my team.”

Cougars coach Kyle Smith said Rice got a little emotional, “but not much,” in the locker room after the game.

“Who knows how you’re gonna react after two years without playing, what he went through last year,” Smith said. “He handled it in stride. … He had a couple of ups and downs, but he was overall very good.”

Andrej Jakimovski led Washington State with 21 points and Isaac Jones, a transfer from Idaho, added 13 points and paced the Cougars with nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“I thought we did some really good things,” Smith said. “We were really good on the glass (outrebounding the Vandals 45-26), and that’s what it looks like when you’ve got the advantage there.”

Prairie View A&M (1-1) opened its trip to the Pacific Northwest with a 70-61 loss Wednesday at Seattle University. Nick Gazelas led the Panthers with 16 points and Charles Smith IV added 15 points and six rebounds before fouling out.

Last season, the Panthers started 3-0, including a 70-59 victory against visiting Washington State, before finishing 13-19.

“It’s not where you’re picked now, it’s how you finish,” said Prairie View A&M coach Byron Smith, whose team was selected sixth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s preseason poll. “The teams that are playing their best basketball late in the year are the teams that have an opportunity to advance.

“Texas Southern last year is a perfect example. They began the season with a few losses and ended the season with a few losses, but they played their best basketball during the SWAC championship tournament.”

–Field Level Media

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