Washington St. Cougars vs. UC Riverside Highlanders Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 6th 2023

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UC Riverside already has played a couple of Pac-12 opponents on the road this season, as well as North Carolina.

So the Highlanders (4-5) won’t be intimidated traveling to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State (6-1) on Wednesday night.

Last Thursday, UCR made the short trip to Pauley Pavilion to take on UCLA. The Highlanders stayed in it until the end, suffering a 66-65 defeat.

“I’ve been hard on this team (in practice),” UCR coach Mike Magpayo said. “Now they got something to believe in. Now they got something to build off of, so let’s see if we can keep chopping away here and keep building.”

For Magpayo, coaching at Pauley was like a baseball player’s first time at Yankee Stadium. Magpayo even eschewed his normal polo shirt for a suit and tie.

“The suit is all about respecting and honoring coach (John) Wooden,” Magpayo said of the man who led the Bruins to 10 NCAA titles between 1964 and 1975. “You know, my dad coached in Woodenisms. We have Wooden books all over the house.

“I didn’t look at any (UCLA championship) banners. … This is my first time coaching at Pauley, and I felt it. I didn’t look, but I felt it.”

The Highlanders followed that narrow loss with a 68-62 victory against North Dakota at home Sunday. Isaiah Moses had team-high totals of 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

The Cougars outlasted Portland State 71-61 at home on Saturday as Isaac Jones scored a season-high 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-9 forward, a transfer from Idaho, was unstoppable inside and even made a 3-pointer.

Jones isn’t slow, but he is more methodical around the rim.

“I play at my own pace,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to see the floor when you’re taking your time, instead of rushing it.”

WSU guard Myles Rice was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after averaging 23.5 points in two games.

–Field Level Media

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