Desert delight: Cougs complete Arizona sweep

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Another big game from Robert Franks helped Washington State end a 13-game losing streak against Arizona, as the Cougars scored a 69-55 win over the Wildcats on Saturday night.

Washington State (10-14, 3-8 Pac-12) swept the Arizona schools on the road for the first time since the 2006-07 season and won in Tucson for the first time since Jan. 8, 2010.

It also marks WSU’s first Pac-12 road sweep since 2009.

“We all came together as a team on this road trip and we all bought in to what coach (Ernie) Kent was saying and preaching,” said Franks, who led the way with 31 points. “Unbelievable feeling right now for us.”

Arizona (14-10, 5-6) never led in its fifth straight loss, the Wildcats’ longest losing streak since 1983-84, Lute Olson’s first season as coach.

C.J. Elleby added 18 points and eight rebounds, while Jeff Pollard had 10 for the Cougars. Justin Coleman led four Arizona players in double figures with 14 but shot just 5-of-14. The Wildcats went just 32 percent from the field.

UA again was without freshman guard Brandon Williams with an ankle injury.

Franks, who scored 34 in Washington State’s 91-70 victory at Arizona State on Thursday night, made 12 of 19 field goals, including a season high 7-for-10 3s.

“My teammates — I just give hats off to them,” Franks said. “They give me extreme confidence. They want me to lead them and I just want to go out there and play hard and lead for them.”

Much as they did in their 91-70 win at Arizona State, the Cougars took advantage of poor shooting by the opponent.

The Wildcats shot 27 percent (9-for-33) in the first half, trailing 33-21 at the break.

Arizona got within single digits only once in the second half, 51-42 on Luther’s two free throws with nine minutes left. But Elleby was fouled on a 3-point try, made all three, and the Wildcats never seriously threatened again.

Washington State scored the first seven points of the game as Arizona missed its first seven shots. Franks’ 3-pointer gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the half, 28-14, with 4:12 to play. Five straight points by Coleman cut the lead to 30-21 before Franks sank a 3 at the halftime buzzer to make it 33-21.

Franks had 21 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting, 5-for-6 3-pointers.

He netted a 3, then scored from inside, to give the Cougars their biggest lead, 47-31, with 13:03 to play.

BIG PICTURE

Franks should be a safe bet for Pac-12 player of the week and Washington State is nobody’s pushover if the Cougars can match these types of performances, beginning with a home game next week against Pac-12 leader Washington.

Coach Sean Miller has never had a team lose five in a row before and it’s going to be tough sledding for the Wildcats from here on out, especially without Williams.

WASHINGTON ST. (10-14, 3-8)

Franks 11-17 2-2 31, Elleby 4-9 8-12 18, Pollard 4-6 2-3 10, Cannon 0-3 0-0 0, Ali 2-6 0-0 4, Kunc 1-2 0-0 2, Wade 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 1-7 0-0 2, Daniels 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-53 12-17 69.

ARIZONA (14-10, 5-6)

Luther 3-9 2-2 11, Jeter 0-5 0-0 0, Smith 3-8 2-2 10, Randolph 1-6 0-2 2, Coleman 5-14 3-4 14, Lee 2-3 0-2 4, Doutrive 3-8 4-8 10, Barcello 2-6 0-0 4. Totals 19-59 11-20 55.

Halftime — Washington St. 33-21. 3-Point Goals — Washington St. 9-24 (Franks 7-9, Elleby 2-4, Daniels 0-1, Robinson 0-2, Cannon 0-2, Ali 0-4), Arizona 6-22 (Luther 3-9, Smith 2-3, Coleman 1-4, Doutrive 0-1, Jeter 0-1, Randolph 0-1, Barcello 0-3). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Washington St. 36 (Franks, Elleby 8), Arizona 35 (Doutrive 10). Assists — Washington St. 14 (Elleby, Wade 4), Arizona 8 (Coleman 3). Total Fouls — Washington St. 21, Arizona 15.

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