Dec. 8, 2008
COUGARS BATTLE BULLDOGS AT FRIEL COURT: The Washington State University men's basketball team will face its third ranked opponent in four games as it hosts No. 4 Gonzaga, Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at Friel Court. The game can be seen on FSN Northwest and on KHQ in the Spokane area.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE COUGS:
WSU fell to No. 24 Baylor, 58-52, Saturday at Friel Court.
The Cougars dropped to 2-4 against the No. 24 team in the country.
It was WSU's first home loss of the season.
It was the Cougars' first nonconference loss at Pullman since falling to No. 25 Gonzaga, 54-52, Dec. 7, 2004.
WSU held Baylor to a season-low 29 first-half points. The Bears' previous low was 31 in the first half against both Wake Forest and Arizona State.
The Cougars' 29-22 halftime deficit marked the first time they have trailed at the half at home all season.
Klay Thompson did not score in the first half for the first time this season (had two fouls)...got first points at 18:37 mark in second half.
For the second-straight meeting with Baylor, WSU trailed at the half.
The crowd of 9,038 is the largest the Cougars have played in front of thus far this year.
LAST SEASON; COUGS VS. ZAGS:
Then No. 8/6 Washington State defeated No. 17/19, 51-47, Dec. 6, 2007 at McCarthey Athletic Center.
Robbie Cowgill recorded this third career double-double and first of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds...it was the first WSU double-double of the season.
The Cougars held the Bulldogs their lowest point-total of the season, 47 points.
The victory marked the first WSU win on Gonzaga's home court since Dec. 13, 1977 and the second-straight win over the Bulldogs.
COUGARS' HOME NONCONFERENCE STREAK ENDED:
WSU's loss Dec. 6 to No. 24 Baylor at home marked its first nonconference loss at Friel Court since falling to No. 25 Gonzaga, 54-52, Dec. 7, 2004.
The last time WSU lost back-to-back nonconference games came in 2004-05 with losses at Oklahoma State (Dec. 4) and against Gonzaga (Dec. 7).
The last time WSU lost back-to-back nonconference games at home was in 1985-86 falling to Wisconsin (Dec. 9) and Nebraska (Dec. 12).
Taylor Rochestie is the only Cougar that was alive when the Cougars dropped back-to-back nonconference home games.
NONCONFERENCE STREAK COMES TO AN END:
The Cougars had their regular season nonconference winning streak snapped at 21 games with their loss to Pittsburgh Saturday, Nov. 29.
The streak had gone back to the 2006-07 season.
The 21-game winning streak is the second-longest in school history, passing the 19-straight streak during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
WSU's record streak stands at 23 games set during the 1931-32, 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons.
BENNETT NO LONGER PERFECT IN NOVEMBER:
WSU's Nov. 29 loss to Pittsburgh marked its first loss in November under third-year head coach Tony Bennett.
The Cougars had gone 19-0 under Bennett in November prior to that game...Bennett is now 19-1 in the month.
The Cougars have started the season 6-0 in all three of Bennett's seasons at the helm.
RANKED FOES AT FRIEL COURT:
WSU will host two ranked opponents in Baylor (then-24th-Associated Press/Receiving Votes-ESPN-USA Today) and Gonzaga (4th-both) at Friel Court in consecutive games.
It marks the first time that WSU has hosted two ranked nonconference opponents at home.
Baylor was also the first ranked nonconference opponent to come play WSU at Friel Court that was not Gonzaga.
The only other nonconference ranked opponent the Cougars have hosted at home was No. 17 Ohio State, Dec. 16, 1968 at Bohler Gym.
COUGARS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS:
WSU is 42-103 all-time against opponents ranked in the AP top-25...30-82 all-time at home against a top-25 opponent.
The Cougs are 1-72 all-time against top-5 foes...1-35 at home, 0-31 away and 0-6 at neutral sites.
The Cougars are 1-10 all-time against the fourth-ranked team in the Associated Press Poll.
Of the 11 games against the fourth-ranked team, just two came at home; including WSU's lone win, a 69-51 victory over Oregon State, Feb. 16, 1980.
Gonzaga is the second fourth-ranked team the Cougars have faced this year...WSU fell to No. 4 Pittsburgh, 57-43, Nov. 29 in Newark, N.J. as part of the Legends Classic.
Last season the Cougs lost their only two home games against ranked opponents, to No. 14 Stanford (Feb. 2) and No. 5 UCLA (Feb. 7).
WSU has never before faced two No. 4s in the same season.
The Cougars have faced two different top-five teams in the same season seven times.
Last season WSU took on No. 5-ranked UCLA (twice) and No. 1 North Carolina.
Four of this year's Cougar starters earned Pacific-10 Conference All-Academic accolades last season.
The only one of the five who didn't, Klay Thompson, was in high school last year.
Daven Harmeling and Taylor Rochestie earned first-team honors, while Aron Baynes and Nikola Koprivica picked up second-team accolades.
Harmeling is a three-time conference all-academic honoree, while Baynes has earned the honors twice.
TOPS OF THEIR TOURNAMENTS:
WSU's last two opponents (Baylor, Dec. 6 and Gonzaga, Dec. 10) made it to the championship game of their respective tournaments that they played in the weekend of Nov. 28-30.
Then-No. 10 Gonzaga took home the title in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., defeating Tennessee, 83-74, in the championship game.
Baylor fell to then-No. 19 Wake Forest, 87-74, Sunday in the 76 Classic. The Bears defeated then-No. 14 Arizona State earlier in the tournament.
The Cougars also played in the championship game of their tournament, the Legends Classic, falling to then-No. 4 Pittsburgh.
WSU FRESHMEN AMONG TOPS IN PAC-10:
Klay Thompson ranks third amongst Pac-10 freshmen in scoring with 11.6 ppg (20th overall).
DeAngelo Casto ranks second amongst freshman in blocks per game with 1.1 and is tied for fifth overall in the category.
COUG VETS IN RANKINGS TOO:
Seniors Aron Baynes, Taylor Rochestie and Daven Harmeling also rank in the tops in the Pac-10 in nine different categories. Below is a look at where they rank.
Blocked Shots - T-3rd (1.3 bpg)
Field Goal Percentage - 4th (.627, 37-for-59)
Rebounding - 11th (6.3 rpg)
Free Throw Pct. - 2nd (.944, 17-for-18)
Assists - 4th (5.5 apg) (45th in nation)
Assist/Turnover Ratio - 4th (2.0 a/t ratio)
Steals - T-6th (1.6 spg)
3-Point FG Made - T-8th (1.9 3pg)
3-Point FG Pct. - 10th (.469, 15-for-32)
THOMPSON OFFERS `FRESH' START:
With his start against MVSU Nov. 15, Klay Thompson became the first Cougar freshman to start a season opener since Kyle Weaver started against Montana State, Nov. 19, 2004.
He also became the first WSU freshman to start a game since Nikola Koprivica started against San Diego State, Dec. 21, 2006.
A total of six freshmen saw action in the season opener for the Cougs (Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto, Charlie Enquist, Abe Lodwick, Klay Thompson, Nick Witherill).
Four of the freshmen are true freshman (Capers, Casto, Thompson, Witherill). The last time four true freshman played in the season opener was in 2004 (Josh Akognon, Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling, Kyle Weaver).
Five or more freshmen have seen action in six of WSU's seven games.
Last season just two freshmen played for the Cougars, making a total of 20 appearances (one true freshman, one redshirt freshman).
This year seven WSU freshmen have combined for 42 appearances in the first six games.
Against Idaho State, Dec. 2, seven freshmen and a total of eight first-year players saw action.
Thompson currently leads the team in scoring with 11.6 points per game. The last freshman to end the season with 11 or more points was Mark Hendrickson with a 12.6 average in 1993. (Second-best mark in WSU's freshmen record books.)
WINNING BY 20-PLUS:
This season four of the Cougars' six wins have come by margins of victory greater than 20 points.
WSU's final two wins of the 2007-08 season were also by 20 or more points (61-41 over Notre Dame-3/22; 71-40 over Winthrop-3/20).
Prior to Nov. 28's 11-point win over Mississippi State, the Cougars had a margin of victory of 20 or more points in each of their last six wins, dating back to last season.
The Cougars have won by double-digits in each of its last eight wins.
ROCHESTIE, HARMELING PLAY 100TH GAMES:
Saturday's game against Baylor was the 100th game of Daven Harmeling's career.
The redshirt senior played 26 games as a true freshman, one during his redshirt year, 33 as a redshirt sophomore, 32 as a junior and now eight as a senior.
WSU's Nov. 21 game against Sacramento State marked the 100th game of redshirt senior Taylor Rochestie's career...he's now played in 104 games.
Rochestie played 28 games as a freshman at Tulane and has played 77 games at WSU.
The point guard has started 73 of his 105 games thus far, including 48 starts at WSU.
BAYNES EYEING 1,000 POINTS:
Senior center Aron Baynes is looking to become the 30th player in Washington State history to score 1,000 points in his WSU career.
Now with 735 career points, Baynes needs a total of 265 more points this season to reach the milestone.
The Australia-native tallied 365 last season averaging 10.4 per game.
ROCHESTIE CLOSING IN TOO:
Redshirt senior guard Taylor Rochestie is also closing in on the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Between his freshman season at Tulane University and the last two years at WSU, Rochestie has amassed 907 points.
After a junior season in which he tied Baynes for third on the team in scoring with 365 points, Rochestie will need 477 total points this season to get to 1,000 as a Cougar.
Rochestie has 603 points as a Cougar after scoring 304 at Tulane.
COUGARS RECEIVING VOTES:
Although the Cougars haven't been ranked this season, they still continue to receive votes in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
WSU has two votes in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
Five of WSU's opponents this season are ranked, including Pittsburgh, who the Cougars lost to Nov. 29.
Pittsburgh (3), Gonzaga (4), UCLA (16/14), Arizona State (20/18) and Baylor (22/RV).
COUGS AMONG YOUNGEST TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY:
With nine total freshman, WSU is tied with three other schools for the most freshmen on a roster in the country. The Cougs are tied with Presbyterian, High Point and The Citadel.
The Cougars' group of seven true freshmen is tied for the fourth most true freshmen on an NCAA Division I roster in the nation. Duquesne, Saint Louis and Iona each have eight true freshmen on their rosters.
WSU's seven scholarship freshmen also ties them for third in the country for most scholarship freshmen. Duquesne and Saint Louis each have eight scholarship freshmen.
Although freshmen-heavy, the Cougars older players make up for it. Among the youngest teams by average age, the Cougars rank 10th in the country with an average age of 19.87 years old. Arizona State (19.81 years old) ranks directly ahead of the Cougs, while Oregon (19.93 years old) is right behind WSU at 11th.