PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State University men’s basketball team will host Central Washington in its only exhibition game of the season, Friday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum’s Friel Court, in its final push before the 2013-14 season officially begins.
Head coach Ken Bone returns to the Cougars for his fifth season, after earning his 400th career win last year. The team boasts three returning starters, junior guards DaVonté Lacy and Royce Woolridge and senior forward D.J. Shelton. Woolridge and Lacy accounted for 30 percent of the team’s scoring in 2012-13, 11.0 points per game from Woolridge and 10.5 from Lacy. Shelton averaged 6.2 points a game as a junior, adding 6.0 rebounds per game.
“We’re going to play a little bit differently this year,” Woolridge said. “Since we have so many guards we’re going to try and play a lot faster, so that will be a little bit of a change. We have a couple of new coaches on our coaching staff and we tweaked our defense a little bit. It’s going to be a lot different team and style of play than it was last year.”
Joining those three are seven other returnees, senior Will DiIorio, juniors Keaton Hayenga, James Hunter and Dexter Kernich-Drew, and sophomores Dominic Ballard, Brett Boese and Junior Longrus. Newcomers include true freshmen Josh Hawkinson (Shoreline, Wash.) and Ike Iroegbu (Elk Grove, Calif.) along with redshirt freshman Que Johnson (Pontiac, Mich.) and junior transfer Jordan Railey (Beaverton, Ore.). Johnson and Railey redshirted last year due to NCAA rules.
This season the Cougars and Wildcats are meeting in exhibition action, but the two teams have met during the regular season 26 times. WSU leads the all-time series, 23-3, with the last meeting coming Nov. 16, 1998. The first meeting came during the 1927-28 season, as the two teams played consistently through 1952. After 42 years without playing each other, the Cougars and Wildcats faced each other once again, Dec. 12, 1994.
Admission is free to the public Friday night, as is parking. Washington State will open up the regular season in Pullman when it hosts CSU Bakersfield, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum.