Feb. 20, 2008
COUGARS HOST SUN DEVILS AND WILDCATS: The Washington State University men's basketball team brings its three-game winning streak back to Pullman as it hosts Arizona State, Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. and Arizona, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at Friel Court. Thursday's game can be seen on FSN Northwest, while Saturday's game will be televised live on FSN.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
WSU enters the game ranked 17th in the nation in the latest Associated Press Poll and 19th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
The Cougars are 20-5 overall and in third place in the Pacific-10 Conference at 8-5 in league play. They boast the league's longest current winning streak with three-straight victories.
Four players are averaging double-figure scoring led by Derrick Low with 13.8 points per game (ranked 14th in the conference). Kyle Weaver (11.6 ppg), Aron Baynes (11.2 ppg) and Taylor Rochestie (10.3 ppg) join Low in double-digits.
Baynes leads the team in rebounding with 5.9 boards a game, followed by Weaver with 5.1 rebounds an outing.
Baynes also leads the team and the conference with a .600 field goal percentage (99-for-165).
Rochestie leads the team and league in assists (4.8 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (2.9). Weaver is adding a league fifth-best 4.3 assists per contest.
Low leads the league with 2.6 3-pointers made per game with a total of 66 made 3-point field goals this season.
ABOUT THE SUN DEVILS
Arizona State is in the midst of a three-team tie for fourth place in the Pac-10 at 6-6 in league play and 16-8 overall.
Since snapping a five-game losing streak during the month of January spanning into early February, the Sun Devils have won two of their last three games, including an upset of Stanford in overtime (72-68) Thursday.
The Arizona State offense is led by freshman James Harden who ranks fourth in the league with 18.0 points per game.
Two other Sun Devils are averaging double figures with Jeff Pendergraph's 13.2 points per game and Ty Abbott's 10.5 points per outing.
THE SERIES AGAINST ARIZONA STATE
The Sun Devils lead the all-time series 32-20, but WSU holds an 18-11 advantage at Pullman.
WSU has won three-straight over ASU, including the series sweep last season.
For the second-straight season, WSU defeated ASU by one point in Tempe as it came out victorious, 56-55 in the first meeting Jan. 26.
Derrick Low is averaging a team-best 11.1 points per game in his seven career games against the Sun Devils. He led the team with 18 points in the first meeting of the season.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Arizona enters Saturday's game after taking on Washington Thursday evening. Prior to Thursday's game, the Wildcats have dropped three of their last four games, but their last two losses to Stanford and Arizona State came by a combined five points.
Heading into Thursday's action the Wildcats are 16-9 overall and in the three-team battle for fourth in the conference with a 6-6 league mark.
Freshman Jerryd Bayless leads the team and ranks second in the league with 21.1 points per game, including 30-plus point productions in Arizona's last three games. He's led the team in scoring in seven of the last eight games.
Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill join Bayless in double figures with 17.5 and 12.6 points per game respectively.
THE SERIES AGAINST ARIZONA
The Wildcats lead the all-time series 49-13 along with a 23-6 advantage on WSU's home court.
Arizona snapped its two-game losing streak to WSU with a 76-64 victory in the first meeting of the season Jan. 24 at Tucson.
Last season the Cougars won in thrilling overtime fashion, 77-73 in the matchup at Friel Court Jan. 6.
Daven Harmeling is averaging 17.6 points per game against the Wildcats in the last three meetings, including 13 in the first matchup of the season.
COUGARS RECORD BACK-TO-BACK 20-WIN SEASONS
Saturday's win at Oregon gave WSU its 20th win of the season. Last season the Cougars went 26-8.
With its 20-win season, WSU has recorded 20 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1940-41 and 1941-42 seasons. Jack Friel led his Cougars to four-straight 20-win seasons from 1938-42.
Not only is Tony Bennett the second WSU head coach to lead his team to consecutive 20-win seasons, he is just the third Cougar coach to notch multiple 20-win seasons at the helm for WSU.
WSU GETS FIRST WIN AT MAC COURT IN 13 YEARS
With its 62-53 victory over the Ducks Saturday, WSU got its first win over Oregon at Eugene in 13 years (since Feb. 18, 1995).
The Cougars also got their first sweep of the season series over the Ducks since 1995.
WSU pulled off the sweep of the Oregon schools for the first time since 1995 as well.
SOME MORE NOTES FROM THE VICTORY OVER THE DUCKS
Derrick Low scored 11 of WSU's first 15 points to open the game (3-of-4 from 3-point)...most first-half point this season for Low is 16...Pac-10 is nine vs. Oregon Jan. 20.
Taylor Rochestie recorded his second-straight 20-point game with 21 points...second time in his career he scored 20 points in two straight games...the first of the season.
Low is averaging 21.5 points per game against the Ducks in the last four meetings.
WSU tied its second best first-half total with five 3-pointers made (three by Low).
Kyle Weaver passed Peter Mullins and Brian Wright for 26th place in the WSU career scoring record books...he now has 1,027.
WSU held Oregon to just one 3-pointer in the first half...the Ducks finished with four...they had hit 32 3-pointers in their last two games....held league's highest scoring team (78.9 point per game coming in) to 53 points.
WSU out-rebounded its opponent for the sixth time in Pac-10 play this season (31-20).
ROCHESTIE AND LOW PRODUCING
In the last two games (victories over Oregon State and Oregon), the backcourt duo of Taylor Rochestie and Derrick Low led the Cougars in scoring.
Rochestie and Low accounted for 62 percent (82) of WSU's 132 points in the two games.
Rochestie recorded back-to back 20-point games with a career high 24 at Oregon State and 21 points at Oregon. He was a combined 13-for-15 from the free throw line in the two games, including 7-for-8 in the final minute at Oregon.
WEAVER DOES IT ALL
Kyle Weaver is believed to be the first player in Pac-10 history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 150 steals and 75 blocks in a career. He currently has 1,027 points, 513 rebounds, 421 assists, 174 steals and 85 blocked shots.
Weaver currently ranks in the top-10 among active career leaders in the Pac-10 in assists (first), steals (first), blocks (sixth), rebounds (ninth) and points (ninth).
OWNING THE BOARDS
Robbie Cowgill has been a solid force on the boards the last two games as he averages 10.0 rebounds per game in the last two outings.
Cowgill has recorded 20 rebounds in the last two games. Prior to that, Cowgill totaled 21 rebounds in the previous sixth games.
A WIN THURSDAY WOULD...
Give WSU its fourth-straight win over Arizona State.
Guarantee the Cougars' fourth series sweep of the season (swept series versus USC, Oregon State and Oregon).
Improve WSU's home record under head coach Tony Bennett to 24-5.
THE 1,000-POINT MILESTONE
Senior Derrick Low became the 28th Cougar to score 1,000 career points just three points into WSU's win over Oregon State Jan. 17.
Kyle Weaver became the 29th Cougar to score 1,000 career points on his first basket against USC Feb. 9.
The last Cougar to reach the milestone prior to Low was Thomas Kelati (2002-05) who reached 1,081 points in Low and Weaver's freshmen season.
Low and Weaver became the first Cougar teammates to reach the milestone in the same year since Terry Kelly and Don Collins in 1980.
Three Cougars have never reached 1,000 career points in the same season.
DISHING IT OUT
Despite ranking eighth in the Pac-10 in assists per game, the Cougars boast two of the top-five assists men in the league.
Junior Taylor Rochestie leads the league and ranks 64th in the nation with 4.8 assists per game.
Rochestie leads the league and is sixth in the nation with a 2.9 assists/turnover ratio (119 assists to 42 turnovers).
Senior Kyle Weaver ranks fifth in the league with 4.3 dishes per contest.
With 119 and 107 assists this season, respectively, Rochestie and Weaver are the first WSU teammates to dish out 100-plus assists in the same season since 1990 when Bennie Seltzer had 114 assists and David Sanders dished out 100.
WHEN WEAVER AND LOW SCORE DOUBLE-DIGITS
WSU's game against Stanford marked the first time this season the Cougars have lost when both Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver score in double-figures.
The Cougars are 8-1 this season when each of the backcourt duo puts up 10 or more points in the same game.
UCLA ONLY TEAM LEFT ON THE LIST
The Cougars snapped a 13-game losing streak to Oregon with its 69-60 victory over the Ducks Jan. 20.
The win was the first over Oregon for head coach Tony Bennett.
It was also the first for all members of the team, including the seniors who have now defeated all Pac-10 teams with the exception of UCLA.
The last senior class to defeat all Pac-10 schools came in 1989.
LOW IN THE CLUTCH
Derrick Low is averaging 8.9 of his team-leading 13.8 points per game in the second half this season.
In the eight games WSU has trailed at the half, Low is averaging 17.4 points per game, over three points above his average.
He is averaging four 3-pointers per game in those contests.
Low is averaging 14.8 of those points in the second half. He is 29-for-42 (.690) from 3-point range in the second half when WSU trails at intermission.
WEAVER GETS PAST 19
In the 107th game of his WSU career, Kyle Weaver reached the 20-point plateau for the first time with 23 points against Stanford.
Weaver had scored in double-digits 49 times in his career prior to his 23-point performance.
His previous career high was 19 which he reached twice, including once this season.
In the same game, Weaver had his first double-double of the season and the fifth of his career. His 11 rebounds marked his first double-digit rebounding performance of the season.
Junior Aron Baynes, at 6-10, 270, has been an effective inside presence for the Cougars this season.
Baynes is third on the team with 11.2 points per game, leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game and ranks second with 22 blocks this season.
He's controlled 23 of the 25 jump balls he's vied for this season.
Baynes is averaging eight points and three rebounds more this season than through 25 games last season (2.9 points, 2.4 boards).
ROCHESTIE PICKING IT UP THIS SEASON AS WELL
Junior Taylor Rochestie's numbers have gone up tremendously this season compared to at this point last season.
Fourth on the team this season in scoring with 10.3 points per game, he averaged just 2.4 points per game after 24 games last season.
Rochestie is also up in assists (this year: 119; last year: 36), rebounds (this year: 2.9; last year: 0.7) and most notably, minutes played (this year: 33.3 mpg; last year: 12.0 mpg).
BENNETT REACHES 40TH CAREER VICTORY
WSU second-year head coach Tony Bennett reached his 40th career coaching victory as the team defeated USC Jan. 10.
Last season Bennett put in the 13th-best coaching debut in NCAA Division I history as the team went 26-8.
At 46-13, Bennett is just four wins shy of 50 career wins, which would tie him for 10th in NCAA history for wins by a second-year head coach.
Bill Guthridge holds the record with a 58-14 mark in his first two seasons at North Carolina.
PLAYING IN FRONT OF FANS
The Cougars are averaging 8,996 fans in their 10 games thus far at Friel Court this season, ranking fourth amongst Pac-10 schools.
Home attendance average is up nearly 2,500 fans than at this point last season.
Tickets for the general public are already sold out for two of WSU's final three home games (tickets remain for WSU's game against Arizona State Feb. 21).
LOW AND WEAVER MAKE MIDSEASON CUTS
Derrick Low is one of 30 collegiate men's basketball players to be named to the midseason John R. Wooden Award candidate list.
Kyle Weaver has been named to the Naismith Trophy midseason top-30 list.
COUGARS IN RPI
Washington State rose to 22nd in the latest RPI (Rating Percentage Index) standings released this week.
UCLA, Arizona and Stanford are the only Pac-10 schools ranked above the Cougs at seventh, 16th and 20th, respectively.
The Pac-10 as a whole ranks second in the RPI.
Going with the theme of the Pac-10 season thus far, the Cougars have been solid on the road this season at 9-2.
WSU is 13-2 in games played outside Pullman this season, tied for the second most wins outside a home court in the nation this season.
The Cougars' game at Stanford, Saturday, March 1 has been picked up by FSN. Tip-time is set for 1 p.m.
The Cougars hit the road for the final time in the Pac-10 regular season as they head to the Bay Area to take on California, Thursday, Feb. 28 and Stanford, Saturday, March 1.
WSU fell to California, 69-64 in the first meeting Jan. 31 and to Stanford, 67-65 Feb. 2 at Friel Court.