Jan. 19, 2008
COUGARS LOOK FOR FIRST WIN OVER DUCKS SINCE 2001: The Washington State University men's basketball team (15-1, 3-1) comes off its first Pacific-10 Conference home game, a 69-46 win over Oregon State, to host fellow Pacific Northwest-rival, Oregon (12-5, 3-2), Sunday, Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. at Friel Court. The game will be televised live on FSN. The Ducks have had the Cougars' number as of late, as WSU looks to snap its 13-game losing streak against Oregon. The Cougs' last win in the series came Feb. 15, 2001.
ABOUT THE COUGARS: No. 8 WSU rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 69-46 win over Oregon State Thursday, and enters Sunday's game with a 15-1 overall record and 3-1 league mark. After scoring his 1,000th career points against Oregon State Thursday, senior Derrick Low continues to lead the team with 13.6 points per game. Fellow starters Aron Baynes and Kyle Weaver join Low in double-digits with 12.1 and 10.9 points per game, respectively. Baynes leads the team with 6.4 boards per game, while Weaver is averaging a team-best 1.9 steals per outing. Point guard Taylor Rochestie is right behind with 9.3 points per contest, while dishing out 5.2 assists per game.
ABOUT THE DUCKS: Oregon (12-5, 3-2) enters Sunday's game after falling to Washington, 78-70, Thursday at Bank of America Arena at Seattle, snapping its three-game conference winning streak. The Pac-10's top offense is led by Malik Hairston's 18.3 points per game. Five Oregon players are averaging double-digit points, as the team is putting up 81.6 points per outing, good for top 20 in the nation. Maarty Leunen is nearly averaging a double-double with 15.6 points and 9.7 boards per contest. The Ducks, who received votes in the latest AP and ESPN/USA Today Polls, have knocked off three top-25 opponents this season, including two from the Pac-10 Conference.
THE SERIES AGAINST OREGON: The Ducks hold a 154-116 all-time advantage over the Cougars and have won the last 13 meetings, although WSU holds a 71-54 advantage at home. No member of this season's Cougar team or coaching staff has defeated Oregon as a part of the WSU basketball program, as Washington State's last win over Oregon came Feb. 15, 2001. Last season the Ducks swept the season series, including a thrilling 77-74 overtime game in Pullman, in which the Cougs' Derrick Low exploded for 37 points including nine 3-pointers. For more information on the series, see page five in today's notes.
RECAPPING THURSDAY'S VICTORY: The Cougars defeated Oregon State, 69-46, in their Pac-10 home opener Thursday. Below is a look at some of the highlights:
With 15 points, senior Derrick Low became the 28th Cougar to score 1,000 career points...he now has 1,012.
The Cougars improve to 115-160 all-time against the Beavers...74-59 at Pullman...have won last three meetings.
First time in Pacific-10 play this season the Cougars have not had at least three players score double-digits.
The 46 points by Oregon State are the fewest allowed by the Cougars against a Pac-10 opponent this season...fewest since California scored 46 Feb. 10, 2007.
Taylor Rochestie recorded his WSU high with nine assists...his career high is 11 set against Southern Mississippi while at Tulane.
LOW REACHES 1,000 CAREER POINTS: With 15 points against Oregon State Thursday, senior Derrick Low became the 28th Cougar men's basketball player to score 1,000 career points. Low now has 1,012 points. The last Cougar to reach the milestone was Thomas Kelati who reached 1,081 points in his career which spanned from 2002-05.
WEAVER NOT FAR BEHIND AT 911 POINTS: Fellow senior guard Kyle Weaver is on schedule to become the 29th Cougar to score 1,000 points in his career, as he enters Sunday's game with 911 points. Weaver is averaging 10.9 points per outing and is on track to get the 89 points he needs in WSU's next nine games.
LAST TEAMMATES TO REACH 1,000 CAREER POINTS: If Weaver can join Low with 1,000 career points, they would become the first WSU teammates to reach the milestone together since Terry Kelly and Don Collins accomplished the feat in 1980. Fellow senior Robbie Cowgill has 797c career points, 207 shy of 1,000. If Cowgill were to also reach 1,000, it would mark the first time three teammates reached 1,000 career points in the same season.
BEST 16-GAME SPAN IN 59 YEARS: The Cougars 15-1 start is their best record in 16 games since the 1948-49 squad also went 15-1 in its first 16 contests. That same team didn't suffer its second loss until game number 20, opening 18-1. WSU CAN EQUAL BEST PAC-10 START IN 25 YEARS: If the Cougars can get the win Sunday, they can equal last season's 4-1 Pacific-10 start. Last year's start marked the best since 1982-83 when the team started 7-0 in league play. The Cougars' 2-0 start to their Pacific-10 season this year marked the first time they'd won two-straight to open league play since 1994-95.
LOW COMES ALIVE IN SECOND HALF: Senior Derrick Low scored all 24 of his points in the second half at UCLA Saturday, 13 of them in the final five minutes of the game. The trend has been going on all season, as WSU's leading scorer is averaging nearly nine of his 13.6 points per game in the second half.
LOW ALSO KEY IN THE CLUTCH: WSU has trailed at halftime five times this season. In the five games, Derrick Low is averaging 17.8 points per game, 16.6 of those points in the second half. He's averaging 19.2 minutes in the second half when the Cougs enter the second period with a deficit, and is 21-of-30 (.700) from beyond the 3-point arc in the second half of those games.
HARMELING'S LUCKY BREAK: Since missing two games (Dec. 23 at Idaho State and Dec. 28 vs. North Carolina A&T) after fracturing his right thumb, redshirt junior Daven Harmeling has been on fire from the field. The forward, who averaged 6.4 points per game before the fracture and was just 5-for-26 from beyond 3-point, is averaging 10.6 points in the Cougars' last three games, including 12-for-16 from 3-point range.
COUGARS OPEN WITH BEST START IN 91 YEARS: Although their winning streak was snapped at 14, the Cougars opened the season with their best start since the 1916-17 National Championship team opened 15-0. The school record is 17-0, accomplished in 1914-15. WSU also went through nonconference play without a blemish for just the fifth time in school history and the first since 1935-36.
COUGARS MOVE UP IN RPI: Washington State moved up in the latest RPI (Rating Percentage Index) standings released this week to No. 23, third best in the Pac-10. The league as a whole ranks second in the RPI. WINS AWAY FROM HOME: Prior to this week's matchups, WSU has hosted just four games at Friel Court this season and are 10-1 in games away from Pullman. The Cougars are tied with Butler for the most road/neutral-site wins in the nation with 10. North Carolina has nine, while Robert Morris has eight road/neutral-site victories.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Cougars are undefeated at home this season and haven't lost at Friel Court since March 1, 2007. WSU has won five-straight games in Pullman.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Prior to its game at USC Jany. 10, WSU's season high for 3-pointers made in a game was nine, which was reached twice. Since then, the Cougars have made at least nine treys in each of the last three games, including 10 at USC, 13 at UCLA and nine against Oregon State.
CUTTING IT CLOSE: WSU's seven-point loss Saturday was its first setback since March 17, 2007 in the NCAA Tournament to Vanderbilt. Although they are 34-8 in their last 41-games, the Cougars have not lost a game in double-digits in that span, their last double-digit loss came at the hands of Utah in their first loss of the 2006-07 season, Dec. 2, by a score of 69-55.
COUGARS ON TELEVISION: At least 14 of the Cougars' 18 Pacific-10 Conference games will be televised live on either FSN or ABC this season. WSU's final two regular-season games have the possibility of being picked up as `wildcard' picks for television. The Cougars will appear on television a minimum of 18 times this season, which ties the 2005-06 team for the most televised games in school history.
WSU HIGHEST RANKED PAC-10 TEAM FOR FIRST TIME: Earlier this season, the Cougars became the highest ranked Pacific-10 team in the Associated Press Poll for the first time in school history, coming in at No. 7, ahead of No. 8 UCLA. WSU later ranked ahead of UCLA at fourth, while the Bruins were fifth. The Cougars dropped to No. 8 while the Bruins rose to No. 4 after UCLA's victory Saturday.
SECOND HALF STRENGTH: Despite trailing five times at halftime, the Cougars have dominated in the second half this season, outscoring their opponents 637-448 in the final 20 minutes of play for an 11-point average scoring margin in the second period. The Cougars were outscored in the second half for the only time this season at Gonzaga (28-23).
WSU EARNS BEST ALL-TIME RANKING: Washington State jumped three spots in the Dec. 24 Associated Press Poll and two in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls, coming in at No. 4 in both rankings. The No. 4 rankings are the highest for the Cougars in school history by the respective polls. WSU's previous high was No. 6 which was held this season. Now ranked No. 8, the Cougars have been ranked in the top-10 in all 10 releases of the polls thus far this season, including their first-ever preseason ranking.
LOW AND WEAVER ON WATCH LISTS: Senior guards Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver have each been named to both the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T Preseason Watch List and the Men's 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award Top-50 Candidate list. Weaver is also a preseason 2008 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Candidate and a Low's Senior CLASS Award Candidate. On top of that, Weaver has been named to the Basketball Times preseason All-America team and was named a third-team preseason All-American by Fox Sports.
COUGARS HOLD HOT TICKET: With expectations set high for the Cougars in 2007-08, tickets are going fast for WSU home games this season. The season opener against EWU was a sellout, while tickets are still available to the general public for just three of WSU's final nine home games (Oregon State-Jan. 17, California-Jan. 31, and Arizona State-Feb. 21).
BOEKE'S WSU DEBUT DELAYED: WSU received an official ruling from the NCAA regarding freshman Fabian Boeke's eligibility. He has been reinstated by the NCAA subject to the withholding penalty of sitting out the 2007-08 season and the loss of one season of eligibility. Boeke will have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning the fall of 2008. In the meantime he is eligible for athletics aid and practice.
LOW AND WEAVER REPRESENT WSU; USA: Seniors Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver became the first Cougar men's basketball players to represent the United States when they participated in the 2007 Pan American Games. The duo, which made WSU just the eighth school to have two student-athletes on the same Pan Am squad, helped team USA to a 3-2 record and fifth place finish. Low started three games averaging 14.3 points in those contests. Weaver saw action in three games, starting two and averaging 2.7 points.
ABERCROMBIE AND BAYNES AT WORLD GAMES: Redshirt freshman Thomas Abercrombie and junior Aron Baynes represented their native countries of New Zealand and Australia, respectively, at the 2007 World University Games. Abercrombie, of Auckland, New Zealand, averaged 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in route to a 15th place finish. Baynes of Cairns, Australia was third at the games in scoring and second in rebounding with 18.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in leading his team to a 17th place finish.
COUGARS GO INTERNATIONAL: The Cougars traveled to Australia and New Zealand for a 14-day international tour in June, 2007. WSU played six games in a nine-day span, finishing the trip with a 4-2 record, with both losses coming by one point. Among the highlights of the trip were visits to the homes of Auckland, New Zealand native Thomas Abercrombie and Cairns, Australia native Aron Baynes'.
ROCHESTIE GIVING BACK: Redshirt junior guard Taylor Rochestie decided to voluntarily come off his scholarship for the 2008-09 year, his senior season. Rochestie made the decision in order to free up another scholarship and give back to the program. WSU Head Coach Tony Bennett said of his guard's decision, "I think this shows how much of a leader and great teammate Taylor is and for him to want to do something like this to help establish the future of our program in this manner is just incredible."
UP NEXT: The Cougars head back on the road as they travel to the Southwest to take on Arizona Thursday, Jan. 24 and Arizona State Saturday, Jan. 26.