Nov. 9, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State University men's basketball team will hold its final tune-up for the 2008-09 season as it hosts Lewis-Clark State College, Monday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum's Friel Court.
The Cougars return two starters and five letterwinners from last season's school record-tying 26-win squad which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Also returning is third-year head coach Tony Bennett who carries a combined 52-17 record in his first two seasons at the helm for WSU.
"We've got four seniors that are returning that I think are all pretty good leaders, having been involved in our program a number of years," Bennett said. "They know what's important and they've worked hard trying to build the foundation here."
Among the returning starters are seniors, center Aron Baynes and point guard Taylor Rochestie. Last season the duo ranked third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game apiece. Rochestie ranked 10th in the nation with a 2.8 assists/turnover ratio last season, while Baynes' .600 field goal percentage last year is the sixth-best single-season mark in WSU's record book.
Joining those two are fellow seniors Caleb Forrest and Daven Harmeling and lone junior Nikola Koprivica. The three were the first off the bench for the Cougs a combined 37 times last year. New to competition, but returning to the team are 2007-08 squad members sophomore Fabian Boeke and redshirt freshmen Charlie Enquist and Abe Lodwick.
"We're going to need some of those first-year guys to contribute and that's the exciting thing for them in terms of opportunity," Bennett said. "We have a mix of those young guys and we will blend it together with some of the seniors that have the experience. Our hope is that it will be a nice combination."
Admission is free to the public Monday. Washington State opens up the regular season hosting Mississippi Valley State, Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Friel Court. Last season, in their only other meeting with the Delta Devils, the Cougars prevailed, 71-26 at Spokane in the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge.