Nov. 12, 2007
COUGARS HIT THE ROAD TO TAKE ON BRONCOS: After an impressive showing in its 68-41 season-opening victory versus Eastern Washington, Washington State University travels to Boise, Idaho to take on Boise State, Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. PST. Both teams enter the game at 1-0 following wins at home to open the season.
ABOUT THE COUGARS: For the sixth-straight season the Cougars are 1-0 to start the season following a 68-41 victory in their season opener over Eastern Washington, Friday, Nov. 9. Junior Aron Baynes led all scorers with 15 points, as fellow frontcourt starter, Robbie Cowgill added 13 points and seven boards off 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Senior guard Derrick Low hit three 3-pointers to finish with 14 points. Fellow starters Kyle Weaver and Taylor Rochestie combined for 11 of the team's 17 assists and six of the seven steals, chipping in seven points apiece.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS: The Broncos escaped their home opener with a 73-72 overtime victory over Utah Valley, Fri., Nov. 9 at Taco Bell Arena. Reggie Larry led the team with a double-double, putting up 20 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Fellow senior Matt Nelson added a double-double of his own with 15 points and 10 boards. Two other Broncos ended the game with double-figure points.
Head coach Greg Graham is in this sixth season at the helm for Boise State, holding an 83-73 record. Graham is 0-1 all-time when coaching against the Cougars.
THE SERIES: Tuesday's matchup is the sixth all-time between the two teams. WSU leads the series, 3-2, while the series is tied at 1-1 in games played in Boise. Last season the two teams renewed the series after an eight-year hiatus.
The Cougars and Broncos met last season at Spokane Arena, Nov. 25. A game that turned out to be huge in preserving WSU's stellar season, the matchup came down to the final seconds. With the Cougars trailing by two, 62-60, and a minute remaining, Daven Harmeling converted a four-point play as he hit a 3-pointer off a steal by Derrick Low to give the Cougs a two-point lead.
With 45 seconds remaining, Boise State's Coby Karl hit one of two free throws, while WSU added a Low free throw for a 65-63 victory.
AGAINST THE WAC: Washington State holds a 182-123 record against current members of the Western Athletic Conference. This season the Cougars will face two WAC opponents in Boise State and Idaho. The Cougars have played all but one current WAC school, having yet to face New Mexico State. WSU has winning records against all but one of its WAC opponents; it's only losing record is against Utah State (1-7).
COUGARS IN SEASON OPENERS: With their win Friday, the Cougars improved to 87-20 all-time in season openers and have won their last six. They have also won 20-consecutive Friel Court openers and improved to 10-1 all-time in season openers against Eastern Washington.
NEAR PERFECT IN NOVEMBER: The Nov. 9 opener this season is the Cougars' earliest start in school history, bettering last season's Nov. 10 start. WSU is 29-0 all-time in the month of November at Friel Court and has won 26-straight November games in Pullman and are 31-1. The Cougars' only loss in Pullman in November was 77-47 to Colorado State, Nov. 30, 1963.
Under second-year head coach Tony Bennett, the Cougars are 8-0 in the month of November, including four victories outside of Pullman.
COUGARS LAND IN PRESEASON POLLS: For the first time in school history, the Cougars are ranked in the Associated Press preseason top 25, coming in at No. 10. WSU is also ranked 10th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today poll. The Cougars' No. 10 AP ranking is one off of their highest-ever, a No. 9 ranking, which they reached Feb. 9, 2007.
The Cougars success in 2006-07 has not gone unnoticed as the Cougars garner preseason rankings from various publications. Lindy's, CBSSportsline.com, Hoopvibe.com and The Sports Flow list Washington State at No. 7; The Sporting News puts the Cougars at No. 8; The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook has WSU come in at No. 12; and CollegeHoops.net and Rivals.com both place the Cougars at No. 14.
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. 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, as is the Cougars' regular season finale against Washington, set for March 8. Many other games are close to being sold out; for example, as of Nov. 9, 320 tickets are left for USC (Feb. 9), 390 tickets remain for UCLA (Feb. 7), 659 tickets are left for Oregon (Jan. 20), and 662 tickets are left for the Feb. 23 Arizona game.
UNDER BENNETT: The Cougars's record has glowed under second-year head coach Tony Bennett. Aside from a 27-6 record under Bennett, WSU has only lost twice when trailing at halftime under Bennett (10-2). The Cougars are also 12-1 when shooting better than 50 percent, 17-1 when holding an opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field and 17-2 when holding an opponent under 60 points (6-0 when holding under 50 points) with Bennett at the helm. The Cougars are 8-0 under Bennett in the month of November.
BOEKE'S WSU DEBUT DELAYED: Washington State freshman Fabian Boeke has not been certified for competition by the NCAA, therefore at this time is not permitted to compete in the upcoming exhibition game and regular season competition.
Boeke, a native of Kummerfeld, Germany, played four seasons with the Ehingen Club team in Germany. The club team Boeke played on was a mix of high school players and a few older individuals. Members of that club team, not including Boeke, received stipends that the NCAA determined were above actual and necessary expenses. Therefore, the Ehingen team is deemed a professional organization by the NCAA.
Boeke is currently eligible to continue practicing with the team while WSU continues to resolve the issue with the NCAA eligibility center.
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."
STIFF COMPETITION: The Cougars' 2007-08 schedule features 13 games against teams that reached the postseason last year. The Cougar Hispanic College Fund Classic in Spokane (Nov. 23-25) features NIT participants Air Force and Mississippi Valley State. The other non-conference opponent returning from a postseason run is in-state rival Gonzaga, coming off of their ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The other 10 games come from the five Pacific-10 conference foes that return from the 2007 NCAA Tournament: USC (away Jan. 10/home Feb. 9), UCLA (away Jan 12/home Feb. 7), Oregon (home Jan. 20/away Feb. 16), Arizona (away Jan. 24/home Feb. 23), and Stanford (home Feb. 2/away Mar. 1).
2006-07 Tony Bennett ACCOLADES: Washington State Head Coach Tony Bennett led the Cougars to 26 wins in 2006-07, tied for most in school history. He won The Naismith, Associated Press, The Sporting News, United States Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times, CBS/Chevrolet, Collegehoops.net, Collegeinsider.com (Jim Phelan Award) and Rivals.com National Coach of the Year Awards. Bennett was also named Pacific-10 Conference, United States Basketball Writers Association District 9, National Association of Basketball Coaches District 14 and Collegeinsider.com Pacific-10 coach of the year and became the most decorated Pac-10 coach in a single-season.
MORE BENNETT: Tony Bennett completed his first season at the helm of the Cougar program and his fourth year with WSU. He was an assistant coach in 2003-04 and an associate head coach in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and was an assistant coach at Wisconsin from 2000-03. He became the first head coach at a current Pac-10 institution to start 7-0 in his inaugural campaign at the school since Stanford's Robert W. Burnett was 9-0 in 1951-52. Bennett's accomplishment is tied for the third best start in a debut season at Pac-10 school in the post-World War II era.
COUGARS EQUAL BEST FINISH IN 2006-07: Washington State's 88-86 double overtime win over No. 23 USC last March 3 earned sole possession of second place in the final Pac-10 standings. It was the first time WSU had finished in the upper division of the conference since a tie for fifth in 1994-95. The second place finish equals best finish in Pac-10 history (1982-83).
WSU WINS PILED UP: The Cougars won 26 games in 2006-07, tied for most in school history. WSU posted 26 wins in 1940-41 (NCAA runner-up), and 25 in 1916-17 (national champions by the Helms Foundation of Los Angeles). WSU's 13 Pac-10 wins are third in school history (14 in 1979-80 and 1982-83). WSU won 14 more games than the previous season, marking the second biggest improvement in school history (won eight in 1943-44 and 23 in 1944-45).
COUGARS IN THE POLLS: Washington State finished in the top 25 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls. The Cougars began receiving votes after upsetting then-No. 18 Gonzaga, 77-67, Dec. 5. They earned their first AP ranking (No. 22, Jan. 8) since Feb. 1983.