Dec. 24, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Cougars return to Fort Collins, Colo., for the first time in 36 years to face Colorado State on Thursday, Dec. 30 in what will be the Cougars' last game of the 1900s. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 p.m. PST (7:00 MST).
CROSBY STILL NUMBER ONE...in scoring this season and in the hearts of his hometown, Littleton, Colo., fans most of whom it seems he will be playing in front of when the Cougars play Crosby's "homecoming" game in Fort Collins versus Colorado State...the senior forward came through with 15 points against Portland State despite playing with a concussion he suffered near his Pullman apartment three days before the PSU game...Crosby moved into 21st in WSU career scoring with 1,028 points, passing Peter Mullins (1,021/1951-53)...he needs just nine more to enter the top 20 (Dennis Hogg -- 1,037/1969-71) and 49 more to jump all the way to No. 16...Crosby is the 22nd member of WSU's 1,000-career point club should climb into WSU's all-time top 10 by season's end...he ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring and free throw percentage...incidentally, more than 100 friends and family are expected to make the drive, which is a little more than an hour, from Littleton to Fort Collins for Thursday's game.
Radio: The Crimson & Gray Sports Network will broadcast all WSU regular season games on its 13-station network with Bud Nameck (7th season) calling the play-by-play. Broadcasts are also available via the Internet, www.wsucougars.com.
WSU at Colorado State Thursday, December 30, 1999 6:00 p.m. PST Moby Arena (8,745)
Records: The Cougars are 5-3 on the season, coming off a 68-62 defeat of Portland State in the Rose Garden. The Rams (7-3) are coming off a great showing in the Pearl Harbor Classic in Hawaii. CSU won the tournament by stopping Florida A&M in the first round 90-46, upsetting No. 18 UCLA in round two 55-54 and then finishing off former WAC rival San Jose State 61-57 to claim the title.
Got Legs?: The WSU game comes at the end of a grueling stretch for the Rams. It will be CSU's sixth game in 13 days. But it does come in Fort Collins where the Rams are perfect (3-0) this season.
Quick Stats: Chris Crosby is averaging 18.8 points per game over the last four games and has reached double figure scoring in all four.
Quick Stats II: Jan-Michael Thomas is averaging 17.0 points per game since taking over at the point three games ago.
On Deck: Pac-10 Play in Spokane: The Cougars open league play Thursday, Jan. 5 versus USC at 7:00 p.m. at the Spokane Arena. The Cougars then return to Pullman for the first time in 28 days to host No. 18 UCLA on Saturday, Jan. 8. WSU COACH PAUL GRAHAM: Paul Graham is in his first season as a head coach...he has a 5-3 record overall and at Washington State...Graham was an assistant coach for seven seasons under Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State prior to accepting the head position at WSU...he is the 13th former Sutton assistant to land a Division I head coaching job...Graham is the 14th head coach in the 99-year history of Cougar basketball...against Grambling State, Graham became the 11th WSU head coach to win his home debut. Though Graham lost his first game (Nevada) as WSU's head coach, it may not be a bad thing...the last Cougar head coach to lose his first game on the Cougar sideline was George Raveling in 1972, who would later become the only man in WSU history to lead the Cougars to two NCAA Tournament appearances (1980, 1983).
MILLER MAY PLAY: Junior forward Eddie Miller may be cleared to play Thursday versus Colorado State...if Miller's fall semester class work meets the required academic progress AND all grades have been turned in by his professors, then Miller can be cleared to play versus the Rams...Miller averaged 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. HOME NON-LEAGUE STREAK ENDS AT 45: The second-longest non-conference home winning streak in the nation ended at 45 games after No. 25 Utah stopped WSU 78-66 Dec. 11 at Friel Court...it was nearly a decade since WSU's last non-conference home loss...WSU was 45-1 versus non-conference teams at Friel during the 1990s!...the Cougars had not lost at home to a non-conference foe since December 14, 1989, when Idaho escaped Friel Court with a 56-52 win. The streak began with a 112-81 win over BYU-Hawaii in the first game of the 1990-91 season...WSU's 45 wins include 40 at Friel and five at Bohler Gym (all during the 1990-91 season)...the streak also included NIT victories in 1992 (Minnesota), 1995 (Texas Tech) and 1996 (Gonzaga).
OH WHAT A FREILING: Washington State's 74-71 victory December 2, 1998, against Portland State was the Cougars' 200th all-time win at Friel Court...beginning with an 80-78 WSU victory against Louisiana State on December 1, 1973, the Cougars have won nearly two-thirds of the games they have played there (.648)...WSU has a 208-113 all-time record in Beasley...milestone wins at Friel:
No. 1 WSU 80, LSU 78, 12/1/73
No. 3 WSU 71, USC 56, 1/5/74 (first league win)
No. 25 WSU 77, Cal 63, 1/8/77
No. 50 WSU 77, USC 57, 1/24/80
No. 100 WSU 75, Oregon 71, 2/14/86
No. 150 WSU 95, Oregon 79, 1/21/93
No. 200 WSU 74, Portland State 71, 12/2/98
SCOUTING COLORADO STATE: The Rams are one of the hottest teams around, having won six in a row heading into Monday night's game at Sacramento State...the Rams used just seven players in their 55-54 upset of No. 18 UCLA...CSU is 2-1 versus the Pac-10 this season with wins over UCLA and Oregon State (83-78) and a loss at Arizona State (72-57)...Pearl Harbor Classic MVP Ceedric Goodwyn is the Rams' biggest threat, averaging 18.8 points per game...junior John Sivesind is the only other CSU player in double figures (10.3 ppg).
WSU-COLORADO STATE SERIES: Colorado State leads 4-1. This will the first meeting between the two schools in 22 seasons, and WSU's first trip to Fort Collins since 1963-64...the Cougars won the first game of the series, 57-30 in Fort Collins during the 1946-47 season, but have lost four in a row since...the Rams won the last meeting between the two schools 47-46 at the 1977 Far West Classic in Portland, Ore...CSU also won the last game in Fort Collins, 96-60 in 1963-64...WSU is 10-25 all-time versus current members of the Mountain West Conference, including a 78-66 loss to No. 25 Utah earlier this month.
WSU-CSU CONNECTION: Current Colorado State president Dr. Al Yates was an executive vice president/provost at WSU for nine years during the 1980s...Yates worked under retiring WSU president Sam Smith.
BUSH, COUGARS TIE STEALS MARKS: Mike Bush reasserted himself as one of the best defenders in the Pac-10 Dec. 20 versus Portland State by tying Don Collins' 20 year-old single-game steals record of eight...led by his efforts, the Cougars also tied the team single-game steals record with 17...Bush is averaging an impressive 3.3 steals per game to rank third in the Pac-10. Bush continues to show much improvement during his sophomore season...he is WSU's top rebounder (7.1 rpg) and ranks sixth in the Pac-10...Bush broke his career mark with 10 boards in WSU's win over Idaho and has been WSU's leading rebounder six times this season...he also had 15 points versus the Vandals which gave the 6-6 Bush his first career double-double...the Riverside, Calif., native set his career high in points, 16, Dec. 7 versus Southern...he is averaging 10.4 points per game, up from his 6.6 ppg mark his rookie campaign.
MORE ON CROSBY: Pop quiz -- how do you transform a 6-8 shooting guard into a pretty well-rounded inside player? Answer -- Paul Graham...for the first three years of his career, Chris Crosby was a shooting guard inside a forward's body...nearly half of his career field goal attempts (365 of 739) came from beyond the arc...but this season, Crosby has attempted 83 field goals with only a third (32) coming from downtown. And to those who thought he was just a gunner, check out the box from the Grambling State game, his 29 points were the second-highest of his career, but only one of his 12 FGs was a three...he also had six boards and a pair of steals...Crosby is shooting a career-best 51 percent from the field through eight games (42-83)...and make no mistake, his three-point shooting is just as good as ever, if not better, he's 14-32 (44 percent) from three-point land this season and the inside-out dual threat makes his threes all the more devastating. One dramatic area of improvement is very easy to overlook -- assists...he's only got 12 on the season for an average of less than two per game...but consider his previous season high is 35 set as a sophomore and compare that to the fact that he's on pace for nearly 50 assists this year and it's evident that Crosby has certainly become a better passer in his final season in the Crimson and Gray. Crosby is also grabbing 4.2 rebounds per game and setting screens in the offensive set that eventually lead to a lot of open looks at the basket...he could still work on his turnovers, as his season average is 2.3 per game...but if Crosby makes it to the next level, he can thank one man with a reputation for developing big men -- Paul Graham.
CROSBY CASHES IN AT CHARITY STRIPE: Proving last season's .843 clip (fourth best ever at WSU) from the free throw line was no fluke, senior forward Chris Crosby is tearing it up at the charity stripe this season to the tune of a 90.5 percent average (38-42) -- to rank second in the Pac-10 and 11th nationally...he tied a 35 year-old school record by hitting 11-of-11 attempts Dec. 4 versus Southern...Crosby had a streak of 25 consecutive free throws made snapped with a miss late in the Portland game...the school single-season record is 88.5 percent by David Sanders in 1988, but like Crosby, senior Jan-Michael Thomas is above that mark as well this season, hitting 88.9 percent at the line.
PORTLAND STATE RECAP: Chris Crosby and Mike Bush each had 15 points to rally Washington State to a 68-62 win over Portland State Dec. 20 in the Rose Garden...Crosby, the leading scorer for the Cougars, had just five points in the first half but connected on three consecutive 3-pointers in the final half - the last with 4:02 left - to give Washington State a 58-46 lead...Bush kept the Cougars in the game with his offense as well as his defense...the sophomore from Riverside, Calif., tied a WSU record with eight steals, set by Don Collins versus Washington, Jan. 5, 1980...as a team, the Cougars tied their two-year old single-game steals record with 17, a mark initially set Nov. 30, 1997, versus Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. Portland State led by as much as 9 in the first half before Tyrone Evans scored five points for Washington State in the final four minutes of the first half...Crosby got the first of his four 3-pointers for the evening with 5.6 seconds to go to give the Cougars a 28-27 halftime lead...Portland State tied the game at 41 in the second half before Bryan Whitehead scored three of the four baskets in an 8-0 Washington State run, making it 49-41 with 7:05 left...Jan-Michael Thomas, who scored 14 for the Cougars, made four foul shots in a row with a minute left, keeping the Cougars ahead 63-53. Evans led Washington State with a career-high 10 rebounds...he also had a career-high nine points...WSU is now 4-0 all-time versus Portland State and 2-0 all-time in the Rose Garden. WSU redshirt junior guard Cedric Clark, a walk-on, saw his first action of the season versus Portland State and set a career high with two assists in five minutes at the end of the first half...this was WSU's first road win since defeating Idaho 84-69 Dec. 20, 1998, in Moscow...it was also the first time this season that the Cougars won a game when losing the rebounding battle (33-23).
YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS: Washington State opened the season with five freshmen on its roster (David Adams, Nick Graham, Mike Malloy, Milton Riley and Bryan Whitehead) for the first time in 14 years...the last time WSU had at least five rookies on its opening day roster was the 1985-86 season...that year, the Cougs actually had six -- Neil Evans, David Hairston, John Hodges, Anthony Kidd, David Sanders and Brian Wright...five of those six names should be very familiar to the Cougar faithful, Evans (who redshirted the 1985-86 season), Hodges, Kidd, Sanders and Wright all went on to become four-year letter winners for WSU...the 1985-86 Cougars went 15-16 overall and 8-10 in the conference for Coach Len Stevens...this year's crop of freshmen would certainly like to have at least one thing in common with the 1985-86 rookies -- they were the last WSU team to defeat Arizona.
COUGS IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: A glance at this week's Pac-10 stats (released Dec. 20, before the PSU game) finds several Cougars ranked in the conference in assorted categories...Chris Crosby is second in both scoring (17.3 ppg) and free throw shooting (92.5 pct.)...Mike Bush is sixth in rebounding (7.7 rpg) and third in steals (2.57 spg)...Jan-Michael Thomas is fifth in scoring (16.0 ppg) and third in free throw shooting (90.5 pct)...Milton Riley is ninth in blocked shots (1.00 bpg) As a team, WSU leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.382), despite not having a single individual listed among the top 10...WSU is also second in rebounding defense (rebounds allowed) at 31.3 rpg, third in three-pointers made per game (6.71) and fifth in free throw percentage (.694).
SLASH MENCKE JOINS TEAM: Paul Mencke was already a slash -- quarterback/tight end/receiver...now you can add two more words to that title -- guard/forward...Mencke, a two-time Greater Spokane League MVP, joined the Washington State basketball team on Dec. 13...he suited up, but did not play in the Dec. 20 Portland State game. During his junior year, the Spokane native was named MVP of the GSL and led Lewis and Clark High School to its first state tournament appearance in 32 years...the 6-5, 229-lbs., Mencke averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior and repeated his GSL MVP honors...playing for coach Glenn Williams, he led the GSL in scoring in back-to-back seasons. Mencke will wear number 24 (he wanted to wear his football number 12, but the jersey was too small)...he will have a homecoming of sorts on January 5 when the Cougars open the Pac-10 season versus USC at the Spokane Arena...it will be the first time in four years that Mencke will play in the Lilac City. Like he was in football, Mencke is a redshirt junior and has this season and next season of eligibility remaining...following basketball, Mecke will re-join the football team for spring drills and then stay with football through the fall...if all goes well this season, Mencke will play basketball again next winter following the conclusion of the 2000 football season. As soon as Mencke sees his first playing time, he will become the first football-basketball two-sport athlete at WSU since former NFL player Kitrick Taylor, who lettered in football in 1982-83 and 1985-86 and in basketball in 1985 and 1987.
STARTING LINE-UPS: Here's a breakdown of WSU's starting five in 1999-2000:
G1-2 Evans, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush
G3-4 Riley, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush
G5 Bush, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Adams
G6-8 Riley, Crosby, Thomas, Bush, Adams
WOW - WHAT A SCHEDULE: For the first time since 1994-95, odds are that WSU will play home games against five different ranked teams...the first two came Nov. 29 versus No. 25 Gonzaga (Spokane) and Dec. 11 versus No. 25 Utah...three more opponents are currently ranked in the national polls: No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Arizona and No. 18 UCLA...in 1994-95, all five teams were from the Pac-10: No. 17 California, No. 23 Stanford, No. 17 Oregon, No. 12 Arizona and No. 15 Arizona State (WSU was 4-1 versus those schools at home)...if one more Pac-10 team finds its way into the top 25, WSU will have home games against six ranked teams for the first time ever.
THREE-POINT PLAYERS: Seniors Chris Crosby and Jan-Michael Thomas both rank in WSU's top 10 in career three-point baskets...by season's end, Thomas should join Crosby in the top five. Crosby leads the pair with 155 threes (fourth) and looks to close in on the 200 barrier by season's end...Thomas, in just his second season wearing the Crimson and Gray, is now tied with Brian Wright (111, 1986-89) for ninth...he's just eight treys shy of jumping all the way to No. 7...Thomas is also closing in on No. 8 Shamon Antrum (1995-96) with 113.
WSU VS. RANKED TEAMS: WSU currently has eight games scheduled against top 25...the next comes Jan. 8 versus No. 18 UCLA...the last time WSU defeated a ranked opponent was February 22, 1997, when the Cougs beat No. 25 Cal 89-87...WSU also played eight games versus ranked opponents during the 1996-97 season.
NEW OPPONENTS: WSU faces two opponents for the first time ever this season -- Southern and Texas-Pan American...Utah visited Pullman for the first time since 1939, it was also the first game between the two schools overall since 1972...the Cougars also renew dormant rivalries with Nevada (last meeting 1972), Colorado State (1978) and Portland (1990).
OLD OPPONENTS: WSU's oldest rivalry, Oregon State, will reach game No. 260 this season...Washington State and Idaho met for the 255th time this season...the second Oregon game will be No. 254 in the series...WSU and Washington inch toward the 250 mark with games 247 and 248 this season...it was just the second meeting with Grambling State.
I WANT MY COUGTV: Washington State will be on the Fox network nine times this season, with the possibility of a tenth game (UCLA - March 9) if that contest has a bearing on the conference title race...three games will be shown nationally (Fox Sports Northwest locally) -- Dec. 11 Utah, Jan. 22 Oregon and Feb. 5 Washington...Fox Sports Northwest will broadcast an additional four games -- Nov. 29 Gonzaga, Jan. 13 Arizona, Feb. 12 Arizona and Feb. 26 California -- to a regional audience...two other road games will be shown in their local market -- Jan. 29 Stanford (Fox Sports Bay Area) and March 11 USC (Fox West 2).
PENGELLY LEAVES TEAM: Senior guard Blake Pengelly left the Washington State men's basketball team for personal reasons, announced prior to WSU's Dec. 7 game versus Portland. Pengelly, a native of Eugene, Ore., was averaging 4.0 points and 6.8 assists per game through five contests this season...he played in 93 career games with 56 starts...he ranks fifth in WSU career assists with 324 and is seventh in career three-point field goals with 119.
STARTERS: Coming into the 1999-2000 season, only five of WSU's 12 players had ever started a college game...of the active players, Chris Crosby has the most starts with 45, followed by Jan-Michael Thomas (32).
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY COUG YEAR!