Dec. 20, 2004
THIS WEEK: Wednesday, Dec. 22 - WSU at Wyoming - 6 p.m.
NEXT WEEK: Friday, Dec. 31 - WSU vs. Stanford - 5 p.m. (Spokane Arena-FSN Bay Area) Sunday, Jan. 2 - WSU vs. California - 2 p.m. (Spokane Arena)
WASHINGTON STATE (5-3, 0-0 Pac-10)
WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is currently in his second season on the Palouse...he is 5-3 this season and 18-19 in his WSU career...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .631 career winning percentage (472-276)...career highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...with 49-46 win over BYU, Dec. 11, Bennett moved into 73rd place on the NCAA career wins list among coaches with at least 10 years experience at the Division I level.
BENNETT MAGIC: WSU won 13 games in 2003-04, a six-win improvement over the previous season, under first-year mentor Dick Bennett...only other time a Cougar head coach had a better improvement during his inaugural season was John R. Bender in 1907-08...Bender's squad finished 12-3 after Everett M. Sweeley's 1906-07 team posted a 5-4 record...WSU tallied seven Pac-10 wins after winning just seven of its last 50 conference games prior to 2003-04.
WYOMING PREVIEW: The Cowboys are 5-3...Wyoming and WSU have played two common opponents...Cougars (in Pullman) and Cowboys (in Billings, Mont.) defeated Montana State...WSU (in Manhattan, Kan.) and Wyoming (in Casper, Wyo.) lost to Kansas State...Wyoming is led by Steve Leven's 20.8 scoring average in four games played...Jay Straight (16.5 ppg) and Alex Dunn (11.5 ppg) both average double-figure scoring...Dunn leads the Cowboys with 8.5 rebounds per outing...Wyoming has not played in its home arena since an 86-79 win over Texas-Arlington, Nov. 27.
SERIES WITH THE COWBOYS: Wyoming has won all three previous meetings, each taking place in Laramie...Cowboys won a pair of games in the 1946-47 season and another during the 1949-50 campaign...average score of the three games is 41-36...all three games were played in Half Acre Gym, the home to Wyoming basketball from 1924-25 through 1950-51...Half Acre Gym was considered the largest and most modern facility of its time between Syracuse and California according to a Branding Iron article from 1924...Wyoming was 222-44 in Half Acre Gym...since then, the Cowboys have played in War Memorial Fieldhouse (1951-52 through 1981-82) and their current home, Arena-Auditorium (1982-83 to present).
WSU PLAYING CLOSE GAMES: The Cougars defeated Portland 55-54, Dec. 18 for their second one-point win this season...Portland had a chance to win, but Pooh Jeter's 35-foot shot at the buzzer in the back rim...WSU also defeated Idaho 37-36 (Nov. 30) and BYU 49-46 (Dec. 11)...Cougars lost 54-52 to Gonzaga (Dec. 7) when Josh Akognon's 3-pointer with under 10 seconds left did not find its mark.
LOW ON THE BOARD: Freshman point guard Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) made his second start of the season (Dec. 18) at Portland...he tallied his first points as a Cougar with a 3-pointer in the first half and finished with 10...he added three assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
COUGARS START FRESHMEN: For the first time in its men's basketball history, Washington State started three true freshmen in a game (Dec. 11 vs. BYU)...forward Robbie Cowgill made his second start of the season...point guard Derrick Low appeared in his second game of the year and made his first start...center Chris Henry started his season debut...both Low and Henry missed time this season with injuries...in addition, guard Kyle Weaver started three games earlier this season, marking the first time since 1982-83 season that four WSU true freshmen have made at least one start in a season.
FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTION: Cougar freshmen have accounted for 38.2 percent of Washington State's scoring this season led by Robbie Cowgill's 5.9 points per game...Cowgill (Austin, Texas) leads the Cougars with 10 blocked shots...Cowgill's jumper with 1:20 left at Portland, Dec. 18 tied the game at 53 and his two free throws with 48 seconds remaining gave the Cougars a 55-54 victory.
DIFFERENT VENUES NOTHING NEW FOR COUGARS: Washington State will play in its seventh arena in nine games this season when it travels to the Arena-Auditorium to take on Wyoming...WSU has played three games at home, road games against Kansas State, Idaho, Oklahoma State and Portland, and a neutral site game against BYU at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.
WSU EXTENDS 3-POINT STREAK: The Cougars knocked down seven 3-pointers at Portland, Dec. 18 and have made at least one trey in 261 straight games...last time Cougars did not make a 3-pointer was Feb. 18, 1995 at Oregon...since 3-point line was adopted in 1986-87, WSU has failed to make a 3-pointer three times...other two occasions were Jan. 5, 1987 at Idaho and Dec. 9, 1988 at home against Portland.
COUGAR DEFENSE: Washington State held Montana State to 42 points in the season opener, the fewest given up by the Cougars in an opener since a 66-34 win over Whitworth in 1948-49...WSU followed up by yielding just 42 points in its next game against Georgia Southern...the 84 points over a two-game span were the least given up by the Cougars since Dec. 27/29, 1972...WSU yielded 140 points (Nov. 24-30), its best three-game span since Dec. 12-17, 1981...the 182 points the Cougars gave up in their first four games this season mark their best four-game stretch since Dec. 11-15, 1951...WSU ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense thru games of Dec. 13 at 51.9 points per game.
TEAMS DO NOT EXCEED FIFTY-FIVE: Dick Bennett has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 37 games...in 19 of those, the Cougar opponent has scored 55 points or less...from 1995-96 through 2002-03, WSU held a total of 19 opponents to 55 points or less.
STATISTICAL TRENDS: Washington State is 11-0 under Dick Bennett when holding the opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field, including four wins this season...Bennett's Cougars are 12-0, including 3-0 this season, when outrebounding their opponent.
GONZAGA GAME DRAWS A CROWD: The 8,151 fans who attended the WSU-Gonzaga game, Dec. 7, marked the largest crowd at Friel Court for a nonconference game since 9,925 watched the Cougars defeat Idaho 66-54, Dec. 16, 1995.
WSU-IDAHO GAME LOW SCORING AFFAIR: Washington State defeated Idaho, 37-36, Nov. 30, marking the fewest points in a Cougar victory since a 36-28 triumph at Idaho, Jan. 11, 1947...fewest point in a win by a Pacific-10 team since the shot clock was instituted for the 1985-86 season...tied for third fewest in NCAA history in shot clock era...fewest points given up by WSU in a game since a 41-34 win at Montana State, Dec. 15, 1958...lowest scoring game in Cougar history since 37-36 loss at Washington, Jan. 24, 1970...lowest scoring WSU-Idaho game since 39-34 Cougar win at Idaho, March 3, 1950.
COUGARS AWAY FROM HOME: Washington State will complete its second three-game road stretch of the season at Wyoming, Dec. 22...After defeating BYU in Salt Lake City (Dec. 11), WSU beat Portland 55-54 (Dec. 18)...WSU will not play in Pullman until Jan. 13 when it hosts Oregon State...Cougars host Stanford (Dec. 31) and California (Jan. 2) at Spokane Arena to open Pacific-10 play...travels to UCLA (Jan. 6) and USC (Jan. 8) before returning home to face the Beavers...at the end of the regular season in 2003-04, WSU will have played 20 games at Friel Court and 36 games in other arenas.
WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars are 8-10 on the road over the last two seasons...in addition, WSU has notched a pair of victories at neutral sites and another at the Spokane Arena...from 1998-99 through 2002-03, WSU was 8-65 away from Friel Court...with 57-51 win at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22, 2003, WSU broke a 27-game road losing streak...previous win was 58-57 at Arizona State, Feb. 8, 2001.
PROTECTING THE HOUSE: With home wins over Montana State and Georgia Southern and a loss to Gonzaga this season, the Cougars are 65-3 since 1990-91 in nonconference games played in Pullman...the mark includes a 5-0 record in Bohler Gym during the 1990-91 campaign...two of the three losses are to Gonzaga (2002, 2004).
KELATI MOVING UP CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Thomas Kelati made three 3-pointers against Montana State, Nov. 19 and passed Marcus Moore for fifth place on the all-time Washington State list...Kelati currently has 170 treys...his steal at Idaho, Nov. 30 was the 96th of his career and placed him 10th on WSU's all-time list...recorded a career-high five at Portland, Dec. 18...currently has 106.
MIXING THE OLD WITH THE NEW: There are plenty of new faces in Pullman this season...six recruited freshmen, along with a pair of walk-ons, join six returning Cougars...among the returnees, five are seniors and one is a junior.
COACHING CHANGES: Tony Bennett, son of Washington State head coach Dick Bennett, was promoted to associate head coach prior to this season...in addition, Ben Johnson joins the Cougar coaching staff as an assistant...Johnson replaces Mike Burns, who departed to take the head coaching job at Eastern Washington...both Johnson and Tony Bennett played for current Cougar Head Coach Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
RADIO: All Washington State men's basketball games will be broadcast over the Cougar Basketball Radio Network...Bud Nameck is in his 12th season calling all the action...games can be heard on KCLK 1430 AM (Clarkston), KCLX 1450 AM (Colfax), KCVL 1240 AM (Colville), KRKO 1380 AM (Everett), KBAM 1270 AM (Longview), KZFN 106.1 FM (Moscow, Idaho), KRPL 1400 AM (Moscow, Idaho), KBSN 1470 AM (Moses Lake), KZXR 1310 AM (Prosser), KPTK 1090 AM (Seattle), KXLY 920 AM (Spokane), KHHO 850 AM (Tacoma), KJOX 960 AM (Tri-Cities), KGDC 1320 AM (Walla Walla) and KJOX 980 AM (Yakima).
COUGAR PLAYER NOTES
#1 Josh Akognon (Petaluma, Calif.) - Tallied eight points in 11 minutes off the bench against Montana State, Nov. 19...scored eight points in seven minutes at Kansas State, Nov. 27...scored season/career-high 12 points against Gonzaga, Dec. 7...scored nine points at BYU, Dec. 11...is shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range.
#2 Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) - Missed first five games of the season due to a fractured foot...made first start of the season at BYU, Dec. 11...played 37 minutes at Portland, Dec. 18 and had 10 points and three assists.
#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Started six games...scored four points and added three rebounds and a pair of assists in 26 minutes...tallied 10 points, and added five rebounds at Kansas State, Nov. 27.
#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) - Started all eight games...moved into fifth place on Washington State all-time 3-point field goals list with three against Montana State, Nov. 19...currently has 170...steal at Idaho moved him into 10th place on WSU career list with 96...currently has 106...had career-high five at Portland, Dec. 18 and added season-high 17 points...shooting 50 percent (11-for-22), including 53.8 (7-for-13) from beyond the arc over the last two games.
#12 Randy Green (Renton) - Started three of the last four games...scored team and season-high 12 points against Gonzaga, Dec.7...has six steals in last three games...at least one steal in four straight games.
#14 Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.) - Missed first six games of the season due to an ankle injury...started in season debut at BYU, Dec. 11.
#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) - Missed season opener with a back injury...posted 12 points against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...recorded season-high seven rebounds and two steals at Idaho, Dec. 1...has missed his last eight shots over two games and is 2-for-20 from the field in his last five games.
#23 Alex Kirk (Prosser) - Invited walk-on...played one minute against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.
#24 Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.) - Started three games...became first true freshman to start at point guard for Washington State in a season opener since Blake Pengelly in 1996-97...scored six points and added four rebounds against Montana State, Nov. 19...recorded season/career-high six assists at Kansas State, Nov. 27...tallied season-high five rebounds, and seven points at Idaho, Dec. 1.
#25 Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma) - Started first two games...notched career high eight rebounds and four assists against Montana State, Nov. 19...had two assists and two rebounds against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...pulled down seven rebounds against Gonzaga, Dec. 7.
#32 Daven Harmeling (Grand Junction, Colo.) - Scored 10 points off the bench in just 13 minutes against Montana State, Nov. 19...most points by a true freshman in a Cougar opener since Mike Bush had 14 in 1998-99...recorded six points and two rebounds at Kansas State, Nov. 27...played season-high 24 minutes and recorded four rebounds at Idaho, Dec. 1.
#34 Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas) - Had seven points, five boards and three blocks against Montana State, Nov. 19...posted eight points against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...tallied seven points and five rebounds against Gonzaga, Dec. 7...made WSU's last four points in final 1:20 of 55-54 win at Portland, Dec. 18.
#44 Arlen Plaister (Orcas Island) - Walk-on who posted one rebound in one minute of play against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.
#45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria) - Started all eight games...tallied 11 points, three assists, and posted a career-high 14 rebounds against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...highest single-game rebound total since Eddie Miller had 14 at No. 2 Arizona, Jan. 13, 2000...pulled down eight rebounds, and four assists at Kansas State, Nov. 27...tied career-high three steals at Idaho, Dec. 1...scored eight points and nine rebounds against Gonzaga, Dec. 7...averaging 9.7 rebounds over his last three games.