Dec. 2, 2004
THIS WEEK: Tuesday, Nov. 30 - WSU at Idaho-WON, 37-36
Saturday, Dec. 4 - WSU at Oklahoma State-1 p.m.
NEXT WEEK: Tuesday, Dec. 7 - WSU vs. Gonzaga-6 p.m. (FSN Northwest/KHQ)
WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is currently in his second season on the Palouse...he is 3-1 this season and 16-17 in his WSU career...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .632 career winning percentage (470-274)...career highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...with 37-36 win at Idaho, Nov. 30, Bennett moved into a tie for 73rd place with Jim Harrick 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.
OKLAHOMA STATE PREVIEW: The Cowboys are 4-0... ranked 6 in Associated Press poll...defeated Northwestern (La.), Arkansas :Little Rock, Sam Houston State, and SMU Mustangs... John Lucas leads the Cowboys in points (averaging 21.8 points per game)...Lucas and teammate Joey Graham were named to the 2004-05 Preseason All-Big XII Coaches Team...Lucas and Graham were on the preseason watch list for the Wooden Award which goes to the nation's top collegiate basketball player...last season, Oklahoma State was 31-4...14-2 in the Big XII Conference... Cowboys finished among the Final Four at the NCAA Basketball Tournament
SERIES WITH THE COWBOYS: This is the first meeting between the Cougars and the Cowboys.
COUGARS AGAINST THE BIG XII CONFERENCE: The Cougars are 8-13 against current members of the Big XII Conference...last meeting was 62-53 loss at Kansas State, Nov.27, 2004...WSU is 1-8 on the road against current Big XII schools...lone win was 63-58 at Nebraska, Dec. 22, 1984...last win over a current Big XII school was at the Spokane Arena, Dec. 30, 1997 when WSU rallied from a 13-point first half deficit to defeat Texas A&M 75-66.
WSU AGAINST PREVIOUS SEASON'S FINAL FOUR PARTICIPANT: For the 10th time in its history, Washington State will play a nonconference game against a team that participated in the previous season's Final Four...last time, defending national champion Indiana defeated WSU 63-56, Dec. 12, 1987...WSU is 7-53 in games the season after the opponent went to the Final Four, including 0-9 in nonconference.
COUGARS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Washington State has not faced a nonconference opponent ranked as high as No. 6 Oklahoma State since Dec. 29, 1996 when the Cougars lost 85-79 to No. 4 Michigan in Honolulu...highest ranked opponent WSU has played on the road since 63-56 loss at No. 6 Indiana, Dec. 12, 1987 when the Hoosiers were the reigning national champions....Cougars have lost 45 straight to ranked opponents and are 5-103 against top 10 teams, including a 0-11 mark in nonconference games...last win over ranked opponent was 89-87 over No. 25 California, Feb. 22, 1997...WSU has lost 30 straight to top 10 teams...last win was 82-68 vs. No. 8 USC, March 8, 1992.
QUICK START FOR COUGARS: Washington State is 3-1 and off to its best since opening the 1996-97 campaign 5-0.
WSU EXTENDS 3-POINT STREAK: Josh Akognon's 3-pointer with 13:38 left in the game at Idaho, Nov. 30, was the lone trey by the Cougars against the Vandals, but it was an important one...WSU has now made at least one 3-pointer in 257 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 are the least given up by the Cougars since Dec. 27/29, 1972...over the last three-games, WSU has yielded 140 points, its best three-game span since Dec. 12-17, 1981...the 182 points the Cougars have given up this season mark their best four-game stretch since Dec. 11-15, 1951.
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...lowest scoring Pac-10 games since Oregon State defeated Oregon 29-23, March 3, 1984...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 concludes its three-game road stretch at Oklahoma State, Dec. 4...Cougars host Gonzaga Dec. 7 before completing their nonconference season with games vs. BYU in Salt Lake City (Dec. 11), at Portland (Dec. 18) and at Wyoming (Dec. 22).
WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars are 7-9 on the road over the last two seasons...with the 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...WSU was 6-65 in last 71 road games prior to the 2003-04 season dating back to January, 1998.
FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTION: Cougar freshmen have accounted for 42.9 percent of Washington State's scoring this season led by Robbie Cowgill's 6.8 points per game.
PROTECTING THE HOUSE: With home wins over Montana State and Georgia Southern this season, the Cougars improved to 65-2 since 1990-91 in nonconference games played in Pullman...the mark includes a 5-0 record in Bohler Gym during the 1990-91 campaign.
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 160 treys...his steal at Idaho, Nov. 30 was the 96th of his career and placed him 10th on WSU's all-time list.
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.
INJURY UPDATE: Freshmen Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) are currently out with injuries...Henry suffered multiple ligament damage to his right ankle while Low has a fractured right foot...both are out indefinitely.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Last season, the Cougars finished ranked nationally in scoring defense (12th, 59.66 points per game), free throw percentage (13th, .749) and fewest turnovers (14th, 12.1).
COUGAR PLAYER NOTES
#1 Josh Akognon (Petaluma, Calif.) - Tallied eight points in 11 minutes off the bench against Montana State, Nov. 19...matched his season/career high of eight points in seven minutes at Kansas State, Nov. 27.
#2 Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) - Out with a fractured foot since Oct. 17.
#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Started in all four 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) - Has started all four games...moved into fifth place on Washington State all-time 3-point field goals list with three against Montana State, Nov. 19...currently has 160...has made 29 straight free throws...tied career-high three steals at Kansas State, Nov. 27...steal at Idaho moved him into 10th place on WSU career list with 96...led team with 13 points, added two rebounds, three assists, and a steal against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.
#12 Randy Green (Renton) - Came off the bench against Montana State, Nov. 19 to grab one rebound and record an assist in nine minutes...has seen limited playing time this season but has averaged nine minutes and an assist...had two steals at Kansas State, Nov. 27...had two assists in 13 minutes at Idaho, Dec. 1.
#14 Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.) - Out with an ankle injury since Oct. 12.
#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) - Missed season opener with a back injury...started in the last three games and averaged 26.3 minutes...posted 12 points against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...pulled down six rebounds at Kansas State, Nov. 27...recorded season-high seven rebounds and two steals at Idaho, Dec. 1.
#23 Alex Kirk (Prosser) - Invited walk-on...played one minute against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.
#24 Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.) - Started in three of four 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...team leader in assists with 13...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 in the first two games of the season...notched his career highs with eight rebounds and four assists against Montana State, Nov. 19...had two assists and two rebounds in 14 minutes against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.
#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...has averaged six points this season...tallied two assists and one rebound against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...recorded six points and two rebounds in 12 minuets at Kansas State, Nov. 27...played season-high 24 minuets and recorded four rebounds, and a steal at Idaho, Dec. 1.
#34 Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas) - Scored seven points and contributed five boards and three blocks against Montana State, Nov. 19...second among Cougars with 6.8 points per game...posted eight points and two rebounds in 12 minutes against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...tallied seven points and three rebounds at Kansas State, Nov. 27...pulled down three rebounds and had a steal at Idaho, Dec. 1.
#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 four games...scored six points and seven rebounds against Montana State, Nov. 19...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 3 steals at Idaho, Dec. 1.