Nov. 15, 2007
COUGARS HOST VANDALS: Following its victory in its road opener at Boise State, No. 9/9 Washington State University men's basketball (2-0) returns to Friel Court for its final game in Pullman in the month of November as it hosts regional-foe Idaho (1-1), Friday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.
ABOUT THE COUGARS: For the fifth time in six years, the Cougars have started their season 2-0, having notched wins over Eastern Washington at home Nov. 9 and at Boise State Nov. 13. Senior guard Derrick Low leads the team with 20.0 points per game after putting up 26 points against the Broncos. Junior Daven Harmeling leads the team with 5.0 rebounds per game, while his classmate Taylor Rochestie follows right behind with 4.5 boards per game, and leads the team with 5.5 assists per outing. Senior Kyle Weaver has 4.5 assists per game and leads the team with 3.0 steals per contest.
ABOUT THE VANDALS: After trailing by just six to No. 14 Gonzaga at the half in their last outing Wednesday, Idaho managed just 13 points in the second half to fall 80-43 and drop to 1-1 this season. Idaho opened its season with a 110-52 victory over Cascade College Nov. 9. Trevor Morris leads the team with 17.5 points per game, while the boards are managed by Jordan Brooks with 5.5 per game, adding 5.0 assists and 3.5 steals per contest.
THE SERIES: Friday's match up between the Cougars and Vandals continues the nation's sixth-longest continuing series, as it dates back to Jan. 13, 1906. WSU holds a 155-107 advantage in the all-time series, and is 94-37 at home, including 13-2 at Friel Court. The Cougars have won four-straight against the Vandals and nine of the last 10 meetings. Last season Washington State defeated Idaho, 66-54, Dec. 9, 2006, in Moscow, Idaho.
AGAINST THE WAC: Washington State holds a 183-123 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). This is WSU's second-straight meeting with a WAC school after defeating Boise State Nov. 13.
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 9-0 in the month of November, including five victories outside of Pullman.
THIS DATE IN COUGAR BASKETBALL HISTORY: The Cougars have played once on Nov. 16, having defeated Central Washington, 91-78, Nov. 16, 1998. Five WSU players recorded double-digit points, led by Jan-Michael Thomas with 22. Chris Crosby went 8-for-10 from the free throw line to finish with 18 points.
FROM THE LINE: With his free throw miss in the second half of the game at Boise State, Taylor Rochestie ended his streak of 19-consecutive free throws made which dated back to March 3, 2007. The redshirt junior had tied for the sixth best streak since the 1989-90 season. After going a career-best 7-for-7 from the line, senior Derrick Low improved his free throws made streak to 15, dating back to March 3, 2007. Thomas Kelati holds the best streak since '89 with 31-straight free throws made in 2004.
WEAVER PERFECT FROM 3-POINT: Senior Kyle Weaver has started the season with a hot-hand from beyond the 3-point arc, as he is 4-for-4 (1.000) in two games this season on 3-pointers. Weaver hit his only attempt against Eastern Washington and recorded a career-high three treys at Boise State.
RECAPPING THE BOISE STATE WIN:
With the win, the Cougars improved to 9-0 under Bennett in the month of November...the Cougars have won 10-straight games in November.
Boise State's 74 points marked the most points given up in a win in the Tony Bennett era...WSU's 86 points are the most in a regulation game under Bennett.
WSU came back to win after trailing at halftime for the 11th time under Bennett (11-2).
Cougars used a 17-9 run to open the half to take their first lead of the game at the 15:06 mark.
WSU has won two-straight when behind at halftime to Boise State (trailed last season, 33-29 in Spokane...won 65-63).
Kyle Weaver notched a career-high with three 3-pointers (3-for-3).
Taylor Rochestie's seven assists and seven rebounds were WSU highs for him.
Derrick Low recorded his best career free throw percentage (7-for-7).
WSU MATCHES BEST ALL-TIME AP RANKING: When the Associated Press Poll was released Nov. 12, the Cougars matched their best all-time AP ranking, coming in at No. 9 in the poll. Last season WSU was ranked ninth in the Feb. 9 poll. The Cougars are currently No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, bettering their best ranking last season of 10th in the poll.
COUGARS LAND IN PRESEASON POLLS: For the first time in school history, the Cougars were 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 garnered 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. 15, 117 tickets remain for UCLA (Feb. 7), 124 tickets are left for USC (Feb. 9), 369 tickets are left for Oregon (Jan. 20), and 525 tickets are left for the Feb. 23 Arizona game.
UNDER BENNETT: The Cougars' record has glowed under second-year head coach Tony Bennett. Aside from a 28-6 record under Bennett, WSU has only lost twice when trailing at halftime under Bennett (11-2). The Cougars are also 13-1 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 9-0 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 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).