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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Men's Hoops Take On UCLA Next
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 01/03/2005
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Jan. 3, 2005

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COUGARS TRAVEL TO LOS ANGELES
THIS WEEK: Thursday, Jan. 6 - WSU at UCLA - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 8 - WSU at USC - 5 p.m. (FSN Northwest/West)

NEXT WEEK: Thursday, Jan. 13 - WSU vs. Oregon State - 7:30 p.m. (FSN Regional)
Saturday, Jan. 15 - WSU vs. Oregon-2 p.m.

WASHINGTON STATE (6-5, 1-1 Pac-10)

WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is currently in his second season on the Palouse...he is 6-5 this season and 19-21 in his WSU career...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .630 career winning percentage (473-278)...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...WSU tallied seven Pac-10 wins after winning just seven of its last 50 conference games prior to 2003-04.

TEAMS DO NOT EXCEED FIFTY-FIVE: Dick Bennett has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 40 games...in 21 of those, the Cougar opponent has scored 55 points or less...from 1994-95 through 2002-03, WSU held a total of 20 opponents to 55 points or less.

UCLA PREVIEW: The Bruins are 7-3 overall, 1-1 in the Pacific-10...UCLA is 6-0 at Pauley Pavilion...lost at Oregon State before winning at Oregon to open conference play...Dijon Thompson leads the team and third in Pac-10 in scoring with 17.1 points per outing...also leads Bruins and second in Pac-10 with 8.3 rebounds per game...UCLA ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring at 73.4 points per game and is eighth in the conference giving up 69.9 points per game.

SERIES WITH THE BRUINS: UCLA leads 85-13...WSU recorded historic 55-48 victory in Los Angeles, Feb. 5, 2004...win broke 22-game losing streak to Bruins...first win in 39 at Pauley Pavilion and first in 47 games at UCLA...Thomas Kelati led the Cougars with 15 points, his only double-figure outing in six meetings with the Bruins...UCLA's Dijon Thompson has tallied double figure-scoring in each of his last three games against the Cougars.

USC PREVIEW: The Trojans are 7-6 overall and 0-2 in the Pacific-10...USC was swept by Oregon (90-83) and Oregon State (74-64) during the first weekend of conference games...Trojans have lost three of their last four...three USC players are averaging double figures in scoring, led by Lodrick Stewart's 15.2 points per game...Stewart ranks eighth in the Pac-10...Gregg Guenther leads the Trojans with 6.8 rebounds per game and is sixth in the Pac-10...Gabriel Pruitt leads the conference with 2.23 steals per outing...USC's 76.5 scoring average is fourth in the Pac-10...Trojans' scoring defense is last in the conference at 75.1 points per game.

SERIES WITH THE TROJANS: USC leads 62-34...Washington State swept last season's series after Trojans had captured nine straight meetings...in each game, Cougars had four players in double-figure scoring...Shami Gill tied his career-high with 17 points during 76-61 win at the Spokane Arena, Jan. 10...Jeff Varem recorded his career high with 22 points in the same game...Varem averaged 17 points in the two victories...WSU has had at least three players score in double figures during each of the last eight games against the Trojans...Cougars capped first sweep of Los Angeles road trip and broke seven-game skid at USC with 60-51 win, Feb. 7.

WSU IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: The Cougars lead the Pac-10 in scoring defense, yielding 52.4 points per game...no conference school has given up fewer points on average since California's 48.3 in 1959-60...Golden Bears finished national runner-up that season...WSU leads the conference in field goal percentage defense holding opponents to 38.9 percent.

COUGARS BREAK LOSING STREAK AGAINST CARDINAL: Jeff Varem notched his second career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead Washington State past Stanford 60-51, Dec. 31...win broke a 17-game losing streak against the Cardinal dating back to Feb. 22, 1996...WSU won its Pac-10 opener for the first time since 1998-99.

WSU PLAYING CLOSE GAMES: The Cougars have played five games this season decided by three points or less...WSU is 3-2 in those games...Cougars defeated Idaho 37-36, BYU 49-46 and Portland 55-54...lost to Gonzaga 54-52 and Wyoming 49-47.

COUGARS START FRESHMEN: Prior to this season, Washington State had never started three true freshmen in a game...Cougars have done it twice this season...Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas), Derrick Low (Honolulu) and Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.) started in WSU's 49-46 win over BYU, Dec. 11...Cowgill, Low and Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.) started in the Cougars' 49-47 loss at Wyoming, Dec. 22...first time since 1982-83 season that four WSU true freshmen have made at least one start in a season.

TEAMS DO NOT EXCEED FIFTY-FIVE: Dick Bennett has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 38 games...in 20 of those, the Cougar opponent has scored 55 points or less...from 1994-95 through 2002-03, WSU held a total of 20 opponents to 55 points or less.

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 fourth nationally in scoring defense thru games of Dec. 20 at 52.1 points per game...Cougars currently giving up 52.4 points per outing.

WSU EXTENDS 3-POINT STREAK: The Cougars made just one 3-pointer against California, Jan. 2, but it did extend WSU's streak to 264 games with at least one trey...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.

STATISTICAL TRENDS: Washington State is 12-1 under Dick Bennett when holding the opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field, including 5-1 this season...exception is California's 59-47 win at the Spokane Arena, Jan. 2 when the Golden Bears shot 37.5 percent...Bennett's Cougars are 13-0, including 4-0 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's games in Los Angeles this conclude a stretch where the Cougars play 10 of 11 games outside of Pullman...WSU played road games against Kansas State, Idaho and Oklahoma State prior to hosting Gonzaga...played BYU in Salt Lake City, traveled to Portland and Wyoming before taking on Stanford and California in Spokane...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...Cougars have played in eight different venues this season.

WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars are 8-11 on the road over the last two seasons...in addition, WSU has notched a pair of victories at neutral sites and two more at the Spokane Arena...from 1997-98 through 2002-03, WSU was 13-78 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).

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...has missed his last 13 shots.

#2 Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) - Missed first five games of the season due to a fractured foot...has started last five games...had 10 points and three assists at Portland, Dec. 18...recorded three steals at Wyoming, Dec. 22...tallied 10 points vs. Stanford, Dec. 31.

#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Started eight games...tallied 10 points, and added six rebounds at Kansas State, Nov. 27...knocked down three treys and scored 10 points vs. Stanford, Dec. 31.

#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) - Started all 11 games...moved into fifth place on Washington State all-time 3-point field goals list with three against Montana State, Nov. 19...currently has 177...ranks ninth at WSU with 110 career steals...had career-high five at Portland, Dec. 18 and added season-high 17 points...ranks 18th in the Pac-10 with 11.9 points per game.

#12 Randy Green (Renton) - Started three games...scored team and season-high 12 points against Gonzaga, Dec.7...added three steals against the Bulldogs...grabbed four rebounds at Portland, Dec. 18.

#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...has appeared in four games.

#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) - Missed season opener and game vs. California, Jan. 2 with a back injury...started seven games...posted 12 points against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...recorded season-high seven rebounds and two steals at Idaho, Nov. 30.

#23 Alex Kirk (Prosser) - Invited walk-on...played one minute against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.

#24 Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.) - Started 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...recorded season/career-high six assists at Kansas State, Nov. 27...tallied season-high five rebounds, and seven points at Idaho, Nov. 30...scored season-high eight points in 10 minutes off the bench vs. California, Jan. 2.

#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...played season-high 24 minutes and recorded four rebounds at Idaho, Nov. 30.

#34 Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas) - Started four games...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...had eight points in start vs. California, Jan. 2.

#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 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, Nov. 30...second career double-double with season-high 18 points and 12 rebounds vs. Stanford, Dec. 31...ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 7.8 rebounds per game.

Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball
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