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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
USC, No. 20 UCLA at Washington State
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 01/05/2000
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Jan. 5, 2000

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Cougars open the new year by welcoming the L.A. schools to the snowy Inland Northwest. The friendly Spokane Arena plays host to WSU and USC as those two schools open Pac-10 play Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, No. 20 (USA Today) UCLA rolls into Pullman for a 3:00 p.m. meeting in what will be WSU's first game on the Palouse in 28 days.

WSU AT THE SPOKANE ARENA: The Cougars are 7-4 all-time at the five-year old Spokane Arena. WSU's losses at the facility have come to a pair of defending NCAA champions -- Arizona (1998) and UCLA (1996) -- and twice to Gonzaga. This will be USC's first trip to the Spokane Arena...the Trojans will be the sixth different Pac-10 team WSU has faced in the Lilac City, joining Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA and Washington...Arizona State, California and Stanford are the three who have yet to play at the new arena.

PAC-10 OPENERS: This will be the first time since 1989-90 that WSU opens the Pac-10 season versus will be the seventh time overall that the Trojans and Cougars open the league slate versus one another...three of the last four WSU head coaches won their first Pac-10 game, a trend Paul Graham would like to continue...George Raveling, Kelvin Sampson and Kevin Eastman all claimed wins...Len Stevens is the only one of the last four not to notch a victory, losing to Washington in 1984.

COUGS RETURN TO PULLMAN TO FACE UCLA: WSU will return to Pullman for the first time in 28 days to host UCLA...that game will be Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Friel Court.


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,

USC vs. WSU Thursday, January 6, 2000 7:00 p.m. PST Spokane Arena (12,000)

Television: None.

Records: The Cougars are 5-4 on the season after dropping a 74-61 game at Colorado State Dec. 30. USC is 7-5, having won four of its last five.

No. 20 UCLA vs. WSU Saturday, January 8, 2000 3:00 p.m. PST Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum (12,058)

Records: The Bruins are 8-2 on the season, pulling off three close victories in its last three games: 103-98 OT versus South Florida, 68-66 versus Pepperdine and 55-53 versus Purdue. The Bruins play at Washington Thursday night before venturing to the Palouse.

Quick Stats: Chris Crosby is averaging 18.4 points per game over the last five games and has reached double figure scoring in all five.

On Deck: The Cougars head to the Desert Southwest for a pair of Pac-10 road games. WSU faces No. 4 Arizona Thursday night in Tucson and Arizona State Saturday in Tempe.

WSU COACH PAUL GRAHAM: Paul Graham is in his first season as a head coach...he has a 5-4 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's not a bad sign...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).

OH WHAT A FRIELING: 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

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 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).

MILLER SEES ACTION: WSU welcomed junior forward Eddie Miller back to the lineup against Colorado State, where he scored two points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds...the Reseda, Calif., native was sidelined during the fall semester due to academic problems...Miller averaged 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. SCOUTING USC: The Trojans seem to have found the right chemistry of late, having won four of their last less than 15 players have seen action in at least two games for USC...senior forward Sam Clancy leads the Trojans in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg)...Clancy and WSU's Chris Crosby are the No. 2 and No. 3 scorers in the Pac-10, respectively...Washington native Brian Scalabrine (Enumclaw), last year's Pac-10 newcomer of the year, averages 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game...Jeff Trepagnier is the Pac-10's leading thief at 4.4 spg...five Trojans are all averaging at least 12.4 points per game and playing at least 32.5 minutes per game...after the starting five, the scoring dips to Nate Hair's 2.5 ppg, the only sub averaging more than nine minutes per game...senior F Jarvis Turner is expected to return to action this weekend...he injured his foot Dec. 6.

WSU-USC SERIES: USC leads 54-32. In the 1990s: USC, 13-8. This will be the 87th meeting between WSU and USC in the Cougars' youngest Pac-10 series (outside the Arizona schools)...the series dates only to 1948-49 (a 55-52 WSU win in the Pacific Coast Tournament), while the Cougars' rivalries with the rest of the old PCC date back to at least 1937...the Trojans had the upper hand early in this series, winning 13 of the first 17 meetings before WSU evened out the series...the two teams have split the last two years and seven of the last eight seasons...WSU won the last two games played in the Inland Empire, including last season's 95-68 decision in Pullman...the 95 points was the most a Cougar squad had ever posted versus the Trojans.

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 Cougs also tied the team single-game steals record with 17...Bush is averaging 3.3 steals per game to rank second 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 of his rookie campaign. SCOUTING UCLA: The 20th-ranked Bruins (No. 24 in the AP poll) have claimed three hard-fought victories in their last three games...they stopped South Florida 103-98 in overtime in Hawaii, and nipped Pepperdine (68-66) and Purdue (55-53) at Pauley...Jerome Moiso and Jason Kapono lead the Bruins at 13.7 points per game...Earl Watson (10.6) and Dan Gadzuric (10.2) are also in double figures...UCLA is without the services of JaRon Rush (NCAA) and Todd Ramasar (Oct. shoulder injury), but recently regained the services of Matt Barnes...Billy Knight left the squad just before New Year's Day, but has since returned to the team...the Bruins have also added Brandon Brooks, a walk-on from the UCLA NCAA champion water polo spite of the changes, the Bruins are an impressive 8-2 on the season...both WSU and UCLA were 0-2 versus their two common opponents -- Gonzaga and Colorado State...UCLA faces the Huskies in Seattle before venturing to Pullman.

WSU-UCLA SERIES: UCLA leads 76-12. In the 1990s: Bruins, 19-1...UCLA has won 13 straight in this series, dating back to a 67-56 Cougar win at Pullman in 1993....the Bruins have also won 20 of the last 21 meetings between the two schools...UCLA eked out a 69-66 decision last year in Pullman...the UCLA-WSU series has produced some of the most memorable games ever played in Pullman...two of the four triple overtime games in WSU history came against the Bruins (both in Pullman) and the 1983 game at Friel Court ranks among the all-time great Cougar wins...Bryan Pollard's tip-in at the buzzer gave WSU a 70-68 upset of the sixth-ranked Bruins and sent the Friel Court record crowd of 12,422 into a frenzy...the series dates back to a 33-23 WSU win in 1937.

EVANS, WHITEHEAD DOUBTFUL FOR WEEKEND: A pair of knee injuries has left a big void in the WSU frontcourt...JR F Tyrone Evans sprained his left knee during the Colorado State game (in which, he had a career-high 13 points), while FR F Bryan Whitehead sustained his injury this week during practice...both are listed as doubtful for the USC game...Evans is averaging 6.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while Whitehead is at 2.2 ppg and 2.0 rpg...a best-case scenario would have Evans available for spot duty during Saturday's UCLA game...if those two are out, WSU will have just four frontcourt players available: SR Chris Crosby, JR Eddie Miller, RS-FR Milton Riley and RS-JR Paul Mencke.

CROSBY ENTERS TOP 20: Senior forward Chris Crosby moved into WSU's top 20 in career scoring with 17 points versus Colorado State Dec. 30...he passed Dennis Hogg (1,037/1969-71) and enters the weekend with 1,045 career points, just two behind No. 19 Ted Wierman (1,047/1967-69)...the Littleton, Colo., native needs just 32 points this weekend to jump all the way to No. 16...Crosby is the 22nd member of WSU's 1,000-career point club and should climb into WSU's all-time top 10 by season's end...he ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring and free throw percentage.

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 100 field goals with only 40 percent (39) 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. 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 has even cut his turnovers of late down to 2.2 per game, a number that needs to continue to decline...but if Crosby makes it to the next level, he can thank one man with a reputation for developing big men -- Paul Graham.

GAMES OF THE 1900s: The Colorado State game on Dec. 30, 1999, was the 2,510th and final game of the 1900s for Washington State...WSU's first season of basketball was 1901-02...the Cougars posted a 1,326-1,184 all-time record from 1901-99.

CROSBY LEADS PAC-10 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 where he leads the Pac-10 with an 89.6 average...Crosby has just five misses from the line this season (43-48)...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 free throw percentage record is 88.5 percent by David Sanders in 1988...Crosby has some competition for team honors, however...senior Jan-Michael Thomas is hitting 85.3 percent at the line this season.

GIBBONS RANKS WSU NO. 2 IN PAC-10: College basketball recruiting expert Bob Gibbons has ranked Washington State's 2000 recruiting class as the 28th-best in the nation in his December newsletter...the four WSU signees are also listed as the No. 2 class in the Pac-10, trailing only Oregon...the Cougars signed four guards during the early signing period in November...slated to take the hardwood for WSU next season are high schoolers Tommy Johnson from Los Angeles' Crenshaw High School and Marcus Moore from Dominguez Hills High School in Compton, Calif., and junior college transfers Jerry McNair (Fullerton College) and Kendall Minor (Southern Idaho)...both McNair and Minor will come in with three years of eligibility remaining...Oregon was ranked 25th, just three spots higher than WSU...other Pac-10 schools in the top 75 include No. 57 Stanford, No. 61 Washington and No. 72 Arizona State...the rest of the Pac-10, which ranked No. 7 among all conferences, included UCLA, Southern Cal, Oregon State and California...Arizona did not sign any recruits during the early period...WSU has one more newcomer who will join the four fall signees next year -- 6-10 center J Locklier who transferred from Miami, Ohio...Locklier must redshirt this season under NCAA transfer rules and will be a junior in 2000-01.

COUGS IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: A glance at this week's Pac-10 stats finds several Cougars ranked in the conference in assorted categories...Chris Crosby leads the conference in free throw shooting (89.6 pct.), ranks third in scoring (17.0 ppg) and 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.410)...Mike Bush is second in steals (3.0 spg) and ninth in rebounding (6.8 rpg)...Jan-Michael Thomas is ninth in scoring (15.0 ppg) and fourth in free throw shooting (85.3 pct)...David Adams is sixth in three point shooting (44.8 pct.). As a team, WSU is third in three categories: three-point field goal percentage (.362), rebounding defense (rebounds allowed) at 31.4 rpg and three-pointers made per game (6.56).

LOOK OUT FOR LAVINITES: The Lavinites, the group of WSU students from Stimson Hall who dress like UCLA Bruin coach Steve Lavin and ape his movements during the game, will be in attendance on Saturday.

COLORADO STATE RECAP: WSU held a one-point halftime lead, but a foul-plagued and tired Cougar squad could not hold off Colorado State as the Rams forged a 74-61 victory Dec. 30 in Fort Collins...Chris Crosby and David Adams each had 17 points for Washington State, while Tyrone Evans added 13 points and seven rebounds...Adams and Evans each notched career highs in scoring...Aki Palmer had 15 points to lead four Colorado State players in double figures...Ceedric Goodwyn had 12 points and Ron Grady and John Sivesind had 11 points each for the Rams...the Cougars shot 19-of-58 from the field (32.8 percent), while the Rams finished 18-of-34 (52.9 percent)...WSU hit the offensive glass hard, coming up with 22 and outrebouding the Rams overall was the first time this season WSU lost when outrebounding the opposition...Eddie Miller saw his first action of the season, scoring two points with a team-high eight rebounds.

SLASH MENCKE JOINS TEAM: Paul Mencke was already a slash -- quarterback/tight end/ 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. 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 Thursday when the Cougars open the Pac-10 season versus USC at the Spokane 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.

HENDRICKSON SIGNS WITH CAVS: Former WSU standout Mark Hendrickson (1993-96) signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers Dec. is the 21st straight season that WSU has had at least one player in the NBA, dating back to James Donaldson in 1979-80 and continuing with Craig Ehlo, Brian Quinnett and Hendrickson...this Hendrickson's fourth year in the NBA...Hendrickson is No. 4 on WSU's all-time scoring list (1,496 points) and second in rebounding (926) and field goal percentage (.567)...he also ranks sixth in free throws (400), first in fouls (335) and third in minutes played (3,570)...he was a two-time all-Pac-10 pick in 1995-96 and made the league's freshman team in 1993...Hendrickson was a three-time NABC District 14 All-America selection, team MVP in 1995 and 1996 and captained the 1996 Cougar squad.

STARTING LINE-UPS: Here's a breakdown of WSU's starting five in 1999-2000:

G1-2 Evans, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush (1-1)
G3-4 Riley, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush (1-1)
G5 Bush, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Adams (1-0)
G6-9 Riley, Crosby, Thomas, Bush, Adams (2-2)

YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS: WSU 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.

WOW - WHAT A SCHEDULE: For the first time since 1994-95, odds are that WSU will play home games against five different ranked up is Saturday's game versus No. 20 UCLA...the first two came Nov. 29 versus No. 25 Gonzaga (Spokane) and Dec. 11 versus No. 25 Utah...two more opponents are currently ranked in the national polls: No. 1 Stanford and No. 4 Arizona...Cal and Oregon are among those teams listed as also receiving 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 season's end, Thomas should join Crosby in the top five. Crosby leads the pair with 157 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. 20 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 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.


Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball