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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Back Home To Play Bruins And Trojans
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 01/31/2005
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Jan. 31, 2005

THIS WEEK:
Thursday, Feb. 3 - -WSU vs. UCLA 7:30 p.m. (FSN Regional)
Saturday, Feb. 5 - -WSU vs. USC - 2 p.m.

NEXT WEEK:
Thursday, Feb. 10 - -WSU at Oregon State - 5:30 p.m. (FSN Northwest)
Saturday, Feb. 12 - -WSU at Oregon - 3 p.m. (ABC)

WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is currently in his second season on the Palouse...he is 9-9 this season and 22-25 in his WSU career...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .628 career winning percentage (476-282)...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.

HISTORIC WIN IN THE DESERT: The Cougars ended several losing streaks with a 70-63 upset win over No. 11 Arizona in Tucson, Saturday, Jan. 29...Washington State broke a 20-game losing streak at Arizona and a 38-game skid overall against the Wildcats...first win in 35 tries against a ranked Arizona team...Cougars halted a 26-game road losing streak against ranked opponents and a 48-game losing streak overall to top 25 opponents...WSU knocked off its highest ranked opponent since defeating No. 8 USC, March 8, 1992...highest ranked opponent defeated on the road in school history...senior Thomas Kelati tied his career high with 27 points, including seven 3-pointers...he scored five straight points to break a 63-63 tie in the final minute.

FSN NORTHWEST REPLAY: Washington State's 70-63 win at No. 11 Arizona will be replayed by FSN Northwest at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2...Cougars outscored the Wildcats 25-12 in the final 9:22...Jim Watson (play-by-play) and Larry Farmer (analyst) provided the commentary.

REMEMBER WHEN?: Prior to last Saturday, Washington State had not defeated Arizona in men's basketball since Jan. 30, 1986...at that time, a U.S. postage stamp cost 22 cents, the Berlin wall was still in place and current Cougar freshmen Josh Akognon, Robbie Cowgill, Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver were not yet born...other 1986 events included the Iran-Contra scandal, Barry Diller's creating of Fox as the fourth television network and Nintendo's introduction to the United States.

KELATI NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior guard Thomas Kelati has been named the U.S. Bank Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for January 24-30...Kelati tied his career high with 27 points in 70-63 win at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29...for the week, Kelati averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 53.3 percent (16-for-30) from the field and 47.1 percent (8-for-17) from beyond the arc against Arizona State and Arizona...also named Star of the Week by Collegeinsider.com.

UCLA PREVIEW: The Bruins are 11-6, 5-4 in the Pac-10...UCLA is fourth in the Pac-10, sitting one game ahead of Arizona State, California, and Washington State...UCLA overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to win 72-69 at USC in its last outing...Bruins were led in scoring by Dijon Thompson's 24 points, and seven rebounds...Thompson is third in the Pac-10 for both scoring (17.2 points per game) and rebounding (8.4 per game).

SERIES WITH THE BRUINS: UCLA leads 86-13...Bruins have won 11 straight road games in the series, including a pair at the Spokane Arena...UCLA won 80-77 in double overtime at home, Jan. 6...Bruins overcame a 17-point second half deficit...five Bruins and four Cougars scored in double figures...WSU's Thomas Kelati scored a team-high 18 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force the second overtime...Cougar Jeff Varem tallied a double-double with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.

USC PREVIEW: The Trojans are 9-11, 2-7 in the Pac-10...USC resides in the cellar of the Pac-10...Trojans have lost their last two games after a modest two-game winning streak...USC is 1-6 on the road this season...sophomore Lodrick Stewart leads the Trojans in scoring and sits 11th in the Pac-10 averaging 14.3 points per game.

SERIES WITH THE TROJANS: USC leads 62-35...Cougars have won last three after Trojans had captured nine straight...Jeff Varem scored a then season-high 21 points in 69-52 WSU victory at USC, Jan. 8...Varem averages 18.3 points per game against the Trojans in his career...Cougars have had at least three players tally double-figure scoring in each of the last nine meetings with the Trojans...WSU is riding its first three-game winning streak against USC since 1986.

COUGAR SCHEDULE TOPS IN THE COUNTRY: The Sagarin Ratings currently list Washington State's strength of schedule as the toughest in the nation...Cougars have played road games against No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 13 Washington and No. 14 (tied) Arizona...WSU also hosted No. 17 Gonzaga.

RPI RISING: Washington State is currently listed at No. 46 in the Ratings Power Index...at the midway point of the Pacific-10 season, Washington State is 9-9 overall, 4-5 Pac-10...best conference record heading into the second half of Pac-10 play since the 1994-95 Cougars were 5-4.

WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars are 10-14 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.

COUGARS START FRESHMEN: Prior to this season, Washington State had never started three true freshmen in a game...Cougars have done it six times 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 and in each of the four games from Jan. 8-23...first time since 1982-83 season that four WSU true freshmen have made at least one start in a season.

FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTION: Washington State's roster features eight freshmen, including a pair of walk-ons...combined, Cougar freshmen account for 40.0 percent of WSU's scoring this season...Robbie Cowgill leads the newcomers in points with 108 while Derrick Low's 6.2 points per game is tops among the freshmen...Cowgill leads WSU with 17 blocks, fourth most all-time by a Cougar freshman in a season.

WSU PLAYING CLOSE GAMES: The Cougars have played seven games this season decided by three points or less...WSU is 3-4 in those games...Cougars defeated Idaho 37-36, BYU 49-46 and Portland 55-54...lost at home to Gonzaga (54-52) and Oregon (55-52) and road games against Wyoming (49-47) and UCLA (80-77/2 OT).

WASHINGTON STATE 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.

TEAMS DO NOT EXCEED FIFTY-FIVE: Dick Bennett has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 47 games...in 24 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.

STATISTICAL TRENDS: Washington State is 14-2 under Dick Bennett when holding the opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field, including 7-2 this season...exceptions are California's 59-47 win at the Spokane Arena, Jan. 2 when the Golden Bears shot 37.5 percent and Washington's 66-48 victory in Seattle, Jan. 23 when the Huskies shot 35.9 percent...Bennett's Cougars are 15-0, including 6-0 this season, when outrebounding their opponent.

WSU EXTENDS 3-POINT STREAK: The Cougars made three 3-pointers at Arizona State, Jan. 27 before adding 12 at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29 to extend their consecutive game streak with at least one trey to 271...dozen 3-pointers at Arizona most since 12 at UCLA, March 6, 2003...last time Cougars did not make a shot from beyond the arc 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.

COUGARS IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: Senior guard Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 1.61 steals per game and is 13th with 13.2 points per outing...senior guard/forward Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria) is fourth with 7.9 rebounds per game...freshman forward/center Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas) is eighth with 0.94 blocks per game.

GILL OUT FOR THE SEASON: Senior forward Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) will undergo back surgery and is out for the season...Gill has missed the last eight games with the injury...he appeared in nine games this season, averaging 2.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game...Gill is a 73.4 percent career free throw shooter, best among current Cougars who have averaged one free throw made per game played in their WSU careers.

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).

WSU STREAKING AGAINST USC: Washington State's 69-52 win at USC, Jan. 8 marked the first time since the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons that the Cougars have won back-to-back games on the road against the Trojans...first three-game winning streak overall against USC since 1986.

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.

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.

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).

UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: The first 2,500 fans in attendance at the Washington State-UCLA game, Thursday, Feb. 3 will receive a GO COUGS wrist band...movie passes courtesy of the Village Center Cinemas will be given away...first 1,000 fans at the WSU-USC game, Saturday, Feb. 5 will receive Cougar beads...it is Pullman Parks and Recreation Day...kids wearing a jersey from a Pullman Parks and Recreation jersey will receive free admission...halftime game between two Pullman Parks and Recreation teams...WSU freshmen Daven Harmeling, Alex Kirk, Arlen Plaister and Kyle Weaver will sign trading cards following the game...kids with trading cards receive free admission to the game...fans in attendance at the UCLA and/or USC game can sign up for a chance to win a snowboard courtesy of K2...winner will be announced Feb. 19 at the Washington State-Washington men's basketball game.

FACULTY RECOGNITION PROGRAM: Washington State faculty members will recognized for their achievements at Cougar men's basketball games, Feb. 3 and 5...those being recognized Feb. 3 include, from the College of Engineering and Architecture: David Bahr, Susmita Bose and Shira Broschat, and from the College of Education: Tim Church, Lynda Paznokas, Mary Roe, Chris Sodorff, Cynthia Thomas, Mike Trevisan and Kelly Ward...Feb. 5, faculty members from the College of Engineering and Architecture that will be recognized include Charlena Grimes, Paul Hirzel, Ben Li, Kelvin Lynn, Balasingam Muhunthan, M. Grant Norton, Kevin Tomsovic, Michael Wolcott and Hussein Zbib.

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 nine points at BYU, Dec. 11...scored season/career-high 15 points at UCLA, Jan. 6...grabbed six rebounds against Oregon State, Jan. 13.

#2 Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) - Missed first five games of the season due to a fractured foot...has started last 12 games... had season/career-high four steals at Arizona State, most by a Cougar freshman in four years...scored season/career -high 13 points, with 12 of those from 3-point range at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29.

#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Started 11 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...tallied nine points off the bench against Oregon State, Jan. 13.

#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) - Started all 18 games...moved into fifth place on Washington State all-time 3-point field goals list with three against Montana State, Nov. 19...currently has 195...is tied for eighth at WSU with 119 career steals...had career-high five at Portland, Dec. 18 and added 17 points...tallied 17 points and nine rebounds at Arizona State, Jan. 27...matched career-high 27 points, including 21 from 3-point range at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29.

#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 10 games.

#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) Will undergo back surgery and is out for the season...appeared in nine games this season.

#23 Alex Kirk (Prosser) - Invited walk-on...played one minute against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24, at USC, Jan. 8, against Oregon State, Jan. 13, and at Washington, Jan.23...had one assist against the Beavers.

#24 Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.) - Started nine games...became first true freshman to start at point guard for Washington State in a season opener since Blake Pengelly in 1996-97...scored eight points in 10 minutes off the bench vs. California, Jan. 2...scored 10 points and had season/career-high seven rebounds at UCLA, Jan.6, and at USC, Jan. 8...scored season/career high 12 points against Oregon State, Jan 13.

#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 10 games...had seven points, five boards and three blocks against Montana State, Nov. 19...posted eight points against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24, and in start vs. California, Jan. 2... made WSU's last four points in final 1:20 of 55-54 win at Portland, Dec. 18... tallied eight points and added four boards against Oregon, Jan. 15...recorded season/career-high seven rebounds at No. 10 Washington, Jan. 23...tallied career/season-high 12 points and added four boards at No. 11 Arizona.

#44 Arlen Plaister (Orcas Island) - Walk-on who posted one rebound in one minute of play against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...appeared in final minute of Cougar victory at USC, Jan. 8.

#45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria) - Started 17 games...tallied 11 points, three assists, and 14 rebounds against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24...pulled down eight rebounds, and four assists at Kansas State, Nov. 27...second career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds vs. Stanford, Dec. 31...added 17 points and career-high 15 rebounds at UCLA, Jan. 6...most rebounds since Rodrigo de la Fuente tallied 16 against then No. 5 Stanford, Jan. 22, 1998 recorded season-high 21 points at USC, Jan.8...tallied career-high four steals, 14 points and 13 rebounds vs. Oregon State, Jan. 13, marking his fourth career double-double...tallied career-high 24 points at Arizona State, Jan. 27...pulled down eight rebounds at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29.

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