Nov. 12, 2009
COUGARS OPEN SEASON WITH DELTA DEVILS FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR: The Washington State University men's basketball team hits the floor for its first regular season game of the year as it hosts Mississippi Valley State, Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at Friel Court. The game marks the season opener for both squads.
ABOUT THE COUGS:
The 2009-10 Cougars feature two starters from last year's team in senior guard Nikola Koprivica and sophomore guard Klay Thompson.
WSU returns seven letterwinners from last year's squad that made a third-straight postseason tournament appearance with a trip to the NIT. The Cougars fell at Saint Mary's in the first round of the tournament.
The youthful Cougar roster includes just one upperclassman, seven sophomores and eight freshmen. Six of the eight freshmen are true freshmen.
Among the sophomores are 2009 Pacific-10 All-Freshman honorees DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson.
ABOUT THE DELTA DEVILS:
The Delta Devils are led by second-year head coach Sean Woods who headed to MVSU prior to the 2008-09 season following a stint at TCU.
MVSU returns six letterwinners, including three starters, from last season's 7-25 squad.
All seven of MVSU's wins came in Southwestern Athletic Conference action, as it posted a 7-11 league record good for a tie for sixth place.
AGAINST THE DELTA DEVILS:
Although thousands of miles apart, the Cougars have become familiar with the Delta Devils as this year marks the third-straight season WSU has hosted MVSU.
WSU is 2-0 all-time against MVSU, winning 76-25, Nov. 15, 2008 in Pullman and 71-26, Nov. 24, 2007 in Spokane.
The 25 points scored by the Delta Devils last season marked the fewest points surrendered by a Cougar team since beating Idaho 48-23, Jan. 23, 1948. It is also the fewest points WSU has given up in the shot clock era.
Last year Aron Baynes led the Cougs with 14 points, while then-freshman Marcus Capers grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in his debut against MVSU.
COUGARS IN SEASON OPENERS:
The Cougars are 88-20 all-time in season openers and have won their last six.
They have won 21-consecutive Friel Court openers with their last loss coming to BYU by a score of 60-53, Dec. 3, 1987.
WSU is 1-0 against MVSU in season openers after last year's victory.
The last time WSU opened with the same opponent in back-to-back seasons came in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 campaigns when it defeated Central Washington in consecutive openers.
PERFECT AT FRIEL IN NOVEMBER:
WSU is 34-0 all-time in the month of November at Friel Court.
The Cougars have won 31-straight November games in Pullman and are 36-1 (the loss came before the Cougars moved into Beasley Coliseum).
WSU's only loss in Pullman in November came against Colorado State, Nov., 30, 1963, by a score of 77-47.
COUGAR COACHES IN THEIR DEBUTS:
Ken Bone became the 17th WSU men's basketball head coach April 7, 2009.
The last 16 Cougar head coaches have gone a combined 12-4 in their WSU head coaching debuts.
Dick Bennett and Tony Bennett, the last two WSU head coaches, both won their season openers.
Seven of the 16 other WSU head coaches made their debut in Pullman, racking up a 6-1 mark in coaching debuts in Pullman.
TRUE FRESHMEN PUT TO THE TEST:
Last season Klay Thompson made his mark on the WSU freshman record books.
He become the first true freshman to start a WSU season opener since Kyle Weaver, Nov. 19, 2004, against Montana State.
That season, four true freshmen saw action in the season opener (Josh Akognon, Robbie Cowgill and Daven Harmeling), with Harmeling leading the quartet with 10 points.
He also became the first WSU freshman to start a game since Nikola Koprivica started against San Diego State, Dec. 21, 2006.
Last year six freshmen appeared in the season opener, including four true freshmen. (DeAngelo Casto, Marcus Capers and Nick Witherill joined Thompson as true freshmen, while Charlie Enquist and Abe Lodwick played as redshirt freshmen).
The most points scored by a freshman in his debut is 19 put up by Aron Baynes, Nov. 19, 2005 against Montana State.
Four current Cougars got a starting nod as freshmen (Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto, Nikola Koprivica and Klay Thompson).
The last time two WSU freshmen started a game came March 8, 2006 when Aron Baynes and Chris Matthews started against Oregon in the Pac-10 Tournament.
COUGS SECOND-MOST WINNINGEST TEAM OVER LAST THREE YEARS:
Over the last three seasons (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09) the Cougars have the second-most overall and conference wins among Pac-10 schools.
WSU is 69-33 (.676) overall and 32-22 in conference play over the last three years.
UCLA has the best three-year record at 91-19 (.827) overall and 44-10 in league play.
Below is a look at where the teams rank since 2006-07 (games through March 24, 2009):
Team:Overall Record; Conference Record UCLA: 91-19; 44-10 Washington State: 69-33; 32-22 USC: 68-37; 31-23 Stanford: 66-34; 29-25 Washington: 61-39; 29-25 Arizona: 60-39; 28-26 California: 55-44; 23-31 Oregon: 55-45; 22-32 Arizona State: 54-45; 22-32 Oregon State: 32-63; 10-44
COUGS CONQUER THE GLOBE:
This summer the WSU basketball program had four team members represent their native countries in international competition.
Three Cougars participated in the FIBA U19 World Championships, as DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson brought home the gold for Team USA.
Brock Motum and Australia took fourth place.
Nikola Koprivica spent his summer representing Serbia for the second-straight year, this time in the World University Games, as the Serbians took home the gold.
Over the last three years, eight different Cougars have represented their respective countries nine times, with four of them having represented the United States.
Five of the Cougars' 16 players on the roster are left-handed on the basketball court (Anthony Brown, Marcus Capers, Nikola Koprivica, Abe Lodwick and Brock Motum).
Capers is only left-handed on the basketball court.
Last season the Cougars also had five lefties on their roster, but lost two following the conclusion of the season (Taylor Rochestie and Nick Witherill).
COUGARS DEFEAT WARRIORS IN EXHIBITION:
WSU defeated Lewis-Clark State College, 73-51, in exhibition action, Monday, Nov. 9 at Friel Court.
Klay Thompson led the Cougars with 19 points on 4-for-4 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
DeAngelo Casto put up a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Michael Harthun added 10 points as he shot 5-for-6 from the field.
Freshman Reggie Moore started for the Cougars and scored six points while dishing out eight assists.