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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Return Home To Host Oregon Schools
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/10/2004
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Feb. 10, 2004

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THIS WEEK: Thursday, February 12, 2004 - WSU vs. Oregon State-5:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Net Nw)
Saturday, February 14, 2004 - WSU vs. Oregon-2 p.m. (Oregon Sports Network)

WASHINGTON STATE (11-10, 5-6 Pac-10)

WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is in his first season at WSU...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .635 career winning percentage (465-267)...career highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...he is 11-10 this season...with 60-51 win at USC, Feb. 7, Bennett tied Taps Gallagher for 76th place on the NCAA career wins list.

BENNETT RECORDS QUICK START: WSU won six of its first eight games, marking its best start since 1996-97 when the Cougars opened 7-1...with two wins to open the 2003-04 season, WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett became the first mentor to begin his Cougar career 2-0 since Len Stevens in 1983-84.

COUGARS SHOW MARKED IMPROVEMENT: WSU has 11 wins this season, a four-win improvement from last season under first-year mentor Dick Bennett...only other time a Cougar head coach has had a better improvement during his inaugural season was John R. Bender in 1907-08...Bender's squad finished 12-3 after Everett M. Sweeley's 1906-07 team posted a 5-4 record.

OREGON STATE PREVIEW: The Beavers are 8-12, 2-8 in the Pac-10...OSU is in ninth place, a game and a half behind USC for the eighth and final spot in the 2004 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament scheduled for the Staples Center, March 11-13...David Lucas leads the Beavers with 16.8 points per game and ranks fourth in the Pac-10...Chris Stephens is seventh in among Pac-10 players with 15.7 points per game...Lamar Hurd leads the Pac-10 with a 2.35 assist/turnover ratio.

SERIES WITH THE BEAVERS: Oregon State leads 156-111 including a 52-41 win, Jan. 15 at Gill Coliseum...David Lucas led all scorers with 21 points on the strength of 10-for-15 shooting from the field...Ezenwa Ukeagu led WSU with 11 points off the bench...Cougars have won 10 of last 12 meetings in Pullman.

OREGON PREVIEW: The Ducks are 11-6, 6-4 in the Pac-10 and play at Washington, Thursday prior to coming to Pullman...Oregon is in third place, a half-game back of California...Luke Jackson leads the Ducks with 22.2 points (second in Pac-10), 7.0 rebounds (seventh in Pac-10), 4.76 assists (sixth in Pac-10) and a .467 three-point percentage (second in Pac-10)...Justin Davis leads the Pac-10 with 3.25 three-pointer per game...Ducks are tops in the Pac-10 with 41 percent shooting from beyond the arc...three of the four losses the Ducks have suffered in conference play have come on the road...Oregon ranks 28th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 78.6 points per game.

SERIES WITH THE DUCKS: Oregon leads 146-116, including a 60-45 win in Eugene, Jan. 17...Luke Jackson tallied a game-high 19 points in the season's first meeting...Shami Gill tied his career-high with 13 rebounds for the Cougars in the loss...Ducks have won last five meetings and 13 of the last 14.

COUGARS EARN FIRST ROAD WIN AGAINST UCLA: Washington State defeated UCLA 55-48, Feb. 5 for its first road win against the Bruins in school history...Cougars were 0-46 at UCLA, including 38 losses at Pauley Pavilion...WSU held UCLA without a field goal for over 12 minutes in the second half and gave up the fewest points in a conference road game since a 67-46 win at Washington, Jan. 29, 1994.

WSU COMPLETES ROAD SWEEP IN LOS ANGELES: A 60-51 victory at USC, Feb. 7 gave the Cougars their first road sweep of the Los Angeles schools in WSU history...Cougars closed the first half with a 26-9 run over the final 14:53...first season sweep of USC since 1985-86...first road sweep in conference since defeating Oregon State and No. 19 Oregon, Feb. 16/18, 1995 and 11th in school history since Pac-10 began in 1978-79.

COUGARS EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION: Washington State was named men's basketball national team of the week by ESPN.com after winning games at UCLA and USC last week...the following is an excerpt from ESPN.com:

The Cougars won for the first time ever at Pauley Pavilion and then won at USC. Washington State's Dick Bennett has turned this program around in just a few short months. The Cougars are now in the middle of the muddled Pac-10, but they're just as tough a team to beat as Oregon at home or on the road. The Cougars are scoring well enough to win, and playing pretty tough defense. Bennett's staff is doing a remarkable job of making this team a factor in the Pac-10. The Cougars should be a postseason team within a year or two, and that alone would be a major accomplishment. Washington State moved to 5-6 in the league, and 11-10 overall, which means the NIT isn't out of the question for this season, either.

WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars have five road wins in a season (5-6) for the first time since 1995-96 (7-7)...with the 57-51 win at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22, WSU broke a 27-game road losing streak...previous win was 58-57 at Arizona State, Feb. 8, 2001...WSU was 5-64 in last 69 road games prior to this season dating back to January, 1998.

WSU SURPASSES LAST SEASON'S WIN TOTAL: The Cougars have won 11 games this season, four better than their 2002-03 total...WSU has tallied five Pac-10 wins after winning just five of its last 43 conference games entering this season.

STREAK BREAKERS: WSU has snapped several losing streaks this season...the 57-51 win at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22 broke a 27-game road losing streak...Cougars 55-50 win at California, Jan. 4 erased a 22-game Pac-10 road losing streak...win also was first in seven games against the Golden Bears and first in last nine trips to Berkeley...WSU's 76-61 victory over USC, Jan. 10 broke a nine-game skid against the Trojans...WSU posted a 55-48 win, Feb. 5 at UCLA marking the first Cougar victory in 47 games at UCLA, including 39 at Pauley Pavilion.

COUGAR DEFENSE: Last season, WSU yielded 78.8 points per game and was last in the Pac-10 in scoring defense...this season the Cougars are best in the conference, allowing just 57.0 points per outing...WSU is seventh nationally in scoring defense.

SCORING LIMIT IS FIFTY-FIVE: The Cougars have held 13 of 21 opponents this season to 55 points or less...WSU held 12 opponents to 55 points or less over the last six seasons combined prior to 2003-04...last time Cougars limited 12 or more opponents to 55 points or less was 1951-52 when WSU accomplished the feat in 17 or 35 games...WSU held six straight opponents to 55 points or less (Nov. 28-Dec. 22) for the first time since Dec. 21-Jan. 5 (seven games) during the 1950-51 season.

FIFTY POINT BARRIER: The Cougars have held five opponents to under 50 points this season...prior to this season, the last time WSU held a team under 50 points was an 80-46 win at Eastern Washington, Dec. 7, 1996...Cougars had not held multiple opponents under 50 points since 1989-90 season...last time WSU held five opponents under 50 points was 1987-88 season in Kelvin Sampson's first season on the Palouse...WSU also limited Montana and California to 50 points each while posting road wins.

TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: WSU turns the ball over at a rate of 12.2 per game...Cougars are 12th nationally in fewest turnovers per outing.

LOOKING AHEAD: If the season ended today, WSU would qualify for the 2004 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament...Cougars are currently in a tie for sixth place with Washington and would face California in the first round...top eight in the Pac-10 standings qualify for the tournament...any combination WSU wins and Oregon State losses equaling six and WSU wins and Arizona State losses equaling five would clinch a spot in the tournament for the Cougars.

PACIFIC LIFE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT MEDIA INFORMATION: Media members requesting credentials for the tournament may obtain a credential application through the Pac-10 web site at www.pac-10.org or at www.sportssytems.com/Pac-10.

PACIFIC LIFE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT TICKET INFORMATION: Fans wishing to attend the 2004 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament, March 11-13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles may order tickets through the Pac-10 web site at www.pac-10.org.

FORTY PERCENT EQUALS PASSING GRADE: WSU is 10-3 this season when shooting 40 percent or better from the field...Cougars shot season-high 58 percent in 76-61 win over USC, Jan. 10...Cougars 6-0 when holding opponent under 40 percent from the floor...when the Cougars shoot under 40 percent, they are 0-7...WSU is 4-10 when its opponent connects on 40 percent or more shots from the field.

GETTING TO THE LINE: WSU is 7-1 this season when attempting more free throws than its opponent...during the road trip last week to UCLA and USC, the Cougars were 32-for-39 at the charity stripe (.821)...WSU connected on its first 16 free throw attempts against the Bruins and Jeff Varem made 10-of-13 attempts, all in the final 6:22 against the Trojans.

COUGAR PLAYER NOTES

#1 Marcus Moore (Inglewood, Calif.) - Ranks on WSU all-time list in assists (fourth-393), steals (tie for third-161), three-point field goals (sixth-139) and scoring (eighth-1,346 points)...needs 48 points to move past Brian Quinnett (1985-87, 89) into seventh place on WSU's scoring list...scored 29 points against No. 9 Arizona, Jan. 31...one of three players in WSU history with 1,000 points, 300 assists and 125 steals...Keith Morrison (1983-86) and Bennie Seltzer (1990-93) are the others...named to the BP Top of the World Classic all-tournament team after averaging 16.7 points and 3.7 assists in three games...Pac-10 rankings entering the week: Fifth in steals (1.71 per game), and 14th in scoring (13.3 points per game)...scored 20 points at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22 and 22 points vs. Idaho, Dec. 20.

#2 Terry Ayers (Pearl City, Hawaii) - Walk-on has appeared in three games...played three minutes off the bench in first half at Montana, Dec. 13.

#3 Lance Den Boer (Sunnyside) - Has played in 12 games...scored season-high 11 points off the bench at Montana, Dec. 13 while celebrating his 19th birthday.

#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Has started 18 games...tied season-high with 11 points at USC after scoring just two points in previous three games...four times this season has tied his career-high with seven rebounds...scored nine points at No. 15 Gonzaga and added six boards...tallied eight points at No. 5 Stanford, Jan. 2...played career-high 39 minutes against USC, Jan. 10.

#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) - Has scored in double figures 10 times this season...averaged 14 points during road trip to Los Angeles...did not start for only third time in last 48 games at Oregon, Jan. 17...other two non-starts were senior days in 2002 and 2003...had worst shooting game of his career with 0-for-9 effort at Oregon State, Jan. 15...season-high 18 points vs. IPFW, Dec. 1...tallied team-high 15 points at No. 15 Gonzaga, Dec. 28...has 123 career treys and ranks 10th on WSU's all-time list...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: Sixth in three-pointers per game (2.05) and ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.394)...led Pac-10 with .456 three-point shooting in 2002-03

#12 Randy Green (Renton) - Has made five starts in 2003-04...averaged 16.7 points per game during three-game stretch Dec. 6-20...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: Sixth in three-point percentage (.404).

#21 Anthony Grant (Seattle) - Has appeared in 19 games, including four starts...struggled from the floor this season (7-for-46).

#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) - Has started all 21 games...leads WSU with 5.7 rebounds per game...matched his career-high with 13 rebounds, including seven offensive, at Oregon, Jan. 17...grabbed 10 boards at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22 and at Southern Utah, Nov. 28...named all-tournament at BP Top of the World Classic...played career-high 36 minutes at California and dished out career-high three assists against the Golden Bears, Jan. 4...tied his career high with 17 points against USC, Jan. 10...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: 13th in rebounding.

#25 Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma) - Walk-on has made nine appearances...made first career start vs. No. 9 Arizona, Jan. 31...played season/career-high 29 minutes against the Wildcats...recorded seven points and two assists against Arizona...tallied five points, three assists, two rebounds and one block against Washington.

#32 Ezenwa Ukeagu (Coral Springs, Fla.) - Has played in 18 games...made only start at Fresno State, Dec. 22...tied career-high with 15 points vs. Idaho, Dec. 20...added eight rebounds against the Vandals...averaged six points and three rebounds off the bench in last week's games against UCLA and USC...averaged 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds during three games at BP Top of the World Classic.

#33 Cody Boyd (Bellingham) - Walk-on joined the team Jan. 20...saw two minutes of action against Washington, Jan. 24...played two minutes against No. 9 Arizona, Jan. 31 and recorded a block...tight end on WSU football team...caught 18 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown during 2003 football season...also blocked three kicks...named honorable mention freshman All-American by Rivals.com.

#40 Julius McMillion (Seattle) - Walk-on who has not appeared in a game this season.

#44 Justin Garcia (Mira Loma, Calif.) - Has played in six games...scored buckets vs. IPFW, Dec. 1 and at Oregon State, Jan. 15...recorded a pair of rebounds against the Mastadons and at Fresno State, Dec. 22.

#45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria) - Made 16-of-21 free throws during road games at UCLA and USC last week...tallied team-high five rebounds, four points and two assists in first game at Fresno State, Dec. 29...recorded 15 points at California, Jan. 4...added five boards against Golden Bears...registered season/career highs with 22 points and seven rebounds in Cougars' 76-61 victory over USC, Jan. 10...recorded team-high 14 points against Washington, Jan. 24 while making his fourth start of the season...scored game-high 17 points against Arizona State, Jan. 29...sat out WSU's first eight games due to impermissible benefits received prior to attending WSU.

#55 Justin Bellegarde (Ukiah, Calif.) - Tied his career-high with eight points against Arizona State, Jan. 29...pulled down season-high five rebounds in opener vs. VMI, Nov. 20...has made two starts.

FROM ZERO TO SIXTY: Washington State is 8-1 this season when scoring 60 or more points...exception is 75-62 loss to Washington, Jan. 24...Cougars are 2-9 when being held under 60 points.

SLAMMING THE DOOR SHUT: The Cougars are 7-1 this season when leading at halftime and 1-0 when tied at intermission...last season, WSU was 6-6 after outscoring its opponent in the first stanza.

COUGARS HAVE WINNING RECORD LATE: WSU is above the .500 mark through 21 games...last time WSU above .500 this late in the season was 1995-96...that year Cougars won first three games, went on to post an 18-11 record and advanced to the second round of the NIT.

ATTENDANCE NUMBERS UP: The Cougars drew 10,878 fans for their two games two weeks against Arizona State and Arizona...largest weekend for WSU basketball since 13,682 came to see USC and UCLA at the end of the 1996-97 season...Cougars have drawn 17,287 over the last three games, best since Feb. 22-March 8, 1997 (21,017)...the 6,409 attending the Washington game, Jan. 24 was the most since 6,493 watched No. 1 Stanford, Jan. 27, 2001 and the most for a non-ranked opponent since 8,373 attended Washington, Jan. 18, 1997.

WSU WIN STREAK: The Cougars had a four-game winning streak snapped with their 46-29 loss at Fresno State, Dec. 22...it was WSU's first four-game winning streak since Dec. 2-20, 1998.

DOUBLE FIGURE WINS: WSU won three straight games by double figures Dec. 1-13...last time Cougars accomplished the feat was Dec. 5-20, 1998.

GETTING A FRESH START: WSU has used nine different starting lineups this season, with 11 players making at least one start...a breakdown of the lineups.

WINNING IN DECEMBER: Washington State won its first four December games for the first time since 1998-99.

HAPPY NEW YEAR: The Cougars won three games (California, USC, Arizona State) in January for the first time since 1998-99.

PROTECTING THE HOUSE: WSU's 62-55 win over Idaho, Dec. 20, the Cougars closed our their 2003-04 nonconference home schedule at 3-0...WSU is 63-2 since 1990-91 in nonconference games played in Pullman...the mark includes a 5-0 record in Bohler Gym during the 1990-91 campaign...losses are 78-66 to Utah, Dec. 11, 1999 and 110-104 to Gonzaga in overtime, Dec. 7, 2002.

WSU A TRAVELING TEAM: The Cougars have played 15 of their 21 games away from Pullman...WSU has traveled over 13,000 miles by plane and over 1,800 miles by bus.

Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball
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