Nov. 20, 2003
FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- Washington State opened the Dick Bennett era and the 2003-04 season with a 66-46 victory over VMI in the first round of the BP Top of the World Classic, Thursday.
Senior guard Marcus Moore led the Cougars (1-0) offense with 14 points while senior Ezenwa Ukeagu came off the bench to add 12 points and six rebounds. Moore moved past Terry Kelly and Keith Morrison into 17th place on the WSU all-time scoring list with 1,080 points.
WSU's defense forced 18 turnovers and held VMI (0-1) to 38-percent shooting from the field. The 46 points given up by the Cougars were the fewest since a 61-42 win over Oregon State, Feb. 8, 1996.
"Our defense, if not outstanding, was relentless, Bennett said. "At halftime I knew it would be difficult in the second half because VMI played so hard."
The Cougars led 25-22 at intermission and used a 15-2 run in the second stanza to open a commanding 54-36 with 8:35 left in the game.
WSU won its opener for the 13th time in the last 15 seasons and recorded its widest margin of victory in a game outside of Pullman since routing Grambling State 114-68 at the Sun Bowl Classic in El Paso, Texas, Dec. 29, 1988.
The Cougars play host Alaska Fairbanks (3-0) at 6:30 Pacific Time, Saturday in a one semifinal. The Nanooks defeated Texas-San Antonio 66-48 in the tournament opener.