Dec. 25, 2008
WSU CROSSES COUNTRY TO TAKE ON LSU: The Washington State University men's basketball team (8-3) will travel across the country to Baton Rouge, La., to face LSU for the first time in 31 years, Saturday, Dec. 27 at the Maravich Center. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE COUGS:
The Cougars defeated Idaho, 55-41, Sunday, Dec. 21 at Moscow, Idaho in WSU's first true road game of the season.
Aron Baynes led the team in scoring with a season-high 18 points and came one rebound short of his first double-double of the season with nine boards.
Caleb Forrest got his first start since his freshman season (March 4, 2006 at Arizona State)...Forrest started five games that season...averaged 5.0 ppg when in starting lineup.
The Cougars tied their season low with 22 first-half points...they also had 22 against Baylor (Dec. 6).
WSU's 55 points tied its fewest points in a win this season...also scored 55 against Fairleigh Dickinson (Nov. 18).
The Cougars improved to 157-107 all-time against the Vandals...67-59 at Idaho...the two teams have the sixth longest continuous rivalry nationally having played for 104-consecutive seasons.
Taylor Rochestie had a season-high six rebounds and added 11 points.
WSU AGAINST THE SEC:
Saturday's game at LSU marks just the third time WSU has played an SEC team on its home court...it is just the second time that the matchup is not part of a tournament. The Cougars played at Kentucky in the Blue Grass Tournament during the 1974-75 season and at LSU during the 1977-78 season.
WSU has not defeated an SEC team on its home court (0-2).
This season is the first time the Cougars will have played two SEC teams in the same season, having defeated Mississippi State, 63-52, Nov. 28 at the Legends Classic in Newark, N.J.
WSU holds a 4-6 record against current members of the Southeastern Conference.
The Cougars have faced seven of the 12 teams in the league...they have not faced Auburn, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina or Tennessee.
The only SEC schools WSU has faced multiple times are Alabama (1-2) and LSU (1-1).
FORMER FOE FOR ROCHESTIE:
Although the Cougars haven't faced the Tigers since the 1970's, redshirt senior Taylor Rochestie went up against LSU while a freshman at Tulane during the 2004-05 season.
Rochestie scored nine points in 24 minutes as Tulane fell to LSU, 58-83, Nov. 19, 2004 in Baton Rouge.
The game was the season opener for the Green Wave and marked Rochestie's collegiate debut.
Four of the five players that started the first 10 games for the Cougars earned Pacific-10 Conference All-Academic accolades last season.
The only one of the five who didn't, Klay Thompson, was in high school last year.
Daven Harmeling and Taylor Rochestie earned first-team honors, while Aron Baynes and Nikola Koprivica picked up second-team accolades.
Harmeling is a three-time conference all-academic honoree, while Baynes has earned the honors twice.
Koprivica did not start at Idaho Dec. 21, but was the Cougs' first substitution.
WSU FRESHMEN AMONG TOPS IN PAC-10:
Klay Thompson ranks third amongst Pac-10 freshmen in rebounding with 5.1 rpg (20th overall).
DeAngelo Casto leads all Pac-10 freshmen in blocks per game with 1.4 and is third overall in the category.
COUG VETS IN RANKINGS TOO:
Seniors Aron Baynes, Taylor Rochestie and Daven Harmeling also rank in the tops in the Pac-10 in nine different categories. Below is a look at where they rank.
Field Goal Percentage - 2nd (.630, 51-for-81)
Blocked Shots - 6th (1.1 bpg)
Rebounding - t-10th (6.1 rpg)
Scoring - t-19th (11.6 ppg)
Free Throw Pct. - 2nd (.917, 22-for-24)
Assists - 3rd (5.0 apg)
Assist/Turnover Ratio - 3rd (2.0 a/t ratio)
Minutes Played - 9th (32.9 mpg)
3-Point FG Made - t-9th (1.8 3pt fg pg)
VISITORS AT LAST:
Saturday's game at LSU will mark just the second time this season the Cougars have worn their crimson uniforms.
WSU's game at Idaho, Sunday, Dec. 21 was its first true road game of the season.
The latest road opener for the Cougars came in 1917-18 when WSU played at Idaho, Feb. 2, 1918, for its first road game of the season.
The Cougars' first game of the season that year was on Jan. 18, 1918.
This season's 10 games marks the most games the Cougars have played before their road opener.
The previous number of games was nine when WSU opened its road season Jan. 5 of the 1986-87 season at Idaho.
THOMPSON OFFERS `FRESH' START:
With his start against MVSU Nov. 15, Klay Thompson became the first Cougar freshman to start a season opener since Kyle Weaver started against Montana State, Nov. 19, 2004.
He also became the first WSU freshman to start a game since Nikola Koprivica started against San Diego State, Dec. 21, 2006.
A total of six freshmen saw action in the season opener for the Cougs (Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto, Charlie Enquist, Abe Lodwick, Klay Thompson, Nick Witherill).
Four of the freshmen are true freshman (Capers, Casto, Thompson, Witherill). The last time four true freshman played in the season opener was in 2004 (Josh Akognon, Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling, Kyle Weaver).
Five or more freshmen have seen action in eight of WSU's 11 games.
Last season just two freshmen played for the Cougars, making a total of 20 appearances (one true freshman, one redshirt freshman).
This year seven WSU freshmen have combined for 58 appearances in the first 11 games.
Against Idaho State, Dec. 2 and Montana State, Dec. 13, seven freshmen and a total of eight first-year players saw action in each game.
WINNING BY 20-PLUS:
This season four of the Cougars' eight wins have come by margins of victory greater than 20 points.
WSU's final two wins of the 2007-08 season were also by 20 or more points (61-41 over Notre Dame-3/22; 71-40 over Winthrop-3/20).
Prior to Nov. 28's 11-point win over Mississippi State, the Cougars had a margin of victory of 20 or more points in each of their last six wins, dating back to last season.
The Cougars have won by double-digits in each of its last 10 wins.
BAYNES EYEING 1,000 POINTS:
Senior center Aron Baynes is looking to become the 30th player in Washington State history to score 1,000 points in his WSU career.
Now with 772 career points, Baynes needs a total of 228 more points this season to reach the milestone.
The Australian-native tallied 365 last season averaging 10.4 per game.
ROCHESTIE CLOSING IN TOO:
Redshirt senior guard Taylor Rochestie is also closing in on the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Between his freshman season at Tulane University and the last two years at WSU, Rochestie has amassed 935 points.
After a junior season in which he tied Baynes for third on the team in scoring with 365 points, Rochestie will need 477 total points this season to get to 1,000 as a Cougar.
Rochestie has 631 points as a Cougar after scoring 304 at Tulane.
COUGS AMONG YOUNGEST TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY:
With nine total freshman, WSU is tied with three other schools for the most freshmen on a roster in the country. The Cougs are tied with Presbyterian, High Point and The Citadel.
The Cougars' group of seven true freshmen is tied for the fourth most true freshmen on an NCAA Division I roster in the nation. Duquesne, Saint Louis and Iona each have eight true freshmen on their rosters.
WSU's seven scholarship freshmen also ties them for third in the country for most scholarship freshmen. Duquesne and Saint Louis each have eight scholarship freshmen.
Although freshmen-heavy, the Cougars older players make up for it. Among the youngest teams by average age, the Cougars rank 10th in the country with an average age of 19.87 years old. Arizona State (19.81 years old) ranks directly ahead of the Cougs, while Oregon (19.93 years old) is right behind WSU at 11th.
Five of the Cougars' 16 players are the roster are left-handed on the basketball court. (Marcus Capers, Abe Lodwick, Nikola Koprivica, Taylor Rochestie and Nick Witherill).
Capers is only left-handed on the basketball court.
All five of the lefties are guards.
On top of that, Aron Baynes writes with his left hand, and can shoot with both.
The Cougars are led by a sharp-shooting left-handed point guard in head coach Tony Bennett.
ROCHESTIE CANDIDATE FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD:
Senior point guard Taylor Rochestie was named one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, Dec. 19.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award honors the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education bring.
A two-year starter, Rochestie ranked third on last season's team with 10.4 points per game and is third this year with 9.8...he was 10th in the country last year with a 2.81 assists/turnover ratio.
Last fall, Rochestie announced he would give up his scholarship for his senior season so that the Cougars could sign a fifth player to their early signing class...an extra scholarship opened up during the summer and Rochestie was awarded a scholarship for the season.
THREE COUGS PLAY 100TH GAMES:
The Cougars' game Sunday at Idaho was the 100th game of Aron Baynes' career.
The senior played 28 games as a freshman, 26 as a sophomore and 10 as a junior.
He has started 64 of the 100 games he's played so far.
WSU's Dec. 6 game against Baylor was the 100th game of Daven Harmeling's career.
The redshirt senior played 26 games as a true freshman, one during his redshirt year, 33 as a redshirt sophomore, 32 as a junior and now 11 as a senior.
WSU's Nov. 21 game against Sacramento State marked the 100th game of redshirt senior Taylor Rochestie's career...he's now played in 108 games.
Rochestie played 28 games as a freshman at Tulane and has played 80 games at WSU.
The point guard has started 76 of his 108 games thus far, including 51 starts at WSU.
COUGARS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS:
Five of WSU's opponents this season are ranked, including Pittsburgh, who the Cougars lost to Nov. 29.
Pittsburgh (3), Gonzaga (7), UCLA (13/10), Arizona State (20/17) and Baylor (21/22)...LSU is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
WSU's only three losses this season have come to ranked opponents.
RANKED FOES AT FRIEL COURT:
WSU hosted two ranked opponents in Baylor (then-24th-Associated Press/Receiving Votes-ESPN-USA Today) and Gonzaga (4th-both) at Friel Court in consecutive games.
It marked the first time that WSU has hosted two ranked nonconference opponents at home.
Baylor was also the first ranked nonconference opponent to come play WSU at Friel Court that was not Gonzaga.
The only other nonconference ranked opponent the Cougars have hosted at home was No. 17 Ohio State, Dec. 16, 1968 at Bohler Gym.
COUGARS' HOME NONCONFERENCE STREAK ENDED:
WSU's loss Dec. 6 to No. 24 Baylor at home marked its first nonconference loss at Friel Court since falling to No. 25 Gonzaga, 54-52, Dec. 7, 2004.
The Cougars' back-to-back losses to Baylor (Dec. 6) and Gonzaga (Dec. 10) marked the first time WSU lost back-to-back nonconference games since 2004-05 with losses at Oklahoma State (Dec. 4) and against Gonzaga (Dec. 7).
The two losses also marked the first time WSU lost back-to-back nonconference games at home since 1985-86 when it fell to Wisconsin (Dec. 9) and Nebraska (Dec. 12).
Taylor Rochestie was the only Cougar that was alive when the Cougars dropped back-to-back nonconference home games in 1985.
NONCONFERENCE STREAK COMES TO AN END:
The Cougars had their regular season nonconference winning streak snapped at 21 games with their loss to Pittsburgh Saturday, Nov. 29.
The streak had gone back to the 2006-07 season.
The 21-game winning streak is the second-longest in school history, passing the 19-straight streak during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
WSU's record streak stands at 23 games set during the 1931-32, 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons.
BENNETT NO LONGER PERFECT IN NOVEMBER:
WSU's Nov. 29 loss to Pittsburgh marked its first loss in November under third-year head coach Tony Bennett.
The Cougars had gone 19-0 under Bennett in November prior to that game...Bennett is now 19-1 in the month.
The Cougars have started the season 5-0 in all three of Bennett's seasons at the helm.