March 6, 2008
COUGARS CLOSE OUT HOME SEASON AGAINST HUSKIES: The Washington State University men's basketball team will close out the Pacific-10 Conference season as it hosts Washington, Saturday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. at Friel Court. The game will be shown live on FSN Northwest.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Entering Thursday's game, the Cougars were in sole possession of third place in the Pacific-10 Conference at 10-7 in the league, but held just a half-game lead over USC which hosted California Thursday.
WSU is ranked 23rd in the latest Associated Press Poll and 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll after splitting its Bay Area series with a win at California Thursday and a loss at then-No. 8 Stanford Saturday.
Derrick Low leads the team with 13.8 points per game, having scored in double figures in each of WSU's last seven games.
Kyle Weaver (11.3 ppg), Aron Baynes (10.7 ppg) and Taylor Rochestie (10.7 ppg) join Low in double digits this season.
Baynes is adding a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game, while Rochestie leads the league with a 3.0 assist/turnover ratio and Weaver ranks fourth in the conference with 1.7 steals per outing.
The Cougars continue to boast the league's top defense allowing just 55.4 points per game, ranking third in the nation.
ABOUT THE HUSKIES
The Huskies enter Saturday's Pacific-10 season finale at 16-14 overall.
Heading into Thursday's Pac-10 games, Washington was in eighth place in the league at 7-10 in conference, just a half a game out of a tie for sixth place.
Both of UW's games last week were decided by three points as it fell at Stanford, 82-79, Thursday and defeated California, 87-84.
The Huskies are averaging 73.0 points per game, good for fourth-best in the conference, while ranking second in the league with 38.0 rebounds per game.
Junior Jon Brockman is averaging a double-double per game with a league-leading 11.6 boards per game and 17.6 points per outing.
He has 21 double-doubles in 30 games this season. Ryan Appleby and Justin Dentmon join Brockman in double-figures with 11.3 and 10.0 points per outing, respectively.
The Cougars trail the all-time series 97-167, dating back to 1910, but have won the last six meetings, matching their longest winning streak in the all-time series.
The Huskies hold a 69-60 advantage in games played at Pullman, but WSU has won the last two meetings at Friel Court.
WSU swept the season series last year, including a victory in the Pac-10 Tournament, and won the first meeting of this season, a 56-52 victory at Seattle Jan. 5.
Aron Baynes led the Cougars in scoring in the first meeting with 16 points.
Despite scoring just four points in the first meeting this season, Taylor Rochestie is averaging a team-best 12.3 points per game against UW after averaging 15 points in the three games last season.
Second-year Cougar coach Tony Bennett has not lost to the Huskies at 4-0 against the cross-state rival.
A WIN SATURDAY WOULD...
Extend WSU's winning streak to seven games over UW.
Secure the No. 3 seed in the Pac-10 Conference Tournament.
Give the Cougars 11 Pac-10 Conference wins this season, making it the first time in school history WSU has recorded 11-plus Pac-10 wins in consecutive seasons.
It would be the first time since the 1936-37 and 1937-38 seasons that WSU has won 11-plus conference games in back-to-back seasons.
Put head coach Tony Bennett one away from 50 career wins.
WSU SAYS FAREWELL TO SENIORS
Seniors Robbie Cowgill, Jeremy Cross, Chris Henry, Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver will make their final appearance at Friel Court in WSU uniforms Saturday.
Managers David Feldhammer, Mitch Reaves and Marlon Stewart will also be honored prior to the game.
The Cougars are 61-45 in their final home game of the regular season. WSU is 9-8 when closing out the home season against the Huskies.
COUGARS RECORD BACK-TO-BACK 20-WIN SEASONS
The Feb. 16 win at Oregon gave WSU its 20th win of the season. Last season the Cougars went 26-8.
With its 20-win season, WSU has recorded 20 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1940-41 and 1941-42 seasons. Jack Friel led his Cougars to four-straight 20-win seasons from 1938-42.
Not only is Tony Bennett the second WSU head coach to lead his team to consecutive 20-win seasons, he is just the third Cougar coach to notch multiple 20-win seasons at the helm for WSU.
...AND BACK-TO-BACK 10 PAC-10 WIN SEASONS
The Feb. 28 win at California gave WSU its second-straight 10-win Pac-10 season for the first time since the 1993-94 seasons.
Going with the theme of the Pac-10 season thus far, the Cougars have been solid on the road this season at 10-3.
The 10 road wins marks the first time since 1946-47 that the Cougars have accomplished that feat. It is also just the 11th time in school history a WSU squad has won 10 or more games on the road.
WSU is 14-3 in games played outside Pullman this season, tied with North Carolina for the third most wins outside a home court in the nation this season. Butler and Robert Morris lead the nation at with 15 road/neutral-site wins apiece this season.
ROCHESTIE AND LOW PRODUCING
In the last seven games, the backcourt duo of Taylor Rochestie and Derrick Low led the Cougars in scoring. Low has reached double figures in all seven of the games, while Rochestie has in six of the last seven games.
Rochestie and Low accounted for 48 percent (212) of WSU's 443 points in the last seven games.
Rochestie recorded back-to back 20-point games with a career high 24 at Oregon State and 21 points at Oregon.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE THE ROAD...
Taylor Rochestie has shown a noticeable difference in his shooting on the road this season compared to games played at Friel Court.
In games played on the road (including the tournament at Spokane and the neutral-site game at Seattle), Rochestie is shooting .533 from the field (65-for-122) and .524 from 3-point range (33-for-63).
He is averaging 12.1 points per game in those contests.
In games played at Pullman's Friel Court, Rochestie is shooting .402 from the field (35-for-87) including .270 from 3-point range (10-for-37). He is averaging 8.7 points per game at home.
WEAVER DOES IT ALL
Kyle Weaver is believed to be the first player in Pac-10 history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 150 steals and 75 blocks in a career. He currently has 1,033 points, 517 rebounds, 425 assists, 174 steals and 85 blocked shots.
Weaver currently ranks in the top-10 among active career leaders in the Pac-10 in assists (first), steals (first), blocks (sixth), rebounds (ninth) and points (ninth).
THE 1,000-POINT MILESTONE
Senior Derrick Low became the 28th Cougar to score 1,000 career points just three points into WSU's win over Oregon State Jan. 17.
Kyle Weaver became the 29th Cougar to score 1,000 career points on his first basket against USC Feb. 9.
The last Cougar to reach the milestone prior to Low was Thomas Kelati (2002-05) who reached 1,081 points in Low and Weaver's freshmen season.
Low and Weaver became the first Cougar teammates to reach the milestone in the same year since Terry Kelly and Don Collins in 1980.
Three Cougars have never reached 1,000 career points in the same season.
DISHING IT OUT
Despite ranking eighth in the Pac-10 in assists per game, the Cougars boast two of the top-five assists men in the league.
Junior Taylor Rochestie is second in the league and ranks 81st in the nation with 4.6 assists per game.
Rochestie leads the league and is eighth in the nation with a 3.0 assists/turnover ratio (134 assists to 45 turnovers).
Senior Kyle Weaver ranks fifth in the league with 4.3 dishes per contest.
With 134 and 125 assists this season, respectively, Rochestie and Weaver are the first WSU teammates to dish out 100-plus assists in the same season since 1990 when Bennie Seltzer had 114 assists and David Sanders dished out 100.
WHEN WEAVER AND LOW SCORE DOUBLE-DIGITS
WSU's game against Arizona Feb. 23 marked the second time this season the Cougars have lost when both Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver score in double-figures.
The Cougars are9-2 this season when each of the backcourt duo puts up 10 or more points in the same game.
LOW IN THE CLUTCH
In the nine games WSU has trailed at the half this season, Low is averaging 16.8 points per game, three points above his average.
He is averaging 3.8 3-pointers per game in those contests.
Low is averaging 13.9 of those points in the second half. He is 38-for-58 (.667) from 3-point range in the second half when WSU trails at intermission.
WEAVER GETS PAST 19
In the 107th game of his WSU career, Kyle Weaver reached the 20-point plateau for the first time with 23 points against Stanford.
Weaver had scored in double-digits 49 times in his career prior to his 23-point performance.
His previous career high was 19 which he reached twice, including once this season.
In the same game, Weaver had his first double-double of the season and the fifth of his career. His 11 rebounds marked his first double-digit rebounding performance of the season.
Junior Aron Baynes, at 6-10, 270, has been an effective inside presence for the Cougars this season.
Baynes is tied for third on the team with 10.7 points per game, leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game and tied for first with 25 blocks this season.
He's controlled 25 of the 29 jump balls he's vied for this season.
Baynes is averaging eight points and three rebounds more this season than through the team's 29 games last season (3.9 points, 2.6 boards).
ROCHESTIE PICKING IT UP THIS SEASON AS WELL
Junior Taylor Rochestie's numbers have gone up tremendously this season compared to at this point last season.
Tied for third on the team this season in scoring with 10.7 points per game, he averaged just 3.1 points per game after 29 games last season. Rochestie is also up in assists (this year: 133; last year: 48), rebounds (this year: 3.2; last year: 0.9) and most notably, minutes played (this year: 34.0 mpg; last year: 13.4 mpg).
BENNETT REACHES 40TH CAREER VICTORY
WSU second-year head coach Tony Bennett reached his 40th career coaching victory as the team defeated USC Jan. 10.
Last season Bennett put in the 13th-best coaching debut in NCAA Division I history as the team went 26-8.
At 48-15, Bennett is just two wins shy of 50 career wins, which would tie him for 10th in NCAA history for wins by a second-year head coach.
Bill Guthridge holds the record with a 58-14 mark in his first two seasons at North Carolina.
COUGARS IN RPI
Washington State remained at 22nd in the latest RPI (Rating Percentage Index) standings released this week.
UCLA (seventh) and Stanford (17th) are the only Pac-10 schools ranked above the Cougs.
The Pac-10 as a whole ranks second in the RPI.
LOW, WEAVER EARN NABC HONORS
Seniors Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver have been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division I All-District 14 team Both are now eligible for the State Farm Division I All-America teams which will be announced April 5.
This is the second-consecutive season Weaver has been named to the team, while the honor is the first for Low.
The two are joined on the first team by fellow Pac-10 student-athletes Brook Lopez of Stanford, Ryan Anderson of California and Jon Brockman of Washington.
ROCHESTIE NAMED V FOUNDATION FINALIST
Redshirt junior Taylor Rochestie has been named one of 14 finalists for the eighth annual V Foundation Comeback Award.
The annual award is open to men and women collegiate basketball student-athletes in all divisions.
It is awarded to an individual or a team who has accomplished a personal triumph in the face of true adversity, be it in health, life or moral dilemma.
The award is presented in memory of Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach and ESPN commentator, whose personal battle with cancer inspired the creation of The V Foundation.
The Cougars head down to Los Angeles for the Pacific-10 Conference Tournament held at the Staples Center. Pairings will be announced following the games this weekend.