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Washington State at Portland State
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 12/15/1999
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Dec. 15, 1999

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Cougars make their second-ever visit to the Rose Garden to face Portland State Monday night at 7:05 p.m.

CROSBY SCORES 1,000TH POINT VERSUS UTAH: Senior forward Chris Crosby became the 22nd member of WSU's 1,000-career point club Saturday versus Utah...he had 18 against the Utes to bring his career total to 1,013...the Littleton, Colo., native should climb into WSU's all-time top 10 by season's end...he needs just 24 more points to make the top 20...next up is No. 21 Peter Mullins (1,021/1951-53)...Crosby ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring (17.3 ppg).

CROSBY CASHES IN AT CHARITY STRIPE: Proving last season's .843 clip (fourth best ever at WSU) from the free throw line was no fluke, senior forward Chris Crosby is tearing it up at the charity stripe this season to the tune of a 92.5 percent average (37-40) -- to rank second in the Pac-10...he tied a 35 year-old school record by hitting 11-of-11 attempts Dec. 4 versus Southern...Crosby had a streak of 25 consecutive free throws made snapped with a miss late in the Portland game...the school single-season record is 88.5 percent by David Sanders in 1988, but Crosby better not focus on that mark, teammate Jan-Michael Thomas is hitting 90.5 percent at the line this season.

THIS WEEK

Radio: The Crimson & Gray Sports Network will broadcast all WSU regular season games on its 13-station network with Bud Nameck (7th season) calling the play-by-play. Broadcasts are also available via the Internet, www.wsucougars.com.

WSU at Portland State Monday, December 20, 1999 7:05 p.m. PST The Rose Garden (19,980)

Television: None.

Records: The Cougars are 4-3 on the season after defeating Grambling (83-55), Idaho (70-65), Southern (80-77) and Portland (59-56) and losing to No. 25 Utah (78-66), No. 25 Gonzaga (73-63) and at Nevada (80-55). The Vikings are 5-2 and host Eastern Oregon Wednesday night.

Quick Stats: WSU is 4-0 when it out-rebounds its opponents and 0-3 when it does not.

Quick Stats II: Jan-Michael Thomas is averaging 18.5 points per game since taking over at the point two games ago.

Mencke Joins Team: WSU football quarterback/tight end/receiver Paul Mencke joined the basketball team Monday as a guard/forward. More information on Mencke is available later in this release.

On Deck: WSU takes a break for Christmas before heading to Fort Collins, Colo., to meet Colorado State on Thursday, Dec. 30. The game is a homecoming for WSU senior forward and Littleton, Colo., native Chris Crosby.

Pac-10 Play in Spokane: The Cougars open league play Thursday, Jan. 5 versus USC at the Spokane Arena.

WSU COACH PAUL GRAHAM: Paul Graham is in his first season as a head coach...he has a 4-3 record overall and at Washington State...Graham was an assistant coach for seven seasons under Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State prior to accepting the head position at WSU...he is the 13th former Sutton assistant to land a Division I head coaching job...Graham is the 14th head coach in the 99-year history of Cougar basketball...against Grambling State, Graham became the 11th WSU head coach to win his home debut. Though Graham lost his first game (Nevada) as WSU's head coach, it may not be a bad thing...the last Cougar head coach to lose his first game on the Cougar sideline was George Raveling in 1972, who would later become the only man in WSU history to lead the Cougars to two NCAA Tournament appearances (1980, 1983).

MILLER MAY PLAY: Junior forward Eddie Miller may be cleared to play Monday versus Portland State...if Miller's fall semester class work meets the required academic progress AND all grades have been turned in by his professors, then Miller can be cleared to play versus the Vikings...Miller averaged 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. HOME NON-LEAGUE STREAK ENDS AT 45: The second-longest non-conference home winning streak in the nation ended at 45 games after No. 25 Utah stopped WSU 78-66 Saturday at Friel Court...it was nearly a decade since WSU's last non-conference home loss...WSU was 45-1 versus non-conference teams at Friel during the 1990s!...the Cougars had not lost at home to a non-conference foe since December 14, 1989, when Idaho escaped Friel Court with a 56-52 win. The streak began with a 112-81 win over BYU-Hawaii in the first game of the 1990-91 season...WSU's 45 wins include 40 at Friel and five at Bohler Gym (all during the 1990-91 season)...the streak also included NIT victories in 1992 (Minnesota), 1995 (Texas Tech) and 1996 (Gonzaga).

OH WHAT A FREILING: Washington State's 74-71 victory December 2, 1998, against Portland State was the Cougars' 200th all-time win at Friel Court...beginning with an 80-78 WSU victory against Louisiana State on December 1, 1973, the Cougars have won nearly two-thirds of the games they have played there (.648)...WSU has a 208-113 all-time record in Beasley...milestone wins at Friel:

No. 1 WSU 80, LSU 78, 12/1/73
No. 3 WSU 71, USC 56, 1/5/74 (first league win)
No. 25 WSU 77, Cal 63, 1/8/77
No. 50 WSU 77, USC 57, 1/24/80
No. 100 WSU 75, Oregon 71, 2/14/86
No. 150 WSU 95, Oregon 79, 1/21/93
No. 200 WSU 74, Portland State 71, 12/2/98

SCOUTING PORTLAND STATE: Aside from a blowout loss at Arizona State, PSU has played well this season...its only losses have been Arizona State (79-57) and Oregon (91-87)...the Vikings are coming off good road wins at Air Force (72-71) and Pacific (69-65)...PSU and WSU have one common opponent -- Portland...PSU beat the Pilots 61-51, while WSU won 59-56...senior forward Ime Udoka leads the Vikings in scoring (15.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg)...senior guard Derek Nesland is next at 13.7 ppg...the Vikings shoot the ball well (47 percent), but are being out-rebounded this season (36.0-32.6)...PSU athletic trainer Jim Wallis is a 1983 graduate of Washington State.

WSU-PORTLAND STATE SERIES: Cougars lead 3-0. This will be just the fourth meeting between the two teams overall, but its the third straight year WSU and PSU will tangle...the Cougars won the only other meeting at the Rose Garden 77-72 in 1998...all three games have been close with WSU margin-of-victories of four, five and three...Cougs won 74-70 in 1974 and 74-71 last year...the Vikings are 1-23 all-time versus Pac-10 schools...WSU is 160-48 all-time versus current members of the Big Sky Conference.

UTAH RECAP: It took a Friel Court record 14 three-pointers, but No. 25 Utah ended WSU's 45-game home non-conference winning streak 78-66 Saturday, Dec. 11...aside from Utah's three-point shooting, the teams were remarkably well-matched: tied in rebounds (26-26), shot similar from the floor (Utah .547, WSU .500) and were close in turnovers (Utah 13, WSU 14)...WSU countered Utah's threes by hitting 14-of-17 free throws, while Utah had the upper hand in assists 20-10...Chris Crosby scored 18 points and in doing so, became the 22nd 1,000-point scorer at WSU...Jan-Michael Thomas had 20 points and a career-high six rebounds.

BUSH BIG ON BOARDS: The Utah game was the first this season that sophomore guard Mike Bush did not lead WSU in rebounding...he is still the team's overall leader, averaging 7.7 per game (seventh Pac-10)...Bush tied last season's high with eight in both the season opener at Nevada and the home opener versus Grambling...he broke his career mark with 10 boards in WSU's win over Idaho and followed that with nine versus Gonzaga, Southern and Portland...he also had 15 points versus the Vandals which gave the 6-6 Bush his first career double-double...the Riverside, Calif., native set his career high in points, 16, Dec. 7 versus Southern. SLASH MENCKE JOINS TEAM: Paul Mencke was already a slash -- quarterback/tight end/receiver...now you can add two more words to that title -- guard/forward...Mencke, a two-time Greater Spokane League MVP, has joined the Washington State basketball team, head coach Paul Graham announced, and had his first practice with the team on Monday. During his junior year, the Spokane native was named MVP of the GSL and led Lewis and Clark High School to its first state tournament appearance in 32 years...the 6-5, 229-lbs., Mencke averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior and repeated his GSL MVP honors...playing for coach Glenn Williams, he led the GSL in scoring in back-to-back seasons. Mencke, who will wear number 24 (he wanted to wear his football number 12, but it was too small), will travel and dress for WSU's game versus Portland State on December 20...Mencke will also have a homecoming of sorts on January 5 when the Cougars open the Pac-10 season versus USC at the Spokane Arena...it will be the first time in four years that Mencke will play in the Lilac City. Like he was in football, Mencke is a redshirt junior and has this season and next season of eligibility remaining...following basketball, Mecke will re-join the football team for spring drills and then stay with football through the fall...if all goes well this season, Mencke will play basketball again next winter following the conclusion of the 2000 football season. Mencke will become the first football-basketball two-sport athlete at WSU since former NFL player Kitrick Taylor, who lettered in football in 1982-83 and 1985-86 and in basketball in 1985 and 1987.

COUGS IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: A glance at this week's Pac-10 stats released Monday finds several Cougars ranked in the conference in assorted categories...Chris Crosby is second in both scoring (17.3 ppg) and free throw shooting (92.5 pct.)...Mike Bush is seventh in rebounding (7.7 rpg) and third in steals (2.57 spg)...Jan-Michael Thomas is seventh in scoring (15.0 ppg) and fourth in free throw shooting (90.5 pct)...Milton Riley is 10th in blocked shots (1.00 bpg)

WOW - WHAT A SCHEDULE: For the first time since 1994-95, odds are that WSU will play home games against five different ranked teams...the first two came Nov. 29 versus No. 25 Gonzaga (Spokane) and Dec. 11 versus No. 25 Utah...three more opponents are currently ranked in the national polls: No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Arizona and No. 17 UCLA...in 1994-95, all five teams were from the Pac-10: No. 17 California, No. 23 Stanford, No. 17 Oregon, No. 12 Arizona and No. 15 Arizona State (WSU was 4-1 versus those schools at home)...if one more Pac-10 team finds its way into the top 25, WSU will have home games against six ranked teams for the first time ever. MORE ON CROSBY: Pop quiz -- how do you transform a 6-8 shooting guard into a pretty well-rounded inside player? Answer -- Paul Graham...for the first three years of his career, Chris Crosby was a shooting guard inside a forward's body...nearly half of his career field goal attempts (365 of 739) came from beyond the arc...but this season, Crosby has attempted 74 field goals with only a third (25) coming from downtown. And to those who thought he was just a gunner, check out the box from the Grambling State game, his 29 points were the second-highest of his career, but only one of his 12 FGs was a three...he also had six boards and a pair of steals...Crosby is shooting a career-best 50 percent from the field through seven games (37-74)...and make no mistake, his three-point shooting is just as good as ever, if not better, he's 10-25 (40.0 percent) from three-point land this season and the inside-out dual threat makes his threes all the more devastating. One dramatic area of improvement is very easy to overlook -- assists...he's only got 11 on the season for an average of less than two per game...but consider his previous season high is 35 set as a sophomore and compare that to the fact that he's on pace for nearly 50 assists this year and it's evident that Crosby has certainly become a better passer in his final season in the Crimson and Gray. Crosby is also grabbing 4.7 rebounds per game and setting screens in the offensive set that eventually lead to a lot of open looks at the basket...he could still work on his turnovers, as his season average is 2.4 per game...if Crosby makes it to the next level, he can thank one man with a reputation for developing big men -- Paul Graham.

YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS: Washington State opened the season with five freshmen on its roster (David Adams, Nick Graham, Mike Malloy, Milton Riley and Bryan Whitehead) for the first time in 14 years...the last time WSU had at least five rookies on its opening day roster was the 1985-86 season...that year, the Cougs actually had six -- Neil Evans, David Hairston, John Hodges, Anthony Kidd, David Sanders and Brian Wright...five of those six names should be very familiar to the Cougar faithful, Evans (who redshirted the 1985-86 season), Hodges, Kidd, Sanders and Wright all went on to become four-year letter winners for WSU...the 1985-86 Cougars went 15-16 overall and 8-10 in the conference for Coach Len Stevens...this year's crop of freshmen would certainly like to have at least one thing in common with the 1985-86 rookies -- they were the last WSU team to defeat Arizona.

THREE-POINT PLAYERS: Seniors Chris Crosby and Jan-Michael Thomas both rank in WSU's top 10 in career three-point baskets...by season's end, Thomas should join Crosby in the top five. Crosby leads the pair with 151 threes (fourth) and looks to close in on the 200 barrier by season's end...Thomas, in just his second season wearing the Crimson and Gray, is now just one behind Brian Wright (111, 1986-89) for ninth...he's just nine treys shy of jumping all the way to No. 7...Thomas is also closing in on No. 8 Shamon Antrum (1995-96) with 113.

WSU VS. RANKED TEAMS: WSU currently has eight games scheduled against top 25...the next comes Jan. 8 versus No. 17 UCLA...the last time WSU defeated a ranked opponent was February 22, 1997, when the Cougs beat No. 25 Cal 89-87...WSU also played eight games versus ranked opponents during the 1996-97 season.

NEW OPPONENTS: WSU faces two opponents for the first time ever this season -- Southern and Texas-Pan American...Utah visited Pullman for the first time since 1939, it was also the first game between the two schools overall since 1972...the Cougars also renew dormant rivalries with Nevada (last meeting 1972), Colorado State (1978) and Portland (1990).

OLD OPPONENTS: WSU's oldest rivalry, Oregon State, will reach game No. 260 this season...Washington State and Idaho met for the 255th time this season...the second Oregon game will be No. 254 in the series...WSU and Washington inch toward the 250 mark with games 247 and 248 this season...it was just the second meeting with Grambling State.

I WANT MY COUGTV: Washington State will be on the Fox network nine times this season, with the possibility of a tenth game (UCLA - March 9) if that contest has a bearing on the conference title race...three games will be shown nationally (Fox Sports Northwest locally) -- Dec. 11 Utah, Jan. 22 Oregon and Feb. 5 Washington...Fox Sports Northwest will broadcast an additional four games -- Nov. 29 Gonzaga, Jan. 13 Arizona, Feb. 12 Arizona and Feb. 26 California -- to a regional audience...two other road games will be shown in their local market -- Jan. 29 Stanford (Fox Sports Bay Area) and March 11 USC (Fox West 2).

STARTING LINE-UPS: Here's a breakdown of WSU's starting five in 1999-2000:

G1-2 Evans, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush
G3-4 Riley, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush
G5 Bush, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Adams
G6-7 Riley, Crosby, Thomas, Bush, Adams

Washington State Cougars Athletics
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