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Cougars Meet Bruins in Top-5 Battle
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 01/11/2008
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Jan. 11, 2008

SATURDAY'S MATCHUP: The Washington State men's basketball team, fresh off its 73-58 victory over USC Thursday, remains in Los Angeles to take on UCLA, Saturday in an early 11:30 a.m. start at Pauley Pavilion. The game can be seen live on FSN.

SERIES VERSUS THE BRUINS:
• Washington State trails its series against UCLA, 91-13, and has dropped the last six meetings.
• The last Cougar victory is also their lone victory on the road against the Bruins which came Feb. 5, 2004.
• WSU is 1-49 all-time at UCLA, but lost the last three meetings in L.A. by a combined eight points.
• The Cougars are 1-41 all-time against the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion
• WSU is 0-31 against UCLA when the Bruins are ranked in the top-five...the Cougs are 0-1 when facing a No. 5 Bruin team.
• For more on the series see page four of today's notes.

TOP FIVE SHOWDOWN: Saturday will mark just the sixth time in Pac-10 history that a conference game will feature two top five teams when the No. 4 Cougars face off with the No. 5 Bruins. The last occurrence was in 2004 when fourth-ranked Stanford defeated No. 3 Arizona 82-72.

WSU OFF TO BEST START IN 91 YEARS: The Cougars' 14-0 start to the season is the third-best start in school history and the best since 1916-17 squad started 15-0. The school record is 17-0 accomplished in 1914-15. It's the best start in 91 years. OPENING PAC-10 PLAY: The Cougars won their first Pacific-10 Conference opener in three years with their 56-52 win at Washington Jan. 5. and started 2-0 in league play for the first time since 1994-95. WSU has not started with three or more straight league victories since beginning league play 7-0 in 1982-83.

RECAPPING THE WIN AT USC: No. 4 WSU defeated USC, in the two teams' Pac-10 opener Saturday, Jan. 5. Below is a look at the victory:
• Cougars' 14-0 is the third-best start in school history...best since 1916-17 squad started 15-0...school record is 17-0 accomplished in 1914-15...best start in 91 years.
• Harmeling's five 3-pointers are a season high...previous high two...had four in the first half...finished with season-high 19 points.
• WSU's seven 3-pointers in the first half is a first-half high for the season...ties the most in a half this season (seven against Air Force Nov. 25)...10 total 3's is a season high
• Seven of WSU's nine first-half field goals came from beyond the 3-point arc.
• USC's first free throws of the game were shot with 4:43 left in the game.
• With four assists, Kyle Weaver moved into fifth place in the WSU career record books...he now has 373

KEEPING IT CONSISTENT: The Cougars have stuck with the same starters in all 14 games this season, guards Derrick Low, Taylor Rochestie and Kyle Weaver, forward Robbie Cowgill and center Aron Baynes. The five starters have accounted for 750 of WSU's 964 points this season and 53.6 of it's 68.5 points per game.

LOW, WEAVER EYING 1,000 POINTS: Senior guard Derrick Low is just 27 points shy of reaching 1,000 points for his career with 973. The 6-2 guard has 178 points this season and is averaging 12.9 ppg. If Low can keep up his pace, he's on schedule to reach 1,000 points in January. Low would become the 28th Cougar to score 1,000 points in his career, the most recent was Thomas Kelati who reached 1,081 points in his career which spanned from 2002-05. Fellow senior Kyle Weaver has 895 career points, just 105 shy of 1,000. The last time two teammates reached 1,000 career points in the same season came in 1980.

COUGARS ON TELEVISION: At least 14 of the Cougars' 18 Pacific-10 Conference games will be televised live on either FSN or ABC this season. WSU's final two regular-season games have the possibility of being picked up as `wildcard' picks for television. The Cougars will appear on television a minimum of 18 times this season, which ties the 2005-06 team for the most televised games in school history.

WSU HIGHEST RANKED PAC-10 TEAM FOR FIRST TIME: Earlier this season, the Cougars became the highest ranked Pacific-10 team in the Associated Press Poll for the first time in school history, coming in at No. 7, ahead of No. 8 UCLA. WSU is currently at No. 4 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, one spot ahead of fifth-ranked UCLA.

SECOND HALF STRENGTH: Despite trailing three times at halftime, the Cougars have dominated in the second half this season, outscoring their opponents 550-380 in the final 20 minutes of play for a 12-point average scoring margin in the second period. The Cougars were outscored in the second half for the only time this season at Gonzaga (28-23).

BEST 45-GAME SPAN IN NEARLY 65 YEARS: In their last 45 games (all under second-year head coach Tony Bennett), the Cougars are 38-7, matching the 45-game span record of Jack Friel's 1940-41 and 1941-42 squads. The best 45-game span by a Cougar team came from Fred Bohler's three squads from 1915-18 in which the teams compiled a 41-4 record at one point.

WSU EARNS BEST ALL-TIME RANKING: Washington State jumped three spots in the Dec. 24 Associated Press Poll and two in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Polls, coming in at No. 4 in both rankings. The No. 4 rankings are the highest for the Cougars in school history by the respective polls. WSU's previous high was No. 6 which was held this season. The Cougars have been ranked in the top-10 in all eight releases of the polls thus far this season, including their first-ever preseason ranking.

LOW AND WEAVER ON WATCH LISTS: Senior guards Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver have each been named to both the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T Preseason Watch List and the Men's 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award Top-50 Candidate list. Weaver is also a preseason 2008 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Candidate and a Low's Senior CLASS Award Candidate. On top of that, Weaver has been named to the Basketball Times preseason All-America team and was named a third-team preseason All-American by Fox Sports.

COUGARS HOLD HOT TICKET: With expectations set high for the Cougars in 2007-08, tickets are going fast for WSU home games this season. The season opener against EWU was a sellout, while tickets are still available to the general public for just three of WSU's final nine home games (Oregon State-Jan. 17, California-Jan. 31, and Arizona State-Feb. 21).

BOEKE'S WSU DEBUT DELAYED: WSU received an official ruling from the NCAA regarding freshman Fabian Boeke's eligibility. He has been reinstated by the NCAA subject to the withholding penalty of sitting out the 2007-08 season and the loss of one season of eligibility. Boeke will have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning the fall of 2008. In the meantime he is eligible for athletics aid and practice.

LOW AND WEAVER REPRESENT WSU; USA: Seniors Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver became the first Cougar men's basketball players to represent the United States when they participated in the 2007 Pan American Games. The duo, which made WSU just the eighth school to have two student-athletes on the same Pan Am squad, helped team USA to a 3-2 record and fifth place finish. Low started three games averaging 14.3 points in those contests. Weaver saw action in three games, starting two and averaging 2.7 points.

ABERCROMBIE AND BAYNES AT WORLD GAMES: Redshirt freshman Thomas Abercrombie and junior Aron Baynes represented their native countries of New Zealand and Australia, respectively, at the 2007 World University Games. Abercrombie, of Auckland, New Zealand, averaged 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in route to a 15th place finish. Baynes of Cairns, Australia was third at the games in scoring and second in rebounding with 18.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in leading his team to a 17th place finish.

UP NEXT: The Cougars return to Pullman to open their Pac-10 home season as they host Oregon State, Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. and Oregon Sunday, Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. at Friel Court.

Washington State Cougars Athletics
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