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Cougars, Vandals Renew Border Rivalry

Men's basketball team to tip-off with Idaho Dec. 20.

December 16, 1998

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State Cougars and Idaho Vandals renew their border rivalry for the 253rd time Sunday evening at 5:07 p.m. in Moscow's Kibbie Dome.

Tentative Cougar Starters
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. 1998-99 Statistics
13 Kojo Mensah-Bonsu F 6-5 1/4 217 SR 12.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg
44 Eddie Miller F 6-6 216 SO 11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg
3 Blake Pengelly PG 5-10 163 JR 5.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 4.5 apg
4 Jan-Michael Thomas G 5-10 1/2 169 JR 14.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
5 Mike Bush G 6-5 186 FR 6.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Reserves
34 Chris Crosby F 6-7 215 JR 15.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg
12 Kab Kazadi G 6-0 184 SR 4.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg
42 Will Hutchens G 6-3 1/2 201 SR 1.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg
40 Brian Stewart C 6-10 1/4 223 SO 0.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg
10 Cedric Clark G 5-11 1/2 175 SO DNP
54 Leif Nelson C 6-10 1/2 272 SR 2.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg - INJ
41 Steve Slotemaker F 6-9 221 SR 5.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg - INJ

THOMAS NAMED PAC-10 POTW - Junior guard Jan-Michael Thomas has been named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for his performance in the Cougars' 70-69 win against Brigham Young Tuesday night in Pullman.

Thomas scored 17 of his team-high 22 points in the second half in WSU's only game of the week. He converted three of his final four free throw attempts, including the game-winner with nine seconds remaining. On the night, Thomas shot six-of-10 from the field, five-of-eight from three-point range and five-of-six at the free throw line. It was the first time this season WSU won after trailing at the half (34-31) and marked the Cougars' third straight victory. After opening the season 1-4, WSU is now back to .500 at 4-4.

Thomas, a native of Inglewood, Calif., is currently leading the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage, having connected on 27 of 54 attempts (.500). As a team, the Cougars lead the conference in both team three-point percentage (.419) and three-pointers made per game (7.75). Nationally, WSU is tied for 19th in team three-point field goal percentage. It is the first career award for Thomas and the first Pac-10 player of the week award for WSU since Mark Hendrickson was honored on January 23, 1995. It is the Cougars' 13th all-time player of the week award.

In the last two games, Thomas has been WSU's spark, scoring 18 points at Eastern Washington and 22 versus BYU. Also in those two games, he has hit 64 percent from three-point land (9-14) and 92 percent from the charity stripe (11-12). At his current pace of nearly four three-point baskets per game, Thomas would record 98 during WSU's 29-game regular season, which would easily shatter the Cougar single-season record of 83 set by Eddie Hill in 1994.

Game Facts
Sunday, December 20, 1998
5:07 p.m. PST
ASUI Kibbie Dome (10,000)

Radio: The Crimson & Gray Sports Network will broadcast all WSU games on its 16-station network with Bud Nameck (6th season) calling the play-by-play. Broadcasts are also available via the Internet, www.broadcast.com

Records: WSU is 4-4 and on a three-game winning streak after edging Brigham Young 70-69 last Tuesday in Pullman. Idaho shows a 4-3 record after finishing second at the Montana Invitational last weekend. The Vandals beat Youngstown State 68-67 in the opener, but fell to Montana 67-60 in the championship game.

Series History: WSU leads 146-106. The series is WSU's oldest with another Division I program, dating back to January 13, 1906, when WSU beat Idaho 28-11 in Pullman. It is also both schools' longest uninterrupted rivalry. This will be the 93rd consecutive year the teams face each other. With 252 prior meetings, the Cougars have faced Idaho more times than any other school save one -- Oregon State (256 meetings). Though WSU has won four of the last five meetings, The series is a draw over the last 18 games. The Cougars have won just two of their last nine visits to Moscow, losing most recently 73-66 in 1996-97. WSU's last win in the Kibbie Dome was a 68-59 decision in the 1995-96 season.

On Deck: WSU travels to El-Paso, Texas to compete in the Sun Bowl Classic. The Cougs will face host UTEP on Monday, December 28 at 6:00 p.m. PST (7:00 p.m. Central). In Tuesday's final round, WSU will meet either Detroit or Grambling State.

1998-99 Schedule/Results
4-4/0-0
Date Opponent Time Score
11/16 CENTRAL WASHINGTON W 91-78
11/19 at Alaska-Fairbanks+ L 75-88
11/21 vs. Nebraska+ L 84-95
11/22 vs. Virginia+ L 53-62
11/28 vs. Gonzaga* L 61-70
12/2 PORTLAND STATE W 74-71
12/5 at Eastern Washington W 91-72
12/8 BRIGHAM YOUNG@ W 70-69
12/20 at Idaho 5:07 p.m.
12/28 at Texas-El Paso 6:00 p.m.
12/29 Detroit or Grambling State TBA
1/3 vs. WASHINGTON (FSN)#* 2:00 p.m.
1/7 at Arizona# 5:37 p.m.
1/9 at Arizona State# 5:00 p.m.
1/14 OREGON# 7:05 p.m.
1/16 OREGON STATE (FSN)# 3:05 p.m.
1/21 at Stanford# 7:30 p.m.
1/23 at California (FSB)# 1:00 p.m.
1/28 UCLA# 7:05 p.m.
1/30 USC (FSNW)# 5:00 p.m.
2/4 ARIZONA STATE# 7:05 p.m.
2/6 ARIZONA (FSN)# 3:00 p.m.
2/11 at Oregon# 7:05 p.m.
2/13 at Oregon State# 5:07 p.m.
2/18 CALIFORNIA# 7:05 p.m.
2/20 STANFORD (FSNW)# 7:00 p.m.
2/25 at UCLA# 7:30 p.m.
2/27 at USC# 5:00 p.m.
3/6 at Washington# 3:00 p.m.
All times Pacific
# Pacific-10 Conference game
+ Top of the World Classic, Fairbanks, Alaska
* Spokane Arena, Spokane, Wash.
Sun Bowl Classic, El Paso, Texas
@ Doubleheader with WSU women

EASTMAN NEARS 200 VICTORIES: Kevin Eastman is in his fifth season as head coach at WSU. He has a 63-63 (.500) five-year record. Among Cougar coaches with at least a four-year tenure, Eastman's winning percentage is tied for fourth with Kelvin Sampson at .500 (103-103/1988-94). The New Brunswick, N.J., native's winning percentage also trails three WSU coaching legends, Jack Friel's .568 (495-377/1929-58), Fred Bohler's .561 (226-177/1909-26) and George Raveling's .551 (167-136/1973-83).

Overall in 11 years as a head coach, Eastman holds a 187-138 (.575) record. Included in that are a 65-22 mark at Belmont Abbey and a 59-53 mark at UNC-Wilmington.

Eastman is 4-2 all-time versus Idaho.

ANOTHER LEFT ANKLE INJURY: Just when it looked safe to take the court, another WSU big man suffered a sprained left ankle. This time it was senior center Leif Nelson who suffered the injury on Sunday during an appearance in the Pullman community. Nelson is questionable for Sunday's game at Idaho. If he misses the Idaho contest, Nelson will be the fourth different WSU player to miss a game due to a left ankle injury.

Meanwhile, senior forward Steve Slotemaker is doubtful for the Idaho game. He suffered the team's third left ankle sprain during the first half of the December 2 win against Portland State when he fell on a Viking player following a three-point shot attempt. A more likely return date for Slotemaker is the December 28-29 Sun Bowl Classic in El Paso.

If Slotemaker and Nelson are not able to play, it will be the second time in three games that WSU will field a lineup that features just one player taller than 6-7 (6-10 center Brian Stewart).

Washington State got one of its sprained ankle-sidelined big men back when sophomore center Brian Stewart made a brief appearance during last week's BYU game. Stewart was the second big man to return from injury; sophomore forward Eddie Miller returned to action during the Eastern Washington game. Miller, who suffered a sprained left ankle during the last 15 minutes of practice on November 27 (the day before the Gonzaga game), came back after missing the Gonzaga and Portland State games.

Add senior guard Kab Kazadi's deep thigh bruise which kept him off the court through WSU's first four games and Cougar players have already sat out a combined 10 games to injury.

THREE FOR CROSBY: Junior forward Chris Crosby has been a reason why WSU has been able to put together a three-game winning streak. While the usually big scorer has led the team in points just once during the streak, he has been the only Coug in double figures during all three; he had 17 versus Portland State, 20 at Eastern Washington and 12 against BYU.

In the last three, Crosby is averaging 16.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while committing just 1.7 turnovers. He also tied a career-high with five threes at EWU.

KOJO'S MOJO: Senior forward Kojo Mensah-Bonsu has also been a spark in WSU's first three-game winning streak of the season. He tallied his second career double-double (17 pts., 10 reb.) in the 74-71 win against Portland State and then scored a career-high 22 points in the Eastern Washington win. During the BYU game, Kojo was held to just eight points, but posted a solid all-around game with six rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block.

Kojo's performance included a career-high four blocks versus the Vikings and nine boards in the EWU game -- leaving him one shy of back-to-back double-doubles.

SWITCHING STARTERS: Mainly due to injury, WSU has used five different starting lineups in eight games this season. Only senior forward Kojo Mensah-Bonsu and junior guard Blake Pengelly have started all eight games. Eight of WSU's 13 players have made at least one start this year. Here's a look:

G 1-3	Mensah-Bonsu, Crosby, Nelson, Pengelly, Bush
G 4	Mensah-Bonsu, Crosby, Miller, Pengelly, Thomas
G 5	Mensah-Bonsu, Crosby, Nelson, Pengelly, Thomas
G 6	Mensah-Bonsu, Slotemaker, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush
G 7-8	Mensah-Bonsu, Crosby, Pengelly, Thomas, Bush
1998-99 Career
Player Starts Starts
Mensah-Bonsu 8 11
Pengelly 8 40
Crosby 7 28
Bush 6 6
Thomas 5 5
Nelson 4 28
Slotemaker 1 14
Miller 1 1
Kazadi 0 18

SCOUTING IDAHO: The Cougars are very familiar with their border rivals, even if the personnel has changed some. The Vandals, favored by most publications to win the Big West, are 4-3 on the season and undefeated (2-0) at the Kibbie Dome. Junior transfer Gordon Scott leads Idaho at 16.3 points per game. Senior guard Avery Curry is another of Idaho's threats at 12.6 points and 4.6 assists per game.

What the Vandals lack in size they make up for in quickness. Idaho is being outrebounded by six boards a game (37.6-31.6), but posts an impressive 11.1 steals per game; opponents are at 7.0 spg. Idaho also forces 21.1 opponent turnovers per game.

Tentative Vandal Starters
No. Name Pos. Ht. Cl. 1998-99 Statistics
21 Mike Jackson F 6-6 JR 7.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg
23 Gordon Scott F 6-5 JR 16.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.1 spg
40 Kevin Byrne C 6-9 SR 4.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg
12 Avery Curry G 6-2 SR 12.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.6 apg
33 Cameron Banks G 6-4 SR 10.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg

LAST GAME: 12 days prior to the Idaho game, WSU edged Brigham Young 70-69 December 8 in Pullman. It was WSU's 41st straight home non-conference victory. Junior guard Jan-Michael Thomas scored 22 points, including five three-pointers, and nailed the game-winning free throw with nine seconds remaining in the game. Sophomore forward Eddie Miller scored a career-high 18 points, while junior forward Chris Crosby added 12. WSU overcame its worst shooting night of the season by forcing 19 BYU turnovers.

HOME NON-LEAGUE STREAK AT 41: By defeating Brigham Young 70-69 last week, WSU posted its ninth straight perfect home non-conference season. The BYU win was WSU's 41st consecutive non-conference victory in Pullman. The Cougars have 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 41 wins include 36 at Friel and five at Bohler Gym (all during the 1990-91 season). The streak also includes NIT victories in 1992 (Minnesota), 1995 (Texas Tech) and 1996 (Gonzaga).

WSU WINS 200th AT FRIEL COURT: Washington State's 74-71 victory December 2 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 (.653). WSU has a 201-107 all-time record at 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
CROSBY EARNS ALL-TOURNEY NOD: Junior for his play at the Top of the World Classic, November 19-22, in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was the first career all-tournament selection for the Littleton, Colo., native. Crosby was among the tournament's top scorers and rebounders, averaging 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest for the three-game event. Included in that were career-highs in points (25), rebounds (13) and free throws (12) versus Alaska-Fairbanks.

MANAGER COHN HONORED: Perhaps the surprise of the Top of the World Classic came during the awards ceremony when WSU student manager Jeff Cohn was honored with the Order of Nanook Award. The Fairbanks Princess Hotel presents the award to the top manager, "for meritorious demonstration of courtesy, cooperation and competence." Cohn, a senior from Foster City, Calif., majoring in communications, was honored with two different plaques and a giant collectable polar bear (stuffed, of course).

ABOUT THE SCHEDULE: Washington State is again playing a challenging schedule. The Cougars have eight games against teams ranked in the preseason polls (Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Arizona - twice) and 14 games versus teams that played in the 1998 postseason (NCAA: Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Arizona - twice; Detroit and Nebraska - once; NIT: Arizona State - twice - and Gonzaga; NAIA: Central Washington).

THE PENGELLY IS MIGHTIER THAN: Junior guard Blake Pengelly is climbing WSU career lists in assists and three-point shooting. He currently ranks ninth in assists with 238 (17 behind No. 8 Anthony Kidd), second in three-point field goal percentage at .430 (behind No. 1 Isaac Fontaine, .457), eighth in three pointers made with 99 (12 behind No. 7 Brian Wright) and 10th in three-pointers attempted with 230.

Junior Chris Crosby passed David Sanders for ninth in three-pointers made during the Eastern Washington game and now trails Pengelly by one. Here's a look at where Pengelly and Crosby rank:

Assists
1. Bennie Seltzer (1990-93) 473
2. Keith Morrison (1983-86) 456
3. Donminic Ellison (1994-96) 441
4. Marty Giovacchini (1974-77) 371
5. Dan Steward (1970-72) 277
6. Isaac Fontaine (1994-97) 269
7. Brad Johnson (1972-74) 263
8. Anthony Kidd (1986-89) 255
9. Blake Pengelly (1997- ) 238
Three-Point Field Goals
1. Eddie Hill (1991-94) 233
2. Bennie Seltzer (1990-93) 230
3. Isaac Fontaine (1994-97) 208
4. Terrance Lewis (1991-92) 137
5. Donminic Ellison (1994-96) 128
6. Shamon Antrum (1995-96) 113
7. Brian Wright (1986-89) 111
8. Blake Pengelly (1997- ) 99
9. Chris Crosby (1997- ) 98
10. David Sanders (1986, 88-90) 93
Three-Point Field Goal Attempts
1. Bennie Seltzer (1990-93) 585
2. Eddie Hill (1991-94) 561
3. Isaac Fontaine (1994-97) 455
4. Terrance Lewis (1991-92) 343
5. Donminic Ellison (1994-96) 322
6. Brian Wright (1986-89) 302
7. Shamon Antrum (1995-96) 294
8. Chris Crosby (1997- ) 262
9. David Sanders (1986, 88-90) 251
10. Blake Pengelly (1997- ) 230

Washington State Cougars Athletics