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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Competition Heats Up Against Arizona Schools
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/22/2005
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Feb. 22, 2005

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THIS WEEK:
Thursday, Feb. 24 WSU vs. Arizona 5:30 p.m. (FSN Northwest/FSN Arizona)
Saturday, Feb. 26 WSU vs. Arizona State -- 2 p.m.

NEXT WEEK:
Thursday, March 3 - WSU at Stanford -- 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 5 - WSU at California -- 1 p.m.

WASHINGTON STATE (10-13, 5-9 Pac-10)

WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is currently in his second season on the Palouse...he is 10-13 this season and 23-29 in his WSU career...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .625 career winning percentage (477-286)...career highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...with 49-46 win over BYU, Dec. 11, Bennett moved into 73rd place on the NCAA career wins list among coaches with at least 10 years experience at the Division I level.

COUGS ON TELEVISION: Washington State's game against Arizona, Thursday, Feb. 24 will be televised by FSN Northwest and FSN Arizona...game time is 5:30 p.m...Cougars are 5-8 when playing a live television game.

TIGHT COMPETITION IN THE PAC-10: With two weeks left in the Pacific-10 regular season, Arizona (13-2) leads the conference, sitting one and a half games ahead of Washington (11-3)...both the Wildcats and Huskies have clinched a berth in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles, March 11-13...Stanford (9-5) sits in third, just one and a half games ahead of UCLA (8-7)...fifth through ninth place is separated by just two and a half games...Arizona State is 7-8 followed by Oregon State is 6-8, California, and Washington State, each 5-9 and Oregon (4-10)...USC resides in the cellar (4-11)...this week, in addition to WSU hosting the Arizona schools, the Bay Area schools travel to Oregon while the Southern California schools face off against each other at UCLA.

FANS ENCOURAGED TO ARRIVE EARLY: John David Wicker, WSU Assistant Director of Athletics for Event and Facility Operations stated, "We encourage our fans to arrive early and ask that they be patient as we deal with people getting on and off campus, Thursday"...game time vs. No. 9 Arizona is 5:30 p.m...gates will open at 4 p.m...for more information, go to the web at http://wsunews.wsu.edu/detail.asp?StoryID=5056.

ARIZONA PREVIEW: The Wildcats are 23-4, 13-2 in the Pac-10...Arizona is ranked No. 9 by the Associated Press and No. 8 by ESPN/USA Today...Arizona currently sits in first in the Pac-10 standings...Wildcats are on a six-game winning streak...last week, Arizona defeated both Oregon 92-67, Feb. 17, and Oregon State, 91-70, Feb. 20 at home...last time Wildcats lost was 70-63 against Washington State, Jan. 29...Arizona leads the Pac-10 in 3-point field goal percentage (.414) and free throw percentage (.783)...Wildcats are led by senior Salim Stoudamire who averages 18.6 points per game...Stoudamire leads the Pac-10 in 3-point field goals (89) and the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (56.0).

SERIES AGAINST THE WILDCATS: Arizona leads the series 45-11...Cougars won first meeting of the season 70-63 in Tucson, Jan. 29...Thomas Kelati tied his career high with 27 points...scored five straight points to break a 63-63 tie in the final 1:13...Cougars held Stoudamire to just 11 points, 5.8 points less than his then 16.8 average...Stoudamire was just 4-for-14 from the field, including 0-for-5 from beyond the arc...Wildcats are 19-5 when at Pullman...Cougars' last win at home was 65-63 in overtime, Jan. 30, 1986.

HISTORIC WIN IN THE DESERT: The Cougars ended several losing streaks with a 70-63 upset win over No. 11 Arizona in Tucson, Saturday, Jan. 29...Washington State broke a 20-game losing streak at Arizona and a 38-game skid overall against the Wildcats...first win in 35 tries against a ranked Arizona team...Cougars halted a 26-game road losing streak against ranked opponents and a 48-game losing streak overall to top 25 opponents...WSU knocked off its highest ranked opponent since defeating No. 8 USC, March 8, 1992...highest ranked opponent defeated on the road in school history...senior Thomas Kelati tied his career high with 27 points, including seven 3-pointers...he scored five straight points to break a 63-63 tie in the final 1:13.

KELATI'S EFFORT IN ARIZONA EARNS PAC-10 HONOR: Senior guard Thomas Kelati was named the U.S. Bank Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for January 24-30...Kelati tied his career high with 27 points in 70-63 win at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29...for the week, Kelati averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 53.3 percent (16-for-30) from the field and 47.1 percent (8-for-17) from beyond the arc against Arizona State and Arizona...also named Star of the Week by Collegeinsider.com.

COUGARS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS THIS SEASON: Washington State is 1-4 against ranked opponents this season...Cougars won 70-63 at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29 behind Thomas Kelati's career-high tying 27 points...WSU lost at Oklahoma State, at home to Gonzaga and was swept by Washington...Cougars are 32-188 all-time against ranked opponents, including 5-43 at home vs. top 10...last time WSU played consecutive home games against ranked opponents, Feb. 2000 (No. 7 Arizona and No. 1 Stanford)...last time Cougars played back-to-back home games against ranked opponents, Feb. 1997 (No. 20 Stanford and No. 25 California)...game against Golden Bears marks last time Cougars defeated ranked opponent at Friel Court.

ARIZONA STATE PREVIEW: The Sun Devils are 18-9, 7-8 in the Pac-10...Arizona State is currently in fifth place in the Pac-10 standings...sits a half game ahead of Oregon State (6-8)...Sun Devils are on a two-game winning streak...swept the home stand 75-73 against Oregon State, Feb. 17, and 66-56 against Oregon, Feb. 19...Arizona State is led by junior Ike Diogu who leads the Pac-10 in seven categories, including scoring (22.2 points per game) and rebounding (9.7 per game)...ranks seventh nationally in scoring and 16th in rebounding.

SERIES AGAINST THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State leads 31-25 ...Arizona State won 68-62 in first meeting of the season, Jan. 27 at Tempe...WSU's Jeff Varem led all scorers with a career-high 24 points...freshman Derrick Low recorded four steals, the most by a WSU freshman in four seasons...Serge Angounou paced Arizona State with 18 points and 10 rebounds...Arizona State's Ike Diogu tallied game-high 13 rebounds...Sun Devils have won five of the last seven in Pullman...Cougars' last win at home was 63-56, Jan. 29, 2004...team winning first meeting has swept series last nine seasons.

KELATI CLOSES IN ON 1,000 POINTS: Senior Thomas Kelati needs 13 points to become 25th player in Washington State men's basketball history to score 1,000 in his career...last player to reach milestone was Marcus Moore in 2003...Moore finished his career with 1,458 points to rank fifth on Cougar all-time scoring list.

RPI SHOWS LOVE FOR THE PAC-10: The Pacific-10 Conference is currently the second best conference in the nation in the Ratings Power Index...Pac-10's RPI of 64.3 falls behind only the Atlantic Coast Conference's 55.0...ACC is considered the best conference in the country by both RPI and Sagarin ratings...Washington has the best RPI in the Pac-10 at seven, followed by Arizona at nine...UCLA (37), Stanford (40) and Arizona State (59) round out top half of the conference in the RPI.

COUGARS IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: Thomas Kelati ranks in minutes played (second-35.61 per game), 3-point field goals made (third-2.57 per game), steals (tied for sixth-1.57 per game), scoring (tied for 14th-13.3 points per game)...Jeff Varem is fourth in rebounding (7.9 per game), tied for sixth in steals (1.57 per game) and eighth in field goal percentage (.522)...Robbie Cowgill ranks eighth in blocked shots (0.87 per game).

COUGARS START FRESHMEN: Prior to this season, Washington State had never started three true freshmen in a game...Cougars have done it seven times this season...Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas), Derrick Low (Honolulu) and Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.) started in WSU's 49-46 win over BYU, Dec. 11...Cowgill, Low and Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.) started in the Cougars' 49-47 loss at Wyoming, Dec. 22 and in each of the four games from Jan. 8-23...Low, Weaver, and Daven Harmeling (Grand Junction, Colo.) started in the Cougars' 69-66 loss at Oregon, Feb. 12...first time in school history that five WSU true freshmen have made at least one start in a season...true freshmen have combined for 43 starts this season.

FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTION: Washington State's roster features eight freshmen, including a pair of walk-ons...combined, Cougar freshmen account for 42.2 percent of WSU's scoring this season...Robbie Cowgill leads the newcomers in points with 134...Cowgill leads WSU with 20 blocks, fourth most all-time by a Cougar freshman in a season...Austin, Texas native became fourth freshman in WSU history to have a perfect day from the field (minimum five attempts) when he was 5-for-5 vs. USC, Feb. 5...Derrick Low leads Cougar freshmen in scoring average with 6.6 points per game and assists with 50...his four steals at Arizona State, Jan. 27 and eight assists vs. USC, Feb. 5 were the most in a game by a WSU freshman since the 2000-01 season.

WSU PLAYING CLOSE GAMES: Prior to the season, Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett said the Cougars would have to win a lot of close games to be successful...Cougars 10-13 record proves Bennett prophetic considering the results in games that gave been decided late.

  • Jeff Varem's dunk with two seconds left gave Cougars 37-36 win at Idaho.
  • Josh Akognon's 3-pointer at the buzzer fell short in 54-52 loss to No. 25 Gonzaga.
  • Cougars made 5-of-6 free throw attempts in final 39 seconds of 49-46 win over BYU.
  • Robbie Cowgill scored WSU's last four points in final 1:20 of 55-54 win at Portland.
  • WSU lost 49-47 at Wyoming despite outscoring Cowboys 12-4 in final 3:53.
  • Cougars lost 80-77 in double overtime at UCLA.
  • Oregon tallied last five points of the game in final 41 seconds to defeat WSU 55-52 at Friel Court.
  • WSU was 9-for-21 at the foul line in 68-62 loss at Arizona State.
  • Thomas Kelati scored five points during 7-0 Cougar run in final 1:13 of 70-63 win at No. 11 Arizona.
  • UCLA Dijon Thompson nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation and hit game-winning shot with 41 seconds left in overtime as Bruins defeated Cougars 58-56 in Pullman.
  • Oregon scored last four point in final 1:01 of 69-66 win over WSU in Eugene.

    ATTENDANCE NUMBERS UP: The 8,151 fans who attended the WSU-Gonzaga game, Dec. 7 marked the largest crowd at Friel Court for a nonconference game since 9,925 watched the Cougars defeat Idaho 66-54, Dec. 16, 1995...WSU drew 8,633 for Washington game, Feb. 19, most since Oregon State game at Friel Court in 1996...Cougars are averaging 5,045 per game in Pullman this season...most by WSU since 1996-97 season.

    WASHINGTON STATE DEFENSE: Washington State held Montana State to 42 points in the season opener, the fewest given up by the Cougars in an opener since a 66-34 win over Whitworth in 1948-49...WSU followed up by yielding just 42 points in its next game against Georgia Southern...the 84 points over a two-game span were the least given up by the Cougars since Dec. 27/29, 1972...WSU yielded 140 points (Nov. 24-30), its best three-game span since Dec. 12-17, 1981...the 182 points the Cougars gave up in their first four games this season mark their best four-game stretch since Dec. 11-15, 1951...WSU currently ranks seventh nationally in scoring defense at 57.0 points per game.

    TEAMS DO NOT EXCEED FIFTY-FIVE: Dick Bennett has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 52 games...in 25 of those, the Cougar opponent has scored 55 points or less...from 1994-95 through 2002-03, WSU held a total of 20 opponents to 55 points or less.

    STATISTICAL TRENDS: Washington State is 14-2 under Dick Bennett when holding the opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field, including 7-2 this season...exceptions are California's 59-47 win at the Spokane Arena, Jan. 2 when the Golden Bears shot 37.5 percent and Washington's 66-48 victory in Seattle, Jan. 23 when the Huskies shot 35.9 percent...Bennett's Cougars are 15-0, including 6-0 this season, when outrebounding their opponent.

    WSU EXTENDS 3-POINT STREAK: The Cougars made five 3-pointers last Saturday against No. 15 Washington to extend their consecutive game streak with at least one trey to 276...dozen 3-pointers at Arizona most since 12 at UCLA, March 6, 2003...last time Cougars did not make a shot from beyond the arc was Feb. 18, 1995 at Oregon...since 3-point line was adopted in 1986-87, WSU has failed to make a 3-pointer three times...other two occasions were Jan. 5, 1987 at Idaho and Dec. 9, 1988 at home against Portland.

    COUGARS STREAKING AGAINST USC: Washington State's season sweep of USC marks the first time since the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons that the Cougars have swept the Trojans in two consecutive seasons...four-game winning streak against USC ties longest against Trojans in school history.

    COUGARS BREAK LOSING STREAK AGAINST CARDINAL: Jeff Varem notched his second career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead Washington State past Stanford 60-51, Dec. 31...win broke a 17-game losing streak against the Cardinal dating back to Feb. 22, 1996...WSU won its Pac-10 opener for the first time since 1998-99.

    WSU-IDAHO GAME LOW SCORING AFFAIR: Washington State defeated Idaho, 37-36, Nov. 30, marking the fewest points in a Cougar victory since a 36-28 triumph at Idaho, Jan. 11, 1947...fewest point in a win by a Pacific-10 team since the shot clock was instituted for the 1985-86 season...tied for third fewest in NCAA history in shot clock era...fewest points given up by WSU in a game since a 41-34 win at Montana State, Dec. 15, 1958...lowest scoring game in Cougar history since 37-36 loss at Washington, Jan. 24, 1970...lowest scoring WSU-Idaho game since 39-34 Cougar win at Idaho, March 3, 1950.

    PROTECTING THE HOUSE: With home wins over Montana State and Georgia Southern and a loss to Gonzaga this season, the Cougars are 65-3 since 1990-91 in nonconference games played in Pullman...the mark includes a 5-0 record in Bohler Gym during the 1990-91 campaign...two of the three losses are to Gonzaga (2002, 2004).

    GILL AND SIMMONS OUT FOR THE SEASON: Senior forwards Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) and Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma) are out for the season...Gill's injured back ended his season after nine appearances, including seven starts...averaged 2.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game...Gill is a 73.4 percent career free throw shooter, best among current Cougars who have averaged one free throw made per game played in their WSU careers...Simmons suffered a fractured skull in practice, Feb. 18 when he collided with Daven Harmeling...Simmons appeared in 12 games, including two starts...averaged 1.3 points and 2.2 rebounds.

    PACIFIC-10 TOURNAMENT TICKETS ON SALE: Cougar fans wishing to purchase tickets to the Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament can do so through the WSU Athletic Ticket Office...tournament will be at Staples Center in Los Angeles, March 11-13...call 1-800-GOCOUGS and select option 3...order forms are also available at the WSU Athletic Ticket Office and at all home games...orders placed by Feb. 25 will secure a seat for all seven games at the tournament in the WSU section...cost is $195 plus a $6 handling fee per all-session ticket.

    RADIO: All Washington State men's basketball games will be broadcast over the Cougar Basketball Radio Network...Bud Nameck is in his 12th season calling all the action...games can be heard on KCLK 1430 AM (Clarkston), KCLX 1450 AM (Colfax), KCVL 1240 AM (Colville), KRKO 1380 AM (Everett), KBAM 1270 AM (Longview), KZFN 106.1 FM (Moscow, Idaho), KRPL 1400 AM (Moscow, Idaho), KBSN 1470 AM (Moses Lake), KZXR 1310 AM (Prosser), KPTK 1090 AM (Seattle), KXLY 920 AM (Spokane), KHHO 850 AM (Tacoma), KJOX 960 AM (Tri-Cities), KGDC 1320 AM (Walla Walla) and KJOX 980 AM (Yakima).

    COUGAR PROMOTIONS: The first 2,500 fans in attendance at the Washington State-Arizona game, Thursday, Feb. 24 will receive Cougar poms...100 students will receive one flip flop to take to Varsity Sportswear to receive the matching piece of footwear, where one student will get his/her books paid for next semester courtesy of CUDA Apparel...students must redeem flip flop at Varsity Sportswear to find out if they are a winner...200 coupons for $1 off purchase at Quizno's will be given out, and one person will have the chance to win a six foot party sub...first 1,000 fans at the WSU-Arizona State game, Saturday, Feb. 26 will receive Cougar face plates...Saturday's game against Arizona State is Senior Day...players Shami Gill, Thomas Kelati, Chris Schlatter, Isaiah Simmons, Jeff Varem, and managers Ronnie Wideman and Jesse Cheng will be honored in a pregame ceremony...chance to win six months of free high-speed internet service from Adelphia...300 fans will receive a coupon for a free dessert from Winger's...during halftime the identity of Butch T. Cougar will be unveiled...Kelati, Schlatter, and Varem will sign trading cards following the game...kids with trading cards receive free admission to the game.

    COUGAR PLAYER NOTES

    #1 Josh Akognon (Petaluma, Calif.)

  • Has appeared in all 23 games off the bench.
  • Registered eight points in seven minutes at Kansas State, Nov. 27.
  • Scored 12 points vs. No. 25 Gonzaga, Dec. 7.
  • Played season/career-high 34 minutes at UCLA, Jan. 6...best scoring game this season with 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting, including 3-for-9 from beyond the arc.
  • Grabbed season/career-high six rebounds at Oregon State, Jan. 13.
  • Scored nine points in 12 minutes at Oregon, Feb. 15.
  • His 25 3-pointers rank 10th on WSU all-time single season list for freshmen.

    #2 Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii)

  • Missed first five games of the season due to a fractured foot.
  • Made season debut against No. 25 Gonzaga playing 10 minutes off the bench.
  • Has started last 17 games.
  • Had 10 points four times, most recently vs. Oregon, Jan. 15.
  • Had four steals, most by a WSU freshman in four seasons, at Arizona State, Jan. 27.
  • Was 4-for-4 from 3-point range and scored 13 points in 70-63 upset win at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29.
  • His season/career-high eight assists at USC, Jan. 5 were the most by a Cougar freshmen since 2001.
  • Poured in season/career-high 19 points at Oregon, Feb. 12 on strength of 7-for-12 from the floor.
  • His 50 assists tie him for sixth on WSU's freshman single season list.

    #5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.)

  • Appeared in all 23 games, including 15 starts.
  • Scored 10 points three times, vs. Georgia Southern, Nov. 24, vs. Stanford, Dec. 31 and vs. USC, Feb. 5.
  • Season-high six rebounds at Kansas State, Nov. 27.

    #11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla)

  • Started all 23 games.
  • Currently has 210 3-point field goals, third all-time at WSU...
  • Seventh at WSU with 126 career steals...had career-high five at Portland, Dec. 18 and added 17 points.
  • His 263 career assists tied for ninth all-time at WSU.
  • Has 10 games this season with 15 or more points, including career-high tying 27 in 70-63 upset of No. 11 Arizona in Tucson...has scored in double figures 19 times, including last 10 games...needs 13 points to become 25th player in WSU history with 1,000 in his career.
  • Season-high nine rebounds at Arizona State, Jan. 27.

    #12 Randy Green (Renton)

  • Started three games.
  • Has missed last four with a stress reaction in his lower left leg.
  • Scored team and season-high 12 points against Gonzaga, Dec.7.

    #14 Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.)

  • Missed first six games of the season due to an ankle injury.
  • Made only start in season debut vs. BYU, Dec. 11.
  • Tallied season/career-high six points against USC, Feb. 5. FROM: WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY MEDIA INFORMATION 7-7-7 February 22, 2005 Men's Basketball Contact: Craig Lawson, Becca Faulds

    #23 Alex Kirk (Prosser)

  • Has appeared in four games.
  • Notched an assist vs. Oregon State, Jan. 13.

    #24 Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.)

  • Started 10 games.
  • Became first true freshman to start at point guard for Washington State in a season opener since Blake Pengelly in 1996-97.
  • Scored eight points in 10 minutes off the bench vs. California, Jan. 2.
  • Tallied 10 points and had seven rebounds at UCLA, Jan.6, and at USC, Jan. 8.
  • Produced season/career-high 15 points and eight rebounds vs. No. 15 Washington, Feb. 19.

    #25 Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma)

  • Started first two games of the season.
  • Notched career-high eight rebounds and four assists against Montana State, Nov. 19.
  • Missed seven games (Jan. 13-Feb. 5) due to academic ineligibility.
  • Suffered skull fracture in practice, Feb. 18 and will miss the remainder of the season.

    #32 Daven Harmeling (Grand Junction, Colo.)

  • Scored 10 points off the bench in just 13 minutes against Montana State, Nov. 19...most points by a true freshman in a Cougar opener since Mike Bush had 14 in 1998-99.
  • Matched season/career-high 10 points and pulled down season/career-high six rebounds at Oregon State, Feb. 10.
  • Made first career start at Oregon, Feb. 12.

    #34 Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas)

  • Started 14 games.
  • Made WSU's last four points in final 1:20 of 55-54 win at Portland, Dec. 18.
  • Recorded season/career-high seven rebounds at No. 10 Washington, Jan. 23.
  • Tallied season/career-high 12 points and added four boards at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29.
  • Scored 11 points against USC, Feb. 5.
  • Has 20 blocked shots, fourth most by a WSU freshman in a single season.

    #44 Arlen Plaister (Orcas Island)

  • Played in four games.
  • Had rebound against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.

    #45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria)

  • Started 22 games.
  • Tallied 11 points, three assists, and 14 rebounds against Georgia Southern, Nov. 24.
  • Second career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds vs. Stanford, Dec. 31.
  • Added 17 points and career-high 15 rebounds at UCLA, Jan. 6...most rebounds since Rodrigo de la Fuente tallied 16 against then No. 5 Stanford, Jan. 22, 1998.
  • Recorded season-high 21 points at USC, Jan. 8.
  • Tallied 14 points, 13 rebounds and four steals vs. Oregon State, Jan. 13, marking his fourth career double-double.
  • Registered career-high 24 points at Arizona State, Jan. 27.
  • Had career-high five steals against USC, Feb. 5.
  • Washington State Cougars Cougar Athletic Fund
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