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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars Host Huskies
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 01/20/2004
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Jan. 20, 2004

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WASHINGTON STATE (8-8, 2-4 Pac-10)

WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is in his first season at WSU...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .635 career winning percentage (462-265) highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...he is 8-8 this season...with 62-55 win vs. Idaho, Dec. 20, Bennett moved into 77th place on the NCAA career wins list.

BENNETT RECORDS QUICK START: WSU won six of its first eight games, marking its best start since 1996-97 when the Cougars opened 7-1...with two wins to open the 2003-04 season, WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett became the first mentor to begin his Cougar career 2-0 since Len Stevens in 1983-84.

WASHINGTON PREVIEW: The Huskies are 6-8, 1-5 in the Pac-10...split Oregon trip last week losing 84-74 to the Ducks and defeating Beavers 103-99 in overtime...came from 16 points down to knock off Oregon state...Washington is tied for 20th nationally in scoring (80.4 points per game).

SERIES WITH THE HUSKIES: Washington leads 161-93...teams have split each of the last three seasons...home team has won last seven in the series...WSU has four of the last five at home, including 72-71 in Spokane to open 1998-99 conference play...last season, Washington won 81-67 in Seattle and WSU posted 98-76 victory in Pullman...Marcus Moore scored 23 points in the Cougars' win last season...Thomas Kelati was one of three other WSU players to average double figure scoring in 2002-03 against the Huskies.

IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN: When Washington State hosts arch rival Washington, Saturday, it will be the first time in 35 days the Cougars have played at Friel Court...WSU has played 13 of 16 games this season away from Pullman...WSU is 3-0 at Friel Court this season.

STREAK BREAKERS: WSU has snapped several losing streaks this season...the 57-51 win at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22 broke a 27-game road losing streak...Cougars 55-50 win at California, Jan. 4 erased a 22-game Pac-10 road losing also was first in seven games against the Golden Bears and first in last nine trips to Berkeley...WSU's 76-61 victory over USC, Jan. 10 broke a nine-game skid against the Trojans.

TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: WSU turns the ball over at a rate of 12.8 per game...Cougars rank 22nd nationally in fewest turnovers per outing.

RARE PAC-10 ROAD WIN: With the 55-50 win at California, Jan. 4, WSU broke a 22-game conference losing streak on the road...last win prior to victory over Golden Bears was 58-57, Feb. 8, 2001 at Arizona State...only second Pac-10 road win in last 54 outings dating back to 1997-98.

WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars have three road wins in a season for the first time since 1997-98...last time WSU won four road games in a season was 1995-96 (7-7)...with the 57-51 win at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22, WSU broke a 27-game road losing streak...previous win was 58-57 at Arizona State, Feb. 8, 2001...Cougars won second road game 64-50 at Montana, Dec. 13...first win in Missoula since Dec. 11, 1984 after losing last two trips...WSU 3-46 combined last four years on the road prior to this season...

WSU SURPASSES LAST SEASON'S WIN TOTAL: With its 76-61 win over USC last Saturday, WSU has eight wins this season...Cougars won seven games during 2001-02, WSU tallied six wins.

WSU WIN STREAK: The Cougars had a four-game winning streak snapped with their 46-29 loss at Fresno State, Dec. was WSU's first four-game winning streak since Dec. 2-20, 1998.

DOUBLE FIGURE WINS: WSU won three straight games by double figures Dec. 1-13...last time Cougars accomplished the feat was Dec. 5-20, 1998.

WINNING IN DECEMBER: Washington State won its first four December games for the first time since 1998-99.

HAPPY NEW YEAR: The Cougars have won two games in January for the first time since 2000-01...that year, one of the two wins was at home against Texas-Pan American...last time WSU had three wins in January was 1998-99 when it defeated Washington, Oregon State and USC...Cougars have not won four January games since posting a 6-2 mark in 1994-95.

PROTECTING THE HOUSE: WSU's 62-55 win over Idaho, Dec. 20, the Cougars closed our their 2003-04 nonconference home schedule at 3-0...WSU is 63-2 since 1990-91 in nonconference games played in Pullman...the mark includes a 5-0 record in Bohler Gym during the 1990-91 campaign...losses are 78-66 to Utah, Dec. 11, 1999 and 110-104 to Gonzaga in overtime, Dec. 7, 2002.

FORTY PERCENT EQUALS PASSING GRADE: WSU is 8-1 this season when shooting 40 percent or better from the field...exception is 73-51 loss at No. 5 Stanford, Jan. 2 when WSU shot 44 percent...Cougars shot season-high 58 percent in 76-61 win over USC, Jan. 10...Cougars 5-0 when holding opponent under 40 percent from the floor...when the Cougars shoot under 40 percent, they are 0-7...WSU is 3-8 when its opponent connects on 40 percent or more shots from the field.

SLAMMING THE DOOR SHUT: The Cougars are 5-0 this season when leading at halftime and 1-0 when tied at intermission...last season, WSU was 6-6 after outscoring its opponent in the first stanza.

NO SECOND CHANCES: The Cougars have allowed just 33 points on second chance opportunities during their eight wins this season...five of those came in the first half of the season opener against VMI...conversely, the Cougars have given up 91 second chance points in their eight losses...on the offensive end, WSU is averaging 8.4 second chance points per game (134 in 16 games).

EIGHT BALLS FROM BEYOND THE ARC: WSU is 4-0 this season when it makes eight or more three-pointers...Cougars made season-high nine treys in 66-46 win over IPFW, Dec. 1...sophomore Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla), who led the Pacific-10 last season in three-point percentage (.456), leads the Cougars with 27 treys in 2003-04...junior Randy Green (Renton) is shooting a team-best .419 (17-for-39) from beyond the arc.

COUGAR PLAYER NOTES #1 Marcus Moore (Inglewood, Calif.) - Ranks on WSU all-time list in assists (fourth-382), steals (fourth-155) and scoring (11th-1,272 points)...needs 14 points to pass Carlos Daniel (1995-98) for 10th place on WSU's all-time scoring of three players in WSU history with 1,000 points, 300 assists and 125 steals...Keith Morrison (1983-86) and Bennie Seltzer (1990-93) are the others...named to the BP Top of the World Classic all-tournament team after averaging 16.7 points and 3.7 assists in three games...Pac-10 rankings entering the week: Third in steals (1.88 per game), ninth in assists (4.19 per game), and 17th in scoring (12.9 points per game)...scored 20 points at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22 and 22 points vs. Idaho, Dec. 20.

#2 Terry Ayers (Pearl City, Hawaii) - Walk-on has appeared in three games...played three minutes off the bench in first half at Montana, Dec. 13.

#3 Lance Den Boer (Sunnyside) - Scored season-high 11 points off the bench at Montana, Dec. 13 while celebrating his 19th birthday.

#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Has started 15 games...three times this season has tied his career-high with seven rebounds...scored nine points at No. 15 Gonzaga and added six boards...tallied eight points at No. 5 Stanford, Jan. 2...scored season-high 11 points against UCLA, Jan. 8...played career-high 39 minutes against USC, Jan. 10.

#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) - Has scored in double figures seven times this season...did not start for only third time in last 48 games at Oregon, Jan. 17...other two non-starts were senior days in 2002 and 2003...had worst shooting game of his career with 0-for-9 effort at Oregon State, Jan. 15...season-high 18 points vs. IPFW, Dec. 1...tallied team-high 15 points at No. 15 Gonzaga, Dec. 28...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: Eighth in three-pointers per game (2.00)...led Pac-10 with .456 three-point shooting in 2002-03.

#12 Randy Green (Renton) - Has made five starts in 2003-04...averaged 16.7 points per game during three-game stretch Dec. 6-20...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: Sixth in three-point percentage (.419).

#21 Anthony Grant (Seattle) - Has appeared 14 games, including four starts...struggled from the floor this season (6-for-39).

#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) - Leads WSU with 6.1 rebounds per game...matched his career-high with 13 rebounds, including seven offensive, at Oregon, Jan. 17...grabbed 10 boards at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22 and at Southern Utah, Nov. 28...named all-tournament at BP Top of the World Classic...played career-high 36 minutes at California and dished out career-high three assists against the Golden Bears, Jan. 4...tied his career high with 17 points against USC, Jan. 10...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: 13th in rebounding.

#25 Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma) - Walk-on has made four appearances...played season/career-high 13 minutes at Oregon, Jan. 17...scored two points, grabbed one rebound and registered one assist at No. 15 Gonzaga, Dec. 28 and at Oregon, Jan. 17.

#32 Ezenwa Ukeagu (Coral Springs, Fla.) - Made only start at Fresno State, Dec. 22...tied career-high with 15 points vs. Idaho, Dec. 20...added eight rebounds against the Vandals...averaged six points and three rebounds off the bench in last week's games against UCLA and USC...averaged 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds during three games at BP Top of the World Classic.

#44 Justin Garcia (Mira Loma, Calif.) - Has played in five games...scored buckets vs. IPFW, Dec. 1 and at Oregon State, Jan. 15...recorded a pair of rebounds against the Mastadons and at Fresno State, Dec. 22.

#45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria) - Made first appearance at Fresno State, Dec. 22...tallied team-high five rebounds...added four points and two assists...recorded 15 points at California, Jan. 4...added five boards against Golden Bears...registered season/career highs with 22 points and seven rebounds in Cougars' 76-61 victory over USC, Jan. 10...sat out WSU's first eight games due to impermissible benefits received prior to attending WSU.

#55 Justin Bellegarde (Ukiah, Calif.) - Scored season-high six points vs. IPFW, Dec. 1...pulled down season-high five rebounds in opener vs. VMI, Nov. 20...started vs. Rice, Nov. 23 and at No. 5 Stanford, Jan. 2.

SCORING LIMIT IS FIFTY-FIVE: The Cougars have held 11 of 16 opponents this season to 55 points or less...WSU held 12 opponents to 55 points or less over the last six seasons combined prior to 2003-04...last time Cougars limited 11 opponents in a season to 55 points or less was 1981-82 (12 opponents)...WSU held six straight opponents to 55 points or less (Nov. 28-Dec. 22) for the first time since Dec. 21-Jan. 5 (seven games) during the 1950-51 season.

FIFTY POINT BARRIER: The Cougars have held four opponents to under 50 points this season...prior to this season, the last time WSU held a team under 50 points was an 80-46 win at Eastern Washington, Dec. 7, 1996...Cougars had not held multiple opponents under 50 points since 1989-90 season...last time WSU held four opponents under 50 points was 1987-88 season when the Cougars accomplished the feat five times in Kelvin Sampson's first season on the Palouse...WSU also limited Montana and California to 50 points each while posting road wins.

DEFENSIVE STAT OF THE WEEK: In their 60-45 loss at Oregon, Jan. 17, the Cougars gave up the fewest points by an opponent at Mac Court since Feb. 10, 2001 (California-56), a span of 39 games.

WSU A TRAVELING TEAM: The Cougars have played 13 of their 16 games away from Pullman...WSU has played six of its last eight games on the road with the other two played at the Spokane Arena...WSU traveled nearly 11,000 miles by plane and almost 1,700 miles by bus entering this week.

GET TO KNOW THE WSU ASSISTANT COACHES: Tony Bennett is the son of WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett...played for his father at Wisconsin-Green Bay...finished collegiate career as Mid-Continent Conference's all-time leader in points (2,285) and assists (601)...ranks as NCAA's all-time leader in three-point percentage (.497)...three seasons with NBA's Charlotte Hornets...selected 35th by Hornets in 1995 NBA Draft...Mike Burns helped Eastern Washington earn NIT bid last season...coordinated Eagles' defense that ranked top three in Big Sky Conference scoring defense during each of his three seasons at EWU...Mike Heideman served as an assistant to Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Green Bay for all 10 seasons the latter was the mentor of the Phoenix...succeeded Bennett as head coach at UWGB...led Phoenix to 110-95 mark during seven seasons...named 1996 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year.

COUGARS PICKED NINTH IN PRESEASON PAC-10 POLL: Arizona is the preseason selection to win the 2003-04 Pacific-10 men's basketball title according to poll of 35 media members who cover the conference...Wildcats garnered 26 first place votes...Arizona is followed by Stanford (seven first place votes), California (one first place vote), Oregon, USC (one first place vote), UCLA, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and Oregon State.

Washington State Cougars Cougar Athletic Fund