Feb. 8, 2005
WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is currently in his second season on the Palouse...he is 10-10 this season and 23-26 in his WSU career...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .628 career winning percentage (477-283)...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.
WSU ON TELEVISION: Each of Washington State's next four men's basketball games will be televised...Thursday's game at Oregon State (5:30 p.m.) is on FSN Northwest as is the Cougars' next home outing, Feb. 19 vs. Washington at 4 p.m...this Saturday's game at Oregon (3 p.m.) will be on ABC regionally...first appearance on ABC by the Cougars since Feb. 24, 1996 at California...Cougar home game against Arizona, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. will be carried by FSN Northwest and FSN Arizona.
COUGARS LOOKING FOR LATE SEASON SURGE: With seven games left in the Pacific-10 regular season, Washington State is in a three-way tie for fifth place at 5-6 with Arizona State and California...Cougars are a game out of third place which is shared by Stanford and UCLA...with a win at Oregon State, Thursday, Cougars will be at .500 this late in the conference season for the first time since 1995-96 when WSU finished 9-9...a sweep of the Oregon schools would put WSU two games above .500 overall this late in a campaign for the first time since the 1995-96 Cougars finished 18-11 and advanced to the NIT second round.
OREGON TRAIL ROUGH FOR COUGARS: The road trip to the Beaver State for annual games at Oregon State and at Oregon has been difficult for the Cougars in recent years...Washington State has been swept on the trip each of the last six seasons...Cougars are 1-7 against the Beavers in the last eight games played at Corvallis...WSU has lost nine consecutive games to the Ducks in Eugene...last time the Cougars won both games on this road trip was 1994-95 when WSU finished 18-12, 10-8 in the Pacific-10 and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.
OREGON STATE PREVIEW: The Beavers are 12-8, 4-6 in the Pacific-10...Oregon State is currently eighth in the Pac-10 standings, the final spot that would qualify for the conference tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, March 10-12...four players average double figure scoring, led by David Lucas at 17.2 points per game...Lucas also leads the Beavers with six rebounds per outing...Chris Stephens leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at 92.3...Nick DeWitz blocks 2.07 shots per game, second in the Pac-10.
SERIES WITH THE BEAVERS: Oregon State leads 158-111...Beavers have won nine of the last 12 in the series...Cougars won season's first encounter 63-45 in Pullman, Jan. 13...Jeff Varem scored game-high 14 points and added 13 rebounds...Oregon State has been Washington State's opponent 269 times, more than any other school...Beavers have won six straight and seven of last eight games in Corvallis.
OREGON PREVIEW: The Ducks are 11-8, 3-7 in the Pacific-10...host No. 11 Washington, Thursday...Aaron Brooks leads three Oregon players in double figure scoring at 15.4 points per game and ranks seventh in the conference...Ducks have lost five straight since defeating Cougars 55-52 in Pullman, Jan. 15.
SERIES WITH THE DUCKS: Oregon leads 147-117...Ducks have won last seven meetings and 15 of the last 16...Oregon has won nine straight over WSU in Eugene...Ducks defeated Cougars 55-52 in Pullman, Jan. 15...Bryce Taylor led all scorers with 26 points for the Ducks...WSU took the lead at 17:18 mark of the second half and led until Aaron Brooks converted a 3-point play with 41 second remaining to put Oregon up 53-52...Matt Leunen's two free throws with six ticks left sealed the win.
SENIOR CLASS SEEKS WIN IN EUGENE: If Washington State wins at Oregon, Saturday, the current Cougar senior class will be the first at WSU to defeat all nine Pac-10 opponents since 1989...wins over Stanford and at Arizona this season were the first in the careers of the current seniors.
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.
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 minute.
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 START FRESHMEN: Prior to this season, Washington State had never started three true freshmen in a game...Cougars have done it six 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...first time since 1982-83 season that four WSU true freshmen have made at least one start in a season.
FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTION: Washington State's roster features eight freshmen, including a pair of walk-ons...combined, Cougar freshmen account for 39.7 percent of WSU's scoring this season...Robbie Cowgill leads the newcomers in points with 123 and scoring average at 6.2 points per game...Cowgill leads WSU with 19 blocks, fourth most all-time by a Cougar freshman in a season...the 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's 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.
COUGARS IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: Thomas Kelati ranks in 3-point field goals made (fourth-2.45 per game), steals (eighth-1.50 per game), scoring (13th-13.3 points per game)...Jeff Varem is fourth in rebounding (8.0 per game), sixth in field goal percentage (.538) and 20th in scoring (11.3 points per game)...Robbie Cowgill is ninth in blocked shots (0.95 per game).
WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars are 10-14 on the road over the last two seasons...in addition, WSU has notched a pair of victories at neutral sites and two more at the Spokane Arena...from 1997-98 through 2002-03, WSU was 13-78 away from Friel Court...with 57-51 win at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22, 2003, WSU broke a 27-game road losing streak...previous win was 58-57 at Arizona State, Feb. 8, 2001.
WSU PLAYING CLOSE GAMES: The Cougars have played eight games this season decided by three points or less...WSU is 3-5 in those games...Cougars defeated Idaho 37-36, BYU 49-46 and Portland 55-54...lost at home to Gonzaga (54-52), Oregon (55-52) and UCLA (58-56 in OT) as well as road games against Wyoming (49-47) and UCLA (80-77/2 OT).
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 fifth nationally in scoring defense at 55.8 points per game.
TEAMS DO NOT EXCEED FIFTY-FIVE: Dick Bennett has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 49 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 3-pointers in each of their two games last week to extend their consecutive game streak with at least one trey to 273...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 IN RPI: Washington State is currently 57th in the Ratings Power Index...WSU is 1-2 against the top 10...in addition, Cougars have a two-point loss to No. 11 Gonzaga and a pair of overtime losses to No. 30 UCLA, including a double overtime game in Los Angeles.
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.
GONZAGA GAME DRAWS A CROWD: 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-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 OUT FOR THE SEASON: Senior forward Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) will undergo back surgery and is out for the season...Gill appeared in nine games this season, averaging 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.
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 PLAYER NOTES
#1 Josh Akognon (Petaluma, Calif.) - Tallied eight points in 11 minutes off the bench against Montana State, Nov. 19...scored eight points in seven minutes at Kansas State, Nov. 27...scored nine points at BYU, Dec. 11...scored season/career-high 15 points at UCLA, Jan. 6...grabbed six rebounds against Oregon State, Jan. 13.
#2 Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) - Missed first five games of the season due to a fractured foot...has started last 14 games... had season/career-high four steals at Arizona State, most by a Cougar freshman in four years...scored season/career -high 13 points, with 12 of those coming on 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29...had season/career-high eight assists, the most for a freshman since Marcus Moore in 2001, against USC, Feb. 5.
#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Started 13 games...tallied 10 points, and added six rebounds at Kansas State, Nov. 27...knocked down three treys and scored 10 points vs. Stanford, Dec. 31...tallied nine points off the bench against Oregon State, Jan. 13...tied season-high 10 points against USC, Feb. 5.
#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) - Started all 20 games...currently has 200 3-point field goals, fifth all-time at WSU...eighth at WSU with 120 career steals...had career-high five at Portland, Dec. 18 and added 17 points...tallied 17 points and nine rebounds at Arizona State, Jan. 27...matched career-high 27 points, including 22 in second half at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29...tallied 17 points and seven boards against UCLA, Feb. 3.
#12 Randy Green (Renton) - Started three games...scored team and season-high 12 points against Gonzaga, Dec.7...added three steals against the Bulldogs...grabbed four rebounds at Portland, Dec. 18.
#14 Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.) - Missed first six games of the season due to an ankle injury...started in season debut at BYU, Dec. 11...tallied season/career-high six points against USC, Feb. 5.
#24 Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.) - Started nine 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...scored 10 points and had season/career-high seven rebounds at UCLA, Jan.6, and at USC, Jan. 8...scored season/career-high 12 points against Oregon State, Jan 13.
#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...played season-high 24 minutes and recorded four rebounds at Idaho, Nov. 30.
#34 Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas) - Started 12 games...had seven points, five boards and three blocks against Montana State, Nov. 19...made WSU's last four points in final 1:20 of 55-54 win at Portland, Dec. 18... tallied eight points and added four boards against Oregon, Jan. 15...recorded season/career-high seven rebounds at No. 10 Washington, Jan. 23...tallied career/season-high 12 points and added four boards at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29...scored 11 points against USC, Feb. 5.
#45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria) - Started 19 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 career-high four steals, 14 points and 13 rebounds vs. Oregon State, Jan. 13, marking his fourth career double-double...tallied career-high 24 points at Arizona State, Jan. 27...pulled down eight rebounds at No. 11 Arizona, Jan. 29...posted 17 points, nine boards, and three steals against UCLA, Feb. 13...tallied career-high five steals against USC, Feb. 5.