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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Cougars On The Road To Arizona
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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/24/2004
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Feb. 24, 2004

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THIS WEEK:
Thursday, February 26, 2004 - WSU at Arizona State-7 p.m. MST/6 p.m. PST
Saturday, February 28, 2004 - WSU at Arizona-Noon MST/11 a.m. PST (FSNw)

WASHINGTON STATE (11-13, 5-9 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 .633 career winning percentage (465-270)...career highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...he is 11-13 this season...with 60-51 win at USC, Feb. 7, Bennett tied Taps Gallagher for 76th 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.

COUGARS SHOW MARKED IMPROVEMENT: WSU has 11 wins this season, a four-win improvement from last season, under first-year mentor Dick Bennett...only other time a Cougar head coach has had a better improvement during his inaugural season was John R. Bender in 1907-08...Bender's squad finished 12-3 after Everett M. Sweeley's 1906-07 team posted a 5-4 record...WSU has tallied five Pac-10 wins after winning just five of its last 43 conference games entering this season.

ARIZONA STATE PREVIEW: The Sun Devils are 10-14, 4-11 in the Pac-10...Arizona State 10th in the Pac-10, a game and a half behind WSU and Oregon State...Sun Devils split last week, losing 68-61 at Oregon State and winning 86-75 at Oregon...The 86 points scored were the most since a 100-85 victory at USC, Jan. 17...Ike Diogu leads the Pac-10 with 22.5 points per game...Diogu ranks second in the conference in both rebounds (8.9 per game) and blocked shots (1.75 per game)...Jason Braxton is second in the Pac-10 with 2.12 steals per game and fifth at 4.96 assists per outing...Sun Devils average 74.0 points per game.

SERIES WITH THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State leads 30-24 and has won four of last five...Cougars defeated Sun Devils in season's first meeting, 63-56 in Pullman, Jan. 29...Sun Devils led 26-23 at intermission in a game that featured five ties and seven lead changes...WSU's Jeff Varem led all scorers with 17 points...Ike Diogu paced Arizona State with 13 points...Sun Devils have won five of last six meetings in Tempe...Arizona State has won 18 of 27 home games in the series...Cougars' broke a then Pac-10 record 30-game conference road losing streak with a 58-57 win at Arizona State, Feb. 8, 2001...last two seasons, WSU has suffered losses of 96-45 (second worst in school history) and 96-55 (tied for eighth worst in school history)...Arizona State won first meeting in the series, 94-70 in Tempe, Dec. 21, 1959.

ARIZONA PREVIEW: The Wildcats are 17-7, 9-6 in the Pac-10...play Washington Thursday...Arizona is No. 14 in ESPN/USA Today poll and No. 17 in Associated Press poll...Wildcats are second in the Pac-10, a half game ahead of Washington...Arizona split Oregon road trip last week winning 100-87 in Eugene and losing 90-84 in Corvallis...Salim Stoudamire leads the Wildcats in scoring and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 16.8 points per game...Hassan Adams (16.5 points per game) and Channing Frye (15.0 points per game) rank sixth and eighth, respectively in scoring among Pac-10 players...Andre Iguodala ranks second in the Pac-10 with 5.21 assists per game and third in rebounding with 8.5 boards per outing...Wildcats are averaging 100.8 points in their last four home games...Arizona leads the nation in scoring offense (88.0 points per game).

SERIES WITH THE WILDCATS: Arizona leads 44-10 and has won 37 straight...Cougars' last win in series was 65-63 at home, in overtime, Jan. 30, 1986...WSU is 5-21 at Arizona and has lost 19 straight...last win was 51-49, Jan. 14, 1984...WSU won first game in series 64-58 at Arizona, Dec. 22, 1959...Arizona won first meeting this season 61-57 in Pullman, Jan. 31...Channing Frye field goal with 1:02 remaining broke a 57-57 tie...Salim Stoudamire added a pair of free throws with 14.7 seconds left to provide the winning margin...WSU's Marcus Moore led all scorers with a season-high 29 points...Frye had a team-high 17 points for the Wildcats...the 61 points are the fewest Arizona has scored in a game this season...Moore missed last year's game in Pullman after scoring 35 against Arizona in Tucson.

STREAKS ON THE LINE: When Washington State faces Arizona Saturday, the Cougars will be looking to break several streaks...Arizona has defeated WSU 37 straight times, the longest current streak by one Pac-10 team over another...Cougars are 0-33 all-time against a ranked Arizona team...WSU has lost 42 straight to ranked opponents...last win over a ranked team was 89-87 at home against No. 25 California, Feb. 22, 1997.

COUGARS EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION: Washington State was named men's basketball national team of the week (Feb. 2-8) by ESPN.com after winning games at UCLA and USC, Feb. 5/7.

CLOSE LOSSES FOR THE COUGARS: WSU has lost its last three games with each outing's outcome in doubt late...against Oregon State, Feb. 12, Cougars trailed by as many as nine in the second half and came back to lead by four...WSU trailed 61-58 when Marcus Moore's three-pointer with 17 seconds left rattled out and Oregon State went on to post a 65-58 win...two days later, WSU rallied from 18 points down in the second half to force overtime against Oregon...Cougars took a 54-53 lead in the extra stanza, but shot 1-for-9 from the field in overtime and lost 67-62...at Washington, Feb. 19, the game was tied five times and the lead changed hands 10 times...WSU stretched its lead to 67-61 with two Thomas Kelati free throws at the 1:04 mark...Huskies scored 10 points in the final 64 seconds to rally for a 71-67 victory.

PAC-10 ROAD SWEEPS: A 60-51 victory at USC, Feb. 7 gave the Cougars their first road sweep of the Los Angeles schools in WSU history...Cougars closed the first half with a 26-9 run over the final 14:53...first season sweep of USC since 1985-86...first road sweep in conference since defeating Oregon State and No. 19 Oregon, Feb. 16/18, 1995 and 11th in school history since Pac-10 began in 1978-79.

WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars have five road wins in a season (5-7) for the first time since 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...WSU was 5-64 in last 69 road games prior to this season dating back to January, 1998.

STREAK BREAKERS: WSU has snapped several losing streaks this season...here is a look at the streaks:

DEFENSIVE STAT OF THE WEEK: In their 11 wins this season, the Cougars are giving up an average of 51.4 points per game.

SCORING LIMIT IS FIFTY-FIVE: The Cougars have held 13 of 24 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 13 or more opponents to 55 points or less was 1951-52 when WSU accomplished the feat in 17 or 35 games...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 five 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 five opponents under 50 points was 1987-88 season in Kelvin Sampson's first season on the Palouse...WSU also limited Montana and California to 50 points each while posting road wins.

COUGAR DEFENSE: Last season, WSU yielded 78.8 points per game and was last in the Pac-10 in scoring defense...this season the Cougars are best in the conference, allowing just 58.3 points per outing...WSU is 10th nationally in scoring defense.

WSU LIMITS OPPONENT SCORING IN PAC-10 GAMES: The Cougars have held every Pac-10 opponent below its current scoring average.

TAKING CARE OF THE BASKETBALL: WSU turns the ball over at a rate of 12.4 per game...Cougars are 16th nationally in fewest turnovers per outing.

SUCCESS AT THE LINE: WSU is 7-2 this season when attempting more free throws than its opponent...Cougars are shooting 83 percent (85-for-102) during their five Pac-10 wins...WSU is 29th nationally in free throw percentage (.737).

COUGAR PLAYER NOTES:

#1 Marcus Moore (Inglewood, Calif.) - Ranks on WSU all-time list in assists (fourth-404), steals (third-166), three-point field goals (fifth-144) and scoring (eighth-1,385 points)...needs nine points to move past Brian Quinnett (1985-87, 89) into seventh place on WSU's scoring list...scored season-high 29 points against No. 9 Arizona, Jan. 31...one 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...scored 20 points at Alaska Fairbanks, Nov. 22 and 22 points vs. Idaho, Dec. 20....Pac-10 rankings entering the week: Fourth in steals (1.71 per game), and 13th in scoring (13.3 points per game).

#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) - Has played in 12 games...scored season-high 11 points off the bench at Montana, Dec. 13 while celebrating his 19th birthday.

#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - Has started 19 games...averaging 7.5 points over the last four games...tied season-high with 11 points at USC after scoring just two points in previous three games...four 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...played career-high 39 minutes against USC, Jan. 10.

#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) - Has scored in double figures 12 times this season...averaging 14.4 points during last five games...registered career-high 24 points at Washington, Feb. 19...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...scored 18 points vs. IPFW, Dec. 1...tallied team-high 15 points at No. 15 Gonzaga, Dec. 28...has 135 career treys and ranks eighth on WSU's all-time list...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: Sixth in three-pointers per game (2.29) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.423)...led Pac-10 with .456 three-point shooting in 2002-03

#12 Randy Green (Renton) - Has made five starts in 2003-04...scored 12 points off the bench in 67-62 overtime loss to Oregon, Feb. 14...averaged 16.7 points per game during three-game stretch Dec. 6-20...Pac-10 ranking entering the week: Ninth in three-point percentage (.393).

#21 Anthony Grant (Seattle) - Has appeared in 22 games, including six starts...scored season/career-high 11 points and added four rebounds at Washington, Feb. 19.

#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) - Has started all 24 games...leads WSU with 5.6 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: 14th in rebounding.

#25 Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma) - Walk-on has made 12 appearances...made first career start vs. No. 9 Arizona, Jan. 31...played season/career-high 29 minutes against the Wildcats...recorded seven points and two assists against Arizona...tallied five points, three assists, two rebounds and one block against Washington.

#32 Ezenwa Ukeagu (Coral Springs, Fla.) - Has played in 21 games...made starts at Fresno State, Dec. 22 and at Washington, Feb. 19...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 games at UCLA and USC...averaged 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds during three games at BP Top of the World Classic.

#40 Julius McMillion (Seattle) - Walk-on who has not appeared in a game this season.

#44 Justin Garcia (Mira Loma, Calif.) - Has played in six 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) - Sat out last week at Washington with tendonitis in his left knee...cleared to play this week...scored team-high 15 points in loss to Oregon State, Feb. 12...Made 16-of-21 free throws during road games at UCLA and USC...tallied team-high five rebounds, four points and two assists in first game at Fresno State, Dec. 29...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...recorded team-high 14 points against Washington, Jan. 24 while making his fourth start of the season...scored game-high 17 points against Arizona State, Jan. 29...sat out WSU's first eight games due to impermissible benefits received prior to attending WSU.

#55 Justin Bellegarde (Ukiah, Calif.) - Tied his career-high with eight points against Arizona State, Jan. 29...pulled down season-high five rebounds in opener vs. VMI, Nov. 20...has made three starts.

MOORE ASSISTS: Senior Marcus Moore needs 11 assists to record the 23rd 100-assist season in WSU history...the Inglewood, Calif., native has accomplished the feat twice in his career posting 100 assists in 2000-01 and 131 assists in 2001-02.

MOORE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Senior point guard Marcus Moore needs just 15 points to become the 11th player in Pac-10 history to have 1,400 points, 400 assists and 160 steals...currently has 404 assists and 166 steals.

FROM ZERO TO SIXTY: Washington State is 8-3 this season when scoring 60 or more points...exceptions are 75-62 loss to Washington, Jan. 24, 67-62 overtime setback to Oregon, Feb. 14 and 71-67 loss at Washington, Feb. 19...Cougars are 3-10 when being held under 60 points.

FORTY-FIVE PERCENT EQUALS PASSING GRADE: WSU is 7-1 this season when shooting 45 percent or better from the field...Cougars shot season-high 58 percent in 76-61 win over USC, Jan. 10...Cougars 7-0 when holding opponent under 40 percent from the floor...when the Cougars shoot under 40 percent, they are 1-8...WSU is 4-12 when its opponent connects on 40 percent or more shots from the field.

SLAMMING THE DOOR SHUT: The Cougars are 7-1 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.

GETTING A FRESH START: WSU has used 11 different starting lineups this season, with 11 players making at least one start...Cougars have had a different lineup each of the six games.

ATTENDANCE NUMBERS UP: The Cougars are averaging 3,909 fans at Friel Court this season, the most since the 1998-99 campaign...WSU drew 10,878 fans for its two games against Arizona State and Arizona, Jan. 29/31...largest weekend for WSU basketball since 13,682 came to see USC and UCLA at the end of the 1996-97 season...Cougars drew 17,287 over three games (Jan 24-31), best since Feb. 22-March 8, 1997 (21,017)...the 6,409 attending the Washington game, Jan. 24 was the most since 6,493 watched No. 1 Stanford, Jan. 27, 2001 and the most for a non-ranked opponent since 8,373 attended Washington, Jan. 18, 1997.

WSU WIN STREAK: The Cougars had a four-game winning streak snapped with their 46-29 loss at Fresno State, Dec. 22...it was WSU's first four-game winning streak since Dec. 2-20, 1998.

WSU A TRAVELING TEAM: The Cougars have played 16 of their 24 games away from Pullman...WSU has traveled over 13,000 miles by plane and over 2,000 miles by bus...this week, the Cougars will bus to Spokane, fly to Phoenix, bus to Tucson, fly to Spokane via Phoenix, and bus to Pullman.

PROTECTING THE HOUSE: WSU's 62-55 win over Idaho, Dec. 20, the Cougars closed our their 2003-04 non-conference home schedule at 3-0...WSU is 63-2 since 1990-91 in non-conference 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.

COUGAR IN MUST WIN SITUATION: Washington State is currently tied with Oregon State for the eighth and final spot in the 2004 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament...Beavers own tie-breaker with season sweep of Cougars...WSU must win at least one of its final four regular season games in order to have an opportunity to qualify for the conference tournament.

PACIFIC LIFE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT MEDIA INFORMATION: Media members requesting credentials for the tournament may obtain a credential application through the Pac-10 web site at www.pac-10.org or at www.sportssytems.com/Pac-10...application deadline is March 2.

PACIFIC LIFE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT TICKET INFORMATION: Fans wishing to attend the 2004 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament, March 11-13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles may order tickets through WSU at 1-800-GO-COUGS (1-800-462-6847) or the Pac-10 web site at www.pac-10.org.

Washington State Cougars Cougar Athletic Fund
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