Cougars Hosts Montana State In Season Opener
Nov. 15, 2004
WASHINGTON STATE (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett begins his second season on the Palouse...Bennett finished in his first season at WSU with a 13-16 record...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .631 career winning percentage (467-273)...career highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin...with 70-58 win vs. California, March 6, 2004, Bennett tied Bill E. Foster for 74th place on the NCAA career wins list.
BENNETT MAGIC: WSU won 13 games in 2003-04, a six-win improvement over the previous season, under first-year mentor Dick Bennett...only other time a Cougar head coach 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 tallied seven Pac-10 wins after winning just seven of its last 50 conference games prior to 2003-04.
MONTANA STATE PREVIEW: The Bobcats will open their season in Pullman, Friday...last season, Montana State was 14-13 overall and 6-8 in the Big Sky Conference...leading returning scorer is sophomore forward Nick Dissly (9.9 points per game)
SERIES WITH THE BOBCATS: Washington State leads 20-7...Cougars have won five straight and eight of the last nine meetings...last time the Bobcats won was 61-56 in Pullman was Dec. 20, 1972...last match up took place Dec. 21, 1982 with the Cougars beating the Bobcats 96-64 in Pullman
PROTECTING THE HOUSE: The Cougars were 3-0 during their 2003-04 nonconference home schedule...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...in addition to Montana State, the Cougars host Georgia Southern (Nov. 24) and Gonzaga (Dec. 7).
HOME SUCCESS: Washington State has won its last 16 Pullman openers...last loss was 60-54 to BYU, Dec. 3, 1987.
WSU vs.THE BIG SKY: The Cougars are 165-48 all-time against current members of the Big Sky Conference...WSU has won eight of the last nine overall and 14 straight played in Pullman against the current members of the Big Sky.
MIXING THE OLD WITH THE NEW: There are plenty of new faces in Pullman this season...six recruited freshmen, along with a pair of walk-ons, join six returning Cougars...among the returnees, five are seniors and one is a junior.
COACHING CHANGES: Tony Bennett, son of Washington State head coach Dick Bennett, was promoted to associate head coach earlier this season...in addition, Ben Johnson joins the Cougar coaching staff as an assistant...Johnson replaces Mike Burns, who departed to take the head coaching job at Eastern Washington...both Johnson and Tony Bennett played for current Cougar Head Coach Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
INJURY UPDATE: Freshmen Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii) are currently out with injuries...Henry suffered multiple ligament damage to his right ankle while Low has a fractured right foot...both are out indefinitely.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Last season, the Cougars finished ranked nationally in scoring defense (12th, 59.66 points per game), free throw percentage (13th, .749) and fewest turnovers (14th, 12.1).
WSU ROAD SUCCESS: The Cougars won six road wins in a season (6-8) 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 6-65 in last 71 road games prior to this season dating back to January, 1998.
ATTENDANCE NUMBERS UP: WSU averaged 4,540 fans at Friel Court in 2003-04, the most since 1998-99 ...the 8,176 vs. Stanford, March 4 was the largest crowd at Friel Court since 8,373 watched WSU-Washington, Jan. 18, 1997...WSU drew 14,139 for games against Stanford and California, March 4/6...largest weekend for WSU basketball since 18,674 came to see California and Stanford, Jan. 25/27, 1996...Cougars drew 18,262 over three games (Feb. 14-March 6), best since Feb. 22-March 8, 1997 (21,017)...the 6,409 attending the Washington game, Jan. 24 was the most for a non-ranked opponent since 8,373 attended Washington, Jan. 18, 1997.
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), KYCW 1090 AM (Seattle), KXLY 920 AM (Spokane), KHHO 850 AM (Tacoma), KALE 960 AM (Tri-Cities), KGDC 1320 AM (Walla Walla) and KUSA 980 AM (Yakima).
COUGAR RETURNING PLAYER NOTES
#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) - 2003-04 notes...started 21 games...tied season-high with 11 points at USC...tied his career-high with seven rebounds four times ...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) - 2003-04 notes...scored in double figures 16 times...tallied career-high 27 points on the strength of 11-for-13 shooting at No. 17 Arizona, Feb. 28...registered 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 151 career treys and ranks sixth on WSU's all-time list...led Pac-10 with .456 three-point shooting in 2002-03
#12 Randy Green (Renton) - 2003-04 notes...made five starts...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....played career-high 39 minutes against Montana, Dec. 13...tied career-high with four steals against Washington, Feb. 19.
#22 Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) - 2003-04 notes...started 28 games...led WSU with 5.3 rebounds per game and ranked 16th in the Pac-10...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.
#25 Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma) - 2003-04 notes...walked-on and made 15 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.
#45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria) - 2003-04 notes... played in 20 games...made 14 starts...tied for team-high honors with 21 points in 83-70 victory at Arizona State, Feb. 26...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.