Cougars Return Home To Faceoff Against Huskies
Feb. 16, 2005
WASHINGTON STATE (10-12, 5-8 Pac-10)
WSU HEAD COACH Dick Bennett: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett is currently in his second season on the Palouse...he is 10-12 this season and 23-28 in his WSU career...coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...owns a .626 career winning percentage (477-285)...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 two men's basketball games will be televised...Cougar home game against Arizona, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. will be carried by FSN Northwest and FSN Arizona...the Cougars are 5-7 when playing a live television game.
TIGHT COMPETITION IN THE PAC-10: With three weeks left in the Pacific-10 regular season, Arizona (11-2) leads the conference, sitting half a game 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 (7-5) sits in third, just one half of game ahead of UCLA (7-6)...fifth through ninth place is separated by just two games...Oregon State is 6-6, followed by California (5-7), Arizona State and Washington State, each 5-8 and Oregon (4-8)...USC resides in the cellar (3-10)...this week, in addition to WSU hosting the Huskies, the Oregon schools travel to the desert and the Los Angeles schools head to the Bay Area.
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...the Pac-10's RPI of 62.2 falls behind only the Atlantic Coast Conference's 58.4...The ACC is considered the best conference in the country by both the RPI and Sagarin ratings...Washington has the best RPI in the Pac-10 at seven, followed by Arizona at nine...UCLA (37), Stanford (45) and Oregon (54) round out the top half of the conference in the RPI.
WASHINGTON PREVIEW: The Huskies are 20-4, 10-3 in the Pacific-10...Washington is ranked No. 15 by the Associated Press and No. 13 by ESPN/USA Today...currently second in the Pac-10 standings...Huskies are coming off a 90-73 loss on the road to Oregon State, Feb. 13...junior Brandon Roy scored 25 points for Washington...Huskies shot just 41.2 percent from the floor and shot 4-for-27 from 3-point range...junior Nate Robinson leads the Huskies in scoring and is ranked fifth in the Pac-10 averaging 16.3 points per game...senior Tre Simmons is ranked sixth in the Pac-10, averaging 16.1 points per game.
SERIES WITH THE HUSKIES: Washington leads 166-91...Huskies have won nine of the last 13 in the series...Cougars have won three of the last four at home...last Cougar victory at home was 98-76, March 1, 2003... Cougars lost season's first encounter 66-48 at Seattle, Jan. 23...Thomas Kelati scored team-high 12 points and added three assists and three steals...freshman Robbie Cowgill pulled down season/career-high seven boards and added six points...Washington's Nate Robinson led three Huskies in double figures with a game-high 13 points...in last meeting, WSU held Washington to 66 points, the Huskies lowest point total of the season...Huskies shot just 35.9 percent from the field.
OFFENSE VERSUS DEFENSE: Saturday's game against Washington will pit the No. 2 scoring offense (Washington-87.3 points per game) against the No. 5 scoring defense (Washington State-56.5 points per game)...Washington is 22nd nationally in field goal shooting at 48.6 percent while WSU holds opponents to 40.1 percent from the floor to rank 34th in the country.
COUGARS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS THIS SEASON: Washington State is 1-3 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 is 5-13 all-time against a ranked Washington team, including 5-6 at home...WSU is 32-187 all-time against ranked opponents.
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 IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: Thomas Kelati ranks in 3-point field goals made (third-2.55 per game), steals (ninth-1.45 per game), scoring (14th-13.5 points per game)...Jeff Varem is third in rebounding (8.0 per game), sixth in steals (1.59 per game) and ninth in field goal percentage (.514)...Robbie Cowgill is tied for seventh in blocked shots (0.91 per game).
KELATI EARNS NATIONAL RANKING: Senior Thomas Kelati ranks 50th nationally in 3-point field-goal percentage at 40.3...other Pac-10 players ranked in this category include Arizona's Salim Stoudamire, who leads the nation at 54.7 percent and USC's Lodrick Stewart, 21st at 43.3 percent.
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.
FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTION: Washington State's roster features eight freshmen, including a pair of walk-ons...combined, Cougar freshmen account for 41.4 percent of WSU's scoring this season...Robbie Cowgill leads the newcomers in points with 130...Cowgill leads WSU with 20 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 leads Cougar freshmen in scoring average with 6.9 points per game...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: The Cougars have played nine games this season decided by three points or less...WSU is 3-6 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), UCLA (80-77/2 OT), and Oregon (69-66).
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 56.5 points per game.
TEAMS DO NOT EXCEED FIFTY-FIVE: Dick Bennett has been the Washington State men's basketball coach for 51 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 275...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 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) has a back injury 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).
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: The first 7,000 fans wearing crimson shirts at the Washington State-Washington game, Saturday, Feb. 19 will receive a Color the Court Crimson rally towel...seniors Shami Gill and Isaiah Simmons and junior Randy Green will sign trading cards following the game...kids with trading cards receive free admission to the game...fans in attendance can sign up for a chance to win a snowboard courtesy of K2...winner will be announced at halftime of Washington game...fans can play Let's Make A Deal where prizes include a Holiday Inn Express gift certificate...those in attendance can also make donations to the Red Cross for Tsunami relief fund.
COUGAR PLAYER NOTES
#1 Josh Akognon (Petaluma, Calif.)
#2 Derrick Low (Honolulu, Hawaii)
#5 Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.)
#11 Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla)
#12 Randy Green (Renton)
#14 Chris Henry (Santa Ana, Calif.)
#23 Alex Kirk (Prosser)
#24 Kyle Weaver (Beloit, Wis.)
#25 Isaiah Simmons (Tacoma)
#32 Daven Harmeling (Grand Junction, Colo.)
#34 Robbie Cowgill (Austin, Texas)
#44 Arlen Plaister (Orcas Island)
#45 Jeff Varem (Benue, Nigeria)