Cougars Close Regular Season In Cactus Country
March 1, 2006
WASHINGTON STATE (11-14, 4-12 Pac-10)
COUGARS CARAVAN TO CACTUS COUNTRY: The Washington State men's basketball team caravans down to cactus country to close out the regular season as it takes on Arizona (March 2, 5:30 p.m. PST) and Arizona State (March 4, 5 p.m. PST)...both games will be televised by Fox Sports Net Arizona.
THE HEAD COACHES: Dick Bennett is 36-46 at Washington State and in his third season on the Palouse...owns a 490-305 career record (.616) in 27 collegiate seasons...guided Wisconsin to 2000 Final Four...Arizona's Lute Olson is 566-174 with the Wildcats and in his 23rd season in Tucson...career record is 758-266 and he is in his 33rd season overall...Arizona State's Rob Evans is 118-118 with the Sun Devils in his eighth season...career mark is 204-199 in his 14th season...Bennett is 2-4 vs. Arizona and Olson, including 1-4 at WSU...Bennett is 4-1 vs. Arizona State and Evans with all five games coming as Cougar head coach.
ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats are 17-10 overall, 10-6 in the Pac-10...lead the conference in steals (10.11 per game) and turnover margin (+6.11)...Mustafa Shakur ranks third in the Pac-10 in assists (4.26 per game), fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.58), and is fifth in both free throw percentage (81.7 ) and steals (1.48 per game)...senior Hassan Adams leads the conference in steals (2.67 per game), is third in scoring (17.9 per game), and 12th in rebounding (5.3 per game).
SERIES WITH THE WILDCATS: Arizona leads 47-11...Wildcats hold a 22-6 advantage at Tucson...Arizona beat the Cougars 70-52 in the first match up of the season...the victory was Arizona's 40th in its last 41 meetings with Washington State...Arizona's Hassan Adams led all scorers with 25 points...Cougar sophomore guard Derrick Low led the Cougars with 11 points.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils are 10-15 overall, 4-12 in the Pac-10...junior Kevin Kruger leads the Pac-10 in 3-point field goals made (2.76 per game), ranks seventh in free throw percentage (81.3), eighth in steals (1.36 per game), ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.37), and 11th in scoring (14.2 per game)...Bryson Krueger ranks ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (39.6), 10th in 3-point field goals made (1.76 per game), and 16th in scoring (12.4 points per game)...freshman Jeff Pendergraph ranks fourth in field goal percentage (51.3), and 10th in both rebounding (6.1 per game) and blocked shots (0.83 per game).
SERIES WITH THE SUNDEVILS: Arizona State leads 31-27...Sun Devils hold a 19-10 advantage at Tempe...Cougars defeated the Sun Devils 64-49 in the first meeting of the season...Kevin Kruger led all scorers with 23 points...no other Sun Devil had more than seven points...Cougar guard Kyle Weaver had 15 points, four assists, four rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot...Cougars converted 20-of-26 free throws compared to 7-of-10 for Arizona State.
THIS DATE IN COUGAR HISTORY (March 2): A boisterous Friel Court crowd and national ESPN audience watched WSU's 10-point lead melt away in the closing minute of regulation as the Arizona pulled out a 114-111 double-overtime win, March 2, 1995...Isaac Fontaine (38) and Mark Hendrickson (29) each posted career scoring highs...Cougars led 88-77 with 1:18 left in regulation...a Damon Stoudamire 3-pointer cut the lead to 90-87 with 18.4 ticks left...Miles Simon nailed a lay-up with 11.1 showing just before WSU was slapped with a technical foul to give the Wildcats to go ahead 91-90...Fontaine was fouled on a drive down the court to tie it up at 91-91 to send the game into its first overtime...game went into double overtime where Stoudamire scored 11 of his game-high 40 points.
THIS DATE IN COUGAR HISTORY (March 4): The Cougars defeated No. 15 Arizona State, 84-71, March 4, 1995...Dominic Ellison scored a career-best 30 points as WSU knocked off its school record fifth AP Top 25 team...Cougars converted 30-of-39 free throws, the Sun Devils were just 11-of-18...Cougars led by as much as 10 points after halftime...with 3:11 left in the game, ASU trimmed the lead to two points, 71-69, with a 17-7 run capped by a Mario Bennett dunk...Cougars responded with a 13-2 run to close the game.
MAKE WAY FOR WEAVER: Sophomore guard Kyle Weaver became the fourth Cougar in school history to tally 100 assists and 100 rebounds in the same season...Weaver joined the list after dishing out four assists against California, Feb. 23...currently has 100 assists and 110 rebounds...other WSU players to accomplish the feat include Keith Morrison (1984, 1985, 1986), Bennie Seltzer (1993) and Marcus Moore (2001, 2002).
COUGARS IN PACIFIC-10/NCAA RANKINGS: WSU leads the Pacific-10 and is fourth nationally in scoring defense (56.6 points per game)...first in Pac-10, ninth nationally in field goal percentage defense (38.5)...first in the conference and tied for 38th nationally in blocked shots (4.80 per game)...leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.7)...sophomore Josh Akognon is fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.12 treys per game and eighth at 39.8 percent from beyond the arc...sophomore Kyle Weaver is fourth in assists (4.17 per game), fourth in steals (1.63 per game), and tied for 10th in assist/turnover ratio (1.33)...sophomore Robbie Cowgill is sixth in blocked shots (1.32 per game) and 14th in rebounding (5.0 per game)....junior transfer Ivory Clark is seventh in blocked shots (1.24 per game).
RETURN TO SENDER: Washington State has 120 blocked shots this season, including 81 in Pacific-10 games...fifth time in school history Cougars have eclipsed the century mark in rejections during a season...only 1986 (130) team ranks ahead of this year's squad...the 81 blocks in conference play broke the school record set in 1986 (72).
COUGARS TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: In the Cougars 71-62 loss at Oregon State, Feb. 16, Washington State committed four turnovers...dating back to 1977 (school game records are incomplete prior), the four turnovers ties the school record for fewest in a game...WSU turned the ball over four times in an 82-79 win over Oregon Jan. 19, 1991.
AKOGNON'S EFFORT EARN ACCOLADES: Sophomore guard Josh Akognon's 16 points in a three minute span in the second half, to lead the Cougars to a win over USC, Feb. 11, was named as a winner of the first 2006 'Pontiac Pac-10 Game Changing Performance'...fans are encouraged to go on-line to the pac-10.org to vote for their favorite 'Pontiac Pac-10 Game Changing Performance' from the 2005-06 season...voting polls will open Monday, March 6...the performance with the most votes will receive a $10,000 scholarship check from Pontiac...the winner will be announced during the Fox Sports broadcast of the second semi-final game at the Pac-10 Men's Basketball Pacific Life Tournament on March 10.
BENCH SCORING: Washington State is averaging 19.5 points per game this season off the bench...Aron Baynes scored 19 points off the bench in the Cougars' 81-55 season-opening victory over UC Riverside, Nov. 19...against Idaho, Nov. 26, Cougar bench players tallied 31 points in 63-37 victory...bench players scored 28 of the team's 60 points in win at San Diego State, Dec. 10...in 61-46 win over Portland, Dec. 17, Cougar bench players tallied 46 points led by Ivory Clark's team-high 12...Josh Akognon recorded a career-high 27 points in a 78-71 upset win at No. 10 Washington, Jan. 7...bench played combined for 45 points in the win over the Huskies...Akognon led all scorers with 16 points against USC, Feb. 11...in the 13 conference games in which he has appeared off the bench, Akognon is averaging 8.9...Ivory Clark has come off the bench in 14 of the 16 Pac-10 games WSU has played and is shooting 50.0 percent from the field in those games.
COUGARS ARE SLOW STARTERS: Washington State has led just once at halftime in its last 11 games, nine of which have resulted in losses...Cougar victories came at home against Washington (trailed 35-30) and USC (tied 20-20).
WHO IS STARTING?: Washington State has used 21 different starting line-ups in its 23 games this season...sophomore Derrick Low started the first 11 games before breaking his right foot in practice, Jan. 4...Low missed eight games, came off the bench against UCLA, Feb. 9 and returned to the starting lineup against USC, Feb. 11...Robbie Cowgill has started all 20 games in which he has played after missing the first three due to a fractured right clavicle...Kyle Weaver missed last Saturday's game against Stanford due to a sprained left ankle.
WSU LOOKS TO EQUAL LAST SEASON'S WIN TOTAL: Washington State is 11-14 and one game shy of its 2004-05 victory total of 12...Cougars have two Pacific-10 games and at least one Pac-10 Tournament game left in their season...two wins would match WSU's highest total (1997 and 2004) in the last 10 seasons...if the Cougars reach 14 wins, it will be the most since the 1995-96 campaign when WSU finished 18-11 and advanced to the second round of the National Invitational Tournament.
TOMORROW | 1:00pm PTLive