Cougars Return Home to Host California and Stanford
Jan. 29, 2008
COUGARS RETURN HOME TO HOST BAY AREA SCHOOLS
The ninth-ranked Washington State men's basketball team returns home after a split on the road in the state of Arizona as it hosts California, Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. and Stanford, Saturday, Feb. 2 at noon at Friel Court. Saturday's game can be seen live on FSN.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Currently ranked ninth in the country, the Cougars bounced back from their loss at Arizona Thursday as they held on late to defeat Arizona State, 56-55, Saturday at Tempe.
The win boosted the team to a 17-2 record and 5-2 league mark.
Heading into the weekend WSU is tied with Stanford for second place in the Pacific-10 Conference standings.
Led by the nation's top defense allowing just 53.9 points per game, WSU's offense is paced by Derrick Low's 14.1 points per game.
Fellow starters Aron Baynes and Kyle Weaver join Low in double-digits with 11.9 and 11.1 points per game, respectively.
Baynes leads the team with 6.2 boards per game, while Weaver is averaging a team-best 1.8 steals per outing.
Point guard Taylor Rochestie is right behind with 9.1 points per contest, while dishing out a league-leading 5.2 assists per game.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After opening Pac-10 play with a win over USC, the Golden Bears (11-7, 2-5) have lost five of their last six games, having dropped their last three outings by an average of six points each, including a double-overtime loss to Arizona State.
Three players are averaging double-figure scoring for California, led by Ryan Anderson's 21.3 points per game.
Anderson is nearly averaging a double-double per game with 9.7 rebounds a contest.
Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle are adding 16.5 and 11.7 points per game, while DeVon Hardin is chipping in 9.9 points a game.
The Golden Bears lead the league and rank 22nd in the nation with 17.1 assists per game.
THE SERIES AGAINST CALIFORNIA
The Golden Bears lead the all-time series, 67-44, but the Cougars have won both meetings under head coach Tony Bennett.
WSU leads the series at home, 27-25.
The Cougars dominated the series last season with a 17-point victory at Berkeley and a 13-point win at Pullman.
Daven Harmeling averaged 20 points per game in the two meetings last season.
At Friel Court Feb. 10, the then-sophomore went 7-for-9 from the field, including 5-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc for 26 points.
ABOUT THE CARDINAL
Stanford (16-3, 5-2) enters Thursday's game at Washington as the No. 14 team in the nation and is on a three-game winning streak with wins at home over Arizona and Arizona State and a victory at California.
The top rebounding and shot blocking team in the league, the Cardinal boasts the Pac-10's leading shot blocker in Robin Lopez with 2.16 blocks per game.
His twin brother Brook Lopez leads the team with 17.8 points per game in 10 of the team's 19 games this season. Guard Anthony Goods joins him in double-figures with 12.0 points per game.
Guard Mitch Johnson has taken care of the ball this season as he ranks third in the conference with 4.79 assists per game and a 2.17 assist/turnover ratio as he is one of two Cardinal players to start all 19 games this season.
THE SERIES AGAINST STANFORD
The Cardinal lead the all-time series between the two teams, 63-55, while the Cougars lead at home, 33-24.
Last season the two teams split the series with each team winning on its home court.
Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver lead a group of four double-figure scorers for WSU with 12 points apiece at Friel Court Feb. 8.
Low averaged 14 points per game in the two meetings last season, including 16 in the Cougs' overtime loss at Stanford Jan. 13.
Weaver recorded WSU's first-ever triple double at Stanford with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
AVOIDING THE SWEEP
The Cougars have not been swept in a weekend Pacific-10 Conference series under head coach Tony Bennett.
WSU has swept four weekend series under Bennett (games against UW aren't counted).
Only two teams have swept the Pac-10 season series over the Cougars under Bennett (UCLA and Oregon in 2006-07).
On the contrary, WSU swept six season series last year (Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon State, USC and Washington).
WSU has not lost consecutive games since its final two games of the 2005-06 season.
DISHING IT OUT
Despite ranking eighth in the Pac-10 in assists per game, the Cougars boast two of the top-100 assists men in the nation.
Junior Taylor Rochestie leads the league and ranks 42nd in the nation with 5.2 assists per game.
Rochestie is second in the league and 10th in the nation with a 3.0 assists/turnover ratio (99 assists to 33 turnovers).
Senior Kyle Weaver ranks fifth in the league and 97th in the nation with 4.4 dishes per contest.
THE 1,000-POINT MILESTONE
Senior Derrick Low became the 28th Cougar to score 1,000 career points just three points into WSU's win over Oregon State Jan. 17.
Kyle Weaver enters the weekend with 947 points, just 53 shy of 1,000 career points.
Weaver is on pace to become the 29th Cougar to reach the milestone.
The last Cougar to reach the milestone was Thomas Kelati(2002-05) who reached 1,081 points in Low and Weaver's freshmen season.
The last teammates to reach the milestone together were Terry Kelly and Don Collins in 1980.
Three Cougars have never reached 1,000 career points in the same season.
COWGILL'S STARTS STREAK ENDS
Senior Robbie Cowgill was left out of the starting lineup at Arizona (Jan. 24) for the first time since his freshmen season (Feb. 12, 2005).
Cowgill had started 82-consectutive games for WSU, marking the fourth-most consecutive starts by a Cougar since starts were kept beginning in 1982-83.
Most Consecutive Starts (starts kept beginning with 1982-83 season)
1. Mark Hendrickson - 108 (1992-96)
2. Isaac Fontaine - 90 (1993-97)
3. Keith Morrison - 86 (1982-86)
4. Robbie Cowgill - 82 (2004-present)
FRIELS LIKE HOME
The Cougars are undefeated at home this season and haven't lost at Friel Court since March 1, 2007.
WSU has won seven-straight games at Pullman.
The last nonconference loss at Friel Court came Nov. 22, 2005.
WSU has won nine-straight nonconference games on its home court (not including wins in Spokane).
Despite its stellar home record, WSU has proven it can win on the road as it is tied with Butler for the most wins away from its home court this season with 11.
Only eight teams have fewer losses on the road this season than the Cougars.
LOW IN THE CLUTCH
Derrick Low is averaging 9.4 of his team-leading 14.1 points per game in the second half this season.
In the eight games WSU has trailed at the half, Low is averaging 17.4 points per game, over three points above his average.
He is averaging four 3-pointers per game in those contests.
Low is averaging 14.8 of those points in the second half. He is 29-for-42 (.690) from 3-point range in the second half when WSU trails at intermission.
HARMELING GETS HOT HAND
Since returning to the WSU lineup after missing two games due to a fractured right thumb, redshirt Daven Harmeling has had the hot hand for the Cougars just in time for Pac-10 play.
Prior to his thumb injury, Harmeling ranked sixth on the team with 6.4 points per outing and was 5-for-26 (.192) from beyond the 3-point arc.
In the seven games since his return, Harmeling is fourth on the team with 9.4 points per game, including 17-for-30 (.567) from 3-point range.
Junior Aron Baynes, at 6-10, 270, has been an effective inside presence for the Cougars this season.
Baynes is second on the team with 11.9 points per game, leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game and ranks second with 18 blocks this season.
He's controlled 17 of the 19 jump balls he's vied for this season.
Baynes is averaging nearly nine points and four rebounds more this season than through 19 games last season (3.0 points, 2.3 boards).
ONE TEAM LEFT FOR SENIORS; BENNETT
The Cougars snapped a 13-game losing streak to Oregon with its 69-60 victory over the Ducks Jan. 20.
The win was the first over Oregon for head coach Tony Bennett.
It was also the first for all members of the team, including the seniors who have now defeated all Pac-10 teams with the exception of UCLA.
If the Cougars can get the win over UCLA, this year's senior class will become the first since 1989 to accomplish the feat of defeating all nine other Pac-10 schools in their career.
A win over UCLA would also allow this year's junior and sophomore classes to accomplish that feat.
PLAYING IN FRONT OF FANS
The Cougars are averaging 8,877 fans in their six games thus far at Friel Court this season, ranking fourth amongst Pac-10 schools.
WSU has played in front of 10,000 or more fans in all seven home games this season, including two games at Pullman.
Home attendance average is up nearly 3,000 fans than at this point last season.
Tickets for the general public are already sold out for five of WSU's final seven home games (tickets remain for Thursday's game versus Cal and against Arizona State Feb. 21).
LOW AND WEAVER MAKE MIDSEASON CUTS
Derrick Low is one of 30 collegiate men's basketball players to be named to the midseason John R. Wooden Award candidate list.
Kyle Weaver has been named to the Naismith Trophy midseason top-30 list.
BENNETT REACHES 40TH CAREER VICTORY
WSU second-year head coach Tony Bennett reached his 40th career coaching victory as the team defeated USC Jan. 10.
Last season Bennett put in the 13th-best coaching debut in NCAA Division I history as the team went 26-8.
At 43-10, Bennett is just seven wins shy of 50 career wins, which would tie him for 10th in NCAA history for wins by a second-year head coach.
Bill Guthridge holds the record with a 58-14 mark in his first two seasons at North Carolina.
COUGARS MOVE UP IN RPI
Washington State moved up in the latest RPI (Rating Percentage Index) standings released this week to No. 10.
Arizona is the only Pac-10 school ranked higher than the Cougars at seventh.
The Pac-10 as a whole ranks second in the RPI.
RECAPPING THE WIN AT ARIZONA STATE
Saturday's game marks the first time WSU and Arizona State have met when both teams are ranked in the Associated Press Poll (WSU-6; ASU-24).
The Cougars have trailed at halftime in four of their last five games...are 6-2 when trailing at half this season...16-4 under Bennett.
WSU's 10 first half turnovers marked the third time this season the Cougars have had 10 or more first-half turnovers (Baylor-11; Gonzaga-10)...won both of the previous two games.