Cougars Host Wildcats Saturday
Feb. 22, 2008
COUGARS HOST WILDCATS: Washington State University men's basketball looks to avenge its Jan. 24th loss at Arizona as it hosts the Wildcats, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. The game will be televised live on FSN.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
WSU enters Saturday's game with the Pac-10's longest winning streak at four games after defeating Arizona State 59-47 Thursday at Friel Court.
Currently ranked 17th in the Associated Press Poll and 19th in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, the Cougars are 21-5 overall and 9-5 in conference play.
WSU has four players averaging double-figure scoring, led by Derrick Low (13.8 ppg) who has scored in double digits in each of WSU's last five games.
Kyle Weaver (11.4 ppg), Aron Baynes (11.1 ppg) and Taylor Rochestie (10.3 ppg) are each over the 10-point mark this season as well.
Baynes, who is shooting a league-best .598 from the field, leads the team with 5.9 rebounds a game.
Rochestie has a team-high 4.73 assists per game, followed closely by Weaver's 4.27 assists per outing.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Arizona has lost two-straight and four of its last five outings, tied for fifth in the Pac-10 at 6-7 in league and 16-10 overall.
The Wildcats are coming off a 75-66 loss to Washington Thursday at Seattle's Bank of America Arena.
Freshman Jerryd Bayless, the Pac-10's reigning player of the week, has led the team in scoring the last five games and eight of the last nine outings. He ranks second in the conference with 21.2 points per game.
Chase Budinger is adding 17.2 points per game, followed by Jordan Hill's 12.5. Hill is adding a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game.
THE SERIES AGAINST ARIZONA
The Wildcats lead the all-time series 49-13 along with a 23-6 advantage on WSU's home court.
Arizona snapped its two-game losing streak to WSU with a 76-64 victory in the first meeting of the season Jan. 24 at Tucson.
Last season the Cougars won in thrilling overtime fashion, 77-73 in the matchup at Friel Court Jan. 6.
Daven Harmeling is averaging 17.6 points per game against the Wildcats in the last three meetings, including 13 in the first matchup of the season.
COUGARS RECORD BACK-TO-BACK 20-WIN SEASONS
Saturday's win at Oregon gave WSU its 20th win of the season. Last season the Cougars went 26-8.
With its 20-win season, WSU has recorded 20 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1940-41 and 1941-42 seasons. Jack Friel led his Cougars to four-straight 20-win seasons from 1938-42.
Not only is Tony Bennett the second WSU head coach to lead his team to consecutive 20-win seasons, he is just the third Cougar coach to notch multiple 20-win seasons at the helm for WSU.
ROCHESTIE AND LOW PRODUCING
In the last three games (victories over Oregon State and Oregon), the backcourt duo of Taylor Rochestie and Derrick Low led the Cougars in scoring.
Rochestie and Low accounted for 57 percent (108) of WSU's 191 points in the last three games.
Rochestie recorded back-to back 20-point games with a career high 24 at Oregon State and 21 points at Oregon.
He was a combined 21-for-25 from the free throw line in the last three games, including 7-for-8 in the final minute at Oregon.
WEAVER DOES IT ALL
Kyle Weaver is believed to be the first player in Pac-10 history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 150 steals and 75 blocks in a career. He currently has 1,033 points, 517 rebounds, 425 assists, 174 steals and 85 blocked shots.
Weaver currently ranks in the top-10 among active career leaders in the Pac-10 in assists (first), steals (first), blocks (sixth), rebounds (ninth) and points (ninth).
WSU'S NEWEST THIEF
WSU'S 6-10, 270 lbs. center Aron Baynes has led the Cougars in steals in the last two games. He's averaging just 0.7 steals per game this season, but 3.5 steals per game in the last two contests.
Baynes' most memorable steal came at the top of the key against Arizona State, resulting in a coast-to-coast drive for a dunk.
A WIN SATURDAY WOULD...
Split the season series with the Wildcats.
Give the Cougars 10 Pac-10 Conference wins this season.
Improve WSU's home record under head coach Tony Bennett to 25-5.
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 became the 29th Cougar to score 1,000 career points on his first basket against USC Feb. 9.
The last Cougar to reach the milestone prior to Low was Thomas Kelati (2002-05) who reached 1,081 points in Low and Weaver's freshmen season.
Low and Weaver became the first Cougar teammates to reach the milestone in the same year since Terry Kelly and Don Collins in 1980.
Three Cougars have never reached 1,000 career points in the same season.
DISHING IT OUT
Despite ranking eighth in the Pac-10 in assists per game, the Cougars boast two of the top-six assists men in the league.
Junior Taylor Rochestie is third in the league and ranks 73rd in the nation with 4.7 assists per game.
Rochestie leads the league and is ninth in the nation with a 2.8 assists/turnover ratio (123 assists to 44 turnovers).
Senior Kyle Weaver ranks sixth in the league with 4.3 dishes per contest.
With 125 and 111 assists this season, respectively, Rochestie and Weaver are the first WSU teammates to dish out 100-plus assists in the same season since 1990 when Bennie Seltzer had 114 assists and David Sanders dished out 100.
WHEN WEAVER AND LOW SCORE DOUBLE-DIGITS
WSU's game against Stanford marked the first time this season the Cougars have lost when both Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver score in double-figures.
The Cougars are 8-1 this season when each of the backcourt duo puts up 10 or more points in the same game.
WSU GETS FIRST WIN AT MAC COURT IN 13 YEARS
With its 62-53 victory over the Ducks Saturday, WSU got its first win over Oregon at Eugene in 13 years (since Feb. 18, 1995).
The Cougars also got their first sweep of the season series over the Ducks since 1995.
WSU pulled off the sweep of the Oregon schools for the first time since 1995 as well.
UCLA ONLY TEAM LEFT ON THE LIST
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.
The last senior class to defeat all Pac-10 schools came in 1989.
LOW IN THE CLUTCH
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.
WEAVER GETS PAST 19
In the 107th game of his WSU career, Kyle Weaver reached the 20-point plateau for the first time with 23 points against Stanford. Weaver had scored in double-digits 49 times in his career prior to his 23-point performance.
His previous career high was 19 which he reached twice, including once this season.
In the same game, Weaver had his first double-double of the season and the fifth of his career. His 11 rebounds marked his first double-digit rebounding performance of the season.
Junior Aron Baynes, at 6-10, 270, has been an effective inside presence for the Cougars this season.
Baynes is third on the team with 11.1 points per game, leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game and ranks second with 22 blocks this season.
He's controlled 23 of the 26 jump balls he's vied for this season.
Baynes is averaging eight points and three rebounds more this season than through 26 games last season (3.0 points, 2.3 boards).
ROCHESTIE PICKING IT UP THIS SEASON AS WELL
Junior Taylor Rochestie's numbers have gone up tremendously this season compared to at this point last season.
Fourth on the team this season in scoring with 10.3 points per game, he averaged just 3.0 points per game after 26 games last season.
Rochestie is also up in assists (this year: 122; last year: 40), rebounds (this year: 3.0; last year: 0.8) and most notably, minutes played (this year: 33.5 mpg; last year: 12.7 mpg).
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 47-13, Bennett is just three 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.
PLAYING IN FRONT OF FANS
The Cougars are averaging 9,015 fans in their 11 games thus far at Friel Court this season, ranking fourth amongst Pac-10 schools.
Home attendance average is up nearly 2,500 fans than at this point last season.
Tickets for the general public are already sold out for two of WSU's final two home games.
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.
COUGARS IN RPI
Washington State rose to 19th in the latest RPI (Rating Percentage Index) standings released this week.
UCLA is the only Pac-10 school ranked above the Cougs at ninth. The Pac-10 as a whole ranks third in the RPI.
Going with the theme of the Pac-10 season thus far, the Cougars have been solid on the road this season at 9-2.
WSU is 13-2 in games played outside Pullman this season, tied for the second most wins outside a home court in the nation this season.
The Cougars' game at Stanford, Saturday, March 1 has been picked up by FSN. Tip-time is set for 1 p.m.
The Cougars hit the road for the final time in the Pac-10 regular season as they head to the Bay Area to take on California, Thursday, Feb. 28 and Stanford, Saturday, March 1.
WSU fell to California, 69-64 in the first meeting Jan. 31 and to Stanford, 67-65 Feb. 2 at Friel Court.
TOMORROW | 7:30pm PTLive