Cougars Hit the Road for Final Trip of the Season
Feb. 26, 2008
COUGARS HIT ROAD FOR FINAL TRIP OF REGULAR SEASON: The 22nd ranked Washington State University men's basketball team hits the road for its final road trip of the regular season as it heads to the Bay Area to take on California, Thursday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. and Stanford, Saturday, March 1 at 1 p.m. Both games will be televised live on FSN.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
The Cougars hold third place in the Pacific-10 Conference and are ranked 22nd in the nation at 21-6 overall and 9-6 in league play.
WSU enters the weekend after having its four-game winning streak snapped at the hands of Arizona at Pullman with a 65-55 loss Saturday (Feb. 23).
Leading the league in defense, the Cougars are holding opponents to 55.5 points per game this season, ranking third in the nation.
Ball control has also been a strong-point for WSU this season as it leads the conference in turnovers per game (10.2-third in the nation) and assists/turnover ratio (1.3-10th in the nation).
Derrick Low leads the team with 13.8 points per game as four Cougars are averaging double-figure scoring per game.
Kyle Weaver (11.4 ppg), Aron Baynes (10.8 ppg) and Taylor Rochestie (10.4 ppg) join Low in double digits.
Robbie Cowgill is averaging 8.3 rebounds per game in the last four games.
Rochestie and Low have both scored in double figures in each of the last five games, averaging 16.4 and 14.8 points per game, respectively, in those games.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN BEARS
The Golden Bears are seventh in the Pac-10 at 6-8 in league play and 15-10 overall.
California has dropped three of its last four, but returns home after a three-game road swing at the Arizona schools and Stanford.
The Golden Bears boast the conference's top offense (77.8 ppg), along with the league's second highest scorer in sophomore Ryan Anderson (21.8 ppg).
Anderson is averaging a double-double per game, adding 10.2 rebounds per game (third in the conference).
Three players are averaging double-figure scoring as Patrick Christopher is adding 16.2 ppg and Jerome Randle is adding 11.8 ppg.
THE SERIES WITH CALIFORNIA
The Golden Bears lead the all-time series, 68-44 and 42-16 at Berkeley. Ryan Anderson led all scorers with 27 points as California defeated WSU, 69-64 in the first meeting this season at Friel Court.
California has won six of the last eight games, but Washington State swept the series last season.
Kyle Weaver leads the team against California as he is averaging 9.1 points per game against the Golden Bears, including a team-best 15 points in the first meeting this season.
ABOUT THE CARDINAL
The Cardinal holds second place in the Pacific-10 Conference and ranks eighth in the nation at 11-3 in league and 22-4 overall.
Stanford has won nine of its last 10 games, its only setback, a 72-68 loss to Arizona State in overtime Feb. 14.
Brook Lopez leads the team with 18.9 points per game as one of two Cardinal players in double-figures. He is adding a team-best 8.0 boards per game
His twin brother Robin is second in the conference with 2.23 blocked shots a game.
Anthony Goods is adding 11.0 points per outing.
THE SERIES WITH STANFORD
The Cardinal leads the all-time series 64-55 including 36-21 on its home court.
Brook Lopez and Lawrence Hill each scored 18 points in the first meeting as Stanford defeated WSU, 67-65 in overtime Feb. 2.
Kyle Weaver put up his first-ever 20-plus point production with 23 points, including his lone double-double of the season. He's averaging 11.3 points per game against the Cardinal in his career.
Derrick Low added 19 points in the first meeting and leads the team with an 11.7 points per game career average against Stanford.
Stanford has won five of the last six meetings as the two teams split the series last season.
A WIN THURSDAY WOULD...
Split the season series with the Golden Bears
Give the Cougars 10 Pac-10 Conference wins this season, making it the first time since the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons that WSU has recorded back-to-back 10-plus wins in conference play.
Give the Cougars 10 wins on the road for the first time since 1946-47, and just the 11th-time in school history.
Put head coach Tony Bennett two wins away from 50 career wins.
COUGARS RECORD BACK-TO-BACK 20-WIN SEASONS
The Feb. 16 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.
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.
ROCHESTIE AND LOW PRODUCING
In the last five games, the backcourt duo of Taylor Rochestie and Derrick Low led the Cougars in scoring.
Rochestie and Low accounted for 54 percent (133) of WSU's 246 points in the last four games (at Oregon State, at Oregon, vs. Arizona State and vs. Arizona).
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 four 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).
AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
The Cougars are 41-99 all-time against top-25 opponents, including 2-3 this season.
WSU is 38-21 when ranked in the top-25. The Cougars doubled their number or wins as a ranked team with 21 already this season.
With Stanford ranked eighth in the nation, Saturday's game will be the sixth time this season the Cougars have faced a ranked team (Gonzaga, UCLA (twice), Arizona State, Stanford).
When ranked and playing a ranked opponent, the Cougars are 5-9. One of their nine losses came to a ranked Stanford team (this season) (six to UCLA, two to Oregon).
WSU is 3-19 all-time versus ranked Stanford opponents.
The Cougars are 1-6 all-time against the eighth team in the nation and 7-114 against teams ranked in the top-10.
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-five assists men in the league.
Junior Taylor Rochestie is third in the league and ranks 82nd in the nation with 4.6 assists per game.
Rochestie leads the league and is eighth in the nation with a 2.8 assists/turnover ratio (124 assists to 44 turnovers).
Senior Kyle Weaver ranks fifth in the league with 4.3 dishes per contest.
With 123 and 116 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 Arizona Feb. 23 marked the second time this season the Cougars have lost when both Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver score in double-figures.
The Cougars are 8-2 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 Feb. 16, 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 nine games WSU has trailed at the half this season, Low is averaging 16.8 points per game, three points above his average.
He is averaging 3.8 3-pointers per game in those contests.
Low is averaging 13.9 of those points in the second half. He is 38-for-58 (.667) 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 11.4 points per game, leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game and ranks second with 23 blocks this season.
He's controlled 24 of the 27 jump balls he's vied for this season.
Baynes is averaging eight points and three rebounds more this season than through the team's 27 games last season (3.1 points, 2.5 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 10.4 points per game, he averaged just 3.0 points per game after 27 games last season.
Rochestie is also up in assists (this year: 123; last year: 43), rebounds (this year: 3.1; last year: 0.9) and most notably, minutes played (this year: 33.6 mpg; last year: 12.9 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 47-14, 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 9,121 fans in their 12 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 two home game.
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 dropped to 28thin the latest RPI (Rating Percentage Index) standings released this week.
UCLA (ninth), Arizona (16th) and Stanford (20th) are the only Pac-10 schools ranked above the Cougs.
The Pac-10 as a whole ranks third in the RPI.
The Cougars return home for their regular season finale as they host cross-state rival Washington, Saturday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. at Friel Court. The game can be seen live on FSN Northwest.
The Cougars have won the last six over the Huskies, including a 56-52 win at UW in their Pac-10 opener.