Cougars Head to Pac-10 Tournament
March 11, 2008
COUGARS HEAD TO PAC-10 TOURNAMENT: No. 21 Washington State University men's basketball opens up its play at the Pacific Life Pacific-10 Tournament against Oregon, Thursday, March 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Tip-off between the third seeded Cougars and sixth seeded Ducks is slated for 6:04 p.m. The game can be seen live on FSN.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Ranked 21st in the nation by both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Polls, the Cougars finished Pac-10 play with a 23-7 overall record.
Their 11-7 league mark tied them with USC for third place in the league. WSU got the No. 3 seed in the tournament due to its season sweep of the Trojans.
Four Cougars are averaging double-figure points this season lead by Derrick Low's 13.9 points per game.
Kyle Weaver (11.6 ppg, 4.4 apg, 1.7 spg), Taylor Rochestie (10.8 ppg, 2.8 apg) and Aron Baynes (10.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) join Low in double-digits.
WSU is coming off an emotional 76-73 win over Washington in double-overtime, Saturday on `Senior Day.'
ABOUT THE DUCKS
The defending Pac-10 Tournament champions, the Ducks enter the tournament as the No. 6 seed after tying with Arizona for sixth place in league play after defeating the Wildcats at home Saturday.
The 18-12 Ducks posted a 9-9 conference record and have won their last three games.
Four players are averaging double-figure points for Oregon, led by Malik Hairston's 16.0 points per game.
Second Team All-Pac-10 honoree Maarty Leunen is adding 15.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, followed by Tajuan Porter (13.6 ppg) and Bryce Taylor (13.1 ppg).
Oregon leads the all-time series 154-118 and 9-4 at neutral sites. WSU has won the last two meetings between the two schools, snapping a 13-game losing streak to Oregon Jan. 20.
The Cougars' win at Eugene Feb. 16 marked their first win over the Ducks on the road in 13 years.
Derrick Low is averaging 15 points per game against Oregon in his career and 21.5 points against the Ducks in the last four games.
He and Taylor Rochestie combined for 37 of the team's 62 points in the last meeting Feb. 16.
The Cougars and Ducks have met twice in the Pac-10 Tournament. The Cougs fell, 66-55, in the last tournament matchup in the opening round 2006 and defeated Oregon, 78-56 in the opening round in 1989.
COUGARS IN THE PAC-1O TOURNAMENT
The Cougars are 3-8 all-time in Pacific-10 Tournament games.
For more information on WSU in the tourney, see page seven of today's notes.
The WSU athletics department will host a public event in Bohler Gymnasium, Sunday, March 16, to celebrate the Cougars' expected bid to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
Admission is free and doors open at 2 p.m. Events begin at 2:30 p.m.
CBS will air the selection show of the 65-team field beginning at 3 p.m.
A WIN THURSDAY WOULD...
Extend WSU's winning streak over Oregon to three games.
Give the Cougars their second-straight appearance in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals.
Give WSU head coach Tony Bennett his 50th career win.
Pit the Cougars up against the winner of Stanford versus the winner of Oregon State vs. Arizona.
BRINGING IN CROWDS
WSU brought in a school record total of 120,083 fans to Friel Court this season, bettering last season's 104,525.
The Cougars averaged 9,237 fans per game at Friel Court this season (13 games.)
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.
The 49 wins in two years ties the school record for most wins in a two-year span, last done with a 23-10 record in 1939-40 season and 26-6 mark in the 1940-41 season.
...AND BACK-TO-BACK 10 PAC-10 WIN SEASONS
The Feb. 28 win at California gave WSU its second-straight 10-win Pac-10 season for the first time since the 1993-94 seasons.
WSU's win over Washington March 8 gave the Cougars 11 Pac-10 wins. It is the first time since the 1936-37 and 1937-38 seasons that WSU has won 11-plus conference games in back-to-back season.
FOUR COUGARS GARNER PAC-10 HONORS
Aron Baynes, Robbie Cowgill, Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver each received All-Pacific-10 Conference Accolades the league announced Monday.
Weaver was named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team and Pac-10 All-Defensive Team, Low to the Third Team, Baynes as an honorable mention and Cowgill an honorable mention all-defensive honoree.
The honors are the second-consecutive for Low and Weaver after earning all-league honors last season.
The two Cougars are the first duo in school history to receive all-league honors two-straight seasons. Weaver is the first back-to-back first team member since Isaac Fontaine in 1996 and 1997.
Going with the theme of the Pac-10 season thus far, the Cougars have been solid on the road this season at 10-3.
The 10 road wins marks the first time since 1946-47 that the Cougars have accomplished that feat. It is also just the 11th time in school history a WSU squad has won 10 or more games on the road.
WSU is 14-3 in games played outside Pullman this season, tied with Belmont for the fourth most wins outside a home court in the nation this season. Butler, North Carolina and Robert Morris lead the nation at with 15 road/neutral-site wins apiece this season.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE THE ROAD...
Taylor Rochestie has shown a noticeable difference in his shooting on the road this season compared to games played at Friel Court.
In games played on the road (including the tournament at Spokane and the neutral-site game at Seattle), Rochestie is shooting .533 from the field (65-for-122) and .524 from 3-point range (33-for-63).
He is averaging 12.1 points per game in those contests.
In games played at Pullman's Friel Court, Rochestie is shooting .412 from the field (40-for-97) including .311 from 3-point range (14-for-45). He is averaging 9.2 points per game at home.
Saturday's game versus UW, Rochestie scored a season-best at Friel Court with 16 points. He also made more than two 3-pointers for the first time at home this season, finishing with four (4-for-8).
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 1,084 points, 534 rebounds, 445 assists, 179 steals and 87 blocked shots.
Weaver currently ranks in the top-10 among active career leaders in the Pac-10 in assists (first), steals (first), blocks (eighth) and points (ninth).
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 second in the league and ranks 74th in the nation with 4.6 assists per game.
Rochestie leads the league and is eighth in the nation with a 2.9 assists/turnover ratio (139 assists to 48 turnovers).
Senior Kyle Weaver ranks fourth in the league and 98th in the nation with 4.4 dishes per contest.
With 139 and 131 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 10-2 this season when each of the backcourt duo puts up 10 or more points in the same game.
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 53 times in his career prior to his 23-point performance.
He added his second career 20-plus point game Saturday against UW with 20 points.
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 fourth on the team with 10.6 points per game, leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game and second with 25 blocks this season.
He's controlled 26 of the 31 jump balls he's vied for this season (including overtimes).
Baynes is averaging nearly six points and three rebounds more this season than through the team's 30 games last season (4.9 points, 2.8 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.
Third on the team this season in scoring with 10.8 points per game, he averaged just 3.7 points per game after 30 games last season.
Rochestie is also up in assists (this year: 138; last year: 53), rebounds (this year: 3.1; last year: 1.1) and most notably, minutes played (this year: 34.4 mpg; last year: 14.4 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 49-15, Bennett is just two 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 IN RPI
Washington State moved up to 20th in the latest RPI (Rating Percentage Index) standings released this week.
UCLA (seventh) and Stanford (17th) are the only Pac-10 schools ranked above the Cougs.
The Pac-10 as a whole ranks second in the RPI.
LOW, WEAVER EARN NABC HONORS
Seniors Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver have been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division I All-District 14 team Both are now eligible for the State Farm Division I All-America teams which will be announced April 5.
This is the second-consecutive season Weaver has been named to the team, while the honor is the first for Low.
The two are joined on the first team by fellow Pac-10 student-athletes Brook Lopez of Stanford, Ryan Anderson of California and Jon Brockman of Washington.
ROCHESTIE NAMED V FOUNDATION FINALIST
Redshirt junior Taylor Rochestie has been named one of 14 finalists for the eighth annual V Foundation Comeback Award.
The annual award is open to men and women collegiate basketball student-athletes in all divisions.
It is awarded to an individual or a team who has accomplished a personal triumph in the face of true adversity, be it in health, life or moral dilemma.
The award is presented in memory of Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach and ESPN commentator, whose personal battle with cancer inspired the creation of The V Foundation.