WSU Opens Season Hosting Mississippi Valley State
Nov. 14, 2008
COUGARS OPEN SEASON WITH DELTA DEVILS: The 2008-09 Washington State men's basketball team hits the floor for their first regular season game of the year as it hosts Mississippi Valley State, Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Friel Court. The Delta Devils head to Pullman after taking on Arizona State Friday night.
ABOUT THE COUGS:
The 2008-09 Cougars feature two starters from last year's team in senior center Aron Baynes and redshirt senior point guard Taylor Rochestie.
WSU returns five letterwinners from last season's squad that tied a school record with 26 wins and made its first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.
The Cougars' roster contains nine freshmen, seven of which are true freshman.
ABOUT THE DELTA DEVILS:
The Delta Devils are led by first year head coach Sean Woods, who headed to MVSU after a stint at TCU.
The defending 2008 SWAC Tournament champions, the Delta Devils are led by a returning senior class of Michael Clark, Eric Petty and Dwayne Harmason.
Clark, the team's top returning scorer, averaged 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
Petty added 6.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while Harmason led the team with 2.8 assists and was second in steals (1.0 spg).
Last season MVSU finished the season 17-16 and fell to UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
AGAINST THE DELTA DEVILS:
WSU beat Mississippi Valley State 71-26 in the first meeting between the schools last season on Nov. 24, in Spokane as part of the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge.
The Delta Devils' 26 points is the fewest surrendered by a Cougar team since beating Idaho 48-23 Jan. 23, 1948. It is also the fewest points WSU has given up in the shot clock era.
The Cougars held MVSU to nine points in the second half.
Caleb Forrest scored a career-high 13 points.
COUGS AMONG YOUNGEST TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY:
With nine total freshman, WSU is tied with three other schools for the most freshmen on a roster in the country. The Cougs are tied with Presbyterian, High Point and The Citadel.
The Cougars' group of seven true freshmen is tied for the fourth most true freshmen on an NCAA Division I roster in the nation. Duquesne, Saint Louis and Iona each have eight true freshmen on their rosters.
WSU's seven scholarship freshmen also ties them for third in the country for most scholarship freshmen. Duquesne and Saint Louis each have eight scholarship freshmen.
Although freshmen-heavy, the Cougars older players make up for it. Among the youngest teams by average age, the Cougars rank 10th in the country with an average age of 19.87 years old. Arizona State (19.81 years old) ranks directly ahead of the Cougs, while Oregon (19.93 years old) is right behind WSU at 11th.
TRUE FRESHMEN PUT TO THE TEST:
The last time a true freshman started a WSU season opener was Kyle Weaver, Nov. 19, 2004, against Montana State.
Weaver logged 30 minutes and scored six points on 3-for-11 shooting.
In all, four true freshmen saw playing action in the 2004 opener as Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling and Josh Akognon joined Weaver.
Harmeling led the quartet with 10 points.
Cowgill grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots.
In WSU's 2005 season opener against UC Riverside (Nov. 19), center Aron Baynes came off the bench to score 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field.
The 19 points is the most for a true freshman in a season opener.
The last time a true freshman started a game for WSU was Nikola Koprivica in 2006 when he scored 11 points against San Diego State, Dec. 21.
BAYNES EYEING 1,000 POINTS: Senior center Aron Baynes is looking to become the 30th player in Washington State history to score 1,000 points in his WSU career.
Baynes needs 356 points this season to reach the milestone.
The Australian-native tallied 365 last season averaging 10.4 per game.
ROCHESTIE CLOSING IN TOO:
Redshirt senior guard Taylor Rochestie is also closing in on the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Between his freshman season at Tulane University and the last two years at WSU, Rochestie has amassed 827 points.
After a junior season in which he tied Baynes for third on the team in scoring with 365 points, Rochestie will need 477 points to get to 1,000 as a Cougar.
Rochestie has 523 points as a Cougar after scoring 304 at Tulane.
FRESHMEN IMPRESSIVE IN EXHIBITION DEBUT:
The Cougars defeated Lewis-Clark State, 76-31, Monday, Nov. 10 in their lone exhibition game of the season at Friel Court.
Freshman DeAngelo Casto led WSU in scoring with 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field.
Senior Aron Baynes was the only other Cougar in double-digit scoring with a double-double, 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Senior Taylor Rochestie dished out six assists in 15 minutes of action, as the team had 20 assists on 30 field goals.
Redshirt freshman Abe Lodwick was 3-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc, as he finished with nine points.