Cougars Hit Road for Legends Classic.
Nov. 27, 2008
COUGARS HIT ROAD FOR LEGENDS CLASSIC: The Washington State University men's basketball team hits the road for the first time this season as it heads across the country to Newark, N.J. to compete in the 2008 Legends Classic held at the Prudential Center. The Cougars will face Mississippi State in the semifinals, Friday, Nov. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET. Depending on the outcome of that game, WSU will face either No. 4 Pittsburgh or Texas Tech.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE COUGS:
The Cougars defeated Canisius, 67-41, Tuesday (Nov. 25) evening at Pullman's Friel Court.
The Cougars trailed early in the game, marking the second-straight game the Cougs have trailed and just the second time this season. Senior Taylor Rochestie led the team with 17 points.
Freshman Klay Thompson had the best shooting night of his career with 15 points while shooting .500 from the field.
The Cougars kept Canisius' leading rebounder Chris Gadley (9.7 rpg coming in) off the boards as he didn't grab a single rebound. .
Daven Harmeling, Taylor Rochestie and Klay Thompson have scored in double figures the last two games...they are the first Cougars to record back-to-back double figure scoring games this season. .
For the second-straight game, six freshmen saw action, two redshirt freshmen (Abe Lodwick, Charlie Enquist) and four true freshmen (Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto, Klay Thompson, Nick Witherill). .
WSU AGAINST THE SEC:.
The Cougars are 3-7 all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference. .
WSU has never faced Mississippi State, nor has it faced Auburn, Florida, Mississippi, or South Carolina. .
The Cougars' last meeting against an SEC opponent was in the 2007 NCAA Tournament when WSU fell to Vanderbilt, 78-74 ,in double overtime. .
There are two SEC teams on the Cougs' schedule this season as they will head to Baton Rouge to take on LSU on Dec. 28. .
The only two teams WSU has faced more than once from the SEC are Alabama (1-2) and LSU (1-1). .
Depending on Friday's outcomes, WSU could face No. 4 Pittsburgh or Texas Tech Saturday. .
WSU has never faced Pitt. .
The Cougars and Red Raiders met once in the 1995 NIT with WSU prevailing, 94-82 in Pullman. .
Both TTU and WSU have head coaches who took over for their fathers at their current programs (Knight and Bennett). .
KEEPING THE NONCONFERENCE STREAK ALIVE:.
The Cougars have won 20-straight regular season nonconference games dating back to the last four nonconference regular season games of the 2006-07 season. .
The 20-game streak is second-longest in school history passing the 19-straight regular season nonconference games winning streak during the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons. .
WSU's record streak stands at 23 games set during the 1931-32, 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons. .
NEARLY PERFECT IN NOVEMBER:.
WSU is 33-0 all-time in the month of November at Friel Court and has won 30-straight November games in Pullman and is 34-1. .
The Cougars' only loss in Pullman in November was 77-47 to Colorado State, Nov. 30, 1963. .
WSU is a perfect 18-0 in the month of November under third-year head coach Tony Bennett. .
The Cougars have started the season 4-0 in all three of Tony Bennett's season at the helm. .
WSU FRESHMEN AMONG TOPS IN PAC-10:.
Four different Cougar freshmen rank in the top-three amongst freshmen in the top-10 in seven different categories (as of Nov. 24). .
Klay Thompson leads all Pac-10 freshmen in 3-point field goals made (fifth overall), is third amongst freshmen in scoring (23rd overall) and is tied with WSU redshirt freshman Charlie Enquist for third amongst freshmen for blocks per game (tied for fifth overall).
Marcus Capers leads the conference freshmen in assist/turnover ratio (10th overall) and is tied for first in assists (tied for 12th overall). DeAngelo Casto leads the Pac-10 freshmen in blocks per game while ranking third in the league. .
THOMPSON OFFERS `FRESH' START:.
With his start against MVSU Nov. 15, Klay Thompson became the first Cougar freshman to start a season opener since Kyle Weaver started against Montana State, Nov. 19, 2004.
He also became the first WSU freshman to start a game since Nikola Koprivica started against San Diego State, Dec. 21, 2006. .
A total of six freshmen saw action in the season opener for the Cougs (Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto, Charlie Enquist, Abe Lodwick, Klay Thompson, Nick Witherill).
Four of the freshmen are true freshman (Capers, Casto, Thompson, Witherill). The last time four true freshman played in the season opener was in 2004 (Josh Akognon, Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling, Kyle Weaver). .
Six freshmen have seen action in three of WSU's four games, while five freshmen saw action in the other game. .
Last season just two freshmen played for the Cougars, making a total of 20 appearances (one true freshman, one redshirt freshman). This year seven WSU freshmen have combined for 23 appearances in the first four games. .
Thompson currently leads the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game. The last freshman to end the season with 12 or more points was Mark Hendrickson with a 12.6 average in 1993. (Second-best mark in WSU's freshmen record books.) .
FRESHMEN LEADING BLOCK PARTY:.
Freshman DeAngelo Casto's four blocks against Mississippi Valley State Nov. 15 tied him for the third most by a freshman in a game. .
Carlos Daniel had the best freshman debut blocks-wise with five against Eastern Washington, Nov. 29, 1994...Aron Baynes also had five blocks as a freshman at San Diego State, Dec. 10, 2005. .
Casto followed with a two-block performance against Fairleigh Dickinson...he's averaging 2.3 blocks per game and has had a block in every game of his career. .
In the second game of the season, freshman Klay Thompson led the Cougs in blocks with three...he's tied for second on the team with 1.0 blocks a game. .
Redshirt freshman Charlie Enquist also has four blocks on the season, tying with Thompson for third on the team with 1.0 blocks per game. .
WINNING BY 20-PLUS:.
This season the Cougars have won all four games by margins of victory greater than 20 points. .
WSU's final two wins of the 2007-08 season were also by 20 or more points (61-41 over Notre Dame-3/22; 71-40 over Winthrop-3/20). .
The Cougars have had a margin of victory of 20 or more points in each of their last six wins, dating back to last season. .
Despite a roster with just five seniors (including walk-on Ryan Bailey), the majority of WSU's points came from the senior class in the opening game. .
The seniors accounted for 43 of WSU's 76 points (57 percent), including the game's only two double-digit scorers in Aron Baynes (14 points) and Caleb Forrest (13 points). .
An upper classman has led the Cougs in scoring in every game this season (freshman Klay Thompson tied Taylor Rochestie for game-high honors in the third game of the season). .
The upperclassmen have outscored the freshmen, 177-92 this season, 149 of those points scored by seniors. (one junior has played, no sophomores). .
ROCHESTIE PLAYS 100TH GAME:
WSU's Nov. 21 game against Sacramento State marked the 100th game of redshirt senior Taylor Rochestie's career. He's now played in 101 games. .
Rochestie played 28 games as a freshman at Tulane and has played 73 games at WSU. .
The point guard has started 69 of his 101 games thus far, including 44 starts at WSU. .
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. .
Now with 686 career points, Baynes needs a total of 314 more 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 873 points. .
After a junior season in which he tied Baynes for third on the team in scoring with 365 points, Rochestie will need 477 total points this season to get to 1,000 as a Cougar. .
Rochestie has 569 points as a Cougar after scoring 304 at Tulane. .
COUGARS RECEIVING VOTES:.
Although the Cougars haven't been ranked this season, they still continue to receive votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Polls. .
WSU has 13 votes in the AP Poll and 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. .
Three of WSU's opponents this season are ranked, as is Pittsburgh, a possible opponent for the Cougars in the Legends Classic. Pittsburgh (4), Gonzaga (9/10), UCLA (13/11) and Arizona State (14)are all ranked. .
On top of that, four of the Cougars' opponents are receiving votes (Baylor-both, LSU-AP, USC -both, Washington-ESPN/USA Today). .
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. .
ABOUT THE LEGENDS CLASSIC:.
The 2008 Legends Classic is a 12-team tournament featuring teams from 12 different conferences. .
Four teams from four top conferences start the tournament with opening round games on their home courts. .
Those four teams will advance to the championship round of the tournament at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Nov. 28-29 (Pittsburgh, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, WSU). .
The Cougars defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 55-33, in the Pullman Regional of the Tournament. .
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