Cougars Host Huskies in Pac-10 Opener
Jan. 1, 2009
WSU OPENS PAC-10 SEASON HOSTING UW: The Washington State University men's basketball team (8-4) will open up the 2008-09 Pacific-10 Conference season hosting Washington (9-3), Saturday, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. at Friel Court in Pullman. The game can be seen on FSN Northwest.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE COUGS:
The Cougars fell 52-64 to the Tigers of LSU in Baton Rouge, Saturday, Dec. 27.
Klay Thompson led the Cougars in scoring with 14 points.
Taylor Rochestie added 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Caleb Forrest chipped in 10 points.
For the fourth time this season and the second-consecutive game, the Cougars scored fewer than 25 points in the first half.
Six of the eight Cougars to see action in the first half scored in the game...four of the five starters.
Both teams were perfect from the free throw line in the first half (LSU: 6-for-6; WSU: 2-for-2).
WSU moved to 1-2 against LSU all-time...4-7 against current members of the Southeastern Conference...have never won against an SEC team on its home court.
Caleb Forrest remained perfect from the free throw line this season (2-for-2 on the day) and Klay Thompson remained perfect as a Cougar (4-for-4 on the day).
WSU IN PAC-10 OPENERS: The Cougars are 11-19 all-time in Pacific-10 Conference openers (beginning in the 1978-79 season).
WSU is 4-4 when opening the Pac-10 season against the Huskies and 3-1 when opening with the Huskies at home.
This season marks the first Pac-10 opener at home since the 2005-06 season.
Last season's victory over Washington, Jan. 5 in Seattle marked the Cougars' first Pac-10 opening win in three years...WSU defeated Stanford, 60-51 in Spokane, Wash. to open the 2004-05 conference season.
THE STREAK AGAINST THE HUSKIES:
The Cougars have won the last seven meetings against the Huskies, dating back to the first meeting between the two teams of the 2005-06 season.
Redshirt senior Daven Harmeling is the only Cougar with a loss against Washington (5-2)...WSU lost the two meetings during his true freshman season (2004-05)...Harmeling redshirted the 2005-06 season.
Seniors Aron Baynes and Caleb Forrest are 7-0 against the Huskies...the duo are the only two Cougars to have a loss to every other Pac-10 team except UW.
The seven-game winning streak is the longest for the Cougars over the Huskies...the longest in the series is 17-straight wins by UW from 1923-1930.
A BRIEF LOOK AT LAST SEASON:
In the first meeting Aron Baynes scored a team-high 16 points, going 6-for-6 from the free throw line as the Cougars defeated the Huskies, 56-52, at Bank of America Arena Jan. 5, 2008.
WSU came back from a 20-17 halftime deficit and got its first victory in a Pac-10 opener in three years.
In the second meeting, Kyle Weaver's game-high 20 points in 44 minutes led the Cougars to a thrilling 76-73 double-overtime victory over the Huskies in his last game at Friel Court, March 8, 2008.
Fellow senior Robbie Cowgill scored crucial baskets in the final 15 seconds of both regulation and the first overtime to continue to force extra periods.
Taylor Rochestie added 16 points on a then-career best four 3-pointers.
Four of the five players that started the first 10 games for the Cougars earned Pacific-10 Conference All-Academic accolades last season.
The only one of the five who didn't, Klay Thompson, was in high school last year.
Daven Harmeling and Taylor Rochestie earned first-team honors, while Aron Baynes and Nikola Koprivica picked up second-team accolades.
Harmeling is a three-time conference all-academic honoree, while Baynes has earned the honors twice.
Koprivica did not start the last two games, but was the Cougs' first substitution in both games.
WSU FRESHMAN AMONG TOPS IN PAC-10:
DeAngelo Casto leads all Pac-10 freshmen in blocks per game with 1.3 and is third overall in the category.
COUG VETS IN RANKINGS TOO:
Seniors Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie also rank in the tops in the Pac-10 in six different categories. Below is a look at where they rank.
Field Goal Percentage - 3rd (.632, 55-for-87)Blocked Shots - 6th (1.1 bpg)Rebounding - t-11th (6.0 rpg)Taylor Rochestie
Assist/Turnover Ratio - 5th (1.9 a/t ratio)
Minutes Played - 5th (33.5 mpg)
Assists - 7th (4.8 apg)
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).
Five or more freshmen have seen action in eight of WSU's 12 games.
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 61 appearances in the first 12 games.
Against Idaho State, Dec. 2 and Montana State, Dec. 13, seven freshmen and a total of eight first-year players saw action in each game.
WINNING BY 20-PLUS:
This season four of the Cougars' eight wins have come 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).
Prior to Nov. 28's 11-point win over Mississippi State, the Cougars had a margin of victory of 20 or more points in each of their last six wins, dating back to last season.
The Cougars have won by double-digits in each of its last 10 wins.
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 781 career points, Baynes needs a total of 219 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 947 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 643 points as a Cougar after scoring 304 at Tulane.
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.
Five of the Cougars' 16 players are the roster are left-handed on the basketball court. (Marcus Capers, Abe Lodwick, Nikola Koprivica, Taylor Rochestie and Nick Witherill).
Capers is only left-handed on the basketball court.
All five of the lefties are guards.
On top of that, Aron Baynes writes with his left hand, and can shoot with both.
The Cougars are led by a sharp-shooting left-handed point guard in head coach Tony Bennett.
ROCHESTIE CANDIDATE FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD:
Senior point guard Taylor Rochestie was named one of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, Dec. 19.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award honors the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education bring.
A two-year starter, Rochestie ranked third on last season's team with 10.4 points per game and is third this year with 9.8...he was 10th in the country last year with a 2.81 assists/turnover ratio.
Last fall, Rochestie announced he would give up his scholarship for his senior season so that the Cougars could sign a fifth player to their early signing class...an extra scholarship opened up during the summer and Rochestie was awarded a scholarship for the season.
THREE COUGS PLAY 100TH GAMES:
The Cougars' game Sunday at Idaho was the 100th game of Aron Baynes' career.
The senior played 28 games as a freshman, 26 as a sophomore and 10 as a junior.
He has started 65 of the 101 games he's played so far.
WSU's Dec. 6 game against Baylor was the 100th game of Daven Harmeling's career.
The redshirt senior played 26 games as a true freshman, one during his redshirt year, 33 as a redshirt sophomore, 32 as a junior and now 12 as a senior.
WSU's Nov. 21 game against Sacramento State marked the 100th game of redshirt senior Taylor Rochestie's career...he's now played in 109 games.
Rochestie played 28 games as a freshman at Tulane and has played 81 games at WSU.
The point guard has started 77 of his 109 games thus far, including 52 starts at WSU.
COUGARS AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS: Five of WSU's opponents this season are ranked in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Polls, including Pittsburgh, who the Cougars lost to Nov. 29.
Pittsburgh (3), Gonzaga (16/17), UCLA (12/9), Arizona State (17/14) and Baylor (19/20)...Arizona and Stanford are receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Polls...LSU is receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
WSU's only four losses this season have come to either a ranked opponent or one receiving votes.
RANKED FOES AT FRIEL COURT:
WSU hosted two ranked opponents in Baylor (then-24th-Associated Press/Receiving Votes-ESPN-USA Today) and Gonzaga (then-4th-both) at Friel Court in consecutive games.
It marked the first time that WSU had hosted two ranked nonconference opponents at home in the same season.
Baylor was also the first ranked nonconference opponent to come play WSU at Friel Court that was not Gonzaga.
The only other nonconference ranked opponent the Cougars have hosted at home was No. 17 Ohio State, Dec. 16, 1968 at Bohler Gym.
COUGARS' HOME NONCONFERENCE STREAK ENDED:
WSU's loss Dec. 6 to No. 24 Baylor at home marked its first nonconference loss at Friel Court since falling to No. 25 Gonzaga, 54-52, Dec. 7, 2004.
The Cougars' back-to-back losses to Baylor (Dec. 6) and Gonzaga (Dec. 10) marked the first time WSU lost back-to-back nonconference games since 2004-05 with losses at Oklahoma State (Dec. 4) and against Gonzaga (Dec. 7).
The two losses also marked the first time WSU lost back-to-back nonconference games at home since 1985-86 when it fell to Wisconsin (Dec. 9) and Nebraska (Dec. 12).
Taylor Rochestie was the only Cougar that was alive when the Cougars dropped back-to-back nonconference home games in 1985.
NONCONFERENCE STREAK COMES TO AN END:
The Cougars had their regular season nonconference winning streak snapped at 21 games with their loss to Pittsburgh Saturday, Nov. 29.
The streak had gone back to the 2006-07 season.
The 21-game winning streak is the second-longest in school history, passing the 19-straight 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.
BENNETT NO LONGER PERFECT IN NOVEMBER:
WSU's Nov. 29 loss to Pittsburgh marked its first loss in November under third-year head coach Tony Bennett.
The Cougars had gone 19-0 under Bennett in November prior to that game...Bennett is now 19-1 in the month.
The Cougars have started the season 5-0 in all three of Bennett's seasons at the helm.