Cougars Open Season At Top Of The World Classic

Nov. 17, 2003

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RADIO: All Washington State men's basketball games will be broadcast over the Cougar Basketball Radio Network...Bud Nameck is in his 11th season calling all the can be heard on KCLK 1430 AM (Clarkston), KCLX 1450 AM (Colfax), KCVL 1240 AM (Colville), KRKO 1380 AM (Everett), KBAM 1270 AM (Longview), KZFN 106.1 FM (Moscow, Idaho), KBSN 1470 AM (Moses Lake), KZXR 1310 AM (Prosser), KYCW 1090 AM (Seattle), KXLY 920 AM (Spokane), KHHO 850 AM (Tacoma), KALE 960 AM (Tri-Cities), KGDC 1320 AM (Walla Walla) and KUSA 980 AM (Yakima).

INTERNET: Cougar men's basketball games can also be accessed via the Washington State athletic department web site at or at

Dick Bennett ERA BEGINS: Washington State Head Coach Dick Bennett begins his Cougar career at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska...he coached at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976-85), Wisconsin-Green Bay (1985-95) and Wisconsin (1995-2000)...his 453 career wins rank 79th in NCAA history and he owns a .637 career winning percentage (453-258) highlights include a 1984 NAIA national runner-up finish at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a 2000 Final Four appearance at Wisconsin.

BENNETT RETURNS TO ALASKA: WSU's Dick Bennett is the second head coach to take two teams to the Top of the World Classic...his Wisconsin Badgers won two of three games in the 1998 TOWC...the only other head coach to lead two programs north to Alaska was Pete Gillen (1996 Providence/1998 Virginia)...Bennett's Badgers defeated Gillen's Cavaliers 66-56 in 1998...Bennett also took Wisconsin-Green Bay to the 1993 Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage...his Phoenix team went 1-2.

TOURNAMENT SUCCESS FOR BENNETT: During his 15 years as an NCAA Division I head coach, Dick Bennett has recorded a 42-28 (.600) record in tournament games...tournaments he has coached in include the NCAA, NIT, Big Ten, Maui Invitational, Great Alaska Shootout, and Top of the World Classic and the NABC Classic.

SCHLATTER AND UKEAGU HAVE TIES TO TOWC FIELD: Junior forward Chris Schlatter (Lafayette, Calif.) and senior center Ezenwa Ukeagu (Coral Springs, Fla.) are each familiar with a team in the 2003 Top of the World Classic...Schlatter started 17 games averaging 8.0 points and 2.9 rebounds for St. Mary's (Calif.) during his freshman season (2000-01) before transferring to WSU...led the Gaels with 35 percent shooting from beyond the arc...Ukeagu started 23 games for Binghamton during his freshman season (1999-2000)...led the team with 6.9 rebounds per game and 27 blocks...he transferred to Palm Beach College in Florida before coming to Pullman.

MORE TOWC CONNECTIONS: This is Washington State's second trip to the TOWC...the Cougars went 0-3 in 1998 losing to Alaska Fairbanks (88-75), Nebraska (95-84) and Virginia (62-53)...former WSU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson led his current team, Oklahoma, to the 1999 TOWC title with a 3-0 record.

MAYBE IT IS THE NAME: WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett's teams have been known for outstanding defense during his coaching career...his teams led the Big Ten in scoring defense four of his five seasons at Wisconsin and ranked in the top five nationally three times...St'Mary's Head Coach Randy Bennett is in his third year with the Gaels...his teams have led the West Coast Conference in scoring defense in each of his first two seasons.

STRANGERS IN THE FIELD: The Cougars have never faced five of the seven other teams in the 2003 BP Top of the World Classic, including the first round opponent VMI...WSU has played one of its potential second round opponents, host Alaska-Fairbanks...WSU lost to the Nanooks 88-75 during the 1998 TOWC...the Cougars are 2-1 against Idaho State, but have not played the Bengals since the 1983-84 season.

VMI NOTES: The Keydets enter the Big South Conference after ending an affiliation with the Southern Conference in June...member of the Southern Conference since 1924...10-20 last season...3-13 in conference...won two games in conference tournament...lost 77-58 to Chattanooga in semifinals...three starters return...leading scorer is senior forward Radee Skipworth (18.6 points per game).

ALASKA FAIRBANKS NOTES: Host of the BP Top of the World Classic...defending tournament champion...7-14 during previous seven tournaments...Nanooks 2-0 this season...defeated Southwestern College 109-49, Nov. 6 and 95-51, Nov. 8...Brad Oleson tallied 27 points in opener as six players scored in double figures...Zac Forsyth's 24 points led five UAF players in double figure scoring during second game.

TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO NOTES: The Roadrunners were 10-17 last season, 7-13 in the Southland Conference...senior forward LeRoy Hurd led Southland Conference with 17.6 points per game last season...named SLC Newcomer of the Year...member of 2003-04 All-Southland Conference in preseason.

BINGHAMTON NOTES: The Bearcats were 14-13 last season, 9-7 in the America East Nick Billings leading returning scorer (9.0 points per game) and rebounder (6.7 per game)...blocked 4.3 shots per game in 2002-03.

IDAHO STATE NOTES: The Bengals were 15-14 last season, 7-7 in Big Sky Conference...lost 76-67 to Eastern Washington in semifinal of Big Sky Tournament...lost at Fresno State and was swept by Montana last season...leading scorer Scott Henry (11.7 points per game) among three returning starters.

RICE NOTES: The Owls were 19-10 last season, 11-7 in the Western Athletic Conference...lost 62-61 to Hawai'i in first round of WAC Tournament...last season shared three opponents with WSU...lost at Stanford, swept San Jose State, split with Fresno State...returns eight letter winners and three starters...junior Michael Harris All-WAC first team last season (15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds per game).

ST. MARY'S NOTES: The Gaels were 15-15 last season, 6-8 in the West Coast Conference...defeated Santa Clara and Pepperdine in WCC Tournament...lost 73-52 to Gonzaga in semifinals...shared four opponents with WSU in 2002-03...lost at Fresno State and at Stanford...knocked off San Jose State at home...lost three times to Gonzaga.

INTERNATIONAL RULES APPLY: The three-point arc and trapezoid lane used in international basketball will be in effect at the BP Top of the World Classic...the three-point line will be at 20 feet 6 1/4 inches, back from its collegiate distance of 19 feet 9 its widest point, the international lane is 19 feet, 8 3/4 inches, nearly eight feet winder than the normal 12-foot lane.

COUGARS PICKED NINTH IN PRESEASON PAC-10 POLL: Arizona is the preseason selection to win the 2003-04 Pacific-10 men's basketball title according to poll of 35 media members who cover the conference...Wildcats garnered 26 first place votes...Arizona is followed by Stanford (seven first place votes), California (one first place vote), Oregon, USC (one first place vote), UCLA, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and Oregon State.

GET TO KNOWN THE WSU ASSISTANT COACHES: Tony Bennett is the son of WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett...played for his father at Wisconsin-Green Bay...finished collegiate career as Mid-Continent Conference's all-time leader in points (2,285) and assists (601)...ranks as NCAA's all-time leader in three-point percentage (.497)...three seasons with NBA's Charlotte Hornets...selected 35th by Hornets in 1995 NBA Draft...Mike Burns helped Eastern Washington earn NIT bid last season...coordinated Eagles' defense that ranked top three in Big Sky Conference scoring defense during each of his three seasons at EWU...Mike Heideman served as an assistant to Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Green Bay for all 10 seasons the latter was the mentor of the Phoenix...succeeded Bennett as head coach at UWGB...led Phoenix to 110-95 mark during seven seasons...named 1996 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year.

COUGARS REGISTER EARLY SEASON VICTORIES: WSU has won 12 of its last 14 season openers including a 10-game win streak from 1989-90 through 1998-99...the Cougars have not started a season 0-2 since 1972-73 when George Raveling was in his rookie campaign at 0-3 start for the Cougars has occurred just twice (1951-52 and 1964-65).

WSU KNOCKS OFF UKRAINE IN EXHIBTION OPENER: Junior guard Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) scored a game-high 14 points to lead the Cougars to a 68-57 win over MBC Nikolaev of the Ukranine, Nov. 10...junior forward Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds...senior center Ezenwa Ukeagu (Coral Springs, Fla.) chipped in 12 points...WSU senior point guard Marcus Moore (Inglewood, Calif.) was held to six points, but dished out seven assists and did not commit a turnover...Cougars had just four turnovers as a team.

COUGARS DEFEAT EA SPORTS TO CLOSE EXHIBTION SEASON: Senior Marcus Moore (Inglewood, Calif.) scored a game-high 15 points as Washington State defeated EA Sports West All-Stars 64-53, Nov. 15...juniors Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) and Shami Gill (Mission, British Columbia) added 13 and 11 points, respectively...Cougars held EA Sports to 27 percent shooting in first stanza.

KELATI LEADER OF THE PAC: Junior guard Thomas Kelati (Walla Walla) led the Pacific-10 Conference in three-point percentage (.456) during the 2002-03 season...he averaged 2.30 treys per game.

MOORE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Cougar senior point guard Marcus Moore (Inglewood, Calif.) ranks in the WSU top 10 with 4.3 assists per game (second), 125 steals (sixth) and 14.6 points per game (ninth)...became 24th players in WSU history to record 1,000 career points at Arizona, Jan. 9, of three players in WSU history with 1,000 points, 300 assists and 125 steals...joined Keith Morrison (1983-86) and Bennie Seltzer (1990-93).

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