Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge Kicks Off Friday at Spokane Arena

Nov. 22, 2007

NO. 9 WSU HOSTS COUGAR HISPANIC COLLEGE FUND CHALLENGE: For the 13th-consecutive season, the No. 9 Cougars will make the Spokane Arena home as they host the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 23-25 at the Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash. WSU plays host to 2007 NIT participants, Air Force and Mississippi Valley State and regional-foe Montana.

ABOUT THE COUGARS: Washington State enters the game as the ninth-ranked team in the country at 3-0 this season after wins at home over Eastern Washington (Nov. 9) and Idaho (Nov. 16) and at Boise State (Nov. 13). Derrick Low's 17.3 points per game are a team best, while Robbie Cowgill leads the team with 5.0 rebounds per outing. Taylor Rochestie's 5.0 assists per contest leads the Cougars, while Kyle Weaver has a team-high 2.7 steals per game.

ABOUT THE FALCONS: Coming out of the Mountain West Conference, Air Force heads to Spokane with a perfect 4-0 mark on the young season. The Falcons opened the season defeating Dartmouth (Nov. 9), and followed with victories over Northern Colorado (Nov. 10), Western State (Nov. 14) and Radford in overtime (Nov. 19). Andrew Henke has come off the bench this season to lead the team with 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Tim Anderson is tied for the team lead with 3.24 assists per game while leading the team with 4.0 steals per contest.

ABOUT THE DELTA DEVILS: Mississippi Valley State heads to Spokane from Itta Bena, Miss. A member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the Delta Devils are 0-3 this season with losses at Ole Miss (Nov. 10), at Creighton (Nov. 17) and to Northern Arizona (Nov. 19). MVSU is led by Carl Lucas's 15.0 points per outing, while Eric Petty has a team-best five boards a game.

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Out of the Big Sky Conference, Montana enters the tournament with a 3-1 overall mark, with its lone loss coming at the hands of No. 14 Gonzaga (Nov. 11). The Grizzlies have wins over Colorado State (Nov. 9), Montana State-Northern (Nov. 14) and South Dakota State (Nov. 17). Jordan Hasquet leads the team with 16.3 points per game. The boards are managed by Kyle Sharp with 8.0 rebounds per outing, while Cameron Rundles is dishing out a team-high 4.0 assists per game.

THE HISPANIC COLLEGE FUND: The Hispanic College Fund is the product of a dedicated group of Hispanic businessmen and women who were inspired to respond to the alarming growth in the number of talented Hispanic students who could not afford a college education. The HCF's mission is to educate and develop the next generation of Hispanic professionals. We accomplish our mission by providing students with vision, resources, tools, and mentors through our programs which focus on developing Latino youth who are pursuing undergraduate degrees in business, science, engineering, technology and math.

NEW FACES; OLD RIVALRY: Washington State will face two new opponents as it takes on both Air Force and Mississippi Valley State for the first time in school history at the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge. However, the Cougars renew their rivalry with Montana, carrying a 78-28 all-time record against the Grizzlies. The two teams last met Dec. 13, 2003 with WSU coming away with a 64-50 victory at Missoula.

NEAR PERFECT IN NOVEMBER: The Nov. 9 opener this season was the Cougars' earliest start in school history, bettering last season's Nov. 10 start. WSU is 30-0 all-time in the month of November at Friel Court and has won 27-straight November games in Pullman and are 31-1. The Cougars' only loss in Pullman in November was 77-47 to Colorado State, Nov. 30, 1963. Under second-year head coach Tony Bennett, the Cougars are 10-0 in the month of November, including five victories outside of Pullman.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The Cougars have called the Spokane Arena home now for 13-straight seasons. WSU's first game in the arena came with a 72-67 defeat of Gonzaga in overtime, Nov. 24, 1995. This season is the first time the Cougars will play more than two games at the Spokane Arena. Last season WSU hosted Boise State and came away with a 65-63 victory, Nov. 25, 2006.

FROM THE LINE: With his free throw miss in the second half of the game at Boise State, Taylor Rochestie ended his streak of 19-consecutive free throws made which dated back to March 3, 2007. The redshirt junior had tied for the sixth best streak since the 1989-90 season. Derrick Low has caught up, having gone 12-for-12 this season from the line, extending his streak to 19-straight free throw makes dating back to March 3, 2007. Thomas Kelati holds the record with 31-straight free throws made in 2004.

THESE DATES IN WSU BASKETBALL HISTORY: The Cougars are a combined 10-3 when playing Nov. 23-25, including a perfect 4-0 mark on Nov. 24. WSU has played in the Spokane Arena twice between Nov. 23-25, having won both times. WSU's first game at the arena, a 72-67 defeat of Gonzaga in overtime came on Nov. 24, 1995; while its last game in the arena, last season's 65-63 win over Boise State came on Nov. 25, 2006.

LOW EYING 1,000 POINTS: Derrick Low is just 153 points away from reaching the 1,000-point plateau for his career. With his average of 17.3 points per game this season, the senior is scheduled to reach the 1,000 mark on Dec. 28 against North Carolina A&T. With a minimum of 29 games left for the Cougs this season, should Low keep up his pace, he could end his career with at least 1350 points.

• With the win, the Cougars improve 30-0 all-time in the month of November at Friel Court...WSU has won 27-straight games in the month at Friel Court and are 32-1 all-time in Pullman in November...Cougars are 10-0 under Tony Bennett in November.
• The 43 points scored by the Vandals are the fewest allowed by the Cougars since giving up 39 to Stanford, Feb. 24, 2006...WSU's 74 points scored are the most in the series with Idaho since putting up 81 since Dec. 1, 2001.
• Jeremy Cross's eight minutes was a career high with the Cougars.• Derrick Low has scored in double-digits in his last eight games dating back to last season.

WSU MATCHES BEST ALL-TIME AP RANKING: When the Associated Press Poll was released Nov. 12, the Cougars matched their best all-time AP ranking, coming in at No. 9 in the poll. Last season WSU was ranked ninth in the Feb. 9 poll. The Cougars are currently No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, bettering their best ranking last season of 10th in the poll. WSU has now been ranked in the top-10 for three-straight weeks, marking its longest stay in the top-10 in school history.

COUGARS LAND IN PRESEASON POLLS: For the first time in school history, the Cougars were ranked in the Associated Press preseason top 25, coming in at No. 10. WSU is also ranked 10th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today poll. The Cougars' No. 10 AP ranking is one off of their highest-ever, a No. 9 ranking, which they reached Feb. 9, 2007.

The Cougars' success in 2006-07 has not gone unnoticed as the Cougars garnered preseason rankings from various publications. Lindy's,, and The Sports Flow list Washington State at No. 7; The Sporting News puts the Cougars at No. 8; The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook has WSU come in at No. 12; and and both placed WSU at 14th.

LOW AND WEAVER ON WATCH LISTS: Senior guards Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver have each been named to both the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T Preseason Watch List and the Men's 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award Top-50 Candidate list.

Weaver is also a preseason 2008 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Candidate. On top of that, Weaver has been named to the Basketball Times preseason All-America team and was named a third-team preseason All-American by Fox Sports.

COUGARS HOLD HOT TICKET: With expectations set high for the Cougars in 2007-08, tickets are going fast for WSU home games this season. The season opener against EWU was a sellout, as is the Cougars' regular season finale against Washington, set for March 8 and their matchup with Pac-10 favorite UCLA Feb. 7. Many other games are close to being sold out; for example, as of Nov. 21, 15 tickets are left for USC (Feb. 9), 242 tickets are left for Oregon (Jan. 20), and 440 tickets are left for the Feb. 23 Arizona game.

UNDER BENNETT: The Cougars' record has glowed under second-year head coach Tony Bennett. Aside from a 29-6 record under Bennett, WSU has only lost twice when trailing at halftime under Bennett (11-2). The Cougars are also 14-1 when shooting better than 50 percent, 18-1 when holding an opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field and 19-2 when holding an opponent under 60 points (7-0 when holding under 50 points) with Bennett at the helm. The Cougars are 10-0 under Bennett in the month of November.

BOEKE'S WSU DEBUT DELAYED: Washington State freshman Fabian Boeke has not been certified for competition by the NCAA, therefore at this time is not permitted to compete in regular season competition.

Boeke, a native of Kummerfeld, Germany, played four seasons with the Ehingen Club team in Germany. The club team Boeke played on was a mix of high school players and a few older individuals. Members of that club team, not including Boeke, received stipends that the NCAA determined were above actual and necessary expenses. Therefore, the Ehingen team is deemed a professional organization by the NCAA.

Boeke is currently eligible to continue practicing with the team while WSU continues to resolve the issue with the NCAA eligibility center.

LOW AND WEAVER REPRESENT WSU; USA: Seniors Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver became the first Cougar men's basketball players to represent the United States when they participated in the 2007 Pan American Games. The duo, which made WSU just the eighth school to have two student-athletes on the same Pan Am squad, helped team USA to a 3-2 record and fifth place finish. Low started three games averaging 14.3 points in those contests. Weaver saw action in three games, starting two and averaging 2.7 points.

ABERCROMBIE AND BAYNES AT WORLD GAMES: Redshirt freshman Thomas Abercrombie and junior Aron Baynes represented their native countries of New Zealand and Australia, respectively, at the 2007 World University Games. Abercrombie, of Auckland, New Zealand, averaged 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in route to a 15th place finish. Baynes of Cairns, Australia was third at the games in scoring and second in rebounding with 18.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in leading his team to a 17th place finish.

COUGARS GO INTERNATIONAL: The Cougars traveled to Australia and New Zealand for a 14-day international tour in June, 2007. WSU played six games in a nine-day span, finishing the trip with a 4-2 record, with both losses coming by one point. Among the highlights of the trip were visits to the homes of Auckland, New Zealand native Thomas Abercrombie and Cairns, Australia native Aron Baynes'.

ROCHESTIE GIVING BACK: Redshirt junior guard Taylor Rochestie decided to voluntarily come off his scholarship for the 2008-09 year, his senior season. Rochestie made the decision in order to free up another scholarship and give back to the program. WSU Head Coach Tony Bennett said of his guard's decision, 'I think this shows how much of a leader and great teammate Taylor is and for him to want to do something like this to help establish the future of our program in this manner is just incredible.'

STIFF COMPETITION: The Cougars' 2007-08 schedule features 13 games against teams that reached the postseason last year. The Cougar Hispanic College Fund Classic in Spokane (Nov. 23-25) features NIT participants Air Force and Mississippi Valley State. The other non-conference opponent returning from a postseason run is in-state rival Gonzaga, coming off of their ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The other 10 games come from the five Pacific-10 conference foes that return from the 2007 NCAA Tournament: USC (away Jan. 10/home Feb. 9), UCLA (away Jan 12/home Feb. 7), Oregon (home Jan. 20/away Feb. 16), Arizona (away Jan. 24/home Feb. 23), and Stanford (home Feb. 2/away Mar. 1).

2006-07 BENNETT ACCOLADES: Washington State Head Coach Tony Bennett led the Cougars to 26 wins in 2006-07, tied for most in school history. He won The Naismith, Associated Press, The Sporting News, United States Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times, CBS/Chevrolet,, (Jim Phelan Award) and National Coach of the Year Awards. Bennett was also named Pacific-10 Conference, United States Basketball Writers Association District 9, National Association of Basketball Coaches District 14 and Pacific-10 coach of the year and became the most decorated Pac-10 coach in a single-season.

MORE BENNETT: Tony Bennett completed his first season at the helm of the Cougar program and his fourth year with WSU. He was an assistant coach in 2003-04 and an associate head coach in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and was an assistant coach at Wisconsin from 2000-03. He became the first head coach at a current Pac-10 institution to start 7-0 in his inaugural campaign at the school since Stanford's Robert W. Burnett was 9-0 in 1951-52. Bennett's accomplishment is tied for the third best start in a debut season at Pac-10 school in the post-World War II era.

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