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Basketball Set to Tip-Off Season Wednesday

Nov 23, 2020

2020 21 WSU MBB Notes 01 TSU

vs Texas Southern (0-0) | Wed., Nov. 25 | 8 p.m.
  Live Stats | Sidearm Stats
  Watch | Pac-12 Network (Greg Heister & Dan Dickau)
  Listen | WSU IMG Radio Network (Matt Chazanow & Craig Ehlo)

> WSU enters the new year looking to build upon 2019-20 in which the team went 16-16 overall and finished with a resounding, 82-68, win in the Pac-12 Tournament over Colorado.
> The Cougars take on a Texas Southern squad in the opener, a team picked to win its conference. WSU is 97-22 all-time in season openers and 58-8 when opening the season at home. WSU has won every season opener when opening at Beasley Coliseum and its last 24 season openers at home.
> The Cougars return eight players (seven with playing experience) from 2019-20 and add 7 newcomers (one to miss the season due to injury).
> Taking over the reins of the offense is Preseason All-Pac-12 honoree Isaac Bonton who finished last season averaging 15.3 ppg, 11th best in the conference.
> One of the youngest teams in the country, the Cougs have just four upperclassmen (2 seniors, 2 juniors). In addition, the Cougs are one of the most diverse teams in the country with players from 11 different states or countries.

The Cougs tip-off the 2020-21 season against Texas Southern, the fourth time WSU will take on Tigers for the first time in program history having won all three meetings the last coming in 2017 in overtime. Texas Southern enters the year the favorites to win the SWAC after finishing last season 12-6 in conference play and16-16 overall. The Tigers had a trio of student-athletes earn preseason honors as Yahuza Rasas and Justin Hopkins were named to the first team while Chris Baldwin received second team honors.

The Cougars are 97-22 all-time in season openers and 58-8 when opening the season at home. WSU has won every season opener when opening at Beasley Coliseum and its last 24 season openers at home.
Its last home loss in the first game of the season came Dec. 1, 1972 against Houston, the final year the Cougars played in Bohler Gym. The Cougars have won 30-consecutive Beasley Coliseum openers (not necessarily the first game of the season, but the first at home), with their last loss coming to BYU, Dec. 3, 1987. 
Last season, the Cougs defeated Seattle, 85-54, to open the 2019-20 campaign. The 31-point margin of victory marked the largest win margin by a Cougar coach in his debut during the modern era. Only Jack Friel surpassed that with a 44-point victory (62-18) over Lewiston State in 1928.

The senior gunner took home second team honors after finishing last year 11th in scoring in the Pac-12 at 15.3 points per game despite missing four games in the heart of the season due to injury. His 15.3 points per game ranks fifth among returning players this season in the conference. In addition to his scoring Bonton lead the Cougs in assists at 4.0 per game, ranking ninth in the conference. Playing on the biggest stage in front of the legend Klay Thompson, Bonton dropped a team season-best 34 points while adding eight rebounds and eight assists becoming the first Pac-12 player to go 30-8-8 since 1997 when STATS began its database. Bonton did his damage from all around the court but was nails from the line in Pac-12 play setting a program record for free throw excellence at 88.6% (62-70) breaking David Sanders' 1988 record of 88.3% (53-60).

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