WSU hoops notebook: On track for 12K at Key

THE COUGAR BASKETBALL team's third annual Hardwood Classic – this Thursday against The Citadel at Key Arena – will smash previous attendance marks for the yearly Seattle game. Organizers report that more than 8,000 tickets have been sold, and they expect to sell another 3,000 to 4,000 between now and game time.

That projected final tally of 11,000 to 12,000 would roughly double last year's Hardwood Classic attendance.


Key Arena holds 17,000.

"We're talking about one of the best teams in the country and maybe the finest in the history of Washington State University," says long-time Cougar watcher Rich Howard. "Any Coug fan within 75 miles of Key Arena really should get to that game. There are plenty of great seats available."

For more information on the game, visit www.cougarsinseattle.com. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 206-628-0888.

THE MARKETING FOLKS at WSU deserve a hearty hi-ho for their blast e-mail last week listing the "Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Hardwood Classic."

A quick survey of the CF.C braintrust (we use that word loosely) voted these four reasons the most compelling:

8. Maybe Taylor Rochestie will give you his scholarship.
4. Ladies, Tony Bennett will be there.
3. Gentlemen, Tony Bennett will be there.
1. First chance this year to see NBA-quality basketball in Key Arena.

PRIOR TO TIPOFF, THE WSU Alumni Association will be putting on a pre-game BBQ right next door in the Seattle Center's Northwest Rooms. The event starts at 5 pm and will feature the WSU cheer squad, Butch and the Alumni Band. In addition, The Bookie will be on hand to fill your holiday shopping needs.

Food choices, which range in price from $6 to $9, include gourmet hamburger, jumbo hot dog, Southwest Chicken Slider and garden wrap. Admission is free to Alumni Association, Athletic Foundation and Gray W Club members, as well as all kids 12 and under. For non-members, spouses and guests, there's a $5 entry fee.

For more information on the event, and to register for it, click to http://alumni.wsu.edu/site/c.llKYL9MQIsG/b.3640251/

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING ....
Just as dramatic as Kyle Weaver's improvement this season from three-point range is Daven Harmeling's move in the opposite direction. He was the Cougars' best three-point shooter last season, canning 43 percent of his long-range shots. But he's off to an ice-cold start in 2007-08, hitting just 4-of-24 trey attempts, a 16.7 percent accuracy rate.

Weaver is the Cougs' most accurate three-point shooter so far, connecting on 5-of-12 for 41.7 percent. Derrick Low gets the Mr. Consistency Award. He's hit 21 of his 53 three attempts for a 39.6 accuracy rate -- almost exactly the percentage he made last season.

NOTABLE:
* After The Citadel contest, WSU will have two more non-conference games -- at Idaho State Dec. 23 and at home vs. North Carolina A&T Dec. 28 -- before opening the Pac-10 season at Washington on Jan. 5.

* The 9-0 Cougars are ranked No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and No. 7 in the AP poll.

* The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, South Carolina, plays in the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs are 3-5 this season. While the vast majority of the school's most notable alums found their fame in the military, one is best known for his work in the football broadcast booth: pithy ESPN color man Paul Maguire. Bill Doba was a Citadel assistant coach before coming to WSU in 1989.


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