Cougars aim for rebound in Tempe

NEWS ACCOUNTS OUT OF Tucson following Arizona's walloping of No. 6 WSU Thursday focused largely on the Wildcats' long-range shooting. But defense, typically a Cougar advantage, went decidely in the UA column as well. So as the Cougs prep for Saturday's regionally televised match-up with No. 24 Arizona State, Tony Bennett will be looking for more than a win. The Cougs also want their identity back.

Tip off is at 4 p.m. Pacific time. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Northwest and Fox Arizona.

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The Devils also are coming off a loss, falling Thursday, 72-61, to Washington.

WSU (16-2, 4-2) sports the nation's top defense, allowing 53.8 points per game heading into this week's games. The Cougars fell out of a tie for first place in the Pac-10 with their 76-64 loss at Arizona.

In that game, senior guard Derrick Low snapped his streak of seven-consecutive double-figure scoring performances but still leads the team with 13.8 points per outing.

Center Aron Baynes, who had six boards in Tucson, leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per contest and is second in scoring with 12.2 points per game.

Kyle Weaver and Taylor Rochestie have combined for 170 of WSU's 262 assists (Weaver 4.2 per game; Rochestie 5.2) and are adding 11.4 and 8.8 points per game, respectively.

Arizona State (14-4, 4-2), ranked 24th in the AP Poll this week, lost its second-consecutive game and fell out of a tie for the conference lead with WSU and UCLA with the loss at home to Washington. The Sun Devils have gone into overtime in two of their last four games, including wins at California (99-90) and against Arizona (64-59).

Ranked fourth in the league in scoring, freshmen James Harden leads the team with 18.5 points per game, while adding 5.3 boards. Jeff Pendergraph leads the team in rebounds with 6.8 per game, while chipping in 13.8 points per contest. Ty Abbott, the only other Sun Devil to start all 18 games, joins the group in double-figure scoring with 11.1 points per game.

NOTABLE NOTES:

• The Village Pub in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle will serving up its finest for the Cougar faithful who head over to watch the ASU game at this friendly grill.

• ASU leads the all-time series 32-29 and 20-11 at Tempe. The Cougars swept the series last season and have won four of the last five meetings. Last season WSU won handily at Pullman, 75-55, but squeaked by with a 48-47 victory at Tempe.

• With two steals at Arizona, Weaver moved into a tie with Isaac Fontaine for fourth place in the WSU career steals record books with 161.

• In his first start this season and first since Feb. 24, 2007, Daven Harmeling scored eight of WSU's first 12 points (3-for-3 from field in first five minutes) at Arizona.

• The last double-figure loss WSU suffered came against Utah Dec. 2, 2006 by a score of 69-55…the Cougars had lost eight times between double-digit losses.

• Senior Robbie Cowgill didn't get the start for the Cougars Thursday for the first time since his freshman season. Cowgill had started in 82-consecutive games, good for fourth-best in WSU history since games started were recorded in 1982-83. The WSU record-holder for consecutive starts is Mark Hendrickson, with 108. Fontaine is next at 90, followed by Keith Morrison at 86.

• Low breached the 1,000-point career scoring milestone a week ago against Oregon State and now Weaver is closing in on that mark. With 15 points at Arizona, he has 942 for his career. If Weaver can join Low with 1,000 career points, they would become the first WSU teammates to reach the milestone together since Terry Kelly and Don Collins accomplished the feat in 1980. Fellow senior Robbie Cowgill has 804 career points, 196 shy of 1,000. If Cowgill were to also reach 1,000, it would mark the first time three teammates reached 1,000 career points in the same season.


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