Final NCAA stats: Cougs national champs of D

SOME INTERESTING comparisons can be made between the final statistics of the Washington State and Portland State basketball teams, but one thing is clear: New Cougar coach Ken Bone's plan to open up the offense will likely prevent WSU from matching this year's mind-numbing defensive numbers.

The Cougars were officially crowned the national champions in team defense when the NCAA released final Division I statistics Wednesday.

WSU's average yield of 55.4 points per game is the lowest figure in the Pac-10 since Oregon State yielded 55.0 in 1981-82, prior to the arrival of the shot clock and 3-point field goals.

Washington State led the Pac-10 in defense for the sixth consecutive year. That breaks a tie with Oregon State (1984-88) for the longest string of defensive titles since the conference began tracking annual leaders in 1959-60.

Offense, though, was a different story. The Cougars ranked 314th out of 330 teams in scoring at 59.2. Portland State, under the guidance of Bone, ranked 80th in scoring at 73.2 and 188th in defense at 68.5.

WSU wound up 188th in field-goal shooting percentage on offense (43.4) and 10th on defense (38.7). Portland State came in 86th (45.3) and 271st (45.4), respectively.

WSU ranked in the top 14 in five of the 18 major team statistics compiled by the NCAA. Portland State, playing in the weaker league (Big Sky) than the Cougars, ranked in the top 59 in five stats.

The Vikings cracked the top 32 in one statistic, but it's a telling one in regard to the type of offense Bone likes to operate. Only three teams nailed more 3-pointers than PSU (9.6 per game). The Cougars ranked 236th at 5.5.

Portland State also shot the 3 more accurately than WSU (38.0vs. 34.5 percent) and defended against the 3 better (34.6 to 36.2 percent). The Cougars had a decided edge in turnovers (14th, 11.4) over the Vikings (164th, 13.7). On the other hand, Portland State was 85th in steals (7.4), and WSU came in dead last (3.8).

The teams were similar in assist-turnover ratio, with the Vikings ranked 59th at 1.11 and the Cougars 71st at 1.09. WSU was 77th in rebound margin at 2.9; Portland State finished 166th at 0.5.

WSU ranked seventh in free-throw shooting percentage (76.9) and personal fouls (15.0); the Vikings checked in at 205th (67.9) and 54th (16.8), respectively.Both teams lacked a dominant scorer. Senior point guard Taylor Rochestie led WSU with 13.2 points per game. Jeremiah Dominguez, also a senior point guard, topped PSU at 12.9.

Rochestie and Dominguez were the only Cougars or Vikings who ranked high nationally in individual statistics. Rochestie finished eighth in free-throw shooting at 89.1 percent. Dominguez wound up 12th in 3-point shooting at 43.6 percent.

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