SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -After getting its highest ranking, Washington State is going for its best start in 15 years.
T on Friday night.
The best start in team history was 17-0 in 1914-15.
Voters in The Associated Press poll gave the Cougars a nice gift on Christmas Eve, jumping them three spots. The previous record of No. 6 was set earlier this month.
The Cougars are enjoying their first spell in team history as the highest-ranked team in the Pacific-10. That happened a couple of weeks ago when they were ranked No. 7, one spot above UCLA.
T (5-7) is the final nonconference opponent for the Cougars. It is the first time the teams have played.
The Aggies are in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and have lost this season to Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Missouri and Miami. The Aggies' high-scoring offense (76.9 points per game) is led by Steven Rush with 16.5 ppg. Jason Wills leads the team with 7.8 rebounds, while adding 11.3 ppg.
The game wraps up a lackluster nonleague schedule that saw the Cougars dominate overmatched area rivals like Eastern Washington, Idaho, Portland State and Idaho State. The 75-45 win at Idaho State last weekend was the fifth of the season by at least 20 points for the Cougars.
Still, the Cougars have only played three games in Pullman, and they open the Pac-10 season with three straight road games, at Washington, No. 24 Southern Cal and No. 5 UCLA.
The Cougars lead the nation in defense, allowing only 51.7 points per game.
The team got some good news this week when it was learned that the right thumb of junior Daven Harmeling will not require surgery. Harmeling fractured his thumb in practice last Friday. He remains out, and the thumb will be X-rayed in two weeks. Harmeling averages 6.4 points.
All five Cougars starters are averaging at least nine points per game, led by Derrick Low with 12.5. Kyle Weaver follows with 11.8, Aron Baynes is averaging 11.4 and leads the team with 6.5 rebounds, Taylor Rochestie has 9.8 ppg, and Robbie Cowgill 9.4.
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