NIT Semifinal matchup: Tonight at 9:29 pm, Washington State takes on Texas A&M

March 27, 2022

vs (1) Texas A&M (26-12) | Tue., March 29 | 9:30 pmET | Madison Square Garden
  Watch | ESPN2 (John Schriffen & Fran Fraschilla)
  Listen | WSU Learfield Radio Network (Matt Chazanow & Craig Ehlo)

OPENING FIVE 
> For the second time in program history the Cougs head to the NIT Semifinals where they will face off against Texas A&M at Madison Square Garden – the game marks just the thrid all-time meeting between the two programs.
> The Cougs head to NYC road warriors having won two of three in the NIT away from home – the two road wins are the most in a single NIT for WSU – WSU snapped SMU’s 19-game home winning streak in round two and drilled BYU in Provo where BYU was 13-2 on the year.
Michael Flowers became the program’s single-season three-point king with 100 makes on the year passing Klay Thompson’s 2011 record of 98. He has been on a tear in the NIT averaging 19.3 ppg on 45.2% shooting – he scored 27 points at BYU in the quarterfinals, the second best NIT scoring performance in program history.
> Defensively the Cougs have allowed 64.7 points per game and are 23rd in the country in defensive rating at 93.0 per 100 possessions. (DI average of 102.9). Efe Abogidi leads the way with a defensive rating of 90.0.
> In the NIT the defense has been rock solid allowing just 57 ppg to three high-flying offenses. The pressure has been felt on the perimeter where the Cougs have allowed the three sharp-shooting opponents to shoot just 15.9% (10-of-63).

WSU IN THE NIT
The Cougs enter the semifinal round of the NIT for the second time in six tournament appearances and for the first time since 2011. All time at the NIT the Cougs are 10-5 including going 3-1 in 2011 as the WSU, led by Klay Thompson, played its way to the semifinals, defeating Long Beach State, Oklahoma State, and Northwestern before falling to Wichita State. 
The Cougs opened the 2022 tournament with an impressive 63-50 win over Santa Clara at home at Beasley Coliseum. In round two the Cougs took down 1-seed SMU, 75-63, in Dallas, handing the Mustangs their first loss at home in 2021-22. The win was just the second on the road in the NIT for the Cougs and the first since 1995. In Provo, the Cougs blasted BYU, 77-58, to earn their trip to NYC.
On the road WSU is 3-4 in the NIT. The two wins this season on the road are the most for the Cougs in a single tournament.
In back-to-back games Michael Flowers has been the dominant force going for 20+ on the road at SMU and BYU including scoring 27 points in the quarterfinal game, the second most in a postseason game for WSU.

VERSUS TEXAS A&M
For just the third time in program history and the first time since 2012 the Cougs and the Aggies will face off on the hardwood. The two have each taken one matchup with the Aggies taking the 2012 game in Kansas City, 55-54. This season, the two have three common opponents as Texas A&M defeated Oregon State in the regular season while taking down Alcorn State and Oregon in the NIT. The Cougs defeated all three of the same opponents (splitting the season series with the Ducks).
The Aggies are on the road for the first time in the NIT after hosting the opening three rounds en route to New York.

THE KYLE SMITH EFFECT – FAST FACTS ABOUT THE 2021-22 COUGS
– First 20-win season since 2011 (8th 20-win season since the Pac formed in 1968-69)
– 22 wins ties for the most since 2010-11
– Back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2010-11 and 2011-12
– First winning season in Pac-12 play (11-9) since 2007-08 (13th time since the Pac formed)
– First top-5 finish in Pac-12 play since 2007-08 
– First postseason berth since 2011
– First postseason ROAD victory since 1995 (defeated SMU in Dallas in the NIT 2nd Round)
– Second trip to the NIT Semifinals – first with two road wins in the opening three rounds (most road wins in a single NIT for WSU)
– Largest win in program history over Idaho defeating their Palouse rival 109-61, Nov. 18, 2021 (third largest margin of victory in program history all-time)
– First win in Salt Lake City over Utah, 77-61 (Jan. 8, 2022) since 1946
– First sweep of the season series against the Utes all-time
– First Cougar team to beat Utah and Colorado in a home weekend sweep (Jan. 2022)
– First win at Stanford (66-60, Feb. 3, 2022) since 2011
– First sweep the Bay Area Schools on the road (Feb. 2022) since the 1993 season
– First Pac-12 team since 2014-15 to hold multiple conference opponents under 45 points in the same season (29 at ASU, 43 vs Colorado)
– Have allowed less than 60 points or less 12 times on the year and are 10-2 in those games.
– 324 made three-pointers the second most all-time – 960 attempts the most all-time
– program record 164 team blocks
– 233 steals, fifth most all-time and the most since 2010-11
– program record 1334 rebounds
– 2588 points, 2nd most all-time and most points scored since 1992-93 (2688 points)

FLOWERS THE NEW 3-PT KING
Coming in as one of the best shooters in the country, Michael Flowers earned legendary status as the 5th year sniper passed all-time great Klay Thompson for WSU’s single-season three-point record becoming the first Coug in program history to record 100 three-pointers in a single season. 
He posted the Cougs’ first 30-point game of the year at Washington while tying a career high with 7 made three-pointers.
He is 1st in the Pac in 3pt shooting at 2.8 per game on 37.6% shooting. He has a True Shooting% of 56.9%.
Flowers has made a 3 in 35 of 36 games as a Coug.
He has posted an offensive rating of 117.3.
Of eligible FT shooters Flowers is 2nd in the Pac-12 at 86.1% (87-101) – 7th best all-time in WSU history.
In the NIT he is averaging 19.3 ppg on 45.2% shooting – he scored 27 points at BYU in the quarterfinals, the second best NIT scoring performance in program history.
CAREER- Flowers has scored 2,229 points including hitting 333 three-pointers (both would be WSU records). He currently ranks 7th among all active DI players in scoring.

~ Complete Release ~ (PDF)

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