From Pullman — The Washington State men's basketball team is hitting the road a little early, leaving Pullman today and heading to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament. Their opponent will be Stanford. We touch on that and have some highlights in a blog post today … Bud Withers put out his Pac-12 All-Conference team … As did Percy Allen … Chris Foster says UCLA hasn't improved since sacking Ben Howland, but that's no reason to think they won't.
In the end, the Western Athletic Conference's nine coaches went with the best player on the one of the league's two best teams instead of the league's leading scorer. New Mexico State's Daniel Mullings was named WAC Player of the Year on Sunday afternoon, beating out Idaho's Stephen Madison.
Madison led the WAC in scoring, averaging 19.9 points per game in his senior campaign for the 14-17 Vandals. He was a first-team All-WAC selection along with Mullings, Utah Valley's Holton Hunsaker and Ben Aird and Grand Canyon University's Killian Larson. No other Idaho players were honored in the postseason awards.
Utah Valley won the league, just ahead of NMSU. Idaho, which finished tied for fifth, will square off Thursday with University of Missouri-Kansas City — the team they beat 87-80 on Sat — in the first round of the WAC tournament. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
Last year, Idaho's Kyle Barone nabbed the WAC's Player of the Year award despite the Vandals going 12-17 in the regular season.
Video courtesy of WSU Athletics
From Pullman — Washington State's win over UCLA last night was more than just an uplifting couple hours at the end of a dreary season. The game leapfrogged WSU over USC in the standings, keeping WSU out of last place in the conference. That means that 11th-seeded WSU will take on sixth-seed Stanford on Wednesday in Las Vegas' MGM Grand in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. The game is slated for 8:36 p.m., an oddly specific time considering that it almost assuredly won't start until after 9.
The Cougars will need to pull off another upset to advance. Stanford went 2-0 against WSU this season and the Cougars have never beaten the Cardinal in postseason play. In 2008 the Cougars lost to Stanford 75-68 before both teams would advance to the NCAA Tournament's “Sweet 16.”
The winner will have a date with No. 3 seed Arizona State.
Back with a day-after post from Gonzaga's 77-75 survive-and-advance special over No. 9 Santa Clara.
David Stockton hit the game-winner, a mad dash down the lane finished off by a right-handed layup from the left side of the rim. Sam Dower Jr. provided the foundation for the victory with 23 points, including a 15-of-15 night at the free-throw line.
Here's my game story and John Blanchette's column. Here's a game story from the San Francisco Chronicle and another on Saint Mary's win over Pepperdine. GU takes on the Gaels on Monday in the semifinals.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Do you know what time it is? Yep, an hour earlier than it should be. But the clock didn't strike midnight for a couple of local basketball teams. And it did for others. Of course. Read on.
From Pullman — The Washington State seniors went out in style last night, upending UCLA in the regular season finale. We've also got video and quotes from the win. However, the laws of the universe required that the WSU women fall in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals to balance out the men's good fortune.
The day's biggest upset however was Oregon's win over No. 3 Arizona, which likely assures Oregon of an NCAA tournament berth … Stanford scraped out a much-needed win over Utah … Arizona State, California and Washington also came away with narrow victories.
The Idaho basketball team entered the week with three road wins all year. In the span of three days, it pocketed two victories away from Moscow — and the latest was arguably the Vandals' most impressive road victory of the season.
Idaho thundered back from a late 10-point deficit to dispatch the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 87-80, in Kansas City. Senior Stephen Madison poured in 26 points and Connor Hill had 24 for the rejuvenated Vandals (14-17, 7-9), who finished the regular season by snatching their fourth win in five games.
“We’re playing our best basketball,” sixth-year coach Don Verlin said. “If this team will make a bigger commitment to defense and rebounding, we’ll have a chance to win the WAC tournament.”
The fifth-seeded Vandals will play fourth-seeded UMKC again in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Las Vegas. Idaho is still searching for its first WAC tourney win with Verlin at the helm. Its only victory at the WAC tournament came in a play-in game in 2007.
Click below for more.
Follow the jump for transcriptions.
Follow the jump for a transcription of coach Ken Bone following WSU's win over UCLA.
David Stockton's twisting layup with 1.4 seconds left lifted Gonzaga past Santa Clara 77-75 at the WCC Tournament on Saturday. The victory sends GU (26-6) into a semifinal matchup Monday at 6 against No. 4 Saint Mary's, which defeated No. 5 Pepperdine late Saturday night.
The Bulldogs trailed most of the game before catching the Broncos in the final 5 minutes. Sam Dower Jr. made 15 of 15 free throws and scored 23 points. Przemek Karnowski added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Santa Clara's Jared Brownridge put on a shooting clinic in the first half, using his quick-trigger release to score 18 of his 24 points. His jumper tied it at 75 before Stockton's game-winner.
My unedited game story is below.
S-R photojournalists Dan Pelle and Tyler Tjomsland covered the State B championship games. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Gonzaga's top-seeded women withstood a spirited effort from No. 8 San Francisco, posting a 81-68 victory that moves the Bulldogs into Monday's semifinals against No. 4 Saint Mary's, which rallied from 17 down to edge No. 5 San Diego.
Four men's games today at Orleans Arena, beginning with No. 6 San Diego vs.. No. 3 San Francisco (upset alert) at noon. Gonzaga takes on Santa Clara at 6 — updates on twitter @SRjimm.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
When we woke up this morning, there was just a hint of the sunrise to come. Just enough light in the house that the phone/flashlight was not needed. But it will be tomorrow. Yep, we spring ahead in the wee hours of the morning (miss you Frank) as Daylight Savings Time kicks in. And you know what? It's too darn soon for that. Heck, this weekend is so crowded, we need all the hours we can get. We can't lose one. Read on.
From Pullman — Washington State knocked off No. 20 California last night to return to the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament semifinals for the second time in three years. Thomas Clouse watched watched Lia Galdeira scored 28 points to lead the Cougars in their 91-83 win and has a game story from Seattle. The baseball team also won on Friday, taking a series opener from Texas State. Suiting up as Cougars for the final time in Pullman will be D.J. Shelton and Will DiIorio. A football player whose time at WSU has passed is getting ready for the NFL draft. Yesterday the State Senate passed a resolution honoring WSU's 1915 Rose Bowl team.
ESPN's Pac-12 blog takes a look at each team's safety depth … Washington's Spring practices may not be pretty … The Huskies are also getting ready to say goodbye to their seniors … The Ducks have one more chance to show they're legit, against No. 3 Arizona … Utah looks to cap an impressive late-season run against Stanford … The Beavers hope everything comes together against Arizona State … Cal and Colorado will have a lot of chips on the table in today's game.
S-R photojournalists Colin Mulvany and Tyler Tjomsland covered the State B semifinals at the Arena. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Pullman — The Washington State Senate has been a tumultuous place the last few years. Senators have crossed party lines in recent years to pass the biennial budget causing consternation and the formation of a new caucus. But the senate came together on Friday to unanimously pass SR 8715, a resolution honoring William “Lone Star” Dietz's 1915 Washington State football team that won the 1916 Rose Bowl over Brown University to finish the season 7-0.
The bipartisan resolution was sponsored by Sen. Michael Baumgartner with Sen. Joe Fain, Sen. Mark Schoesler, Sen. Linda Parlette, Sen. Sharon Brown, Sen. Andy Billig, Sen. Doug Ericksen, Sen. Janea Holmquist-Newbry, Sen. Brian Hatfield and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles signing on as co-sponsors.
The full text of the resolution can be found here.
After last night's 79-76 win over Chicago State, Idaho is still in play for the No. 4 seed in next week's WAC tournament. But it could also drop down as low as the seventh seed depending on what happens tomorrow. The full scenarios are below. The Vandals (13-17, 6-9) close the regular season at Missouri-Kansas City. Tipoff is 7:35 p.m. PST.
Possible seeds for Idaho:
4 If Idaho beats UMKC and Seattle U beats Chicago State
5 If Idaho beats UMKC and Chicago State beats Seattle U OR
If Idaho loses to UMKC, Chicago State beats Seattle U and UTPA beats Grand Canyon OR
If Idaho loses to UMKC, Utah Valley beats Bakersfield, Chicago State beats Seattle U and Grand Canyon beats UTPA
6 If Idaho loses to UMKC, Utah Valley beats Bakersfield and Seattle U beats Chicago State OR
If Idaho loses to UMKC, Bakersfield beats Utah Valley, Chicago State beats Seattle U and Grand Canyon beats UTPA
7 If Idaho loses to UMKC, Bakersfield beats Utah Valley and Seattle U beats Chicago State
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some mornings you just feel like whining a bit. But what good would that do? The day is still going to happen. And you are going to be a part of it. It's better than the alternative, right? Read on.
From Pullman — For awhile it seemed that the USC game could very well be Washington State's last win of the season. Then last night they lost it thanks to a brutal second half. Here's our game story from the loss. Before the game former WSU safety Deone Bucannon met with the media to talk about his preparations for the upcoming NFL draft. We've got video of the All-American, as well as post game videos of a couple players and coach Ken Bone. We also had a blog post on former WSU RB/DB Clarence Williams who is on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
On the women's side the Cougars hit the century mark, again, in a win over Oregon to start of Pac-12 tournament play.
In the day's other game Washington fell to UCLA at home.