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Stanford awaits WSU tonight

Gonzaga Prep’s Travis Long, a Washington State recruit, signs his letter of intent with his mother Kathleen Cronquist by his side.  (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Prep’s Travis Long, a Washington State recruit, signs his letter of intent with his mother Kathleen Cronquist by his side. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
COUGARS

Another important weekend in Pac-10 basketball. Is there any other kind? And, lest we forget, some news on the football recruiting front. Yesterday was important for some reason. Read on.
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• We'll start in Spokane, even though we are in Palo Alto. And we'll start with the football news, even though tonight is a key Pac-10 game for the Cougars, being as Maples Pavilion is the only place on the road they'll play this second half where they home team will want to avenge a first-round defeat. In the recruiting news, it seems like WSU had a pretty good day, though how good won't be known for a couple years. You can read our story and those from Bud Withers of the Times, Ryan Divish of the News Tribune and freelancer Howie Stalwick's in the P-I if you want more. Plus, we found this story on WSU recruit Justin Clayton. ... If you are interested in the rest of the Pac-10, ESPN.com's Ted Miller has his summaries. And we've got a link to a story on every school: Washington, Oregon State, Oregon, Stanford, Cal, UCLA, USC, Arizona State and Arizona.

• There's that. Now back to basketball. We had our weekend preview in today's paper, along with some notes, which are after this paragraph. You can read the Stanford side of things in this story as well catch up on Wednesday's lone Pac-10 game, UCLA's battering of USC. Now, our notes ...

• Since Cal's Patrick Christopher led the Bears sweep of the Washington schools early in conference play with 49 points (and winning his second consecutive player of the week award), the junior guard has disappeared.

In the five games since, Christopher has scored a total of 47 points, including just 10 in last weekend's losses at UCLA and USC.

"He's not going to have a lot of space," Cal coach Mike Montgomery explained this week. "He's going to have to be ready to shoot it when he catches it and he's going to have to be better at putting it down and going by people."

• WSU coach Tony Bennett still isn't sure who will step up to help his big three of Aron Baynes, Taylor Rochestie and freshman Klay Thompson. But he knows he needs somebody.

Against Stanford tonight Bennett will probably return two seniors to the starting lineup – Caleb Forrest and Daven Harmeling – and hope one can add an offensive punch.

Forrest's best game of the year, and his career, came against UCLA when he had 19 points on 8 of 9 shooting. But he followed that up with a 1-of-11 night against USC. Harmeling, who has been in a shooting slump, started against Arizona and hit three 3-pointers, though he was 3 of 11 from the floor.

•••

• That's it for this morning. We'll be back this evening with our pregame post and then our usual game coverage. Till then …




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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