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WSU hopes to sap UA’s power


COUGARS

Woke up this morning to a loud buzz, and it wasn’t the alarm clock. It was the microwave resetting itself after a power outage. Since then there have been three more, as my part of Pullman tries to deal with the heavy snow that fell overnight. Yep. Snow. Big flakes. Just in time for the guys from Arizona to catch it. Though, seeing that the high is expected to be 36 today, it probably will all be gone by the time the Wildcats start moving around. But the links I found will still be here. Read on.

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• With Saturday the final home game of the season, we’ll look a little deeper into the accomplishments of the senior class before that one. But for today’s feature we decided to profile Daven Harmeling, the only fifth-year senior – OK, I know Taylor Rochestie is a fifth-year senior as well, but he spent some of that time south of the Mason-Dixon line, so that disqualifies him from the designation here – on the WSU squad (you can read a longer version of the story here). We also had some information on the games this weekend …

•••

WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS

RECORD: 6-9 Pac-10, 14-13 overall

COMING UP: Tonight vs. Arizona, 6 p.m., FSN; Saturday vs. Arizona State, 2 p.m., FSN

OUTLOOK: Revenge might be the operative word for this week. The Cougars will seek it tonight against a UA team that forced 13 turnovers, turned them into 17 points and won 66-56 in Tucson. The Wildcats’ Chase Budinger had 17 of his 19 points in the second half as Arizona rallied from a seven-point defecit with a 16-0 run. Saturday, ASU will be out to avenge the Cougars’ 65-55 upset in Phoenix behind Klay Thompson’s career-high 28 points on 8 of 10 3-point shooting. Saturday will also be senior day, as WSU says goodbye to five: Daven Harmeling, Aron Baynes, Taylor Rochestie, Caleb Forrest and walk-on Ryan Bailey.

NOTES: The Cougars are 4-4 on the road in the Pac-10, but just 2-5 at home. Washington State coach Tony Bennett can’t put a finger on the reason, but he knows this week is another chance to turn the corner. “We’ve played well at home, in stretches, we just haven’t been able to finish,” Bennett said. “It seems on the road we’ve had a few more times when (our three leading scorers) have all been on track.” Of the Cougars five Pac-10 home losses, three have been by two points and one by seven. Only against the Huskies, a 68-48 UW win, has the game been decided before the final minutes. … In its last four games, Arizona is shooting 50.6 percent from beyond the arc, raising its season percentage to 40 percent. The Cougars are ninth in the Pac-10 in 3-point field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot 36.2 percent against them.

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• OK, back to the links. Freelancer Howie Stalwick throws out four letters – NCAA – in his advance but it seems like it would be pretty big accomplishment for WSU to make a four- or three-game run through the Pac-10 tournament considering the Cougars’ depth. … Bud Withers looks at the four seniors who have played a lot for the Cougars. … Oops, we just lost power again. Thank goodness for batteries and cell modems. … Back to the links. Josh Fogg has been playing well for UA (WSU’s Tony Bennett likes his game) and that’s helped the Wildcats in their stretch of seven wins in eight games. … Arizona wants the pace to be as fast as possible tonight. It might be faster than they think. … Part of that is UA’s trap. If the Cougars break it, they should look to score. Remember what Bennett said last week about finding the sweet spot in the offense? That had a lot to do with being aggressive and earning a good look. … The Oregonian has its usual Pac-10 roundup. … And, as our bonus link, here is an interview with former Coug Josh Akognon. Remember, if he hadn’t transferred, he would have been out the door last year (and Rochestie might never have been here). Funny comment when he was asked what area of the game he needed to improve: defense. Think staying in Pullman would have helped with that?

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• That’s it for this morning. If our power ever comes back, we’ll be back with more. Actually, you know we will, with our usual pregame post this evening. Until then …


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