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Archive for January 2009

Second place in WAC eludes Vandals

It was right there for the taking for the Idaho men, but Nevada and Luke Babbitt “outtoughed” the Vandals down the stretch to pull out a 69-65 win at the Cowan Spectrum on Saturday night.

Keep reading for my game story, which will appear in the S-R tomorrow.

Bulldogs shut down San Diego, 64-47

After some technical difficulties, I’m back with the game story from GU’s 64-47 win over San Diego. Check back Sunday morning for a day-after post.

Read on.

Zags unbeaten at WCC midpoint

Austin Daye had 17 points, Josh Heytvelt 13 and Jeremy Pargo 10 as Gonzaga defeated San Diego 64-47 on Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The Zags (16-4, 7-0 WCC) won their eighth straight and reached the halfway point of the conference season unbeaten. San Diego (12-10, 4-3) lost its third straight. Danny Brown (11 points) was the lone Torero to reach double figures. 

Back with the game story in about 90 minutes.

 

Cougars wilt in desert


COUGARS

There is no louder facility in the Pac-10 than McKale Center. And it was as loud as its been in a while midway through the second half today. We offer you the raw version of our game story and some web-only notes. Read on.

UA blitzes WSU in second half, 66-56


COUGARS

When Tony Bennett put together his non-conference schedule with games on the road at LSU and against Pitt, it was for Pac-10 games like this. He wanted tough games against tough teams but most importantly, tough venues for his freshmen to get acclimated to. It didn’t help. When McKale Arena started rocking early in the second half Saturday, the freshmen struggled. Klay Thompson had two consecutive turnovers and then yielded of a baseline drive. Marcus Capers took a poor shot. DeAngelo Casto was schooled by Chase Budinger. Through a 16-0 game-deciding Arizona run, Aron Baynes only touched the ball once. Unable to attack the Arizona trap, the Cougars morphed into a turnover machine, with five, including stepping on the sideline twice. All-in-all, the Cougars went more than 10 and a half minutes with just a Taylor Rochestie runner in a 24-2 UA blitz that built a 56-41 lead. Go ahead and comment. We’ll be back in about two hours with the game story. Till then.

Game day for Zags, Toreros

More from ex-Zag assistant Bill Grier and some notes and quotes as Gonzaga and Grier’s San Diego Toreros await a 3 p.m. tip at the MAC. (The picture above is of Mark Few and Grier just before the start of last year’s game in Spokane).

WSU leads 28-23 at the half


COUGARS

It’s halftime and for most of the first 20 minutes, the game has been played at WSU’s pace. In fact, other than the three fouls on Klay Thompson – for the second consecutive game Tony Bennett gambled and put Thompson on the floor with two fouls late in the first half and got burned in 5 seconds this time – this half had to be very much to WSU’s liking. The Cougars have had some troubles with the Wildcat trap (six first half turnovers have been turned into seven UA points) but when they’ve handled that, they’ve shot OK (42 percent). Daven Harmeling has nailed a couple 3-pointers, but he’s missed six, including one at the buzzer that banged in-and-out. Still, WSU has a five-point edge. We’ll be back at the end. Till then.

Early morning in Tucson

COUGARS

We here in McKale Center getting ready for the teams to take the floor. It’s awful early, kinda like a summer tournament with kids. Had a nice chat with Bill Rafferty about Tony Bennett, Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto – plus the Cougars’ postseason chances. Read on for the morning links and our pregame post.

Grier, Toreros take on GU

Bill Grier spent 16 years as a Gonzaga assistant coach and he helped recruit many of the current Gonzaga Bulldogs before moving on to San Diego two years ago. In his first trip back last year, USD fell behind 15-0 en route to losing 80-70 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Grier is back for round two Saturday, but this time he’s not battling his emotions or fielding endless questions about his return to Spokane.

More below in my unedited GU-USD advance.

 

WSU prepares for test in Tucson

COUGARS

It’s sometimes amazing how much a college basketball team can get through in an hour practice on the Friday between games on the road. From fundamentals to shooting to going over offenses to prepping for the opponent, there isn’t much wasted time. Except beforehand when Daven Harmeling reminisced about his first game in McKale as a freshman. Check in, have a guy hit a shot over you, check out. The legacy of Dick Bennett. Read on.

Mills out one month with broken hand

UPDATED: Saint Mary’s guard Patty Mills broke two bones in his right hand in Thursday’s loss to Gonzaga and will be sidelined for about a month. More here and here.

Be still my beating heart

Like Red Foxx on the old Sanford and Son television sitcom, I’m not sure my heart can take much more of the Greater Spokane League drama.

First on Tuesday it was the Shadle Park-Gonzaga Prep basketball game that most in attendance agreed was one of the best high school games in recent memory. Then Wednesday out at Central Valley for the Battle of the Bone it was as thrilling a match as I can recall - rare in that it not only brought in a standing room only audience because of the rivalry, but because it was also for a piece of the league championship for both teams. Noisy as well as dramatic, my ears are still recovering. Thursday’s match at U-Hi against East Valley was another dandy, if not as ear-spliting. Decided by one match, it could have swung either way. The Knights made sure there would be no unbeaten team.

Day after Saint Mary’s

Let’s begin the day-after Saint Mary’s post in-house with John Blanchette’s column, which neatly puts Gonzaga’s 69-62 victory over the Gaels into perspective, and the S-R gamer. Here are additional links from the Contra Costa TimesSeattle Times and A.P.

Here’s a link to S-R photos of the game.

Read on for more.

ASU upset, a day after


COUGARS

Nothing like an upset of No. 14 in the nation to get the comment section lighting up again. The one that read “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” was especially insightful. Just kidding. I understand the letting-off-steam aspect of this interactive media. Anyhow, let’s move on to our usual next day post. Read on.

Recruiting nears end for WSU football

COUGARS

This is the final few days of football recruiting, the final few days of football recruiting in Paul Wulff’s first full class at Washington State, as defined by the first time he had all year to recruit. As the crucial season outside the season winds down, we wanted to stop and take a look at the results thus far for the Cougars. If you’re interested, read on.

Idaho bags big win over BSU

The Vandals overcame a dreadful night at the free throw line (11 of 25) to pick up a 63-59 win over Boise State. It was Idaho’s first win over BSU since 2001, and it came in front of the third-biggest crowd at Cowan Spectrum (4,731).

If Idaho beats Nevada on Saturday, it will be alone in second place in the WAC. Yes, the same Idaho team that was picked to finish at the bottom of the conference. Nevada fell to first-place Utah State on Thursday night.

Read on for my unedited Idaho-BSU game story.

Gonzaga takes over top spot in WCC

Back with the game story from GU’s 69-62 win over Saint Mary’s on Thursday. You can read an unedited version below and I’ll have a day-after post in the morning.

 

Gonzaga rallies to win, Mills hurt

Read on for an unedited game story that I filed for first edition, and check back later for an expanded game story.

 

Thompson, Casto spark WSU

COUGARS

We’re back with the unedited version of our game story, along with some web-only notes. We’ll be back in the morning with our usual day-after post. Read on.

Bobcats too much for Eags

Eastern Washington, after leading by as many as 10 point in the first half, lost at Montana State Thursday night, further damaging their chances at making the Big Sky Conference tournament.

You can read an unedited version fo the game story that will appear in Friday morning’s S-R below. And I’ve also included this link the game story posted on EWU’s website.

 

Zags down six at halftime

Gonzaga got off to a quick start, but Saint Mary’s weathered the storm and the Gaels’ Patty Mills started raining in 3-pointers. The sophomore point guard, who played for Australia in the Olympics, made five 3s – his career high was four – over a 5-minute, 45-second span, the last a pull-up from the right wing to give Saint Mary’s a 29-21 lead.

The Bulldogs got as close as five on Austin Daye’s first basket of the half, but Saint Mary’s answered with the last four points of the half – Diamon Simpson retrieving an errant shot and scoring on a dunk and Carlin Hughes making an off balance, underhand flip shot from 12 feet just before the buzzer.

Mills finished the half with six 3s and 18 points. Simpson scored 10 points and collected seven rebounds, a statistic the Gaels dominated 20-14.

Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin had nine points and four boards. Josh Heytvelt added six points and five rebounds and Steven Gray also had six points. The Bulldogs made just 1 of 7 3-pointers.

WSU upsets ASU 65-55


COUGARS

This is the night Klay Thompson announced his presence. The freshman from Southern California set a school record for freshmen with eight 3-pointers while scoring a career-high 28 points. It was also the night DeAngelo Casto showed he can do just about anything needed on the defensive end of the court. The freshman from Spokane came in with 15 minutes, 46 seconds left to play and guarded James Harden until the end of the game. Harden got his points, but he had to work for every one. The Cougars scored 38 points in the second half, with Thompson supplying the offense early and WSU hitting its free throws late. Well be back in about 90 minutes with the story. Till then …

ASU up 30-27 at the half


COUGARS

Despite an early 9-0 run by the Sun Devils, WSU patiently clawed its way back into this game and trail by three at the half. James Harden had 13 points for the Devils, though that’s unofficial because we don’t have stats up here in the Wells Fargo Arena rafters. Klay Thompson has matched him after playing the final few minutes of the half with two fouls. Aron Baynes is winning the battle inside with Jeff Pendergraph, outscoring ASU’s post 12-7 though both have four rebounds. The Cougars hit 10 of 24 shots, which is much better than their most recent outing. But ASU was better, hitting 11 of 22, including 3 of 8 from beyond the arc. One interesting stat: The Cougars have committed eight fouls, including six against Harden. ASU has three fouls. We’ll be back at the end with your postgame post. Till then …

WSU tries to contain Harden, stop ASU

COUGARS

Contain James Harden (at right above). Make shots from outside. In a nutshell, those are the two most important assignments for Washington State tonight if the Cougars want to upset the 14th-ranked Sun Devils. And, at least at the start, they both may be incumbent on one senior. Read on.

Waiting for EWU-MSU tipoff

Good evening.

Just sitting here waiting to tune in the Eastern Washington-Montana State that tips off in a little less than an hour in Bozeman.  I will cobble together a game story of some kind after it’s over and post it here, so please check back.

In the meantime, for your pre-game reading, I’ve posted this link to the game notes supplied by EWU’s sports information department; this link to those published by MSU’s media relations folks, and this game advance that ran in Thursday morning’s Bozeman Chronicle.

Shock add pair of Idaho Vandals

Spokane has signed two former Idaho Vandal defensive backs — Stanley Franks (No. 6, pictured) and Herbert Cash — and completed a trade with South Georgia. More here.

Also, former Shock receiver Kelvin Dickens has signed with South Georgia.

Idaho preps

Here’s a link to my Thursday column/notebook.

Here’s a link to a feature in the Prairie Voice on Post Falls girls basketball player Aynslee Stuart.

More and more GU-SMC

Game day for the Zags and Gaels and we’ve got more on Tent City, Omar Samhan and notes/quotes below.

WSU hopes to warm up in Tempe


COUGARS

Do you know it is only 15 degrees warmer here in Tempe than it is in Pullman right now? Of course, the high today here will be 73, while Pullman is predicted to top out some 40 degrees lower. The people at the golf tournament – especially on the 16th hole – will care more about the sun than we will, because we’ll be inside the Wells Fargo Arena a lot today. To see what we’ve found concerning tonight’s Pac-10 game between the state schools of Washington and Arizona, read on.

Vandals enter key stretch

It would have been hard to fathom going into the year, but the Idaho basketball squad has a chance to make some serious noise in the WAC. It starts tomorrow night, when the Vandals host Boise State at Cowan Spectrum.

Keep reading for more on the game — as well as my feature on guard/wing Kashif Watson that will appear in Thursday’s S-R.

Bulldogs, Gaels have something to prove

It’s a cut-and-paste post with unedited versions of my GU-Saint Mary’s preview, more on the game on our Four Corners basketball page and a short notebook item on Gaels’ center Omar Samhan.

Read on.

Key weekend faces WSU


COUGARS

We’re in SeaTac waiting for our flight to the Valley of the Eternal Traffic Jam, and thought we would post our advance that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. We also have some extra comments for you. So, for the unedited advance and more, read on.

Idaho preps

The Lewiston girls basketball team will be a difficult team to match up with when the 5A Region I tournament begins a week from Friday.

Click the tab to read more.

Reading material

Still waiting on that return phone call from Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett, so we’ll give you some links of note. With a big game (GU-SMC on Thursday), comes more coverage.

Here’s John Blanchette’s column, the Seattle Times discussing Austin Daye’s future, the San Jose Mercury News putting the Gaels squarely on the NCAA bubble (even with an 18-1 record and No. 22 ranking) and Mercury News columnist Gary Peterson on the talkative Samhan. Also, the Province newspaper in Vancouver, B.C., spoke with Kelly Olynyk, who committed to Gonzaga earlier this week.

With or without Bennett quotes, I’ll post the Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s preview later today.

 

WSU hoping to shine in sun

COUGARS

Washington State will practice this morning, then catch a bus to Spokane for the flight to Phoenix. And when Pullman looked like a snow globe in the hands of a hyperactive 6-year-old yesterday, I’m sure every one of the Cougars were looking forward to getting into the sun, if only for a little while. But this is a business trip for them, and they know it. Practice Tuesday was sharp, productive and focused. Read on for more thoughts and some links.

One whale of a game at Shadle

The near-capacity crowd in Shadle Park’s new gymnasium were treated to a whale of a basketball game between teams now tied for first place among Greater Spokane League boys with 13-2 records. There was good defense - although Bullpups coach Mike Haugen didn’t think it was good as could be - spectacular play and an other-worldly effort by Anthony Brown. He scored 30 points had a bunch of rebounds and several huge plays not the least of them three blocked shots in the final three minutes that proved vital to Shadle’s 65-60 win.

Walla Walla standout commits to Eastern

Walla Walla High School’s Spencer Hessler, a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder senior running back and linebacker, who led the Columbia Basin Big Nine Conference in rushing and scoring last fall, has made an oral commitment to play college football at Eastern Washington University next fall.

 

According to his father, George, Hessler will make his official recruiting visit to EWU this weekend, but he decided to become an Eagle some time back – mainly because of the family’s relationship with Eastern’s head coach Beau Baldwin, who recruited Spencer’s older brother, Chase, to Central Washington University when he was coaching the Wildcats in 2007.

 

The younger Hessler was named a first-team all-CBBN running back after rushing for 1,256 yards and 19 touchdowns on 189 carries last fall. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry and also caught a touchdown pass and scored on four point-after-touchdown conversion to finish the year with 124 points, which was 40 more than the next-highest total of 84, which was shared by three other players.

 

Hessler also led the CBBN with 1,465 all-purpose yards, but will play linebacker at Eastern, according to his father.

 

All things Olynyk

Waiting for return calls from Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett and Gaels center Omar Samhan, so we’ll post more information on Kelly Olynyk, the 6-10 Canadian who committed to Gonzaga.

Read on.

 

Idaho prep hoops

North Idaho 5A and 4A girls basketball teams are in their final week of the regular season.

Click the extended tab below to read more.

Hurd a basketball goodwill ambassador

Remember Louis Hurd? He played two years for Terry Reed at Lewis and Clark and credits him for teaching life and basketball lessons. But Hurd wound up transferring to North Central where he was second-leading scorer for the Indians with a 14.4 scoring average before graduating in 2005 (a year before NC placed fifth in state). He went on to play for another ex-Tigers coach in junior college and is completing his career in college at British Columbia. The Langley Times did a nice piece on him that I’m passing along here.

Some football recruiting talk


COUGARS • UPDATED: 7:50 P.M.

We have some surprises for you this Tuesday. Instead of basketball links, we offer some football recruiting insights from the “experts.” Not sure if they have any validity, but we’re passing them on. And, oh ya, a basketball commentary as well for you to discuss if you want.

Gonzaga notes

Back with a notebook from media day this afternoon, but the first half of it centers on Kelly Olynyk’s verbal commitment to Gonzaga.

Read below for an unedited version of the article that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.

 

Two Vandals haul in WAC awards

After a successful weekend for the Idaho men’s and women’s basketball teams, the programs  brought in weekly awards from the Western Athletic Conference. Brandon Wiley was tabbed as the conference player of the week on the men’s side while Yinka Olorunnife won the same honor on the women’s side.

Olorunnife, the WAC’s top rebounder, matched a Kibbie Dome record Sunday with 19 boards. You can find more about both awards here and here.

 

Shock adds QB, releases receiver

Spokane continued to tinker with its roster, adding quarterback Blake Powers and releasing ex-UW receiver Sonny Shackelford, who was picked up by af2 Mahoning Valley. More here.

GU gets another ‘09 commitment

Kelly Olynyk, a versatile 6-foot-10, 205-pound forward from Canada, has verbally committed to the Gonzaga men’s basketball team, Olynyk’s father, Ken, said Monday.

Olynyk, who plays for South Kamloops Secondary School in Kamloops, B.C., and trains most of the rest of the year at the National Elite Development Academy in Hamilton, Ontario, where his roommate is Mangisto Arop, another member of the GU’s 2009 class. Others are Sam Dower, a 6-9 forward from Osseo, Minn., and Elias Harris, a 6-7 wing from Speyer, Germany.

More below, and check back later for additional information on Olynyk.

Zags, Gaels ranked in both polls

Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s will head into Thursday’s showdown ranked in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today top 25 polls. GU moved up three spots to No. 20 in A.P. The Bulldogs cracked the ESPN/USA Today rankings at No. 25 after being in the others receiving votes category last week.

Saint Mary’s joined the A.P. poll at No. 22. The Gaels improved four spots in the ESPN/USA Today poll to No. 18.

More here.

Northwest Nuggets and Cougs unite

They still have to sign on the dotted line, but when The Tacoma News-Tribune listed its “Northwest Nuggets” football standouts, one telling note is that 8 of 22 players named have committed to WSU, including GSL players Travis Long, Gonzaga Prep, and Chris Mastin, Lewis and Clark. Here’s the list, which includes Lake City tight end Billy Sanders (who transfered from Arizona this year), a UCLA commit.

Cold day in Pullman


COUGARS

A couple of quick links to get you through your Monday. Have a great day and don’t forget to bundle up. According to weather.com, it’s minus-12 in Pullman as I write this. Insert your cold-shooting joke here. And then read on.

Eags waste big first half, lose to PSU

Just thought I would leave a few belated links to stories about Eastern’s lopsided loss to Portland State on Saturday night.

Try this one to see what was reported in Sunday morning’s S-R; check out what Eastern’s sports information department had on the game here, and read the game story that ran in Sunday morning’s Oregonian here.

And while we’re at it, feel free to leave you opinions on EWU’s fast-fading chances of qualifying for the six-team Big Sky Conference Tournament on this post, as well.

 

WSU threw away a golden opportunity

COUGARS

Looking at the Pac-10 standings this morning, you can see why WSU coach Tony Bennett challenged his team before yesterday’s USC game and why he emphasized its importance. Besides Washington and its six wins being on top, which is strange enough, there are three teams with five wins, UCLA, Cal and ASU. Following them is USC, which has four wins after coming from behind to defeat the Cougars. Tied with three victories are WSU, Stanford and, yes, Oregon State. If five Pac-10 teams really have a chance at NCAA play, then the Cougars really shot themselves in the paw the last 6 minutes Saturday. Instead of being in the top half of the conference, they are in a pack of also-rans with just five of their last 12 conference games at home. Of course, with a 1-4 home record, maybe that’s a good thing. Read on for more game coverage.

Vandals take out Aggies

It was another impressive home game for the Idaho Vandals on Saturday night. They beat New Mexico State 67-57 in front a pretty raucous crowd at the Kibbie Dome. Read on for my unedited game story.

Zags crush LMU, set up showdown

Back with a longer game story. 

UPDATED with Few quotes below.

 

Trojans come back to top WSU

COUGARS

As Tony Bennett saw it, Washington State had enough open shots to win – and win big. Maybe, he said, they were too open at times. But he did admit, as he was talking about USC throwing multiple defenses at the Cougars early, the basic Trojan game plan was sound. Clog the middle, take away inside shots for Aron Baynes, shadow Taylor Rochestie and Klay Thompson and make the other Cougars beat them. They couldn’t. On the link you’ll find my unedited game story along with some notes. Read on.

Gonzaga rolls past LMU

Gonzaga took control early, led by 30 barely a minute into the second half and cruised to a 93-60 West Coast Conference victory over Loyola Marymount on Saturday at Gersten Pavilion.

The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs, winners of six straight, improved to 14-4, 5-0 in the WCC. LMU dropped to 1-20, 0-5.

Check back for an expanded game story in about 60 minutes.

WSU falls 46-44 to USC


COUGARS

What would you expect when the two best defensive teams in the Pac-10 get together? A drag-out defensive battle of course. And that’s what it was Saturday at Friel Court, won by USC 46-44. Neither team shot worth a darn, with WSU hitting 14 of 51 from the floor (27 percent) and USC 35 percent. The Cougars led 41-38 on Klay Thompson’s 3-pointer with 3 minutes left, but didn’t score again until Taylor Rochestie’s 3 at the buzzer. In between, USC all but two of their final eight points at the line, including what turned out to be the clinchers by Daniel Hackett after a key rebound call gave the ball to the Trojans. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.

WSU leads by one at half


COUGARS

USC coach Tim Floyd is the master of multiple defenses. So far today the Trojans have played a triangle-and-2 on Klay Thompson and Taylor Rochestie (something WSU worked against in practice), a box-and-1 (ditto), zone and man-to-man. All they’ve done is slow down an already patient WSU offense, but also limiting the Cougars to 25 percent shooting – and they are winning 19-18. On the other end, WSU has played nothing but man – nothing unusual there – and has held USC 37 percent. Thompson leads WSU with six points, while Nikola (that’s a familiar name) Vucevic leads USC with six as well. We’ll be back at the end of the game.

WSU pregame and postseason


COUGARS

Instead of breaking down today’s game, our pregame show – to give it a television feel – will instead break down the Cougars postseason chances. Bet you didn’t see that one coming did ya? We live to surprise here at SportsLink, WSU edition. Read on.

Zags face 1-19 Lions

Game day for Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount at Gersten Pavilion. Here’s a short preview that ran in Saturday’s S-R and here’s a link to the S-R’s Zags photos, which includes Pepperdine and previous games (might want to save the address). One more piece of reading material: A feature on Diamon Simpson and Omar Samhan of Saint Mary’s, which visits GU on Thursday.

According to America’s Line in today’s S-R, Gonzaga is the biggest favorite (26.5 points) on a list of 90 college games. There’s only one other game (Davidson by 21.5 over Wofford) with a point spread of 20 or higher.

Back after the game with a wrap-up.

 

 

USC makes the trek to Pullman


COUGARS

Just a quick post this morning with the links. There’s not as many as you might think as only the LA Times sent a writer with USC as the Trojans traveled to the Northwest. Read on.

Shadle Park facing busy times

Shadle Park boys basketball has a busy two days ahead of it after rallying from a 10-point deficit early in the third quarter to dispatch Central Valley 62-50 Friday night at CV. On Monday the Highlanders host Mead in a makeup game and the next night face Gonzaga Prep in a game that could determine the Greater Spokane League championship.

The Highlanders were impressive in their comeback. First of all, WSU-bound Anthony Brown seems to be able to ratchet up his game when necessary. CV was up 32-21 in the first half and he buried a 3-pointer and finished with nine points to keep the team within distance. He wound up with 20 for the night. Second was Shadle’s passing. With all their movement, the players seemed to find open players with laser accuracy, kicking the ball in and out for unselfish looks. Third, even though Matt Barnes spent the game in foul trouble, he was there rebounding away at the end. And Jake Rodgers, filling in for him, came up with clutch rebounds and points in his stead. Luke Jordan and Taylor Pettersen are steady and consistent.

They way they and the Bullpups are playing right now it should be an interesting game next week. And with a five game lead over the rest of the field they’ve nearly got first or second places in league sewn up. As for the rest, they key is to be the ones playing well at season’s end, cuz nothing’s going to separate them in league (six are only a game apart).

Seniors don’t let circumstances split them

COUGARS

As the season has worn on, the Cougars’ rotation has changed. One of the casualties of the change has been the playing time of Daven Harmeling (pictured above in an AP photo), who didn’t play Thursday. On the link we have an unedited version of a feature that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. Read on.

WSU has to bounce back quickly

COUGARS

Are the Cougars getting better? Undeniably, the answer is yes. But are they good enough yet to defeat the best of the Pac-10? Again, the answer is yes. It just hasn’t happened yet. They came as close as they possibly could Thursday night before falling, 61-59, to 13th-rated UCLA. Let’s see how others saw the game, how everyone else did in the Pac-10 and what WSU has to do to bounce back against USC. Read on.

Knights strategize, Mead prevails

East Valley attempted to get the most out of its Greater Spokane League wrestling match against Mead by juggling its lineup around. But the move didn’t work when Jake Trotter pinned Dakota Lawson in a match of the league’s best 215 and 189 pound wrestlers. Mead (6-1 in league) defeated the Knights (6-2) 42-29 and is still in the running for a league title.

The dual season wraps up next week. Mead finishes against Rogers, Mt. Spokane and Lewis and Clark. Unbeaten University (8-0) meanwhile still must face rival Central Valley (8-1) in the Battle of the Bone on Wednesday and finishes the next night against EV.

WSU’s rally falls just short

COUGARS

Close, but no tobacco product. As has been the case against good teams a few times this season, a bad stretch spelled doom for the Washington State Cougars. Thursday night it came in the first half of their 61-59 defeat at the hands of the 13th-ranked UCLA Bruins. The Cougars trailed by as many as 15 in the second half but their comeback was thwarted by Darren Collison on one end and the inability to make one more play on the other. Read on for the unedited version of my game story.

Bulldogs claim fifth straight win

Back with an extended game story, put together via radio, TV and quotes provided by the Gonzaga sports information department. Read below. 

GU stays unbeaten in WCC with 83-69 win

Josh Heytvelt scored a season-high 25 points to help Gonzaga defeat Pepperdine 83-69 Thursday at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.

No. 23 Gonzaga won its fifth straight to hike its record to 13-4 overall, 4-0 in the WCC. Saint Mary’s crushed San Diego 65-42 in San Diego for its 15th straight win. Saint Mary’s is 5-0 in conference, followed by GU at 4-0 and San Diego at 4-1.

More in about 60 minutes.

 

WSU rallies but falls 61-59 to UCLA


COUGARS

As has been the case just about every game against a ranked opponent this season, Washington State had a stretch it just couldn’t overcome. Thursday night, it came in the first half. A 16-4 run, keyed by the 3-pointers of Nikola Dragovic, gave 13th-ranked UCLA a 15-point lead. And that was just too much for the Cougars to overcome, despite a second-half rally. WSU tied it at 53 after a Caleb Forrest 3-pointer, capping a 11-0 WSU run. But Darren Collison, quiet much of the night, then took over, scoring six consecutive points and giving UCLA a lead it would never give up. The Cougars had a last chance to tie, but Marcus Capers’ 3-pointer under pressure at the buzzer didn’t draw iron. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.

Dragovic sinks WSU in first half


COUGARS

Nikola Dragovic. A 29 percent 3-point shooter coming in. And yet, more long-range shots taken than any Bruin. There must be a reason, right? There is, and he showed it in the first half, hitting 6 of 7 bombs – many off pick-and-pops with Darren Collison – to lead UCLA to what-looks-to-be-an-insurmountable 36-23 lead at halftime. The Cougars’ 4s were hot as well, with Caleb Forrest and DeAngelo Casto combining for 10 points, but they are shooting 2-pointers. It’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight. If you look at the halftime stats, you see UCLA at 7 of 10 from beyond the arc, WSU 1 of 7. Which brings up a point. Dragovic is the flash, but the key to this game right now is the defensive play of the UCLA guards. The Cougar starting three outisde guys: Rochestie, Thompson and Capers, have two points combined. … The Cougars did continue their consecutive free-throw streak, extending it to 35, but only shot four in the first half. … That’s it for now. We’ll be back after the game.

How tough can WSU be?


COUGARS

Toughness. That’s the theme for Washington State tonight. Can the Cougars be tough enough to take what UCLA dishes out and respond in the right way? It was coach Tony Bennett’s main message at practice this week. Were the Cougs listening? Read on.

Shock add Williams to roster

Spokane has signed defensive back Aaron Williams, who earned first-team All-af2 honors last season for Amarillo and also picked off a pass against the Shock in the playoffs. More here.

And, the af2 Web site is running off-season updates on teams and Spokane was on the docket today. Here’s the link and a link to a similar version on the Shock Web site here.

 

Lake City boys lead way

Here’s a link to my column, the first item of which talks about the Lake City boys basketball team and the race among the Inland Empire League’s 5A teams.

Also, here’s a feature on Timberlake sophomore sensation Cassie Thompson.

Here’s a link to this week’s Idaho state wrestling rankings.

Looking back on blog glitch and Eags’ nasty loss

Good morning,

And let me apologize about last night’s post, which obviously didn’t include the unedited version of the game story I wrote following Eastern Washington’s 63-50 Big Sky Conference loss to Montana at Reese Court.

Let’s just blame it on my technological ineptitude and move on … to this link to my game story as it appeared in Thursday morning’s S-R and this link to the column filed by John Blanchette, as he looks at all that has gone wrong with the Eagles, of late. I’ve also included this link to the game story that ran in Thursday morning’s Missoulian.

 

 

UCLA starts six-game test for WSU


COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:30 A.M.

A tough six-game stretch tips off tonight for the Washington State Cougars, starting with Pac-10-leading UCLA coming to Beasley Coliseum. It’s been a long time since WSU has defeated the Bruins – eight consecutive games – and even longer since the Cougars have won in Pullman – the last win over UCLA was in LA in 2004. After the Cougars host UCLA and USC, they head on a four-game road swing, with two in Arizona and two in the Bay Area. We’ve got links. Read on.

EWU chemistry woes continue in loss to Montana

Montana put a 63-50 beatdown on Eastern Washington at Reese Court Wednesday night and will head into Saturday’s road matchup against Big Sky leader Portland State without much momentum, confidence or chemistry.

You can read an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Thursday morning’s S-R below. Be sure to leave any comments you might have on the Eagles’ recent struggles, and be sure to check back on Thursday for addition information and a link to the game story that runs in the Missoulian.

 

 

A fitter Baynes good fit for WSU

COUGARS

With UCLA trying to find its way to foggy, storm-ridden, out-of-the-way Pullman, Washington (see the LA Times story linked later), we took this week to profile center Aron Baynes (shown attacking Oregon freshman center Michael Dunigan during the first half last Saturday in this AP photo). The unedited version of the feature story is on the link, along with some notes for our Thursday basketball page and the above-mentioned link. Read on.

Gonzaga hits the road

Our Four Corners college basketball page runs in Thursday’s S-R, but you can look at the unedited Gonzaga-related content below. 

For starters, WSU still not sure


COUGARS

With only a day until Washington State risks its three-game winning streak against UCLA, the WSU players who will be introduced by Glenn Johnson are still up in the air. That, other notes from Tuesday’s practice, and a bunch of links all await you. Read on.

Mediocrity behind leaders

After tonight’s Greater Spokane League boys basketball turn of events I guess you have to tell it like it is. Behind Gonzaga Prep (12-1) and Shadle Park (11-1) mediocrity reigns. Both won fairly comfortably tonight, although watching the helter-skelter play between the Highlanders and University was a bit unnerving. Then there was this - East Valley 63, Ferris 61 in overtime as the Knights rained 3-pointers and the Saxons made just 8 of 14 free throws - AT HOME.

LC completed its sweep of North Central (by a total of seven points) and Rogers outraced Mead in another game where teams try to impose their will (style) and defense becomes an afterthought. Entertaining, but not conducive to consistency.

So here we are: North Central 7-5, Ferris 7-6, CV and Rogers 6-6, LC 6-7, Mead 5-7, Mt. Spokane 4-7. Flip a coin.

Zags, Daye head for California

Back with a collection of Gonzaga notes, including Austin Daye returning to his old stomping grounds in Southern California this week as GU takes on Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.

Daye, who is from Irvine, Calif., said he’s looking forward to seeing family and friends, not to mention 70-degree temperatures. More below on Daye, Jeremy Pargo’s thumb and ex-Zag Dan Dickau’s new team.

 

Eags hoping for better stretch run

Eastern Washington hosts Montana tonight as it nears the end of the first-half of its Big Sky Conference schedule.

You can read an unedited version of the game advance that will appear in Wednesday morning’s S-R below. In addition, I’ve included this link to to the game notes supplied by EWU’s sports information department, and this link to what Montana’s SID folks put on their website about the upcoming game.

 

 

Pot pourri Tuesday

Tuesday’s Prep Notebook day where we discuss a variety of things that occurred over the weekend. There’s GSL basketball, how Mead’s girls are faring though four players from last year departed; wrestling, a couple of tournament results; and miscellaneous stuff to prepare for the upcoming week. Comments welcome

Henderson leads NIC

Here’s a link to a feature on University of Idaho-bound Shawn Henderson, who is leading the North Idaho College men’s basketball team.

Rochestie’s not Pac-10 player of week


COUGARS

Just a quick post tonight before I head out to the Valley. I was expecting to link you to a Pac-10 release in which Taylor Rochestie, WSU’s nominee, would be named the conference’s player of the week. In the two Cougar road wins, Rochestie had 44 points – a career-high 30 against Oregon – 14 assists and two turnovers. But, alas, I’m not able to do that. Stanford’s Lawrence Hill, a good guy who had a career-high 25 points in a home upset of Cal, was named the conference’s player of the week. I guess Hill’s three rebounds and three assists made the difference. After all, he is 6-foot-8 and he’s supposed to rebound. The 6-1 Rochestie, a point guard, mind you, only had six rebounds in the two games. Nice choice. Oh, I forgot. Stanford is located in California.

Gonzaga back in A.P. poll at 23

Gonzaga, after a couple weeks absence, on Monday returned to the Associated Press top 25 at No. 23. The Bulldogs are 28th in the ESPN/USA Today rankings. WCC rival Saint Mary’s is No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, but missed the A.P. top 25 at No. 27.

More here, here and here.

Oregon win, the day after

COUGARS

Well you folks had a lively discussion this morning. Sorry to interrupt, because I want you to keep going if that’s your wish, but I have your links for the day after, along with some more comments from the players and coaches after Saturday’s win in Eugene. Hope you have a great Sunday.

Day after San Francisco

A bunch of notes, quotes, etc., as we recount Gonzaga’s 85-51 dismantling of San Francisco on Saturday night. Read on for the day-after USF post.

ALSO: Find a photo gallery of GU-USF game here.

GU gets win, Sorenson gets scholarship

Back with the game story, which I took in a different direction after post-game interviews. You’ll see why below in the unedited version that will run in Sunday’s S-R.

Check back Sunday morning for a day-after post.

(By the way, the photo that accompanies this post is of Andrew Sorenson and Steve Hertz following the GU-Davidson NCAA tournament game).

WSU’s record day at the line


COUGARS

OK, I’m back in Spokane after racing up I-5 to make my flight. I made some changes in the story and added some web-only items. You can read it all on the link.

Gonzaga moves to 3-0 in WCC

Austin Daye scored a career-high 25 points as Gonzaga thumped San Francisco 85-51 on Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga, which led 43-29 at halftime, cruised to its third straight WCC victory. The Bulldogs (12-4, 3-0) have won by 17, 42 and 35 points in three conference games.

Daye made 10 of 14 field-goal attempts (3 of 5 on 3-pointers) and also grabbed nine rebounds. Micah Downs hit 3 of 5 3-pointers and scored 15 points. Matt Bouldin added 12 points for the Bulldogs, who overcome a sluggish start to shoot 51.6 percent from the field. Ten Bulldogs scored.

USF’s Dior Lowhorn had a team-high 15 points, but the Dons made just 32.1 percent of their shots.

Check back for the game story in about two hours.

 

Idaho drops 2nd straight

A short but dreary road trip for Idaho ended Saturday afternoon with a 74-63 loss at Louisiana Tech. Mac Hopson poured in 25 points for the Vandals, who were plagued by an assortment of blunders down the stretch and porous defense.

For more, here’s the release from UI about the game, and here’s a recap from La Tech, which halted a three-game losing streak.

Oh, and one football note: Idaho has hired a defensive line coach to replace Johnny Nansen. You can read about Eti Ena here.

 

WSU pulls away in the second half


COUGARS

Ernie Kent didn’t stick around to see the end of WSU’s 74-62 victory . He picked up two technicals within 2 minutes, 18 seconds from official Chris Rastatter and was ejected with 12:12 left. That was in the midst of a game-clinching 12-0 run. Later, the game was stopped for five minutes as the officials tried to figure out if Aron Baynes’ shot to beat the shot clock was a 3-pointer, it was and the first of his career, whether it was before the clock should have expired, it was reset after a Taylor Rochestie 3-pointer. It shouldn’t have been, but the shot still counted. Baynes had 19 points and 11 rebounds. All those things checked out and the game continued. That’s also when Rochestie, who finished with a career-high 30 points, found the range from outside, hitting two key 3-pointers at the end of the shot clock to help WSU keep a double-digit lead. They kept it by hitting all 28 of their free throws. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.

WSU leads 24-17 at the half


COUGARS

When did this game start? Was it early in the morning? Because at times it seemed like the teams were still asleep. There was one possession in which Oregon had three attempts, the last two without anyone challenging, as the Cougars just stood and watched. Of course, this came on the heels of three consecutive possessions in which WSU blocked shots, by Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto and Aron Baynes. That seemed to ignite the Cougar offense a little, and they scored the final six points of the half for the seven-point lead. Baynes and Taylor Rochestie each have eight points while LeKendric Longmire leads all scorers with 11 points. We’ll be back at the end of the game.

Ducks, fans ready to test WSU

COUGARS

How good is Oregon? Or, put another way, how bad are the Ducks? Is the five-loss Pac-10 start a product of their schedule or is this a team that will struggle all year with on-court deficiencies and off-court chemistry? Read on.

Catching up on a Saturday morning


COUGARS

Just a quick post with links from the morning. We’ll have more prior to the game. Read on.

Impressive turn for the Bullpups

Gonzaga Prep’s big guys stole the show in an easy 53-32 win over Central Valley. The Bullpups dominated the boards, dominated the defense and 6-7 Ryan Nicholas and 6-5 Travis Long hogged the scoring, combining for 43 of the Bullpups’ 53 points. CV didn’t score until a minute remained in the first quarter and trailed 28-3 before getting three points in the final 26 seconds of the first half. All-in-all it was one of the more impressive performances, for a team that had been in a bit of a funk lately. “We had fun out there tonight,” said coach Mike Haugen. “We might have lost that a bit.”

Shadle won easily - they’ve impressed of late - and seven other teams remain clumped, separated by a couple games in the win column.

Lewis and Clark’s girls needed a 19-9 fourth quarter to get away from University and win their 45th in a row. Mead, Shadle and CV kept pace.

Here are my stories in tomorrow’s S-R:

Idaho preps: Friday hoops

The Lake City boys and girls swept visiting Lewiston and the Coeur d’Alene boys and girls did the same to visiting Moscow. Click the tab below to read my unedited roundup.

Zags take on struggling Dons

Two teams heading in opposite directions are set to collide Saturday night in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga is rolling again with a three-game winning streak while San Francisco had lost six of its last seven. According to America’s Line, GU is favored by 26.5 points.

The Dons have the WCC’s leading scorer, Dior Lowhorn, who had 21 points at the MAC last year and helped his team stay close before falling 72-64 to Gonzaga. USF hasn’t won in Spokane since February 10, 1989.

Read on for a short, unedited preview of the Gonzaga-USF game that will run in Saturday’s S-R.

 

Wounded Ducks still fearsome for WSU

COUGARS

The Cougars held a late practice at Mac Court Friday afternoon, as WSU coach Tony Bennett wanted to give them some rest after Thursday night’s overtime win over Oregon State. They shot, they ran through their entries and in-bounds plays and they went over what they expect the Ducks to do. Typical day-before-a-game practice. We watched, then did a couple of interviews. Our advance that will be in tomorrow’s S-R appears in its unedited version on the link. Read on.

Bears bully way past EWU

Despite another big night offensively by Benny Valentine, Eastern’s men’s basketball team lost another road game on Thursday, this one to Big Sky Conference rival Northern Colorado.

I included this link the game story that was complied from wire reports for Friday morning’s S-R; this link to the story posted on the EWU website, and this link to the gamer that ran in Friday’s Greeley Tribune 

Day after Santa Clara

The headlines in Friday’s S-R pretty well summarized it. On my game story: “Gonzaga sets season high for points.” On John Blanchette’s column: “In defense of GU, its defense shines.”

Gonzaga put together a complete performance in pounding Santa Clara 95-53 on Thursday. We’ll recap it below in our day-after post.

 

WSU can’t be caught looking back

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:30 A.M.

Ever take a drive in the mountains and find yourself constantly looking in the rear-view mirror, trying to catch a glimpse of the snow-covered peak behind, because what’s ahead isn’t as pretty? You know you shouldn’t be glancing back so much, because the road has a bunch of those “Watch for falling rock” signs, but you do it anyway. No? Shoot. I wanted to use that as a metaphor for the Cougars and this weekend. Though they didn’t play particularly well against Oregon State, they did earn a Pac-10 win. But now they have to face a ticked-off Oregon team that hasn’t won a conference game yet – and shows all the signs that an explosion is just down the road. If WSU is caught looking back to Thursday night, it could easily go off a cliff Saturday morning here in Eugene.

Of course, we have no such problem. On the link we look back at the Oregon State game … and look at the Huskies’ win over the Ducks as well. Read on.

Zags breeze past Broncos

Back with the game story. Read on for the unedited article that will run in Friday’s S-R, and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

 

WSU wins ugly, but it wins


COUGARS

Tony Bennett was happy with the win. But he wasn’t happy how it happened. “It was enough to get a victory, but not enough to be where we have to be,” Bennett said in the basement of Gill Coliseum after WSU’s 61-57 overtime win over Oregon State. On the link you’ll find how the Cougars rallied for the win with the unedited version of my game story, along with some web-only notes. We’ll be back tomorrow with more. Till then …

Vandals can’t keep late lead at NMSU

It looked promising near the end, but the Idaho men’s basketball team couldn’t complete what would have been another eye-opening WAC win Thursday night. Instead, the short-handed Vandals lost 74-71 at New Mexico State.

Keep reading for more.

WSU wins in overtime, 61-57


COUGARS

Too many turnovers. Too many offensive rebounds. Too many easy buckets. Too many missed chances. This was a night when there easily could have been too manys for WSU. Instead all they added up to was a 61-57 overtime win over OSU the Cougars gutted out, outscoring the Beavers 11-7 in overtime and getting a big block from Aron Baynes to help seal it. But this isn’t the same OSU team. Just as his brother-in-law is about to bring change to Washington, D.C., Craig Robinson has brought it to Corvallis. These Beavers play harder, play smarter and just play better than those of the past few years. Still, a Pac-10 win is a Pac-10 win. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story. Till then …

Bulldogs rout Santa Clara

Gonzaga dominated from start to finish, routing the visiting Santa Clara Bulldogs 95-53 on Thursday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Five Zags reached double figures, led by Austin Daye’s 20 points. Matt Bouldin added 16 points, Steven Gray 15 and Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt each 11.

The Bulldogs led 52-29 at half and went on to score a season high point total. It was also the most points allowed by SCU this season.

GU improved to 11-4, 2-0 in the WCC. Santa Clara is 7-12, 0-3.

Game story in about 90 minutes.

 

 

Oregon State leads 33-30 at half


COUGARS

The first half went pretty much as expected, except the Oregon State Beavers, shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc, hit three of their first four 3-point attempts, allowing them to build an early six-point lead. It didn’t help the Cougar cause when DeAngelo Casto, making his first start, picked up two fouls in the first 2 minutes, 20 seconds. Then Aron Baynes picked up a couple of cheap ones himself and sat the 9:20. With those two out (and Charlie Enquist getting some playing time), the Cougars struggled on the boards, getting out-rebounded 14-11, with all of WSU’s on the defensive end while the Beavers had six offensive rebounds, leading to four second-chance points. WSU also isn’t taking care of the ball on the offensive end with seven turnovers leading to 10 OSU points. One last thing … Marcus Capers is starting the second half instead of Nik Koprivica. We’ll be back afterward. Till then …

What’s in store for WSU, Oregon State


COUGARS

It’s time for our usual pregame post. Where we tell you what you should think. Well, not really. It’s where we tell you what we think will happen in the game. You are free to disagree – and then never read this blog again. Just kidding. Read on.

Topsy Turvy GSL enters second half

Will order be restored and the cream begin to rise in the Greater Spokane boys basketball league? Or can we expect the unexpected to continue because there so much parity? That was the theme I explored in my story this week in The Spokesman-Review Prep Page. If the way this week began it appears things may be beginning to sort out. But just as I think that, something else wild and wacky will occur.

At any rate, you be the judge.

‘The Thrill’ is back

Fan favorite Raul ‘The Thrill’ Vijil has re-signed with the Spokane Shock. Vijil, an EWU product, holds numerous franchise records. More here.

Also on the arenafootball2 transactions, former Shock QB Jason Murrietta has signed with Central Valley.

 

Gross won’t be returning to EWU

Trey Gross, who did not return to Eastern Washington University following Christmas break, has enrolled a junior college in his hometown of Stockton Calif., and will not be rejoining EWU’s men’s basketball team.

Gross has still not informed Eagles coach Kirk Earlywine of his decision, but I talked to his former high school coach on Thursday and filed a story for Friday morning’ s S-R.  You can read an unedited version of it below.

 

 

Game day, and more

I just have a bunch of stuff leftover from interviews with Kerry Keating, Matt Bouldin, Josh Heytvelt, etc. Read on.

Idaho preps

The economic woes that are plaguing our nation are beginning to trickle down to the high schools. Click here to read my column and assorted notes.

Your observations are welcome.

Here’s a link to a story on Post Falls senior basketball standout Justin Carter that was published in today’s Prairie Voice.

Beavers setting trap for WSU

COUGARS

Welcome from beautiful Corvallis. Didn’t get in until real late – for me, that could be anytime after dark, but last night it meant barely in time for Letterman – so this is a little later than usual. But we’ve got links and thoughts before tonight’s game with the Beavers. Read on.

Bouldin helping Zags get back on track

A couple of things tonight. Below, you’ll find an unedited feature article on Matt Bouldin, who has put together two straight outstanding games. Also, a brief update on ex-Zag Theo Davis and coach Mark Few’s thoughts on the late Harry Sladich.

And, you’ll notice now when you visit sportslink that we have a filter on the right side, so if you just want Zags’ news you can click on ‘Zags’, just like the old days.

Read on.

 

Timely shots, overtime win

Who’s shot was the biggest Tuesday night during the Rubber Chicken match when Ferris survived against Lewis and Clark in one of the more entertaining games during their long South Hill Rivalry and history of Chuck.

Was it the made free throw, his second of two attempts, by Connor Halliday tied the game and preciptated OT? Was it the putback of his own two missed free throws by Justin Stewart that tied the game in overtime when LC could have had the lead and the ball with  three minutes remaining?

You make the call. Our Washington Prep’s filter is back - there’s no excuse not to sign up and weigh in.

 

WSU already springing into football


COUGARS • UPDATED: 3:22 P.M.

Let’s get right to it today. There’s basketball news, from WSU and around the Pac-10. And there’s football news, also from WSU and around the Pac-10. Read on.

Zags trying to clean up the glass

Rebounding is the topic for this week’s notebook. It’s been a sore spot for the Zags the last five games. Below, you’ll find an unedited article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.

Also, a couple of upcoming GU games, including Thursday’s home date with Santa Clara, will be televised by KIRO in the Seattle area because of conflicts on FSN. More here.

Back tomorrow with a feature on Matt Bouldin. 

Beavers are now on WSU’s agenda


COUGARS

 

You think Tony Bennett was satisfied with one Pac-10 win? Well, you weren’t at practice Tuesday. The WSU coach pushed his team hard, as hard as I’ve seen this season, demanding attention and focus on the defensive end as the Cougars prepare to play Oregon State and their back-cut-oriented offense. As we get ready to head to Oregon ourselves, we have a story for tomorrow’s S-R on Taylor Rochestie’s emergence as the Cougs’ team leader through words and deeds. Read on for the unedited version along with some web-only notes and quotes.

Eagles take to road looking for BSC win

With just one game — a road trip to Northern Colorado — scheduled this week, there’s not a whole lot shakin’ at Eastern.

The school’s sports information department did put out this Q&A with Rodney Stuckey, however. And I’ve also included this link to EWU’s game notes on Thursday’s matchup against UNC.

The Tigers Ehlo fills in

Tonight is Rubber Chicken night at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and for the first time in awhile the boys game is significant. With only two games separating seven teams, including four 4A schools jockeying for district playoff position, the winner between Ferris (4-5) and Lewis and Clark (4-6) looms large.

 

A few links for Tuesday


COUGARS

I didn’t post earlier this morning for a variety of reasons ranging from a time crunch getting back to Pullman to very few items floating quickly to the surface. But now I’m down in Pullman waiting for the teleconferences for June Daugherty and Tony Bennett to begin and I had a little more time to dig deeper. Read on for what I found.

GU moves up, but not into top 25

There is a WCC team ranked this week, but it isn’t Gonzaga. Saint Mary’s (15-1) took over the 25th spot in the ESPN/USA Today poll that was held by Tennessee a week ago. The Vols, dropped out of the ESPN/USA Today rankings after losing Gonzaga on Wednesday, but they are No. 24 in the Associated Press top 25.

Gonzaga is 26th in the A.P. poll with 137 points. The Zags (10-4) are 30th in ESPN/USA Today with 17 points (Saint Mary’s had 62).

More here and here.

UPDATE: Loyola Marymount coach Bill Bayno, who has been on leave of absence, has decided to step down. More here.

(Programming note: Gonzaga’s media day, normally on Mondays, will be Tuesday this week).

Idaho preps

A couple of interesting games are on the prep schedule this week. Click the tab below to read more.

Monday morning Pac-10 links


COUGARS

So what’s on the agenda for this morning? If it’s reading a lot of stories about WSU in particular and the Pac-10 in general, you might as well put together a list of alternatives. There isn’t all that much out there. But read on for what we found.

Cold-shooting Eags fall to Weber

You can access an unedited version of  EWU’s 77-69 Big Sky Conference men’s basketball loss to Weber State below.

It wasn’t the best way to celebrate Rodney Stuckey’s return, but there were some positives to take out of the defeat.  Make sure you leave you opinions here.

 

 

Day after Portland

Just finished watching a replay of Gonzaga’s 67-50 win over Portland. It certainly wasn’t the most artistic game of the year, but plenty of leftovers for our day-after post.

Read on. 

WSU one-point win, the day after


COUGARS

In the clear, somewhat sunny light of day, some thoughts about Washington State’s victory last night over Stanford. And some links. Read on.

WSU posts a key Pac-10 win


COUGARS

I make a statement in my story tonight about how Taylor Rochestie’s game-winning bucket might just have saved this season for the Cougars. Too much hyperbole? Please let me know. Because it sure seemed like this win was key to me. Lose this one and WSU heads off to Oregon next week 0-3, with little chance of redeeming the Pac-10 season. But with a win the Cougars will face Oregon State with confidence and the possibility of coming back home to face UCLA with a winning conference record. Read on for the unedited version of my game story.

GU rides defense past Portland, 67-50

Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s 67-50 win over Portland on Saturday night.

Click below for the unedited version that will run in Sunday’s S-R. We’ll have the day-after post up tomorrow morning.

Weber State next up for Eastern

Eastern Washington will  try to build on its impressive 6-1 home record when it entertains Big Sky Conference rival Weber State at Reese Court on Sunday.

Tipoff is set for 1:05 p.m., with the Wildcats riding the momentum of their upset road win over defending league championship Portland State on Thursday.  Adding to the excitement will be the halftime jersey retirement ceremony for former Eagles All-American Rodney Stuckey.

I talked with Stuckey earlier this week and have included an unedited version of the story I filed for Sunday’s S-R below. In addition, I’ve included this link that gives more details on the ceremony; this link to EWU-Weber games notes supplied by Eastern sports  info department and this link to Weber State’s game notes.

 

 

WSU pulls out 55-54 win


COUGARS

Taylor Rochestie’s drive, DeAngelo Casto’s defensive block and viola, the losing streak is over. But not without some tough moments. An offensive flurry – a 10-0 run to boot – to open the second half, capped by Klay Thompson’s fastbreak slam dunk over Mitch Johnson – and one – gave WSU a 34-32 lead. From there, Saturday night’s battle with Stanford became just that, a battle, with the Cougars pulling out a 55-54 win. The Cougars received some unexpected help from their bench, including Casto, who played in conjunction with Aron Baynes more than he has all year, and Abe Lodwick, to hang in until the end. Plus, the Cougars had their best free-throwing shooting effort of the season. Till then …

Stanford up by eight in contentious game


COUGARS

As shooting exhibitions go, this one was pretty horrendous, with WSU shooting 20 percent in a first half they trailed 30-22. Against the worst defensive team in the Pac-10 (at least as shooting percentage defense goes), Washington State managed to hit just 4 of 20 shots in the first half. The Cougars went almost 13 minutes without hitting a shot, from Klay Thompson’s 3-pointer with 12:56 left to go until Taylor Rochestie scored on a drive with 4 seconds left. Only their free-throw shooting (they were 12 of 15; when have I written that?) kept them anywhere near the Cardinal, who not only shot 42 percent from the floor, but dominated the boards, 18-12. Cougar coach Tony Bennett has come awfully close to his first-ever T, as he has expressed his disgust with Kevin Brill, Michael Iriving and Bill Staffen’s officiating more than once, including as he was leaving the floor. We’ll be back at the end of the game to update you. Till then …

Bulldogs win WCC opener

It was short on style points — and points on the scoreboard, for that matter — but the Gonzaga Bulldogs finally put Portland away in the last five minutes and posted a 67-50 victory Saturday in the WCC opener for both teams.

Gonzaga (10-4) won its second straight, this one in business-like fashion. GU led by as many as 12 in the first half before settling for a 34-26 edge at intermission. The margin remained in the 8-12 range until Matt Bouldin scored back-to-back buckets near the 5-minute mark. A Josh Heytvelt dunk and Jeremy Pargo’s two free throws hiked Gonzaga’s lead to 60-42.

Bouldin (14 points), Heytvelt (14), Steven Gray (13) and Pargo (12) reached double figures for the Bulldogs, who made 43.1 percent from the field (after being in the upper 30s for most of the game) and 85 percent at the foul line (17 of 20). The Pilots (9-7) were led by Jared Stohl’s 10 points. Nik Raivio, younger brother of former Bulldog Derek Raivio, had 9 points on 3-of-12 shooting. The Pilots shot 32.7 percent from the floor.

Back with the game story in about two hours.

 

 

 

Stanford is a test on the offensive end


COUGARS

The Stanford Cardinal presented matchup problems for every team in the Pac-10 last year, with the possible exception of UCLA. Two active 7-footers will do that. But the Lopez brothers are gone and, yet, the Cardinal still present matchup problems. Read on.

NC boys hoopers keep scrapping

As the last two or three years have shown, don’t underestimate North Central basketball. The Indians have it going as Friday night’s win over an improved Rogers team showed. I took the ciruitous route to the game, braving downtown traffic to arrive at NC at 5:30 only to find they’d moved the game to Rogers - if you didn’t get on the GSL website who’d of known? Only missed two minutes of the game, however and the Pirates were already up 7-2, a lead they stretched to 13-6 before Nathan Pelton and company took control with a “been-there-done-that” attitude. Lots of traveling calls on both sides, but the Indians ultimately got the better of it with rebounding and defense to go on a 28-8 tear.

Here’s my girls game story too

Gonzaga and Lewis and Clark moved to today, 12:45 and 2:15 p.m., along with several other makeup games (East Valley at University, 5:30 and 7:15; Ferris boys at Mead, 2:30. and there’ll be makeups Monday as well when Shadle Park travels to NC.

WSU still loose despite struggles


COUGARS

Before the Cal game Thursday night, Taylor Rochestie and Caleb Forrest – later joined by Aron Baynes – took the court a couple hours before game time, shot a while and then played a game of horse. The seniors were loose and ready, enjoying one of the last few home games of their college career. But when it came time, they turned serious and prepared to face one of the Pac-10’s hotter teams. Tonight, another one of those teams comes to Beasley, the Stanford Cardinal. And, as Rochestie said this week, it’s time for the Cougars “to start protecting our home court.” Read on.

LC boys, girls split with rival

The Lake City boys pulled out a 68-63 win in overtime over crosstown rival Coeur d’Alene, while the top-ranked Viking girls held off the Timberwolves 52-40 Friday in Inland Empire League games at Elmer Jordan Court. Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.

Cardinal next up for WSU


COUGARS

With Stanford coming to town tomorrow (hey, alliteration – Sister Patrice would be so proud), it seemed like a good time to put together a notebook. Read on for the unedited version. And, as a web-only bonus, I answer a question a lot of people have posed concerning one player’s court time.

Zags open WCC title defense against Portland

With Gonzaga and Portland hooking up for a WCC opener Saturday, I put together a  WCC/Portland game advance that will run in Saturday’s S-R. It’s posted below.

A quick update: There’s been a subtle change in Robert Sacre’s status. According to the Gonzaga release for the Portland game, surgery is not being contemplated at present as recent x-rays indicate the latest fracture is healing. It is still unknown how long Sacre will be sidelined.

GU’s release for the Tennessee game said Sacre’s foot was still being evaluated.

 

 

Prep blog posts: Here’s how you do it

For those who want to filter out the blogs and include just my high school stuff there is a way to do it. I figured it out, but needed Scott Sutherland’s post to remember how I did it. This link will get you quickly to the Washington Prep Report as it used to be called. Also, when you click on topics on the website you can go to topics and tags, click on that and in the box put wa preps and all my posts will come up.

Following my topic about the state of high school tournaments, Doug Pacey at The Tacoma News-Tribune offered up his belief that by reducing basketball to eight team tournaments, you could put two classifications together, save a day of travel and save money on rent.

 

Gonzaga signs 10-year extension with KHQ, FSN

Gonzaga will be on KHQ and FSN airwaves for an additional 10 years. More here and here.

Cal, the next day


COUGARS • UPDATED: 11:30 A.M.

It’s easy to tell when the Washington State Cougars are having a down season. The coverage dries up. And that’s what’s happening right now. Trying to find anything but a wire piece on the Cougars’ loss to Cal last night was next to impossible. Read on.

Whew! Bears take it to Knights

East Valley entered the Greater Spokane League season favored, but Central Valley - which won the title outright in 2007 and lost to the Knights by a point last year 29-28 when the two ended with 9-1 records - had other ideas. The Bears won 34-23 getting upset victories at 103 pounds and at 160 and capturing three of the four matches I had considered tossups after projecting seven sure EV wins and three for CV.

This weekend there will be an unusual gathering of teams at Ferris for a series of makeup GSL matches. CV meets the Saxons at noon and Mead at 2 p.m. in bouts with other expected contenders. Ferris also wrestles Gonzaga Prep at 2 p.m. and Mead at 4. Mead faces Gonzaga Prep at noon.

Here’s my story on the CV-EV encounter:

WSU struggles down the stretch


COUGARS

Well, if it’s any consolation for Coug fans, this one came down to the wire. Not many of the Cougars six losses have. Usually, the problem stretch occurs a lot earlier than it did Thursday night. But once again WSU was unable to make the plays it needed to win.

Read on for my story which will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

Vandals post biggest win of WAC era

Idaho continued to impress in the early stages of the WAC season, bolting past Hawaii 67-47 at the Kibbie Dome on Thursday night. There were only 652 folks on hand, but I get the feeling more people will start showing up to the Dome.

Keep reading for my recap of the game.

Stanojevic leads Eastern past ISU

Eastern Washington used the 20-point outburst of Milan Stanojevic and some near-perfect work at the foul line to turn back visiting Idaho State 71-65 on Thursday night.

I’ve attached an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Friday morning’s S-R below.

Cal pulls away late to stop WSU


COUGARS

There was just too much Patrick Christopher. The reigning Pac-10 player of the week looked like he wants to win the award two consecutive times Thursday. Not only did he finish with 22 points, but he stuck dagger after dagger into the Cougar second-half hopes, hitting just about every shot Cal need in their 57-50 road victory - including a back-door dunk with 1:30 left that sealed it. The Bears stay atop the Pac-10 with the hard-earned win. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.

Cal leads by two at half


COUGARS

The tweaks WSU has instituted in its offense – more on-ball screens, moving Daven Harmeling back to the 4, giving Abe Lodwick some time – have certainly helped the Cougars stay close, trailing 28-26 at the half. But maybe Taylor Rochestie had it right last week. The Cougars are feeding off their defense. The Cal big men are so offensively inept, WSU’s guards have been able to control Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson with help from guys like Aron Baynes and Caleb Forrest. Only Patrick Christopher, matched up against Klay Thompson, has been able to get going, hitting 4 of 5 shots en route to 10 points. Thompson has exceeded that on the other end with 12 points, including a fast break layup that tied it at 26 near the end of the half – a bucket that came when Rochestie picked Randle’s pocket.

We’ll be back afterward, but this looks like it could be an interesting 20 minutes.

Cal may just try to beat WSU at its game


COUGARS

It should be a battle of tempo. But I’m thinking it won’t be. Read on for why.

Day after Tennessee

Just arrived home (small leak in the basement not exactly the welcome back I was hoping for), so we’ll get the day-after Tennessee post up. A lot to cover from Gonzaga’s 89-79 overtime victory. Read on.

 

Nice having eastern WIAA presence

It’s nice having John Miller at the WIAA. The former Mead and Mt. Spokane teacher, coach and athletic director understands eastern Washington concerns and is always available to lend and ear and a voice. I talked with him this week about a number of things, including about this week’s Prep Page column about the state of sports funding and its affect on successful athletic programs.

Idaho wrestling rankings

The state individual rankings can be seen here. Coeur d’Alene is ranked the No. 1 dual team in 5A.

Idaho preps

The Coeur d’Alene girls and Post Falls boys basketball teams come into the new year playing the best ball. Click the link here to read more.

WSU tries to end streak


COUGARS

Remember last season when WSU lost three consecutive home games? The Cougars avoided losing a fourth by thundering O.J. Mayo and USC, 74-50. Which means WSU hasn’t lost four in-a-row at home since 2004, Dick Bennett’s first year. But that is a possibility tonight if the Cougars can’t figure out a way to get past Cal. Read on.

Gross AWOL as Eags prepare for ISU

Good afternoon.

I have links to several items concerning EWU’s men’s basketball team, which entertains Big Sky Conference rival Idaho State at 7:05 tonight at Reese Court.

The Eagles will be without Trey Gross, whose whereabouts are still a mystery to EWU coach Kirk Earlywine after the sophomore guard did not return to school following Christmas break.  You can read more here.

In addition, I’ve included this link to a feature story on Eastern’s junior point guard and Big Sky scoring leader Benny Valentine, who overcame some legal problems en route to Cheney.

Read on.

 

GU-Tennessee game story

As promised, read on below for my unedited game story on Gonzaga’s 89-79 overtime win against Tennessee on Wednesday.

We’ll be back with a day-after post tomorrow, probably from Sea-Tac in the afternoon.

Zags work overtime to end skid

Gonzaga had its chances in regulation, but finally finished off Tennessee in overtime, ending a three-game losing streak with an 89-79 victory in front of 22,326 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs, who missed free throw after free throw in regulation, hit 9 of 10 in overtime (Steven Gray was 5 of 6, Austin Daye 4 of 4) and pulled away.

Matt Bouldin had 26 points, equaling his career high.  Daye added 20 points, Josh Heytvelt 15 and Gray 14.

UT’s Cameron Tatum finished with 22 points, 19 in the first half. Tyler Smith added 17 and Wayne Chism 15.

Game story in about 90 minutes. 

Tatum shoots Vols to lead at half

Tennessee’s Cameron Tatum scorched Gonzaga with four 3-pointers and a career-high tying 19 points in the first half to stake the Volunteers to a 40-33 halftime lead. Tatum’s deep 3-pointer gave the Vols their biggest lead 31-16 before GU battled back.

The Bulldogs actually led 6-0 at the outset as UT missed its first six shots, but Tatum started a 19-3 run with a 3-pointer and quickly followed with two more from long distance. The Bulldogs rallied behind Matt Bouldin’s 12 points and three rapid-fire 3s of their own by Ira Brown, Josh Heytvelt and Steven Gray to close within 33-27. GU cut the margin to 36-31, but J.P. Prince’s two free throws with 38.9 seconds left bumped Tennessee’s lead to seven.

Gonzaga was getting handled on the boards (15-7 at one point), but made up most of the deficit (22-19 at half), which corresponded with its comeback. The Bulldogs misfired at the free throw line, making just 5 of 12. Jeremy Pargo had a tough half, committing five turnovers and making just 1 of 5 shots.

More later.

A sea of orange and some Gray

About 10 minutes from tip off and it’s a nothing but orange in Thompson-Boling Arena, an impressive facility with seating capacity of 21,678 (it was more than 24,000 before a remodel two years ago added luxury boxes at the expense of a few thousand seats).

One change to the Zags’ starting lineup: Sophomore Steven Gray is expected to start in place of senior Micah Downs. Gray had 19 points and made four 3-pointers in GU’s 83-74 win over Tennessee in Orlando.

Back at half with a short update.

Idaho preps

If the weather cooperates - the roofs don’t collapse and the gyms don’t flood - there might be some high school basketball in North Idaho soon! Click the extended entry tab below to continue reading.

Who can stop the Bullpups?

Is Greater Spokane League basketball as good as last year, better or down a bit? It’s tempting to say the latter given that every team, but two have three or more losses already. But maybe we were so focused on Ferris last year that we forget. Gonzaga Prep is this year’s top team and after Tuesday’s dismantling of North Central could be the Saxons heir in Tacoma come March. Who, besides Shadle Park, has the best chance of stopping them?

FSN and the Holt hire - plus hoops


COUGARS

It was, seemingly, a huge day yesterday for Husky fans. The hiring of former Idaho head coach Nick Holt as defensive coordinator was such a big deal that Fox Sports Northwest televised the press conference – twice. Read on for more on that and some basketball notes.

Blanchette on Zags’ slide

A couple of items for your consumption on a blustery morning in Knoxville. First, John Blanchette checks the Zags’ temperature here. Also, a preview of the GU-Tennessee matchup from the Knoxville newspaper. 

Gonzaga, Tennessee ready for round three

For the third time in just over a year, Gonzaga and Tennessee will square off. Tennessee won last season in Seattle, Gonzaga won five weeks ago in Orlando. The third meeting is Wednesday night at 6 PST at Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena, which hasn’t been too hospitable to visitors.

More below an unedited preview that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.

(Apologies for the late post, but no free wireless connection at two airports en route to Knoxville, where it is pouring rain.)

  

Cal, Stanford headed for Pullman


COUGARS

The Bay Area teams come into Pullman this weekend, starting with the Cal Bears on Thursday night. Cal and Stanford are two of the surprising teams in the Pac-10 this season, so we thought we would take a look at their success. Read on for the unedited story that will appear in the S-R tomorrow.

WSU links drizzle out on a Tuesday


COUGARS

Not a lot in the way of links this morning. Now rain, that we’ve got a lot of. Piles of snow one morning, ice all afternoon and rain the next day. How fun. Anyhow, read on for the few links we do have and a couple of thoughts.

Randa recalls playing days at Eastern

As promised, I’ve attached an unedited version of the Then & Now yarn on former EWU center John Randa that will appear in Tuesday morning’s S-R below.

From his painful on-court encounter with Kevin Duckworth to his wedding on The Rock of Gibraltor, Randa has some entertaining memories to share.

 

Shock sign two, trade one

Spokane continued to adjust its roster, adding two players, DB Damon Jenkins and OL Hercules Satele, and trading LB Blair Boynton to Amarillo.

More here.

Bulldogs working to snap skid

Media day this afternoon at Gonzaga, so I’ll post an unedited notebook that will run in Tuesday’s S-R. I’m catching a flight tomorrow for Knoxville, but I’ll try to post my GU-Tennessee advance sometime mid-morning.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest Bracketology (GU is seeded No. 7).

Read on.

Free throws vital

Earlier on this blog a poster was keeping tabs free throw shooting and lamenting the inability to convert. There is no questioning that 70-plus percent is vital to the outcome of a game. Back in the day, when Jud Heathcote was at West Valley, players were taught proper form and had to shoot them every day at the end of practice. Make 20 or 25 in a row and you got a milk shake. Ron Adams (of the Spokane Stars) made his reputation on teaching free throw proficiency, his girls often shooting in the 80 percent range. And while free throw shooting may in some eyes have become a lost art - people wonder how players so adept at making 3-pointers miss so many gift attempts from 15 feet -  at almost every game I’ve attended this year, a player when fouled shooting a 3-pointer has made all three of his free throw tries. I’ve never seen it happen so regularly.

Let’s hope the winter weather is behind us and the games can get back in a regular pattern.

 

Cal atop Pac-10? OSU wins? Stay tuned for a strange Pac-10 year


COUGARS • UPDATED: 1:10 P.M.

What an interesting weekend in Pac-10 basketball (and you guys had a lively conversation about it, that’s for sure). UCLA and Cal (yes, Cal) emerged from the first week atop the conference standings. Oregon State earned its first Pac-10 win in more than a year – 21 games in fact – by stunning USC in overtime. Arizona, filled with talent but obviously lacking leadership, settled into the cellar after a lost weekend in the Bay Area. And of most interest to you folks, WSU started 0-1.

Let’s take a spin around the conference and see what’s being said, then we’ll wrap up with a football note. Read on.

Zags drop out of poll

Gonzaga’s three-game losing streak has cost the Bulldogs a spot in the ESPN/USA Today top 25. The Bulldogs dropped out of the rankings and received just 27 votes, which puts them tied for 36th (Note: corrected from 37th). Tennessee, Gonzaga’s opponent on Wednesday, stayed in the poll at No. 25.

Saint Mary’s is 29th with 43 votes. More here and here.

UPDATE: Gonzaga also dropped out of the A.P. top 25. GU is 30th with Tennessee No. 15 (how’s that for a gap between polls: Tennessee is 15 and 25). More here

Valentine leads EWU past Sac

Eastern Washington’s junior point guard Benny Valentine erupted for 33 points Sunday afternoon and the Eagles picked up an important Big Sky road win over Sacramento State.

You can read the game story published by the Sacramento Bee here, check out the game details provided by EWU’s sports information department here, and take a look at the post-game report posted by Sac State sports info crew here.

 

 

UW loss, the morning after


COUGARS

As I was looking back at the box scores from the past couple year’s worth of WSU/UW basketball games yesterday, I was struck by how often Washington State had played 40 minutes of basketball against an aggressive, physical team without turning over the ball more than a handful of times.

In fact, in the past two years, the Cougars had more than 10 turnovers vs. the Huskies only in last year’s double overtime game. Last night, WSU passed that mark midway through the second half. And defeat followed. Such has been the case throughout this season, and probably will be the rest of the year as well. If WSU takes care of the ball, is efficient on offense and shoots respectably, it will be in games. Fail on any one, it won’t.

WSU opens Pac-10 play with a loss


COUGARS

There isn’t a lot of margin of error available for the Washington State Cougars this Pac-10 basketball season. This isn’t a group right now that’s going to come roaring back from a big deficit to win a game. This isn’t a group that can get by without executing for 40 minutes. And this isn’t a group that could handle the Washington Huskies on Saturday.

The Huskies played better, especially in the second half. They played more poised, especially in the second half. And they played more physical, all game long. It adds up to a 20-point win. You can read the unedited version of my game story on the link.

UW pulls away in the second half


COUGARS

Another quick burst by the opposition to open the second half. Another home loss. That’s what happened again Saturday as UW scored nine consecutive points right after halftime and went on to defeat WSU, 68-48, in the Pac-10 opener for both. Yes, it seemed a lot like the Gonzaga game, WSU fought back but there was too much Justin Dentmon and Quincy Pondexter and everybody else for the Cougars. We’ll be back in a couple of hours with the game story.

Vols fall to KU

Tennessee got off to a slow start — much like Gonzaga against UConn, Portland State and Utah — and never fully recovered, falling to Kansas in Lawrence on Saturday. More here, here and here.

Gonzaga visits Tennessee in Knoxville on Wednesday.

UW leads by two at the half


COUGARS

WSU trails 30-28 at the half, with the Huskies dominating the boards and nailing just about every open look they have from 3. The Cougars are staying in the game because they are perfect from the line, hitting all seven they’ve taken.

Both teams started slowly, with the score just 6-6 after 8 minutes of play. But the offense down the stretch was better, with WSU committing just one turnover in the final 12 minutes and UW hitting four of its last six shots. Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter lead UW with eight points apiece, Pondexter’s two free throws with less than a second left giving UW the halftime edge. Aron Baynes has eight for WSU and Caleb Forrest has seven. We’ll be back.

Can WSU execute against the Huskies?


COUGARS

The Washington Huskies walked onto Friel Court today and Beasley Coliseum was silent. Really. No boos, no catcalls, nothing. What a difference without a majority of the students. There are a few, about a couple hundred right by the court, but they didn’t acknowledged UW’s presence. I wonder what Jon Brockman must think of this. Three years of being booed taking the court and his senior year, nothing. Read on.

Opening night prelude to rivalry day


COUGARS

The Pac-10’s first four games went pretty much as expected Friday night, with USC and UCLA winning easily in Oregon, Cal showing its nonconference record was for real and Stanford showing is wasn’t. The first wave of conference games ends today with WSU hosting UW. Click the link for more.

Another wild GSL night

Gonzaga Prep romped over Ferris leaving four 4A boys teams in the race for post-season separated by a mere game with University falling two games further back.

North Central continued its penchant for close results (but five of them victories) to remain a game behind fellow 3A team Shadle Park as the closest pursuers of the unbeaten Bullpups.

Lewis and Clark’s girls rallied from a 21-7 deficit to defeat Mead in the first place showdown of unbeatens.

Here are my stories: Don’t be afraid to register with us and return to the conversation.

 

 

Eags no match for NAU

Eastern Washington’s second-half scoring woes were a key factor in Friday night’s lopsided Big Sky Conference road loss to Northern Arizona.

As promised, I’ve included this link to the game story posted by EWU’s sports information department and this link to what the folks at NAU had to say about the game.

Eags lose big to NAU

Northern Arizona held Eastern Washington to just 17 second-half points in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Friday night and cruised to a 72-49 win over the Eagles, who lost for the fifth time in their last six games.

You can get at early look at the final box score here, and don’t forget to check back for more details on the game, as supplied by the EWU sports information department.

Looking ahead to UW


COUGARS

Washington State opens Pac-10 play tomorrow by hosting UW, as I’m sure everyone who is reading this knows. On the link we have the unedited version of our advance for you to peruse. Read on.

A new Few

Congratulations to the Few family, which welcomed a new addition, son, Colt, who was born on New Year’s Day.

Mark was back in plenty of time from Gonzaga’s trip to Utah. He returned Wednesday night with the team charter. Marcy went into the hospital on New Year’s morning. Colt joins brothers Austin James (born in 2000) and Joseph Dillon (2002), and sister Julia Ann Elizabeth (2006).

—And a quick injury update from Wednesday’s loss at Utah: It sounds like Micah Downs, who was limping after appearing to sprain his left ankle with roughly 8 minutes left in the second half, should be available for Gonzaga’s game at Tennessee on Wednesday. On replay, even at 1/15th speed, it’s tough to tell if Downs stepped on the foot of Utah’s Carlon Brown or his ankle just rolled while he was boxing out for a defensive rebound. Downs did return to play briefly near the end of the game.

 

Tigers tune for tonight’s showdown

Tonight’s the night when Greater Spokane League girls basketball unbeatens Lewis and Clark and Mead go for undisputed first place. LC shook off Central Valley’s upset bid with a 20-0 run in the second quarter Wednesday and Mead topped Gonzaga Prep to set up the showdown. 

Must win by CV boys

The game wasn’t an artistic success by any means, but a win’s a win and Central Valley got a needed one over Lewis and Clark New Year’s Eve day in Greater Spokane League boys basketball. There were too many unforced errors and wild shots for my liking - an indication why this year’s league is so unpredictable. Consistency comes from taking care of fundamental business, rather than relying on athleticism

Eags finally return to Big Sky action

Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team returns to Big Sky Conference play tonight against Northen Arizona in Flagstaff.  You can access a Friday morning S-R story that includes comment’s from Eagles coach Kirk Earlywine about the Lumberjacks and how he sees the conference race playing out this winter via this link.

And check back later this evening to see how the EWU-NAU game turned out.

Pac-10 football’s finish and basketball’s start


COUGARS

There’s about the last of the football news. And there’s basketball news. All can be found on the link. Read on.

Pac-10 may be down, but still formidable


COUGARS

Here’s a special treat just for New Year’s Day and for you avid SportsLink readers. We’ve put together a team-by-team look at the Pac-10 basketball race. It’s not going to be printed in the S-R, so this is the only place to see it. Read on.

Day after Utah

Gonzaga’s slide continued Wednesday night as the Bulldogs missed two shots in the closing seconds and fell to Utah 66-65 in Salt Lake City.

The Bulldogs have dropped three straight and four of five as they head into what could be their toughest matchup of the regular season. No. 14 Tennessee (8-2) will be looking to avenge an 83-74 defeat to GU five weeks ago in the Old Spice Classic championship when the Bulldogs visit Knoxville on Wednesday.The Vols have a 37-game home winning streak and they’re 28-0 in non-conference home games under coach Bruce Pearl. UT’s last home loss was in the final game of the 2005-06 season (Kentucky 80, UT 78).

GU-Utah game stories and Mark Few quotes below.

 

Happy New Year Coug fans


COUGARS

So it’s New Year’s Day, 2009. How many of you out there wondered if you would ever see this day? No, I don’t mean at 11:23 last night when you couldn’t remember if the person you were talking with through a self-induced haze was your cousin or the receptionist. No, I mean when you were young. For a certain age, 2009 seemed like science fiction, sort of like Armageddon, something that was possible but you were sure would never come.

But it’s here, 2009 I mean, not Armageddon. And it’s filled with WSU news. OK, not filled per se, but there is more than you might expect. So read on.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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John Blanchette (@SRjblanchette) John Blanchette is a freelance writer who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

Recent work by John

Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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