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.
• Though the Cougars are 3-2 in the Pac-10 after this weekend’s sweep, they are still looking for their first upset win of the year. They’ll get another chance Thursday, when an upset UCLA team travels to Pullman fresh off blowing an 11-point second-half lead at home against Arizona State. Before we get looking too far ahead, though, we should probably finish up with Saturday’s win.
• And before we get to the links, here are some more comments from after the game, from coach Tony Bennett and from Aron Baynes (shown emphatically throwing down two of his 19 points against the Ducks in this Associated Press photo) and Taylor Rochestie.
Bennett on the free throws: “They were all pretty true, actually. There weren’t any that were rattling around. Those are pretty soft rims, too, if you hit the front they usually fall in.”
On Oregon’s late rally: “After the two technicals on coach (Ernie) Kent, the wind kind of shifted. They made a mad run at us.” Part of the reason, Bennett added, was the Cougars haven’t had much practice trying to hold a big lead against a decent team. “We haven’t been in that spot much,” he said.
On what helped the Cougars hold off Oregon: “Aron’s controversial 3, that was big for us.” And then there were a couple plays by Rochestie: “Taylor stepped up and hit those two big 3s when we flattened it out,” he said, meaning when WSU left Rochestie alone at the top of the key and the other four players hugged the baseline, making it hard for the Ducks to help.
After praising the athleticism of DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers, which led to some key blocked shots, Bennett also added people underestimate Baynes’ ability in that area. “Aron’s more vertical than people think,” Bennett said.
Finally, when trying to explain how come the Cougars are winning now, Bennett said, “Maybe we learned from those tough losses.”
Rochestie was reminded about his 3-pointer over Joevan Catron and how it was almost a mirror image of one he made last year in crunch time against the Ducks. “It flashed through my head,” Rochestie admitted, saying he was thinking about last year’s shot as he dribbled the shot clock away. “I knew I couldn’t give him the same move, he was probably waiting for it.”
The importance of the free-throw shooting wasn’t lost on Rochestie. “I knew it was going to come down to making a lot of free throws,” he said. “It’s important to help close down the game.”
Our last quote comes from Baynes, who praised the defense – to a point. “It was good for 37 minutes, then those last 3 minutes, they just started hitting everything they put up.”
• Now to the links. We had our story from today’s S-R, though you can find a lot more here. Thanks to the early game time in Eugene, and the late one in Corvallis, Seattle Times’ Husky writer Bob Condotta was able to cover both. Here is his WSU gamer. Freelancer Howie Stalwick was also in Eugene, and he had this story in the Tacoma News Tribune and other West Side papers. The Register-Guard’s Bob Clark had his game story and the paper’s columnist, George Schroeder, had this excellent column about Saturday and beyond.
It was a strange day in the Pac-10, with Washington moving into a tie for first place with its victory over Oregon State, Arizona State rallying down the stretch to overcome UCLA and USC putting another nail in Arizona’s coffin. Then there was Mike Montgomery’s tough night in Stanford. For more on the conference weekend, you can check out Nick Daschel’s take here and the Oregonian’s blog.
• There is some football news as well. The Times’ high school writer Tom Wyrwich looked at the state’s top players and where they’ve said they’re headed for college. The winner this year? Yes, Washington State. You can find his story here. The P-I also ran a football-related story, this one from the Associated Press concerning the Husky’s stadium plans. Finally, Buster Sports’ Daschel rates the fall Pac-10 football schedules. He has WSU’s ninth.
• That’s it for today. We’ll be back tomorrow with whatever we can find on the holiday. Till then …