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ASU upset, the day after

COUGARS

As I peruse the Pac-10’s tie-breaker rules, trying to see how Washington State could avoid the Wednesday play-in games, I was reminded of the last piece of furniture I tried to put together. You know, the one with the instructions that state “put tab A into slot F, twist until you hear a crack, then throw the whole thing in the trash because it’s a piece of junk.” Remember putting stuff like that together? Well, as far as I can tell, unless the Cougars defeat UW next Saturday in Seattle, there’s little chance for them to finish in the top six. USC and Oregon State – now, the Beavers losing tonight in Eugene would help immensely – play each other next week and the team that wins that game more than likely will have the tiebreaker edge on WSU. And that’s the Cougars main problem. In just about every case, everybody they are battling for the last of top six spots, Arizona, USC and Oregon State, holds the tierbreaker edge over them. Still there are a lot of variables that will be cleared up after next Thursday’s games, so it makes more sense to go into more detail then. Just remember this, the Cougars still have a shot at missing the Wednesday games. But it will take a few things happening. Read on for our next-day coverage of the Senior Day win over ASU.

••••••••••

• We posted our unedited story last night here, and that contains some information you won’t find anywhere else. But here is the version that ran in the S-R this morning along with the best piece of the day, John Blanchette’s column. Enjoy both. … From freelancer Howie Stalwick, there is this story that ran in the News Tribune and other West Side papers. The Times and other papers used the Associated Press story from Nick Geranios. … From Arizona, here’s Doug Haller’s piece from the Arizona Republic. … Now let’s tool around the Pac-10, starting in Seattle, where the Huskies clinched a tie for the conference title with their victory over Arizona. … UCLA helped the Cougars – the second Pac-10 tiebreaker after head-to-head is wins over teams at the top of the conference, so the higher a team you defeated finishes, the better shot you have – and themselves with a victory at Cal. … And Stanford really helped by rallying past a fading USC. … The Oregonian has its usual Pac-10 roundup.

• OK, let’s get to the players and coaches comments. There are a few.

• Taylor Rochestie, after being jokingly asked if he missed the free throws on purpose: “Definitely not. You could tell by the look on my face after the free throws I couldn’t have been more frustrated.”

• What the Cougars told themselves after Harden’s deflating free throws: “Just keep going, any means necessary, however we can win.”

• His thoughts after the shot went through: “Saw my mom over there passed out in the front row, my dad, my brother. It was an unbelievable experience at home. … It was kind of by any means necessary. However that ball was going to get in, it had to go in. So when I shot it, I was just hoping and praying.”

• The key aspect of the win: “The younger guys on this team won the game for us. It wasn’t the last shot, the defense did it. They played just unbelievable.”

• What he thinks in those situations: “I just wanted to make the right play. Luckily enough, that was the right play.”

• Klay Thompson on whether it was the right shot: “I was happy with whatever shot he took, because it would be a good one. Obviously it was because he made. It was incredible.”

• Thompson said his first thought was to get back on defense because there were 2 seconds left. When asked, jokingly, if he was saying Rochestie took the shoot too soon, Thompson laughed, answered no and said: “Perfect timing.”

• Nik Koprivica on Rochestie’s winner: “He deserved it because he’s given this program so much. He missed those two free throws, I felt bad for him, so I was like, ‘please go in.’ And he got it. I was so happy for him.”

• The nature of the contest: “It was really physical game.”

• Aron Baynes on playing ASU: “We knew it was going to be a tough, scrappy game. That’s the way we always play them.”

• Coach Tony Bennett on Rochestie: “I know he was sick about how he missed a free throw and a couple things down the stretch, but what a way to end.”

• The last possession: “We just said if you get it, we’re going to rush down. If we get the ball there will be a 12-second difference at worst, just push down the floor and not let their defense get set.”

• The nature of the game: “This was the opposite of UCLA. I thought we toughened up and played some defense when the offense was struggling.”

• What he really liked: “What I’m almost most proud of is our defense, for the most part, is what won it for us. That’s the way these guys came in, and that’s the way they’re going out, at least at Friel Court.”

• James Harden’s game: “He had a game similar to Taylor, he made the big shot when he needed to.”

• Always loquacious ASU coach Herb Sendek on WSU’s defense on Harden: “They do a good job defensively, but he’s a good player.”

•••

• That’s it for now. We’ll be back if events warrant it. By the way, with the Cougars not playing until Saturday, some of the usual events of the week, like Bennett’s press conference, have been moved back a day. Our schedule will change accordingly. Until then …


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