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Archive for January 2010

Day after USF

OK, I was able to get some work done on the flight from Oakland to SeaTac. WIth a short break here at SeaTac, I’ve got a few minutes to post the day-after San Francisco post. First, the links:The S-R gamer (a longer version was posted last night — see prior post for that one), A.P., San Francisco Chronicle and roundups of all WCC games from Saturday night can be found here.

 Read on.

WSU loss at UW, the next day

COUGARS

Before the game, I turned to Howie Stalwick and pointed to my note pad. On it was something I rarely, if ever do: a prediction of the final score. I had UW winning by 15. Boy was I ever wrong. The 92-64 shellacking (gotta love that word) by the Dawgs was hard to envision before the game and even harder to see at halftime. But it happened. We have some thoughts about how it came about along with links to chronicles of what occurred. Read on.

Dons end GU’s nine-game winning streak

Back with the unedited game story from Gonzaga’s 81-77 overtime loss to San Francisco. You can read it below.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a day-after post.

Vandals nip Seattle U

Idaho may be starting to put things together. The Vandals hit key crunch-time free throws to hold off Seattle University 87-85 at KeyArena, their second win in a row after six straight losses. UI has settled into a nice offensive balance in wins over Fresno State and Seattle. Tonight it got 13 or more points from four players, led by Steffan Johnson’s 18 points. Mac Hopson had nine points and 11 assists before fouling out. Hopson, however, had seven of UI’s 24 turnovers.

The Vandals (10-10) sank 23 of 31 free throws, and connected on seven of eight in the final 28.8 seconds. They play at Utah State and Boise State next week before hosting Nevada on Feb. 10.

Eags blow big lead, fall to PSU

Eastern Washington blew a 14-point second half lead and suffered a crushing 85-77 loss to Portland State at Reese Court on Saturday night.

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

Zags fall in overtime

Gonzaga has been in seven close to semi-close WCC games. After winning the first six, the Bulldogs dropped the seventh, a 81-77 overtime decision to USF on Saturday night at War Memorial Gym.

Dior Lowhorn, whose 3-pointer forced overtime, hit two more 3s in the extra session and Angelo Caloiaro added another trey. Lowhorn’s second 3 put the Dons in front 73-71 and Caloairo’s 3 made it 76-72.

Elias Harris led Gonzaga with 21 points and Matt Bouldin added 15, six in overtime. GU made just 4 of 8 free throws in overtime. Lowhorn’s 22 points paced USF.

Back with the game story in about 90 minutes.

Gonzaga, USF going OT

San Francisco’s Dior Lowhorn made the most of a second opportunity, hitting a 3-pointer seconds after missing from roughly the same spot, to tie the score with 9.8 seconds left. Steven Gray was short on a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left and USF’s Dontae Bryant’s 75-foot fling hit backboard and iron but didn’t drop at the buzzer.

So, we’re going to overtime, tied at 67 at the end of regulation.

Bulldogs up seven at break

Gonzaga used a 14-4 run in the middle of the first half to take a 33-26 lead over San Francisco at intermission.

The Bulldogs took the lead for good, 14-12, on Elias Harris’ transition layup with 14:53 left. The margin grew to five on Matt Bouldin’s 6-foot bank shot and nine on Robert Sacre’s dunk with 7:24 left.

San Francisco scored the next six points, but Gonzaga countered with eight of the last 12 points, capped by Steven Gray’s bank shot with 46 ticks left.

Harris scored eight points, Sacre seven and Demetri Goodson six. Grant Gibbs (four points) gave GU its only bench points. Rashad Green led USF with nine points, but the Dons starting frontcourt of Tomas Bruha and leading scorer Dior Lowhorn each picked up three fouls.

The Bulldogs made 15 of 31 shots (48.4 percent), but just 1 of 7 free throws. The Dons hit 10 of 24 shots (41.7 percent).

More at the buzzer.

Chiefs’ win Friday

The Spokane Chiefs continue to struggle at home, losing to Kootenay 4-3. The unedited game story is below.

Here is last night’s Chiefs’ win, covered for top-notch correspondent Jason Shoot while I was courtside in Pullman. My mistake.

Bowman gets record, Zags roll

It was a big day for the Gonzaga women’s basketball team and a bigger day for Heather Bowman, who became the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorer. Meanwhile the Zags had a splendid second half to beat San Francisco 93-53 in a game that was interesting for 25 minutes.

The unedited game story is below. In other news, Portland State ended Eastern Washington’s run and Portland turned back Santa Clara. In both games, local products led the way. Kelli Valentine (Mead) had 16 for PSU, with Lexi Bishop (Shadle Park) also scoring in double figures, while Tara Cronin (Gonzaga Prep) paced Portland with 17.

WSU done in by second half


COUGARS

Headed to Sea-Tac to catch my flight home. On the link you’ll find my unedited game story, which probably has more in common with the way WSU played in the second half than the first. Read on.

UW routs WSU, 92-64


COUGARS

If you watched, you saw what happened. The Cougars combined their worst defensive half of the season with an offense that became more and more selfish as the clock ran down. The result was a blowout, to say the least. UW outscored WSU 56-24 in the last 20 minutes. Quincy Pondexter, attacking from the high post against the Cougars’ 2-3 zone, led everyone with 29 points. But he wasn’t alone. Isaiah Thomas started stroking it from the outside in the second half and finished with 19. The Huskies got their fast break going – fueled by WSU missing consecutive shots to open the second half along with a handful of turnovers – and just kept pulling away. WSU went almost 7 minutes without a basket to open the half and trailed 55-42 (a 19-2 UW run) before DeAngelo Casto scored on a post move. Nik Koprivica had 13 points and 11 rebounds in his last Hec Ed appearance while Xavier Thames had a career-high 14 in his first. We’ll be back in a couple hours.

WSU leads 40-36 at half


COUGARS

The first half was basically split in half. The Cougars, taking advantage of UW’s aggressiveness on defense, scored three times on back cuts. That made UW basket aware and led to wide-open looks from 3. Nik Koprivica, making his first start of the season, took advantage, hitting three 3-pointers. On the other end, WSU’s 2-3 zone slowed the Huskies to a crawl, with UW unable to hit from the outside. Read on for more.

WSU’s Wulff can’t wait for Wednesday


COUGARS

With football letter-of-intent day coming up Wednesday, we had some time this week to look at Washington State’s recruiting. I talked with WSU coach Paul Wulff as he was riding down the highway in California, where he’s spent a lot of time this past offseason. It’s seemingly paid off, what with 14 players from the state having already given WSU a commitment. The Cougar coach didn’t talk specifics – he can’t until the players sign – but he did talk about the process and how he felt it went. Read on for the unedited version of the story that will appear in Sunday’s paper.

Game time approaches for WSU


COUGARS • UPDATED: 12:20 P.M.

Student sections pride themselves on being able to get into the head of the opponents. The UW group is no different. Marcus Capers told me some of the antics the group did last season and how it made him laugh. But one of the pranks this year wasn’t funny. Read on for that and our look at the game.

• UPDATE: Klay Thompson won’t be starting today. He was late for a team activity yesterday and will be benched as per team rules. Xavier Thames will replace the Pac-10’s leading scorer in the lineup. Nik Koprivica is also replacing Abe Lodwick, though that is a coaching decision, not due to discipline.

WSU hopes to rain on UW’s home streak


COUGARS

Two things you can count on in Seattle this time of year: It will be raining (it is) and the Huskies will play tough at home (they are). It’s game day, so let’s get to it. Read on.

Huskies, again

Washington managed to survive, in overtime, to beat Washington State for the 29th straight time in women’s basketball, despite a spirited crowd of 2,065 at Friel Court. The unedited game story follows.

WSU ready for the road


COUGARS

The Huskies may be well down the Pac-10 standings, but, other than an inexplicable loss to Oregon, have been a force to reckon with at home. That’s the subject of our advance for tomorrow’s S-R. The unedited version is on the link, so read on.

Day after Santa Clara

OK, back with a short notebook that will run in Saturday’s S-R. And at the bottom more items to complete my day-after Santa Clara post. The links: S-R gamer early edition and late edition, San Francisco and Contra Costa Times. Find recaps of the four WCC games Thursday here.

Read on.

 

Bulldogs roll

The Gonzaga women had no problems on Thursday night with Santa Clara, other than missing a few layups. Heather Bowman is five points shy of the school scoring record. I don’t know if it says more about Gonzaga or the other West Coast Conference teams when a lead can be 30 before the league’s all-time leading scorer gets to double figures and a dozen-points-a-game scorer (Katelan Redmon) can sit out with a minor injury. We’ll slip over the San Francisco game to watch Bowman add another record to her growing list. Tip-off is 2 p.m. Saturday.

Tonight it’s Washington at Washington State, FSN at 5 p.m. The only other news comes out of Tennessee, where Spokane native Angie Bjorklund broke out of her shooting slump in a big way.

A Pac-10 Thursday without WSU


COUGARS

A busy night, and a rare one, in the Pac-10 last evening. The busy part comes from the four games. The rare part comes from both Oregon teams winning on the same night. Hasn’t happened much recently (once last year, once in 2007). The atypical occurrence has scrambled the Pac-10 standings once again, though Cal is two games up on the main pack. The only team within one, Arizona, will host the Bears on Saturday. Enough rambling. Let’s get right to it.

Bulldogs rally for 71-64 win

Back with the expanded game story. You can read the unedited version below and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Vandals break through vs. Fresno

After six straight WAC losses, all but two by single digits, the Vandals broke through for a 74-59 victory over Fresno State. Read on for my game story.

Gonzaga down 38-33 at half

Gonzaga sputtered at both ends of the court, falling behind Santa Clara 38-33 at half.

The turnover-prone Bulldogs trailed by as many as 10, but closed within 36-33 on Steven Gray’s 3-pointer with 55.6 seconds left. Robert Smith made a tough 10-footer over Elias Harris with 27 seconds left to give SCU a 38-33 lead at the break.

Gonzaga had 12 turnovers in the first half, which essentially offset its 12-of-24 shooting (50 precent) from the field. GU only had 11 turnovers against Loyola Marymount and 10 versus Pepperdine during last week’s home stand.

The Bulldogs’ offense again relied on Matt Bouldin (12 points), Harris (10) and Gray (7). Outside of those three, the only other Zags to score were Will Foster and Robert Sacre, both with two points.

Santa Clara, which made 12 of 25 shots, was led by reserve forward Niyi Harrison’s nine points.

Check back just after the buzzer for another update.

 

A primer for UI-Fresno State

Thankfully for the Idaho men’s basketball team, it only had a couple days to reflect on Monday’s heartbreaker against Boise State. Read on for more about upcoming games (including tonight vs. Fresno State at the Dome).

We also have a couple football-related links for you.

Big hockey post

There have been quite a few distractions lately, but we’ll play catchup on the Western Hocke League now.

The Chiefs return home Friday night after a strange sequence of eight games on the road. They finished their swing through the Central Division by winning two of three. If memory serves, that’s four wins in six games. Then after a week off the Chiefs win at Tri-City (3-2), which has the best record in the league, only to lose at Everett (3-2) and Kamloops (8-1), with a nice feature on Spokane’s Tyler Johnson. The Chiefs bounced back with a 4-1 at Chilliwack on Wednesday (game story below).

A couple of interesting notes from Alan Caldwell’s blog. The big one is the stretch run, which points out in the West the Chiefs have the toughest remaining schedule but the most home games. The other is how teams have fared since the trade deadline.

Zags, Broncos await tip

I have about 10 minutes before I board my flight from SeaTac to Oakland on my way to Gonzaga’s game against Santa Clara tonight. Love those 8 p.m. starts!

On the S-R’s Four Corners page, there’s a couple of brief, Zag-related notes on Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin here and find a short preview of GU-SCU here. Sorry, my connection isn’t quick enough to surf the visiting media outlets for their previews. 

A Thursday without a WSU game


COUGARS

Everyone in the Pac-10 has a game tonight, everyone except WSU and Washington, of course. Which means there are a lot of stories about everyone in the Pac-10, everyone except WSU and Washington, of course. Read on.

WSU’s Moore ready for Huskies


COUGARS

One game this week. In Seattle. Against UW. A place Reggie Moore would have been happy to attend coming out of Rainier Beach High, when he didn’t feel he wanted to leave home. But he had already committed to Fresno State, was stuck and went to a prep school in New Hampshire. Now he’s in Pullman. We talked with Moore this week and we have a piece for tomorrow’s paper. Read on for the story.

No Seattle game in 2010 for WSU


COUGARS

Wondering which game on the football schedule will be played in Seattle this fall? Well wonder no longer. There won’t be one this season. Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk said Wednesday that the school couldn’t work out the logistics for a Seattle game. The Cougars will return to Qwest Field in 2011, however, as an agreement has been reached to play UNLV in the home of the Seahawks. Read on for our short story.

This and that from WSU


COUGARS

It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? We’re still seven months from a football game, but there’s only a week until most fans think the season – or seasons – will be a success or not. Yes, a week from today those all-important football letters of intent will start flooding in and “experts” will be all over the airwaves telling us who signed the best players. Then three years from now someone we never heard of on LOI day will win the Outland Trophy. But that’s for next week. Today, we have some basketball items. Read on.

Bone talks about his WSU team


COUGARS

Washington State took the day off practice today, but that doesn’t mean it was an empty few hours. Coach Ken Bone held his two teleconferences this morning, and we have a summary on the link. Read on.

Cougar women prepare for Huskies

The women’s basketball notebook (below) takes a quick look at Washington State with the Huskies visiting Pullman for a televised game on Friday.

Eastern’s Kyla Evans is the Big Sky Player of the Week and Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot was recognized by the West Coast Conference.

WSU earns a day of rest


COUGARS

Like any Tuesday, this one will start slowly, with just a few links, then build momentum, what with WSU coach Ken Bone’s presser this morning and the Pac-10 media call. But then it will stop completely, as the Cougars have the day off from practice, which is probably a good thing, as they looked a little tired at times this weekend in LA. We’ll use the time wisely, gathering information for another beat we will be covering this spring, college baseball. But that’s for another post. Read on for WSU and Pac-10 news.

Report: Idaho offers Akey new deal

According to the Idaho Stateman, Idaho AD Rob Spear has offered football coach Robb Akey a new deal and is waiting to hear back on the deal. Akey led the Vandals to an 8-5 season and an Humanitarian Bowl victory. He has been occupied by recruiting, which wraps up Feb. 3.

Crazy happenings in Moscow

It was an unbelievable ending here in Cowan Spectrum, where Idaho failed to hold onto a nine-point lead late in the game after Boise State’s Anthony Thomas stunned the crowd with a buzzer-beating 3 to send the game into OT. The Broncos wound up winning 77-67, prompting lots of frustration on the Vandal sideline.

Read on for my game story.

Half: BSU 25, Idaho 22

Boise State and Idaho spent most of the first half in terrible shooting droughts and chucking the ball to the wrong team, which led to a low-scoring 20 minutes of action. BSU leads 25-22 after trailing 12-5 inside the 9-minute mark. The Vandals shot just 27 percent and were led by Luiz Toledo’s six points. UI and BSU have combined for 21 turnovers.

Check back after the game for more.

Vandals, Broncos ready to tip

Before Idaho’s biggest home game of the year starts, I wanted to check in and offer a few pregame observations. The student section is already packed and yelling obscenities at BSU, and it should be the biggest crowd of the year here at Cowan Spectrum. The game is on ESPNU if you’re interested. You can also follow my updates on Twitter if you like. Read on.

Zag notes

I touched on a variety of subjects — the Super Bowl, GU’s defense, a health update and how closely the Bulldogs follow the national rankings — in a notebook i just filed for Tuesday’s S-R.

Read on for the unedited version.

GU up to 8th, 13th

Gonzaga’s 2-0 WCC week propelled the Bulldogs up a couple spots in both polls — to No. 8 in ESPN/USA Today and No. 13 in A.P.

Saint Mary’s received two votes in A.P. and 11 votes in ESPN/USA Today. Two of the three teams the Zags lost to are ranked above them by A.P.: No. 5 Michigan State and No. 8 Duke. The other, Wake Forest, received enough votes to be in the top 30 of both polls.

Media day this afternoon. I’ll check back in later.

Monday morning around WSU


COUGARS

An interesting Monday morning … and not just because it’s snowing/raining in Spokane. No, it’s interesting on a couple of fronts, with basketball news from around the West Coast and football news out of Eugene. Read on.

Day after LMU

After being a dad for most of the morning (and for the rest of the day), I’ve put together the day-after post from Gonzaga’s 85-69 win over LMU on Saturday. Here’s the S-R gamer and photos.

Read on for more.

WSU’s UCLA loss, the day after

COUGARS

Not only did Saturday’s loss at UCLA – the Bruins first win on a Saturday this season – deny Washington State a rare sweep in Los Angeles, it also denied the Cougars a chance to ensure a winning record in the Pac-10 Conference’s first half. Now, for that to happen, WSU must travel to Seattle and defeat the Huskies in Hec Ed. That’s all. Pretty simple, huh? We have some notes, links and thoughts from Saturday’s defeat, so go ahead and read on.

Zags complete 2-0 homestand

Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s 85-69 win over scrappy Loyola Marymount on Saturday. You can find the unedited version below and check back tomorrow for my day-after post.

USU douses Idaho, gives Morrill No. 500

The Idaho Vandals lost for the fifth straight time Saturday night, scoring just 18 points in the second half of a 60-48 loss to Utah State. But it wasn’t so much about their off-kilter performance as it was Utah State’s brilliant defense and precise execution. The Aggies are exceptionally well coached by Stew Morrill, who collected win No. 500 against his old assistant. Read on for more.

Zags defeat LMU, 85-69

The big three of Elias Harris (22 points), Matt Bouldin (19) and Steven Gray (18) helped Gonzaga break away from a halftime tie and register an 85-69 WCC victory over Loyola Marymount on Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga led by seven early and by nine late in the first half but the scrappy Lions battled back, using Vernon Teel’s 16 points to forge a 42-42 tie at the break.

Gonzaga scored the first eight points of the second half and eventually opened up a 74-57 lead on Matt Bouldin’s dunk with 8:15 remaining. LMU quickly scored the next nine points, but the Bulldogs responded with five free throws and Gray converted a one-handed dunk off a pass from Robert Sacre to restore GU’s lead to 81-67.

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs, winners of eight straight, improved to 16-3 overall, 5-0 in the WCC. LMU, led by Teel’s career-high 26 points and Drew Viney’s 20, dropped to 10-11, 1-4.

Game story in about 2 1/2 hours.

Half: USU 35, Idaho 30

The Vandals trailed by as many as 10 points early against Utah State but clawed back thanks to the stellar play of three players — Marvin Jefferson, Kashif Watson and Steffan Johnson. The trio has 25 of Idaho’s 30 points.

Utah State has feasted on offensive boards and the inside play of Nate Bendall and others.

WSU can’t zone in, loses to UCLA


COUGARS

Is it as goes Klay Thompson, so goes WSU? It was Saturday, as Thompson struggled mightily against a UCLA zone defense that was keyed to stop him (see the comment from Tyler Honeycutt in the game story) and only Reggie Moore came to his rescue. We have the game story, in its unedited version on the link. Tomorrow, we’ll put out our usual day-after post, with lots of notes, thoughts and comments..

WSU loses, 74-62


COUGARS

Patience is never a strong suit of the young and it certainly wasn’t Saturday afternoon for WSU. UCLA’s matchup zone demanded patience and accurate shooting and the Cougars had neither, though the former may have led to the latter. Even when WSU showed patience in the second half, ball movement was lacking. And Klay Thompson wasn’t there to bail them out. Or, more accurately, his shot wasn’t there. The sophomore, the Pac-10’s leading scorer, the nation’s sixth-leading scorer, a 45.8 percent shooter, struggled all day, finishing 5 of 17, including 2 of 9 beyond the arc. He had 13 points, a little more than half his average. Reggie Moore led the way with 24 points. WSU shot 35.6 for the game, but it seemed like than that. We’ll be back in a coupl hours.

WSU trails UCLA 30-27 at half


COUGARS

Well that was interesting. The pace of the first half was glacial at times, as both teams emphasized transition defense and retreated into zones – the entire half for UCLA, much of the middle for WSU. That pace made it hard for the Bruins to pull away, despite playing markedly better. The Cougars had a couple chances to lead after falling behind by five in the first 5 minutes. But an offensive drought late – WSU went more than 3 minutes without scoring – allowed the Bruins to build a nine-point lead. A couple of 3-pointers by Nik Koprivica and Klay Thompson helped the Cougars crawl back to the halftime margin. … Thompson is the focal point of UCLA’s 2-3 matchup and it’s worked. The sophomore has just six points on 1-of-8 shooting. Reggie Moore has taken up the slack with 12 points, but that’s it, as DeAngelo Casto has not scored – and played just over half the time. Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, who beat UW with a late jumper Thursday, leads UCLA with eight points. We’ll be back after the game.

New era for WSU, UCLA?


COUGARS

Remember the recent Washington State vs. UCLA match-ups since Ben Howland’s arrived in Westwood? And how most of them finished in the 50s or low 60s? Then there was the 82-81 game here last February. And the dynamic has changed. With Ken Bone taking over at WSU and the Bruins’ defense leaving the building, we might see another game like we saw here last year. Or maybe not. Read on.

WSU hopes sweep is a slam dunk


COUGARS

When Washington State headed off to Southern California this weekend, the second half of the trip probably seemed easier, what with UCLA coming off a beatdown from USC at home. But that was so last week. Now the Bruins look like a tough out, after playing well in their zone and taking down supposedly red-hot Washington on Thursday night. If there is one thing we’ve learned thus far this Pac-10 season, though, is that the last game’s results aren’t a great predictor of today’s games. We look at them all on the link, so read on.

Idaho tangles with Aggies

A year ago this weekend, the Vandals were 8-10 — two games worse in the loss column than they sit right now. But why does it feel so different around Moscow this time? It’s all about expectations, and a four-game losing streak.

Read on for more on where Idaho stands heading into this evening’s home game with Utah State, the first of three straight at Cowan Spectrum.

UPDATE: There will be a parade for the UI football team in celebration of its Humanitarian Bowl victory starting at 2 p.m. in downtown Moscow. A trophy presentation will take place at halftime of the basketball game.

Pac-10 is a home away from home for Serbians


COUGARS

We have a short feature for you on the Simpsons-handful of Serbians in the Pac-10, all named Nikola. We talked with WSU’s, sixth-man Nik Koprivica. Read on.

Harris makes immediate impact at GU

As mentioned before, I put together a feature earlier this week on Elias Harris that was supposed to run Thursday, but has been pushed back to Saturday’s S-R. There’s also a sidebar with German national team coach Dirk Bauermann weighing in on Harris’ future plans.

Both unedited versions are below in cut-and-paste form.

Purvis and Garcia

I forgot to mention this when the Shock signed WR Robert Redd earliier this week. Spokane has traded Neil Purvis, a defensive lineman who played a key role in the Shock’s ArenaCup championship run in 2006, to Jacksonville for future considerations. Spokane signed Purvis a while ago, but he had reservations about reporting and wanted to stay closer to home on the East Coast.

Here’s an update from the Shock’s open tryout last week in Los Angeles.

Also, former WSU quarterback Aaron Garcia, a mainstay in the old AFL, has signed with Jacksonville.

Day after Pepperdine

As coaches say frequently, there is no such thing as a bad win. Along those lines, some wins aren’t as fulfilling as others and Gonzaga’s 91-84 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday probably falls in that category.

First, the links: S-R gamer, John Blanchette column, S-R photos and A.P. Here’s an Oregonian article on Portland’s easy win over Loyola Marymount, which visits Gonzaga on Saturday. The Pilots were without Nik Raivio (strained Achilles’) and LMU was missing Jarred DuBois (dehydration) and Drew Viney was ineffective in his first game back from a leg injury. Find recaps of San Diego’s loss to Saint Mary’s here and here.

Read on for more in my day-after post.

WSU ecstatic about beating USC


COUGARS

We don’t want to waste your time, so let’s get right to it. By shooting 56 percent in the second half, including its last eight shots, WSU was able to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit and get past USC last night in LA. As you could expect, this made the Cougar pretty happy. The locker room was pretty loud. Even Klay Thompson showed some emotion, smiling and pumping a fist after his 15-footer gave WSU a 64-58 lead with about a minute left. We have more, so read on.

WSU rallies for big Pac-10 win


COUGARS

Of all the non-televised games this season, this was probably the one that should have been shown in the Northwest. After playing ugly – put that on USC, it makes everyone play ugly – in the first half, trailing 34-24, and continuing that trend early in the second, WSU woke up. And basically just battled to a victory. We have our game story on the link, so read on.

Gonzaga alone on top of WCC

The Bulldogs beat Pepperdine 91-84 Thursday in a game that turned into a second-half shootout. The Waves, behind Keion Bell’s 34-point half, outscored GU 55-50 in the final 20 minutes, but the Bulldogs built up a big enough lead in the first half to hold off Pepperdine.

GU is 4-0 and alone in first place in the WCC. Saint Mary’s is 4-1 and Pepperdine dropped to 3-1. LMU, 1-3 in conference, visits Gonzaga on Saturday.

Read on for my unedited game story and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

 

WSU battles back, wins 67-60


COUGARS

To win on the road, even in a down year in the Pac-10, it would seem WSU needs to play as close to perfect as it can. Thursday night the Cougars were not even close and yet they won. They overcame a 15-point second-half deficit and pulled out a big win at the Galen Center over a USC team that is playing the regular season as its post season, which in a sense it is. Offensively, Reggie Moore (21 points), Klay Thompsn (20) and Nik Koprivica (13) led the way. And this one, though frightfully ugly, had the feel of the postseason, with physical play, late clutch performances and key calls playing a big role in the outcome. More in about 90 minutes.

USC leads WSU 34-24 at the half


COUGARS

As I prepared to write this halftime post, the first thing I did was examine the WSU season lows for points in a first half (25 vs. ASU) and shots made (six vs. Kansas State). They got the latter with eight, four from Klay Thompson and three by Reggie Moore. But the former, that fell as the Cougars’ offensive ineptitude (or was it USC’s defense?) resulted in the 24 first-half points. … WSU hit 8 of 24 shots (even my bad math tells me that’s 33 percent) while USC converted 13 of 31. … The Cougars reverted to their 2-3 match-up zone midway through the first half, but it didn’t really matter when the Trojans were able to get out run with abandon – by my count they had 12 fastbreak points – because WSU couldn’t take care of the ball, with eight turnovers, four of which directly to transition hoops. … At least the Cougars didn’t start slowly, leading 14-12 halfway through. But USC finished the half on a 22-10 run. We’ll be back at the end of the game.

Zags hold off Pepperdine, 91-84

Senior guard Matt Bouldin scored a career-high 32 points as Gonzaga built a big early lead and held off scrappy Pepperdine 91-84 Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center

No. 15 GU (15-3 overall) took sole possession of first place in the West Coast Conference at 4-0. Pepperdine dropped to 7-13, 3-1.

Gonzaga led by 10 (14-4) six and half minutes in and eventually led by 15 before settling for a 41-29 edge at intermission. The Waves made things interesting throughout the second half as sophomore guard Keion Bell poured in 34 of his career-high 37 points.

Elias Harris had 20 points and 13 boards for his fourth double-double of the season. Steven Gray added 20 points. 

Back with the game story in about 2 hours.

 

 

Can WSU get over the .500 mark?


COUGARS

Some thoughts from the Galen Center prior to the USC game, in which the Cougars will try to improve on their 3-3 Pac-10 record (and their 13-5 overall mark). I’ve noticed from comments that people believe they’ve found the game on TV. As far as I know, there is no TV broadcast at all. There are no announcers or cameras in the arena. As for other stuff, read on.

Eags get commitment from Stefo

Eastern Washington University’s football team has received an oral commitment from one of the top offensive linemen in the state of Colorado.

Christian Stefo, a 6-foot-6, 315-pound senior at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo., visited the EWU campus last weekend and confirmed on Thursday that he plans to sign a national letter of intent with the Eagles on Feb. 3.

“I liked the campus, the weather, the players, the coaches — everything about it,” Stefo said of his visit to Cheney.  “It seemed like the right place for me.”

Stefo, who also received scholarship offers from South Dakota, Northern Colorado, after helping lead Pomona to the State 5A title game and being named to the elite All-Colorado team that selects the best players at their positions, regardless of classification.

Harris and his eligibility

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve put together an article on Elias Harris that will likely run sometime later this week. As luck would have it, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News had a blog post today concerning Harris’ eligibility. The conclusion, with Wilner expressing skepticism along the way, was that Harris wasn’t paid and neither were his Speyer teammates, making him eligible immediately, according to Gonzaga and the NCAA eligibilty center.

During our interview Tuesday, Harris said he played for an amateur team in the third division so he could maintain his options of playing collegiately in the U.S. I asked GU assistant Tommy Lloyd, who was the primary recruiter on Harris, how Harris became a Zag (some of these comments will appear in the Harris article later this week):

“From when I played in Germany I had some coaching friends and there was a coach in his area that I keep in contact with named Torsten Daume,” Lloyd said. “I asked him if there were any kids in his area that were good prospects and he said, ‘There is one kid in a neighboring town that I wanted to sign on my team, but he doesn’t want to sign a contract. His name is Elias Harris.’ “

Lloyd went on to discuss watching Harris play in Germany within a week of that phone call.

I also spoke to Dirk Bauermann, Harris’ coach on the German national team, who is in town to watch Harris play tonight against Pepperdine. Said Bauermann: “It (Speyer) was strictly an amateur team. Third division is probably like an average to bad D-II team here.”

Bauermann said Harris had played for Germany’s junior national team, which exposed him to better players and coaching before moving up to the senior national team last summer. ”But the club (Speyer) team wasn’t all that good,” the coach said. “He did it to be able to play here (in U.S.) and not lose a year of eligibility.”

GU roundup

Back with some GU notes with tip-off against Pepperdine less than five hours away.

(Programming note: I’ve put together a feature on Elias Harris that was supposed to run in Thursday’s S-R. Instead, it’s been pushed back, possibly until Saturday or even next week. I spoke with Harris, several of his teammates and coaches, San Diego’s Billy Grier and Dirk Bauermann, Harris’ coach with the German national team. Per usual, I’ll post the article the day before it runs.)

Read on.

Thursday prep page

Here’s a quick post with stories from the prep page. I’m beginning three days of U.S.Figure Skating coverage followed by a one-week furlough. I’ll be back on the prep scene a week from Monday.

Click the tab below.

Pictured above is Christy Grorud of North Central at a gymnastics meet Wednesday.

Remembering Fitz

Ex-Gonzaga basketball coach Dan Fitzgerald, who died Tuesday night, was remembered in newspapers across the country. There were numerous worthy tributes to the man who entertained us with his stories and impressed us with his limitless generosity and compassion for anyone lucky enough to have met him.

Here’s the best of the best: John Blanchette’s column, and remarks from some of those closest to Fitz. Elsewhere, Ray Ratto was spot-on here, the Seattle Times, A.P. (via the Tacoma paper) and Kitsap Sun

Back later with some notes and more on Pepperdine.

Eastern’s turn in the spotlight

Taking a basketball break between figure skating stories I surfed over to ESPN and saw Charlie Creme’s bracketology and story. Holy smoke, Eastern Washington is in the field. Holy smoke, I forgot to blog my women’s notebook, with the Eagles, unbeaten in Big Sky Conference play, as the lead.

Shock add WR Redd

Spokane, already with an accomplished group of receivers on its roster, added another Wednesday in Robert Redd. He’s a three-year AFL veteran who also played three seasons in NFL Europe. He was on the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad in 2005.

More below.

WSU will try to weather LA trip


COUGARS

How often in January does one travel from Spokane, Wash., to Los Angeles, Calif., and arrive to much, much worse weather? Once, in my almost 30 years of doing just that. And this is the week. Left a clear, crisp 48-degree day in the Inland Northwest and replaced it with a 55-degree, storm-of-the-century day in the LA Basin. Noah weather. Mudslides, frogs, locusts. At least that’s what’s predicted. We’ll see. Read on for basketball news.

The passing of a GU legend

Dan Fitzgerald, described by his former assistant coach Dan Monson as the “founding father” of Gonzaga basketball, died Tuesday night at the age of 67. Fitzgerald, GU’s coach from 1978-97 (taking four years off to concentrate on his A.D. duties from 1981-85) apparently suffered a heart attack at an Airway Heights restaurant and was pronounced dead 40 minutes later at Deaconess Medical Center.

Fitzgerald was as charismatic as they come. I covered several Gonzaga-Idaho games in the 1990s and remember Fitz and/or his post-game comments as much as the games. After a blowout loss in Moscow, Fitz was asked if he saw any positives. He heard one: “I thought the band was outstanding,” he quipped. 

Reflecting on UI’s Orlando Lightfoot, who lit up Gonzaga for 50 points in a losing cause at the Kennel, Fitzgerald said: ”That was truly unbelievable. I think when we’re old men, we’ll get that tape out to watch it for fun; I’ve never seen a guy that hot. Our guys were just shaking their heads. One of them said, `Hey, I shut him down, he only got 14 when I was guarding him’.”

Nobody in the media knew Fitzgerald better than S-R columnist John Blanchette, who filed this story on Fitzgerald’s passing.

GSL boys follow form

Here’s our roundup of Greater Spokane League boys basketball games Tuesday.

Click the tab below to read the unedited version.

Bullpups trip up LC girls

UPDATED, 10:15 p.m.

The Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team, behind 63 points combined from Tia Presley and Lindsay Stockton, knocked off Lewis and Clark 75-71 on Tuesday.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story. I’ll check back later and add some notes that I couldn’t get into the newspaper because of tight space.

Harris sore, but expects to play

Media day this afternoon and I checked on Elias Harris and Matt Bouldin, both of whom took falls on separate plays in the second half of the San Diego game. Harris said he’s sore, but anticipates playing Thursday. Bouldin said his right hand was puffy on Monday, but was feeling better on Tuesday. 

Earlier in the day, I spoke to ex-Bulldog Andy Poling, who confirmed that he’ll be attending Seattle Pacific University (see previous post).

I put the injury update and Poling’s decision together for a short notebook that will run in Wednesday’s S-R. Read on for the unedited version below.

How they fared

The Associated Press bureau in Seattle just released lists on how the Washington boys and girls basketball teams in last week’s rankings fared over the weekend.

Click the tab below to see the lists.

WSU’s Bone expects to stay the course


COUGARS

A quick post on coach Ken Bone’s teleconference with the WSU coverage group. I was going to just post this as an update on the morning post, but decided to give the notes their own headline. Read on.

Poling chooses Seattle Pacific

Former Gonzaga forward Andy Poling has decided to transfer to Seattle Pacific University.

“I just think it should be a really good fit,” Poling said in a telephone interview from his home in Portland. “I really liked the coaching staff, they’re all really good guys and the team is really competitive, top 15 (in NCAA Division II) right now. I lived in Seattle until I was 9 or 10. It’s a great city and it’s a little closer to home. My family can come watch me and it’s a smaller school, and I really liked that about Gonzaga.”

Poling (No. 14 above) said he’ll enroll for spring quarter in March and he’ll have three seasons of eligibility.

The 6-foot-11 Poling played just 23 minutes in six appearances as a redshirt freshman this season before opting to transfer earlier this month. He also considered Portland State, Fresno State, Portland and Nevada before choosing SPU, which is coached by Central Valley High graduate Ryan Looney.

A little WSU, a lot of Pac-10


COUGARS

What were we talking about? Oh, ya, the WSU win over Stanford and the muddled state of Pac-10 basketball. Well, there’s not much more to say about the former until Ken Bone’s teleconference this morning. But there is a little bit to chew over concerning the latter, especially compared to yesterday morning when there was basically a barren landscape. Read on.

Bowman honored

I knew keeping up with the women’s basketball blog was going to be difficult with all figure skating all the time, but I can’t blame that on me being remiss. No, Friday night a virus ravaged my computer and I was lucky I was able to handle figure skating duties on Saturday. Providing any blog info was out of the question.

I picked up a new computer today and I am without contacts, book marks, any of the stuff that makes doing my job smoother. However, I know the readers won’t be denied, so here we go.

Starting off, congratulations to Heather Bowman, the WCC’s all-time leading scorer, which earned her her 10th Player of the Week honor, and to Eastern Washington, sitting first in the Big Sky Conference.

Monday prep thread

Here’s a thread to get the week started.

Click the tab below for more.

Catching up with hockey

I didn’t think it would be that hard to keep up - but I didn’t know a virus was going to claim my computer during the figure skating competition. I lost everything, including book marks and passwords. I lost so much stuff I don’t know what I lost.

But, back to reality. While watching novice pairs skating and trying to keep up, I found a great tale about the Tri-City Americans’ goalie and his one-day trip to the NHL, which I pasted below, courtesy of Gregg Drinnan’s blog. I haven’t found a link to the Chiefs’ 4-3 loss, although I’m still searching - and bingo, here it is and it wasn’t that hard when you remember what team they played (Did I lose a day, a team, a game somewhere during this figure skating competition?). One other thing to check out is Alan Caldwell’s blog and a comment/link to an incident involving the captain of Team Canada’s World Junior team.

Now, back to the the skaters who don’t check.

Zags up to 15th, 10th

Gonzaga continued to climb up the rankings, moving up to 15th in the A.P. poll and 10th in ESPN/USA Today. GU (14-3) moved up two spots in A.P. and four in the other poll. Saint Mary’s lost a few votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll, receiving 16 compared to 25 last week, after its home loss to the Bulldogs.

The Zags were No. 10 in ESPN/USA Today’s final regular-season poll last season and finished 13th after advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Bulldogs, winners of six straight, entertain Pepperdine on Thursday in a battle of teams tied with 3-0 WCC marks. Loyola Marymount visits Saturday.

(Programming alert: Media day is Tuesday).

Day after San Diego

Make that a long day after San Diego.

Adventures in travel, part 9,635: Up before 5 a.m., bumped off one flight for mechanical issues only to board another flight that was delayed 30 minutes by, you guessed it, mechanical issues. So I worked my way home through Seattle instead of Portland, put together this post on the first leg of the trip, but had to dash from the north satellite to the D gates at SeaTac and barely made my connection. My luggage made it, too. Back home, I can finally get this post, er, posted.

Read on for more from Gonzaga’s businesslike 68-50 win over San Diego on Saturday.

 

The Stanford win, day-after edition

COUGARS

So let’s see. If Oregon State could have found a way to pull out a victory at home yesterday, every team in the Pac-10 would have been either 3-2, 3-3 or 2-3. That would have been some nice symmetry if nothing else. But the darn Sun Devils ruined it by winning, moving themselves into an insurmountable (just kidding) half-game lead in the standings at 4-2. That 3-2, 3-3 or 2-3 thing? That applies to everyone else. Read on for our look back at Saturday’s games in the conference of does-anyone-want-to-be champions.

Zags pull away, 68-50

Back with the game story from Gonzaga’s 68-50 win over San Diego. Read on for the unedited version that will appear in Sunday’s S-R.

And check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Bears reel in weary Eagles

Eastern Washington suffered its second tough defeat in a little more than 24 hours Saturday night, losing to Big Sky Conference rival Northern Colorado 74-71 at Reese Court.

I’ve posted an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Sunday morning’s S-R below, but probably won’t have any additional day after quotes, because I’m scheduled for a long shift of covering the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Sunday.

Nevada hands UI fourth straight loss

The Vandals once again played an upper-echelon WAC team close on Saturday night, but nevertheless faltered for the fourth consecutive time in conference action. The Wolf Pack nipped Idaho 76-68, after recovering from a 10-point deficit. The Vandals are now 8-8 and 1-4 in the WAC.

UI coach Don Verlin started Kyle Barone ahead of Marvin Jefferson at the center spot (Barone responded with nine rebounds and four points) and benched reserve guard/wing Shawn Henderson for a violation of team rules. Afterward, Verlin had some strong comments, saying certain players were hard to coach and discipline was an issue.

Mac Hopson led the Vandals with 16 points and Steffan Johnson had 13. Kashif Watson mustered just two points on 1 of 8 shooting. More stats can be found here.

Gonzaga goes to 3-0 in WCC

In workmanlike fashion, Gonzaga defeated San Diego 68-50 on Saturday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

The Bulldogs, who led by nine at half, stretched it to 15 early in the second before the Toreros pulled within seven. GU (14-3, 3-0 WCC) steadily pulled away and led by double digits for the last 8 minutes.

Elias Harris scored 20 points and Steven Gray added 17. Harris left the game for two minutes after taking a hard fall while pursuing an offensive rebound. He returned at the 3:45 mark and scored on GU’s next two possessions.

Demetri Goodson scored 12 points and had a team-high five assists. Rob Sacre had six points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and three assists.

De’Jon Jackson led USD with 14 points and Brandon Johnson had 13, but he made just 3 of 15 shots.

The Bulldogs made 53.2 percent fo their shots. USD shot 34.5 percent.

Check back for my game story in about two hours.

Bulldogs lead by nine at break

Gonzaga ran off 11 unanswered points late in the first half to take a 33-24 lead at half against San Diego.

The Bulldogs trailed 18-17, not coincidentally after allowing USD two offensive rebounds that led to De’Jon Jackson’s basket with 7:30 left. That was USD’s seventh offensive board to that point, but the Bulldogs kept the Bulldogs off the glass and scoreboard until Roberto Mafra’s putback with 1:30 left. By then, Gonzaga had taken a 10-point lead.

Elias Harris (11 points) and Demetri Goodson (10) fueled the Zags’ offense. The two also combined for five of Gonzaga’s nine assists.GU made 13 of 23 shots (56.5 percent), including 3 of 4 3-pointers. The Bulldogs were highly efficient when they weren’t committing turnovers — seven in the half.

Jackson led USD with eight points. The Toreros made just 11 of 30 shots (36.7 percent).

(Strange to see the Jenny Craig Pavilion with so many empty seats, but it’s probably twice as full compared to the 2,553 that watched San Diego lose to Portland on Thursday. The students don’t return to classes until Jan. 25th).

Back with an update at the final buzzer.

WSU plays another close one


COUGARS

From blowout to nail-biter in about 20 minutes. Such is the life of a young college basketball team. The bottom line, though, is WSU won, holding off Stanford and winning 77-73. The Cougars are 13-5, 3-3 in the Pac-10 and inching ever closer to a possible postseason appearance, in whatever tournament that may be. Read on for the unedited version of our game story.

WSU holds on 77-73


COUGARS

After leading by as many as 21 in the first half, WSU had to hold on against a Landry Fields-led comeback, a comeback helped immeasurably by a five-point possession for the Cardinal. That came on a Fields hoop-and-harm that drew a response by WSU coach Ken Bone – he slapped the scorer’s table with both hands – and a technical. That helped the Cardinal cut the lead to as little as two. But WSU’s Reggie Moore hit enough free throws to hold on. We’ll be back in about two hours with our story.

WSU leads 46-26 at half


COUGARS

It’s easy to see why Stanford is such a poor defensive team. Heck, the Cardinal couldn’t even guard the high screen and roll, giving up three DeAngelo Casto point-blank looks midway through the first half. It was part of a 21-5 stretch the Cougars had to build a 13-point lead. At one point in the half WSU was shooting almost 70 percent and that included three misses right at the hoop. … The lead got to 21 at a couple points mainly because the Cougars were playing the type of defense they need to play to be successful in the Pac-10 – aggressive (especially on ball screens) and physical. Let’s see if they can keep it up in the second half. … Landry Fields has five points, Klay Thompson 17 in their personal battle. … We’ll be back after the game.

Will WSU shoot down Stanford?


COUGARS

Consistent readers of my part of this blog during basketball season know I’m a pretty big fan of defense. And, if you’ve been reading a while, you now I’ve never felt how many points a team yields offers a clear picture of how a team plays defense. I’m more into field goal percentage defense among the mainstream statistics. Which is why I believe I have an inkling how today’s game will go. Read on.

Eags have no time to dwell on NAU loss

With Northern Colorado, the surprise team in the this year’s Big Sky Conference race, headed into Reese Court for tonight’s 7:05 men’s basketball matchup against Eastern Washington, the Eagles can’t spent much time trying to figure out what went wrong in Friday night’s 73-69 home loss to Northern Arizona.

But we do have some additional thoughts and postgame comments from Coach Kirk Earlywine and senior guard Benny Valentine below, along with some links to other related stories.

Read on.

January games don’t get more crucial for WSU


COUGARS

Really, it is only mid-January. But with three road games looming, including a trip to LA – never easy – and the rivalry with UW, if there ever was a must-win mid-January game for WSU, today just might be it. That’s if the Cougars want to make a run at the postseason. I’m pretty sure that’s a big priority around here. Read on.

Vandals in Reno

Very interesting game in store for tonight in Reno, Nev. The Idaho Vandals, picked fourth in the WAC preseason polls, have stumbled in late-game situations and lost three in a row. Nevada did a good bit of stumbling itself through the nonconference part of its schedule but is 9-1 at home after an overtime loss to Utah State.

Read on for more. Tipoff is set for 7:05.

NAU’s big finish flattens Eagles

Northern Arizona spoiled Eastern Washington’s return to Reese Court Friday night by outscoring the Eagles 11-2 in the final two minutes and posting a 73-69 Big Sky Conference men’s basketball win.

You can read an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Saturday’s S-R below, and be sure to check back tomorrow for more comments on the game, including those of senior guard Bennie Valentine, who is apparently out of Coach Kirk Earlywine’s doghouse.

Troxel resigns

No not that Troxel. Southridge football coach Andy Troxel resigned Thursday.

Click the tab below to read a story by Rene Ferran of the Tri-City Herald.

Wahl hat trick sparks Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs won their second straight game at a Central Division opponent as Mitch Wahl scored a hat trick in a 6-4 win at Lethbridge.

Dale Woodward of the Lethbridge Herald provided a story below.

Mead boys stop Shadle

Mead opened a big first-half lead, then had to hold on to thwart a rally in a 60-57 win over Shadle Park.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story and blurbs on the other boys games.

WSU’s Thompson faces a friend


COUGARS

Tomorrow’s game in Beasley will match the top two scorers in the Pac-10, Stanford’s Landry Fields and WSU’s Klay Thompson. We found out today the two worked out together over the summer, which helped Thompson share a scouting report with us. We have an unedited version of our feature on the link. Read on.

WSU hires offensive line coach


COUGARS

In one of the worst kept secrets around Pullman for a while, Steve Morton has agreed to become Washington State’s offensive line coach. Read on for our unedited story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

Northern Arizona next up for Eags

Eastern Washington University will try to build on the momentum generated by last weekend’s road win over Montana State when it entertains Big Sky Conference rival Northern Arizona at Reese Court.

The game tips off early than normal at 5:05 p.m., and we will post an unedited version of the game story that will appear in Saturday morning’s S-R right here later this evening.

You can read what EWU’s sports information department had to say about the game here; see what NAU’s sports information department published about tonight’s game here, and take a look at what else is happening around the Big Sky Conference here.

In addition, I’ve included this link to an interesting story that ran in Thursday’s Arizona Daily Sun, dealing with NAU coach Mike Adras’ attempt to put some pride back in the Lumberjacks program. 

Bowman called up

Former Chief Drayson Bowman, pictured above, gets called up to the NHL, the second player from the 2008 Memorial Cup to make it to The Show this week.

Just moments before the figure skating starts, I also wanted to share a story from Darren Steinke in the Medicine Hat News on Spokane defenseman Brett Bartman, who played his last WHL in his hometown of Medicine Hat on Wednesday.

The Chiefs play Lethbridge tonight, enjoy, and don’t hesitate to post scores, I can’t pick up the radio station in the Arena.

Zags day-after notebook

OK, a minor change of plans. The boss wanted a notebook in the aftermath of Gonzaga’s entertaining 89-82 win over Saint Mary’s on Thursday and we chose to tip it off with Elias Harris. So that’s what you’ll find below, in unedited form.

WSU’s loss to Cal, the next day


COUGARS

Boy it was hard to get going this morning. Think slow starts are rubbing off? Anyway, we’re up, we’re going and we’ve got links for you. Read on.

Gamer from GU-SMC

Just filed my Gonzaga game story. Read on for the unedited version and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

WSU starts slow, can’t recover


COUGARS

You didn’t get to watch it, but if you did, you would have been throwing your WSU foam brick at the TV in the first few minutes. Coach Ken Bone called it a “lackadaisical effort” and took the blame, but really it was the players’ fault. Whatever’s to blame, the Cougars started poorly, played well for long stretches, but were beaten by a more experienced and, this night at least, better team. We have our game story on the link.

WSU falls to Cal, 93-88


COUGARS

Cal had one run too many. The Bears sprinted in front early, had to do it again to start the second half, then held off WSU for the victory. The Cougars defense let them down, as they couldn’t get stops when they needed to. They especially couldn’t control Jerome Randle who, with 3:44 left, had hit more 3-point shots than WSU had as a team. He finished with more than 30 points. Once again, Klay Thompson struggled with his shot, missing many attempts short. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with our game story.

Gonzaga rolls; EWU alone in first

Another romp for the Gonzaga women, the unedited game story appears below.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington takes over sole possession of first in the Big Sky Conference; Washington State lost at No. 2 Stanford, and Idaho lost at Hawaii late Wednesday

There were some upsets in the Top 25, but not Tennessee, thanks to Angie Bjorklund, who overcame a tough not shooting with the game-winning layup. She talks about it and gets a pat on the back from her coach - quotes at the bottom.

Half: Gonzaga 45, Saint Mary’s 33

Freshman forward Elias Harris nearly had a double-double and Steven Gray packed his stat line as the Gonzaga Bulldogs raced to a 45-33 halftime lead over Saint Mary’s in steamy McKeon Pavilion on Thursday night.

Harris hit 6 of 9 shots, most within six feet of the hoop, en route to 16 points. He also had nine rebounds as GU dominated that category 27-14. Gray, coming off a subpar game against Portland, had nine points, six rebounds and five assists. Matt Bouldin added eight points.

Saint Mary’s never led and it was only tied once, at 10-all. Still, the Gaels were within 36-33, thanks to Matthew Dellavedova’s four 3-pointers and 15 points. But the Zags scored the last nine points of the half while holding Saint Mary’s scoreless over the final 4:30. Bouldin sandwiched five points around four by Harris as Gonzaga stretched its lead to 12.

Gonzaga made 59.4 percent of its shots. Saint Mary’s misfired repeatedly from close range, finishing the half at 34.3 percent (12 of 35). Center Omar Samhan, who entered the game as the WCC’s leading scorer at 20.8 points, didn’t score until 7:20 remained. He had six points at the break on 2-of-9 shooting.

Back at the buzzer with a quick post.

WSU trails 41-37 at the half


COUGARS

Talk about a possible TKO. Cal came out of the corner firing lefts and rights and down went the Cougars. But not for long. After trailing 28-8 with 12 minutes left, WSU turned up the defensive pressure – the Cougars had been pretty passive in their man and 3-2 zone they tried before – crawled off the floor and back into the game. It didn’t hurt that they started getting back on defense and took away the easy looks in transition – Cal hit four 3-pointers in transition in the first 6 minutes but none in the final 14. Cal was 17 of 32 in the first half (13 of its first 16), including 7 of 12 beyond the arc. Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson split 22 points, with Jamal Boykin adding 10. … The Cougars found the range, hitting 12 of their final 16 shots (including six consecutive at one point midway in the half), cutting the lead to four at halftime. WSU finished at 50 percent shooting, after starting 3 of 12. Still, the Cougars hit just 3 of 12 3-pointers. Reggie Moore had 10 for WSU, with seven others scoring. … It’s been a physical game but there have been just nine fouls called, with seven of those vs. Cal. We’ll be back at the end.

Pre-game GU-SMC

It’s probably not a promising sign for stressed writers on deadline when the game clock reads 20 minutes and it’s 7:45 already (meaning tipoff won’t take place at 8, or probably 8:10 for that matter).

Gonzaga is warming up, the crowd is beyond warmed up. The only Bulldog not taking part in pre-game drills is redshirt freshman guard Grant Gibbs. He’s suited up, but it sounds like he’s battling an illness.

More at halftime.

WSU’s Norrell leaves school


COUGARS

We have some football news for you before tonight’s game, then we’ll get into our thoughts about Cal. Read on.

Tokarski in NHL

Wednesday was a great day for the Spokane Chiefs, who won in Medicine Hat, which leads the Central Division, and former star goalie Dustin Tokarski was called up to the NHL.

Keep reading for a little trivia game.

GU-SMC previews

Early call this morning and an early afternoon arrival in Oakland, but I wanted to post the previews from the Bay Area media before I head for Moraga..

Find advances in the San Francisco Chronicle, which includes some high praise of the Gaels from Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating, and the Contra Costa Times, which stresses the importance of tonight’s game in regards to RPIs, NCAA seeding and the WCC race.

Thursday prep page

A few things to link to here. Click the tab below.

Robby Douglas of Shadle Park is pictured above.

A flood of WSU news


COUGARS

Reading stories during basketball season is a lot like an NBA game. It’s a series of runs, and the best comes right at the end. There are some days when there are no stories to link out there, then, as the weekend draws nearer, there are days – today, for one – when there are so many they are hard to get through. Read on.

WSU’s Watson took a long road to Pullman


COUGARS

A long, long post this evening. Mainly because we have a lengthy story on WSU power forward James Watson, his journey to Pullman and the illness he suffered last spring that almost ended his basketball career. Plus, we have some notes and more quotes. Read on.

Gaels and Gonzaga

Gonzaga faces another big test Thursday night on the road against Saint Mary’s. Read more about the Gaels, coach Randy Bennett, Gonzaga’s media day and my Four Corners copy below in a lengthy post.

Shock sign new radio agreement

Spokane Shock football games have a new home on the radio dial. Every game will be broadcast on AM-700 ESPN THE TICKET, which is part of the KXLY Radio Group. Dennis Patchin (pictured above) and Keith Osso will team up on the broadcasts.

Shock home games will continue to be televised on KHQ’s SWX.

More below.

Rowley back with the Shock

Quarterback Kyle Rowley, who joined Spokane roughly at mid-season of its inaugural campaign in 2006 and led the Shock to an ArenaCup championship, has signed with the Shock.

Rowley, playing for ex-Shock coach Chris Siegfried at Arkansas, was the 2008 arenafootball2 offensive player of the year after passing for 4,393 yards and 89 touchdowns. In 2009, Rowley set an af2 single-season passing record with 4,693 yards.

Rowley is one of four quarterbacks on the Shock roster. He’ll compete for the starting job with  ex-Eastern Washington Eagle Erik Meyer, former Boston College quarterback Chris Crane and 2009 Shock No. 2 QB Casey Hansen.

UPDATE: More on Rowley here.

Catching up with Emily Kuipers

I was a little remiss yesterday  in posting my weekly women’s basketball notebook, which appeared in today’s paper, along with the standings. Today’s subject was former U-Hi player Emily Kuipers, now a fifth-year senior at Regis University in Denver.

I can’t link the standings and weekend schedule, but those appear below with the area leaders and any other notes I stumble discover before I resume figure skating research.

There is Graham Hays story on ESPN.com about scheduling that is spot-on. Read it, it’s a great jumping off story for a discussion on this blog by you reluctant posters. Also, a heads up, ESPN is taking its Game Day show to a women’s game for the first day, Saturday’s No. 1 UConn vs. No. 3 Notre Dame Big East matchup.

Junior hockey comes under fire

I don’t run into the same cast of characters each time I enter the Arena for a Spokane Chiefs’ hockey game but there is only one I dread seeing.

I mean it in a nice way but each time I see this gentleman he asks how my investigation into the junior hockey scholarship program is coming along. With everything I have to do, the truth is it’s moving along like a glacier.

But it doesn’t look like it’s going to need a boost from me to percolate into public. Keep reading, just some information to tide you over while the Chiefs are one the road for seven more games, starting tonight in Medicine Hat.

Wednesdays with WSU


COUGARS

Wednesday morning is always a big day for links and today is no different. So instead of wasting your time with my inane drivel and inadvertent typos (and redundant redundancies), we’ll get right to them. Read on.

WSU practices hard for Cal


COUGARS

Practice was long today, like more than two hours long. So the usual daily afternoon post has stretched into the evening. Read on.

Shock learn divisional alignment

Spokane is one of three teams in the National Conference West Division. The Shock are joined by Utah and Arizona. Chicago, Cleveland, Iowa and Milwaukee form the National Conference Midwest Division.

It’s believed that the National Conference and American Conference champions will have first-round byes in the playoffs. The playoff format hasn’t been officially announced and AF1 also hasn’t made a decision on the name or site of its title game.

Here’s the AF1 release on the divisions.

WSU’s work week begins


COUGARS

Another basketball week begins in Pullman, with coach Ken Bone meeting with the media, practice for a key weekend with the Northern California schools and the Pac-10 media call. Read on for links.

Vandals lose 3rd straight

This wasn’t the start to the WAC season that Idaho envisioned. The Vandals stumbled again down the stretch Monday night, falling to New Mexico State 75-72. Read on for a story I just filed for tomorrow’s S-R.

Half: NMSU 36, Idaho 34

The Idaho Vandals trail New Mexico State 36-34 at halftime here in Moscow. A very spotty crowd inside Cowan Spectrum watched the Vandals build an eight-point lead, at 30-22, after seven straight points from Mac Hopson and a nice three-point play from Kashif Watson. But New Mexico State’s quick-footed Jahmar Young and Jonathan Gibson are getting easy buckets off penetration and have combined for 20 points. 

The Vandals have nine turnovers at the break, five of which have been charged to Steffan Johnson.

One football note: UI and the local chamber of commerce are hosting a parade through Moscow to celebrate the Humanitarian Bowl victory. It will be on Jan. 23, starting at 2 p.m.

WSU’s spring semester starts with news


COUGARS

The second semester started at WSU on Monday. The football team welcomed three new players, but said goodbye to a walk-on and lost another hoped-for grayshirt. Plus, two suspended players are close to being reinstated. Read on.

Zags move up in polls

A quick roundup of GU-related news. The Bulldogs climbed to No. 17 in A.P. and No. 14 in ESPN/USA Today top 25 polls. More here. Saint Mary’s received enough votes to be 29th in the ESPN/USA Today poll, but didn’t receive a single vote in A.P.

Spoke with ex-Zag Andy Poling’s mom, Jenny, for a few minutes this morning. She said Andy hasn’t decided on where he’ll transfer. He visited Portland State and is expected to visit Nevada sometime this week. She said there might be other schools involved in addition to Portland, Portland State and Nevada, but Andy is still deciding if he wants to stay close to home. His intention is to enroll this week so he’ll be eligible next January.

The Portland Tribune’s Kerry Eggers checked in with his thoughts from the GU-Portland game. Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga’s opponent on Thursday in Moraga, defeated Santa Clara. San Diego, GU’s opponent on Saturday, fell at San Francisco.

ASU defeat, the day after


COUGARS

Talk about a late night, well a really early morning. Got out of Phoenix at about 8 p.m. last night on the same Alaska flight with the WSU basketball team. Also made the same connection to Spokane in Seattle, which ran about 20 minutes late. All in all, didn’t get into Spokane until after midnight. I had a short car ride home; the Cougars had a pretty long bus ride to Pullman remaining. And isn’t today the first day of classes? Really puts the student into student/athlete, doesn’t it? For more on the athlete part, read on.

Monday prep thread

Here’s a thread to start talking about the week ahead or the week behind us.

Katie Baker out for season

Word from Montana, freshman Katie Baker (Lake City) is out for the season after suffering a knee injury late in the Lady Griz overtime loss at Eastern Washington Friday night. Baker had a double-double when she went down near the end of regular, her third straight in three Big Sky Conference games. Baker was leading the Grizzlies with 11.5 and 6.9 rebounds a game.

The new - or the return to the old - schedule that has Big Sky Conference teams playing Friday-Saturday instead of Thursday-Saturday to save money and class time, isn’t what it seems and coaches are extremely unhappy, according to a Bill Spletlz story in The Missoulian.

The top 25 is out, my vote is below.

No deal for Chiefs

The Chiefs stood pat and then fell flat on Sunday.

The Western Hockey League trade deadline came and went Sunday afternoon and the only move Spokane made was to reassign excess defenseman, 18-year old rookie defenseman Grant Leedahl. Then, in a battle with Everett, which is tied with the Chiefs in the standings, fell 4-3 in a shootout.

(Just for fun you might want to read this story out of Russia, discovered by my colleague John Blanchette, who also wrote a column out of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Tri-Cities.

 There were a flurry of trades, but since they didn’t involve Spokane we’ll let the blogs of Gregg Drinnan and Alan Caldwell wrap them up for you with some analysis.

So, the question is, did the Chiefs do the right thing? Do you think the Chiefs can be contenders with the way they are configured now? What would you have done, who would you have moved?

We have two weeks to ponder those questions before the Chiefs return home, so feel free to share your thoughts. Meanwhile, I found a nice story on the Chiefs’ world junior participants, posted below.

Eags stun MSU on the road

Since taking over the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball program almost three years ago, Kirk Earlywine has labeled several of the Eagles’ victories “huge,” or “big.”

And considering the state of EWU basketball when he took over, he was spot on with his assessments.

But on Sunday afternoon, in Bozeman, Mont., the Eagles hung up a Big Sky Conference road win that probably surpasses any in Earlywine’s short tenure by upsetting Montana State 75-73 on a late bucket by freshman guard Glen Dean.

You can read what EWU’s sports information department had to say about the win here.  And be sure to express any thoughts you might have on what this victory might mean to the Eagles’ chances of making the BSC Tournament here, as well.

 

 

WSU shows its inexperience


COUGARS

For once this season, the Washington State Cougars played their age. And an experienced Arizona State team did as well. It all added up to a 71-46 beating for the Cougars, snapping a six-game winning streak against the Devils. You can read the unedited game story on the link, which explains the starting lineup changes.

WSU loses 71-46


COUGARS

The poor early stretch – a 16-0 ASU run – was too much for WSU to overcome. The Cougars got as close as six at one point in the first half but could get no closer. The second half was a series of poor possessions on both ends of the court and ASU took advantage, steadily expanding the lead throughout the half, no matter the lineup. Both teams are 2-2 in Pac-10 play. We’ll be back in a couple hours with our report.

WSU trails 33-25 after disruptive start


COUGARS

Some of the WSU players were late to team events on the trip, so they either were not in the starting lineup (Marcus Capers and DeAngelo Casto) or have yet to come off the bench (James Watson). Add to that Klay Thompson picked up two fouls in the first 3 minutes, 25 seconds and you have a recipe for a rout. Which is what happened in the first 9 minutes. The Sun Devils went on a 16-0 run fueled by WSU’s lack of patience on the offensive end, inability to get back on defense and a general disruption of the substitution pattern due to the discipline. The run gave ASU a 10-point lead, which it quickly expanded to as much as 15 with a string of 3-pointers. WSU coach Ken Bone took a chance by bringing Thompson back with 7:46 left. It paid off as the Cougars chipped into the ASU lead and Thompson did not pick up a third before the half. Which doesn’t mean Bone was happy with the officiating. Thompson seemed to score with less than a minute left on a Eric Boateng goaltend, but there was no whistle. Bone walked off the court expressing his displeasure with official Larry Spaulding.

WSU, ASU pregame post


COUGARS • UPDATED: 11:20 A.M.

As I walked into the Wells Fargo Arena, the Sun Devils were running through a pretty spirited workout. It was what most coaches call a walk-through, but I didn’t want to label it that because ASU was going too hard. The Devils were, however, doing the usual walk-through stuff, going through the WSU scouting reports. We have ours on ASU if you want to read on.

Day after Portland

Back at it after Gonzaga’s entertaining 81-78 win over Portland on Saturday. It didn’t seem like this one was going to be quite so close at the end, but the Pilots refused to crumble and gave themselves one shot, albeit a tough one, to tie it.

First, the links: S-R gamer, Seattle Times, Oregonian and Vancouver Columbian.

Read on for the rest of the day after Portland post.

WSU preps for ASU


COUGARS

One thing about traveling to the Phoenix area for a Washington State basketball game, you run into a lot of people with Northwest ties. This trip was no different, with time spent talking with former coaches and area residents. With the weather as nice as it is, it’s easy to see why former Washington residents retire here. They’ll all probably be in the Wells Fargo Arena today watching the Cougars take on ASU. For more, read on.

Gonzaga takes WCC opener, 81-78

It wasn’t decided until the last shot in the final seconds. Portland’s Jared Stohl missed  an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer and Gonzaga held off the Pilots 81-78 at the Chiles Center.

Unedited game story below and come back for a day-after post tomorrow.

Chiefs rebound to beat Tri-City

The Spokane Chiefs showed what a little pride can do, upending the Tri-City Americans 2-1 before more than 10,000 fans at the Arena Saturday night, one day after a dimsal performance.

There was no magic, just effort.

The unedited game story is below. As for the looming trade deadline, there’s nothing to report, not even a good rumor but that doesn’t mean something won’t happen before 2 p.m. Sunday. Be sure to check back.

Idaho falls apart in crunch time

Seven turnovers in 10 possessions and 2 of 9 made free throws. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the second half of Idaho’s loss to Louisiana Tech. It was an ugly final 10 minutes for the Vandals.

My game story is below the link.

Zags hang on, 81-78

Gonzaga was seemingly in control, leading by 11 with 4:05 remaining, but Portland chipped away and eventually got a last-gasp shot at tying the score. After Bol Kong missed a pair of free throws with 4.6 seconds left, Jared Stohl’s turn-around 3-pointer from in front on Portland’s bench bounced off the iron and Gonzaga had a hard-fought 81-78 victory.

Matt Bouldin led GU with 20 points and Elias Harris had 18. Reserves Kelly Olynyk (13) and Kong (12) made big contributions off the bench.

Stohl had six 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Robin Smeulders led the Pilots with 24 points.

Back with a gamer in about 90 minutes.

Bulldogs up 6 at break

Gonzaga overcame some early foul trouble to starters Steven Gray and Robert Sacre, built an 11-point, saw it dwindle to two before settling for a 42-36 halftime lead.

Gray picked up two fouls in the first 90 seconds and Sacre went to the bench with two fouls at the 11-minute mark. Elias Harris and Matt Bouldin carried the offense, combining for 25 points, and reserve forward Kelly Olynyk chipped in seven points.Bouldin was credited with six assists.

Portland’s Jared Stohl made three 3-pointers — two from 23-24 feet — to fuel a Portland rally that trimmed GU’s 28-17 lead to 32-30. Harris made two free throws and Bouldin hit two 3s and another jumper to restore a 10-point lead. The Pilots closed within six on Kramer Knutson’s putback and T.J. Campbell’s two free throws with less than a second remaining.

Gonzaga made 16 of 23 shots (69.6 percent). Portland hit 13 of 27 (48.1 percent).

Vandals fall to LTU, 77-71

Idaho squandered an eight-point second-half lead, as Louisiana Tech came roaring back on the shoulders of dynamite wing Kyle Gibson for a 77-71 WAC win at Cowan Spectrum. Gibson finished with 28 points — 15 coming in the final 6 minutes.

Back with the game story in a little bit.

Zags await tip

The Chiles Center is filling up — there’s a sizable number of Zag fans, as usual. It’s already been an eventful day. I had the obligatory wireless problems at the arena. Those are fixed, as of this second, but we’ll keep this post short. Saw a Mercedes that was either on fire or had a smoke machine attached to the back end this afternoon. Saw a fender bender about 200 yards from the Chiles about 90 minutes ago..

But we’ve arrived safely, thanks to a trusty Chevy Cobalt. Watched the Pilots warmup and they don’t miss many shots, open or when they were messing around 1-on-1. We’ll see how the Zags do defending the perimeter.

Back at half, wireless willing.

GU women blitz Portland

The Gonzaga women opened up defense of their WCC title - all five of them - much better than last year. The Bulldogs destroyed Portland 90-54 Saturday afternoon at McCarthey Athletic Center, the unedited game story is below.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington had a huge win over Montana last night and we just learned Griz freshman Katie Baker, who had her third straight doubel-double, is injured and did not continue on the road trip for tonight’s game at Portland State. Washington State continues to stumble, falling at home to Arizona State this afternoon. Idaho had it’s league opener against Fresno State and the Eagles beat Montana State tonight, which let a big lead slip away at PSU last night. The Vikings edged Montana on Saturday.

Lot of big games nationally, including two of particular intest - Baylor loses and Texas A&M whips Texas. That’s four Big 12 teams square off and two more are meeting right now, unbeaten Nebraska and Iowa State. No. 7 North Carolina became the latest team to fail miserable against UConn.

Vandals, Dogs ready to tip

We’re about 20 minutes from tipoff here in the Cowan Spectrum. Louisiana Tech and Idaho square off in crucial early season WAC game. The game is getting started a bit late after the women’s game — UI lost to Fresno State 72-64. A quick reminder: you can follow my in-game Twitter updates @SR_JoshWright.

UPDATE: I just talked to Idaho athletic director Rob Spear between games, and he said “efforts were made” in attempt to keep QBs coach Jonathan Smith. He directed all further questions to coach Robb Akey, who has been out of town and unavailable for comment. Smith took the offensive coordinator job at Montana earlier this week.

Spear also said he and Akey are still working on contract negotiations.

A quick look at WSU’s next game


COUGARS

One more game for Washington State on this road trip, the first of the Pac-10 season. We have a short look at the Cougars’ day. Read on.

Portland bound

I have a minute or two before boarding a plane for Portland, so I thought I’d post the view from Portland, where the Oregonian had this preview and capsule look at tonight’s game with Gonzaga.

Check back before tip off.

WSU’s win at Arizona, the morning after


COUGARS

As the 12,758 filed out of the McKale Center on Friday, they were unusually quiet. There were a multitude of reasons for that, which we will delve into on the link, but one was articulated by a fan who walked behind me. “You can forget about the streak,” he said. What the septuagenarian fan – I looked and he was part of the Cats’ “experienced” group of supporters – was alluding to was a streak of NCAA Tournament appearance that started 25 years ago, or about when the fan was my age. After WSU’s hard-fought 78-86 win, this Wildcat booster was jumping ship. But he probably shouldn’t. Read on.

Griz take down Eagles

Eastern Washington let a 41-37 halftime lead slip away Friday night and lost to Big Sky Conference rival Montana 79-66 in Missoula.  You can read the game story that was cobbled together by the S-R here, and see what The Missoulian published on the Grizzlies’ victory here.

In addition, you can check out what EWU’s sports information department posted about the game here, and learn more about what happened around the rest of the Big Sky here.  Wish I had more, but I didn’t even get a chance to listen to the EWU-Montana game, because I was covering Whitworth’s 86-62 Northwest Conference win over Pacific.

 

Vandals open WAC home slate

Idaho’s WAC home opener is this evening (5:05, Cowan Spectrum), and it doesn’t get much tougher for the Vandals. Awaiting them in gray, snowy Moscow is league-leading Louisiana Tech.

Read on for more about the game and thoughts from UI coach Don Verlin.

CdA boys, girls sink Lake City

The Coeur d’Alene boys and girls basketball teams swept Lake City in the annual Fight for the Fish spirit doubleheader.

Click the tab below to read my unedited game story.

History doesn’t repeat for WSU


COUGARS

If Ken Bone sees too many more games like this, he may start looking as old as some sportswriters I could name (I mean me, of course). The Cougars pulled out a tough, hard to fathom – considering how little success WSU has done in the McKale Center over the years - victory Friday night. “It’s really important to come into a place like McKale and walk out with a win,” said WSU coach Ken Bone. “We were fortunate to come out of here with the W.” Read on for our game story.

Chiefs struggles continue

Same ol’ story, same ol’ song and dance, my friends.

That’s the best we can do after a dismal performance by the Spokane Chiefs Friday night resulted in a 3-0 loss to Chilliwack, the Bruins’ first-ever win at the Arena.

One string continued and another ended - while the Chiefs lost their sixth straight home game, this was the first of those not to be decided by one goal. That isn’t good news.

With the trade deadline looming Sunday afternoon will the Chiefs do something? What are your thoughts? What would you do.

The unedited game story and one trade of a former Chief follow.

 

WSU wins 78-76

COUGARS

This time there was no whistle. And controversy. OK, there was some. It was a Pac-10 game after all. The bottom line, though, was DeAngelo Casto’s basket with .1 seconds left lifted WSU past Arizona. We’ll be back soon.

WSU, UA knotted at halftime


COUGARS

After all that, Josh Fogg’s 22 footer at the halftime buzzer ties it at 35. The Cougars struggled against the UA pressure, unable to initiate their offense in their comfort zone. Starting 35 feet from the basket contributed to their 10 first-half turnovers, all but two in the first 9 minutes. WSU kept switiching defenses, and it seemed to bother the Wildcats, who hit just 4 of their first 12 shots. But, after the under-12 minute media timeout, the Wildcats started attacking the offensive glass, pulling down four boards and scoring after each. That helped them cut a 10-point WSU lead to nothing. In fact, on back-to-back dunks by Derrick Williams, UA took a 27-25 lead. The Cougars shot 54 percent in the first half, but took eight less shots than Arizona. We’ll be back when we can. Feel free to talk among yourselves.

UA, WSU about ready to go


COUGARS

Some of the Pac-10 has already played three games, including UCLA, which has a good shot at being 3-1 after the weekend. For WSU to match that, the Cougars will have to sweep one of the toughest road trips in the Pac-10. How can the get the first one? Read on.

Chaves comments on 2012 WSU game

I was unable to reach Eastern Washington’s athletic director Bill Chaves on Thursday night after learning of the Eagles’ agreement to play Washington State in football in 2012. But Chaves did issue this statement through EWU’s sports information department on Friday morning.

We would like to know how Eastern fans feel about this upcoming game, so feel free to leave your comments here.

Zags, Pilots open WCC campaign

Back with a Gonzaga-Portland preview that will run in Saturday’s S-R. We touch on GU’s tough three-game stretch to open the WCC, Portland’s perimeter prowess and the Pilots’ experience.

Also, Oklahoma lost something else when it was thumped by Gonzaga on Dec. 31. Sooners’ players lost the rights to use their locker room and OU practice gear (which probably doesn’t sit too well with Nike). Read more here.

Idaho QB coach moves on

Jonathan Smith, who spent six years as an Idaho football assistant, has been hired by the University of Montana as its offensive coordinator. Smith joins the staff of former Washington State assistant Robin Pflugrad.

The former Oregon State QB also interviewed for the New Mexico State offensive coordinator position. He’s drawn widespread praise for his development of Nathan Enderle, who piloted the nation’s 12th-ranked passing offense this past season.

Smith was the longest-tenured Vandal coach. He was originally hired by Nick Holt after being a grad assistant at his alma mater.

WHL trade deadline looming

All is quiet on the Western Hockey League trade front. Guru Gregg Drinnan tries to sort through the rumors and the Spokane Chiefs get a mention about discussions with Kamloops. What is just as interesting to me is the fact the Blazers haven’t made it past the first round in 10 years. It seemed to me when I got this beat the first time a few years back, Kamloops was a model franchise - then while I had the beat the franchise fell apart and was sold. It has taken the new ownership three years to chose a course.

We’ll be back after tonight’s game or if any big trades break.

Disappointing start for Cougar women

It was disappointing to see Washington State lost at home to Arizona, especially when Washington knocked off Arizona State.

That means the Cougars are 0-3 in the Pac-10, losing at Oregon State and Oregon and to the Wildcats, teams along with the 2-1 Huskies they were picked to finish ahead of. There is no question WSU has more talent but at the moment that’s not translating into wins. What’s up with that?

For a few more notes, including the key West Coast Conference opener, keep reading

Football, basketball news from WSU


COUGARS

The future beckons, as does the interstate. We’re headed down the highway to Tucson this morning, but before we hit the road we have your morning links. There is football, as WSU adds a game for 2012 with a local team, and there is, of course, lots of basketball. Read on.

Still some discussion about WSU’s T


COUGARS

We’re trying to get past this, but we just can’t. On the link, read on for some more on the fallout from the Oregon technical. Sorry but I had to wait until I got to Phoenix to post it.

Ex-Bruin joins Shock

Former UCLA Bruin and UFL defensive lineman Brigham Harwell has signed with Spokane.

More below.

 

WCC, Reveno, Good, and GU

I’ve put together more notes, including a couple from GU, but mostly the thoughts of Loyola Marymount’s Max Good and Portland’s Eric Reveno. Read on.

 

GU satisfied with non-conference mark

Back with some notes that I promised in a Wednesday evening post. I’m going to break ‘em up. Below is an unedited version of GU-related notes that will appear in Friday’s S-R. Topics include the non-conference showing, the rotation and Josh Heytvelt’s visit.

I’ll be back later with more on the WCC.

Could No. 1 happen for Boise State next season?

The second 14-0 team in modern college football history is back in Idaho, ready to watch Texas and Alabama play for the national title. In the BCS universe, the Boise State Broncos might as well be on Mars. If you’re not in the Rose Bowl on Thursday night, forget about the national championship.

 

Click below to read on.


Thursday preps

A few things to link to on the prep scene.

Click the tab below.

In the picture above, University’s Brandon Matlock takes Mead’s Andrew Basinger to the mat in their match Wednesday night.

Wacky night in the Pac-10


COUGARS

An interesting Wednesday night, with three Pac-10 related games and three upsets, one of epic proportions. We have more. Read on.

Zags await WCC opener

I meant to post this earlier, but I ran out of time and was busy shuttling a youngster to basketball practice. So better late than never here’s my WCC preview that will run on Thursday’s Four Corners college basketball page in the S-R.

I’ll have more notes tomorrow a.m. from GU’s media day and more thoughts from two of the WCC’s most entertaining interview subjects — Portland’s Eric Reveno and LMU’s Max Good.

Also, here’s an update on the schools Andy Poling is considering.

Read on.  

WSU ready for desert trip


COUGARS

As promised earlier today - when I made a stupid mistake I didn’t realize I had made until one of you nice people pointed out to me without, and I appreciate this, telling me how stupid I was – I’ve got another post. This one has our Thursday morning items – and on Wednesday night, no less – for you to read. Have fun.

Chiefs’ Johnson savors gold

Caught up with gold medal winner Tyler Johnson, a couple of hours of Team USA beat Canada for the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The unedited story I filed for Thursday’s paper is below.

A roundup of World Junior stories: Calgary Sun game story; column, review and Jordan Eberle sidebar; Saskatoon Star-Phoenix game story and sidebar on heart-broken Team Canada; Regina Leader-Post story  and Greg Harder’s blog; and Alan Caldwelll’s blog about some Canadian players not faring well against tough competition and a post-mortem that includes how Spokane’s Jared Cowen was used.

A couple of quick notes: after the Chiefs play at home Friday and Saturday they play eight games on the road because of the U.S. Figure Skating championships. That’s nothing compared to the Vanvouver Giants, who have had to vacate their premises for the Olympics. In all they play 27 games away from home, include six that are in a different Vancouver arena. … The WHL trade deadline is Sunday at 2 p.m. They was a deal today, Seattle sending 17 year defenseman Ryan Aasman to Prince Albert for RW Jonathan Parker, 18, and a 2010 fifth-round bantam pick.

WSU spends extra day on UA


COUGARS

It’s cold in Pullman. Ice – as in what’s all over the cars – cold. Unlike Tucson, where the temperature dipped to what-the-residents-probably-think-is-freezing 41 this morning. That’s where Washington State is headed tomorrow. Today, the Cougars are headed back to practice to get ready for the Wildcats. Read on.

Ferris boys stop Mead

Here’s a link to our featured Tuesday game involving the Ferris and Mead boys.

Here’s our Greater Spokane League girls roundup.

Here’s our area boys roundup.

Here’s our area girls roundup.

Here’s a roundup of Great Northern League wrestling matches.

Same ol’ story for Chiefs

First, congratuations to Chiefs Tyler Johnson and Jared Cowen for their medals at the World Junior Tournament. Johnson and Team USA ended Canada’s five-year gold streak with a wild 6-5 win in the championship game Tuesday night in Saskatoon.

“It feels pretty good,” said Johnson, who was dinged up in the first period and missed most of the game. “I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be wondering what the heck I just did but it’s pretty cool.”

Hopefully we’ll have more from both players soon. Johnson returns Wednesday night and Cowen Thursday night and should be in uniform at the Arena on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs had their hands full against Saskatoon, which sports the best record in the Western Hockey League. The two best defensive teams got into a shoot out before a Blades won 5-4 despite a scoreless third period.

Catching up with WSU


COUGARS • UPDATED: 4 P.M.

Spent the morning watching Washington State get ready for what is quite possibly the toughest road trip in the Pac-10. First the Cougars get an Arizona team at home coming off a split in Los Angeles and a 30-point whupping from BYU the last time the Wildcats played in Tucson. Then it’s up the road for a matchup with Arizona State, hurting from getting swept in Los Angeles. The rest of the day, so far, has been wrapped up in interviews (and lunch, I admit), so we’re just getting our head above water. We have some items for you, so read on.

UPDATE: The game time for Sunday’s matchup with Arizona State has been moved up an hour, to 12:30 p.m. (MST) from 1:30. That means the game will be on FSN in the Spokane area at 11:30 a.m. The reason for the change? The Arizona Cardinals will be playing an NFC playoff game Sunday afternoon. The change allows the ASU-WSU game to not conflict.

WCC, WAC open league play

Starting to get overwhelmed by figure skating preparation and with three hockey games this week women’s basketball posts and links are a bit thin.

Our unedited notebook follows, as well as the Top 25 vote, with quite a bit of shakeup at the bottom. Gonzaga and Idaho jump into league play on Saturday with the Bulldogs offering a pretty good deal - $25 gets four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks plus the chance to see Portland, which shocked the Zags at home with local product Tara Cronin going off for a career double-double day.

More notes below with the notebook.

Poling transferring

Gonzaga redshirt freshman forward Andy Poling has decided to transfer, Poling’s mother, Jenny, confirmed.

The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Poling played 23 minutes in six games. He was seeing limited minutes behind Rob Sacre, Elias Harris, Will Foster, Kelly Olynyk and Bol Kong, who has played some at the ‘4’. Freshman Sam Dower, a 6-9 forward, is redshirting and will compete for time next season.

It was mainly a playing time issue, Jenny said. “He thought he’d get more playing time than he did. He wants to go where he’ll play more.”

UPDATE: Find Gonzaga’s release on Poling transferring below.

UPDATE II: Bouldin a finalist for Cousy Award. More below.

More below.

A quick post from WSU

Just wanted you to know the Cougars are practicing early this morning - school doesn’t start again until next Monday - and then it’s right to coach Ken Bone’s press conference for us. We’ll put together our usual morning post then.

San Jose St. drops Vandals

A taut, back-and-forth contest swung in San Jose State’s favor late, as the Spartans nipped Idaho 78-75 in WAC men’s basketball action. There were 28 lead changes and 12 ties in the game. Mac Hopson and Steffan Johnson again flourished offensively for UI — combining for 34 points — but the Vandals were troubled by poor second-half rebounding and missed free throws. “They out-rebounded us 18-8 in the second half and that was really the difference in the game,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said.

More here and here.

Bouldin on mid-season Wooden list

Gonzaga senior guard Matt Bouldin is one of 31 players to make the Wooden Award’s midseason list.

More here and here.

One last look at the WSU call


COUGARS • UPDATED: 5:20 P.M.

After spending the day waiting for some clarification, I’m ready to take a final run at the technical foul from the Oregon game. I have put together some web-only stuff, which includes the Pac-10’s response to WSU’s questions about the call. Read on.

UPDATE: Klay Thompson is one of 31 players on the Wooden Award midseason watch list. You can find out more here, with the entire list here.

2010 WSU, Pac-10 schedule out


COUGARS

The Pac-10 has finally released its 2010 football schedule. There are no surprises with Washington State’s schedule but there are a couple of anomalies. The Cougars play nine consecutive weeks to open the season, then have byes in two of the next four weeks, including Thanksgiving weekend. As previously reported, the Apple Cup is Dec. 4. Read on for the rest of the WSU schedule.

GU rises in polls after 3-0 week

Gonzaga is back in the A.P. Top 25 and climbing up in the ESPN/USA Today rankings.

The Bulldogs, who defeated Eastern Washington, Oklahoma and Illinois last week, are No. 19 in A.P.; No. 18 in ESPN/USA Today. The Zags were 26th in last week’s A.P. poll and No. 22 in ESPN/USA Today.

Rankings here.

GU’s losses are to now No. 5 Duke, No. 10/11 Michigan State and Wake Forest, which is receiving votes.

Monday prep thread

Well, the holidays are in the rear view mirror. That means we’re back to work at prep central. Not sure what the new year will bring for me, what with this combined Eastern Washington/North Idaho prep gig. But I’m excited nonetheless.

Anyway, use this thread to get caught up on what transpired over the break.

Here’s a link to the girls basketball standings.

Here’s a link to the boys basketball standings.

Does USC news affect WSU?


COUGARS

A surprisingly heavy day, considering there were no men’s games yesterday. But there was big news out of Los Angeles and more. Read on.

Another tough one for Chiefs

Can anyone figure out the Spokane Chiefs?

Playing short-handed, they run their Western Hockey League losing streak to five games, including a New Year’s Eve loss at Tri-City, before beating Vancover (with this nice blog item) and Seattle back-to-back on the road with backup Michael Tadjedeh in goal.

With Tyler Johnson and Jared Cowen playing against each other for World Junior gold Tuesday night, Spokane will still be shorthanded when league-leading Saskatoon, fresh off a win at Tri-City, comes to the Arena Tuesday night. The Blades (28-7-1-3) have won five in a row and are 4-0 in their swing through the U.S. Division.Saskatoon now is first overall, with 60 points, one more than the Americans (29-10-0-1), who are 7-1-0-1 in their last nine outings.

Day after Illinois

Danger: I’m watching the GU-Illinois replay and putting together the day-after Illinois post. I need to grab the paper to make it a trifecta.

First, the links: S-R gamer, photosChicago Tribune gamer, sidebar and photos, and Chicago Sun-Times gamer.

Read on.

UI notches win in WAC opener

After a bumpy nonconference season, the Idaho Vandals opened WAC play with a solid 59-52 victory at Hawaii late last night. UI coach Don Verlin called it the best defensive performance in his two years with the school, and for good reason. Hawaii shot just 36.7 percent — 12.5 percent from 3 — and was held under 30 points both halves.

The backcourt duo of Mac Hopson and Steffan Johnson combined for 34 points — 24 coming from Hopson for a season high. UI is now 8-4 overall, 1-0 in the WAC. See more here.

WSU win over Oregon State, next-day edition

COUGARS

Let’s see. After the first weekend of Pac-10 basketball, Oregon and USC sit atop the conference standings. Everyone who saw that happening, stand up. You, ya you, wearing the Garfield pajamas. Sit down. You didn’t predict this. No one did. Not even Ernie Kent or Kevin O’Neill. For more on Saturday’s games, including WSU’s win over Oregon State, read on.

WSU zones in, defeats Beavers


COUGARS • UPDATED 10:45 P.M.

We have a longer post for you tonight, including some notes and quotes along with the unedited version of our game story. The reason is to give you a headstart on your Sunday morning. Read on now and save some time in the morning.

WSU holds on for 65-60 win

COUGARS

Despite Klay Thompson being held in check and despite struggling from the line, WSU was able to grind out a 65-60 win over Oregon State on Saturday afternoon. Thompson scored a season-low seven points, but Marcus Capers (10 points, 10 rebounds), Reggie Moore (19 points) and a cast of others helped WSU overcome the 17 points of Calvin Haynes. We’ll be back in about an hour with our game story.

WSU leads 29-24 at the half

COUGARS

If the score is familiar, how it got to be that way certainly isn’t. Washington State held Oregon State to 24 first-half points on 26 percent shooting playing mainly, now sit down before you read this, 2-3 zone. Yes, zone. The Cougars probably played more minutes of zone in the first half (15:34) than they did during the entire Tony Bennett era. The main reason? It was working. The Beavers aren’t what you would call deadeye long range shooters, hitting 4 of 14 beyond the arc, which is about 10 percentage points below their usual season average. Besides, by zoning, it takes away a lot of the cuts they like to make in their offense. … On the other end, WSU attacked OSU’s 1-3-1 zone so well the Beavers went entirely with their 2-3 alignment the final 6 minutes of the half. … Finally, once again the WSU bench was contributing in a big way, with James Watson the main force, running the court for five points. … We’ll be back when we can after the game.

Zags work OT for third win in six days

Gonzaga doesn’t play another basketball game until next Saturday when it visits Portland. It’ll be a nice break from the three-games-in-six-days stretch the Bulldogs just completed. GU went 3-0 in that stretch, capped by a thrilling 85-83 win over Illinois on Saturday.

Read on for more.

WSU faces challenge in OSU


COUGARS

Can the second game of the Pac-10 schedule really be a must win? Maybe not, but this one comes about as close as a possible to that. Read on for our pregame thoughts.

Harris hits game-winner for GU

Freshman forward Elias Harris scored on an off-balance 8-footer in the lane with 12.6 seconds left, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 85-83 overtime win over Illinois on Saturday.

GU led by 21 in the first half and by eight at halftime, but the Illini (9-5) stormed back to lead by as many as eight in the second half. The Bulldogs (11-3), after a flurry of second-half turnovers, settled down late and took a 77-76 lead on Harris’ bucket with 46 seconds left in regulation.

Steven Gray added two free throws to make it GU 79-76, but Illinois’ Dominique Keller tied it with a wide-open 3-pointer, which came after the illini grabbed an offensive rebound. Demetri Goodson’s shot in the closing seconds was blocked and the game went to overtime.

Matt Bouldin’s 3-pointer tied it at 83 with 1:38 remaining. The Zags called timeout to set up the play for Harris, who caught the pass 15 feet away from the basket on the wing. He took one dribble into the lane and scored over Keller.

Illinois’ Brandon Paul missed a 3-point attempt and Harris pulled down the rebound as time expired.

Back with more in about 90 minutes.

Zags up 8 at break

Gonzaga completely dominated, leading 32-11 at one point, but Illinois rallied to close the gap to 43-35 at halftime before a full house at the United Center.

The Zags led 10-0 early and kept adding on — including center Robert Sacre’s first 3-pointer on his first career attempt — with a crisp offensive performance that was reminiscent of the first half of Thursday’s win over Oklahoma. Gonzaga didn’t commit a turnover in the first 14 minutes, but finished the half with six.

Steven Gray paced GU with 14 points.

Check back following the game for more.

Gonzaga ready for tip off

Some quick links as tip-off approaches for the GU-Illinois game at 10 a.m. (yes, that start time sounds strange). Here are John Blanchette’s post-Oklahoma and pre-Illinois thoughts, the Chicago Tribune’s quick glance at GU-Illinois and a feature on Illini guard Demetri McCamey, and a preview in the Chicago Sun-Times. In case you missed it, here’s my game preview that I posted Friday night.

I’m not on the trip, but I’ll be putting together a recap afterward, so check back following the game.

It’s time for WSU to move on


COUGARS

Good morning. I hope your hangover from New Year’s Eve has passed, and by that I don’t mean the kind many people get from over-imbibing, but the one from the Oregon game. After all, that’s the past. And in the Pac-10, if you get caught looking over your shoulder, the team in front of you is going to run you over. That’s Oregon State today. We have links. Read on.

Shock will play AF1 lid-lifter

Spokane will entertain Milwaukee on Friday, April 2, in the inaugural game of the new AF1. Five more games are scheduled on April 3. Three teams in the 15-team AF1 have first-week byes.

Spokane has two bye weeks (Week 4 and Week 11). Shock home games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Spokane has home-and-home games against Milwaukee, Utah, Cleveland, Arizona and Jacksonville, and single games with Bossier-Shreveport, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Tulsa, Iowa and Chicago.

The Shock close the season at Orlando, home vs. Tulsa, at Milwaukee, home vs. Arizona, at Cleveland, at Iowa, home vs. Chicago and at Orlando — five long road trips in the last eight games.

AF1 has not announced division alignments or playoff formats. It would appear Spokane is in a division with Milwaukee, Utah, Arizona, Cleveland and Jacksonville, but remember that the Shock played Iowa twice last season and the two were in different af2 divisions. The schedule also indicates AF1 has a national television agreement, but there has been no official announcement.

Here’s the AF1 release.

Find the entire AF1 schedule below.

WSU looks forward to OSU


COUGARS

Attended practice today to watch the Cougars get ready for Oregon State. Much of the conversation, as you might guess, centered round the end of the first overtime last night. It’s part of my story for tomorrow, the unedited version of which is on the link. Read on.

No time to waste for GU

Gonzaga didn’t get much time to celebrate its easy win over Oklahoma on Thursday, or New Year’s Eve, for that matter. The Bulldogs are in Chicago for a non-conference battle with Illinois at 10 a.m. Pacific Saturday.

Illinois defeated Northwestern in overtime Wednesday. The Wildcats shot a mind-boggling 47 3s (made 16) in that game.

My unedited preview is below.

Day after Oklahoma

I stayed awake long enough to welcome in the new year, thanks to a viewing of the GU-OU replay and my kids’ Rock Band party in the basement. The Zags were in tune with perhaps their most complete performance since waxing Wisconsin in the Maui semifinals.

First, the links: S-R gamer, sidebar on Oklahoma’s Tiny Gallon bringing down the backboard, S-R photos, A.P. gamer and a recap in the Daily Oklahoman. And here’s Mike Prager’s article on a homeless man being treated to a front-row seat.  

Read on for a day-after post and check back later today for a preview of Saturday’s game against Illinois.

WSU’s loss to Oregon, the day after


COUGARS

What a way to send out 2009. Now we’ll try to start 2010 trying to make sense of what occurred on the court last night, not only at the end of the first overtime – though we have some thoughts and rule clarifications on that – but also throughout a game in which the Cougars came out surprising listless (and possibly a little nervous) yet still had a chance to win. Read on.

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