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Archive for December 2011

Gonzaga earns big road win

Gonzaga, playing just its second true road game of the season, knocked off Xavier 72-65 on Saturday in Cincinnati. The Bulldogs' sixth straight win hiked their record to 11-2 and could trigger a return to the Top 25 rankings. GU and Xavier (9-4) were receiving votes in the most recent polls.

Sam Dower delivered another big performance off the bench with 20 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes. Kevin Pangos had 13 points, seven assists and five turnovers. Elias Harris added 12 points and six rebounds.

Read on for the game recap I put together for Sunday's S-R. Here's an A.P. write-up.

WSU holds off Oregon State, 81-76

COUGARS • UPDATED: 8:55 P.M.

If you didn't know, today is my final day with the S-R (that's for you John). Read on.

Idaho falls flat late again

The new year, and a new month, will be a welcome sight for the Idaho Vandals. They dropped their third straight game and fourth in December — each coming by no more than three points — with a 76-73 loss to Boise State at the Idaho Center in Nampa. Idaho stands at 7-7 heading into WAC play, and it has lost three straight to Leon Rice's BSU club.

Read on.

WSU set to face Oregon State

COUGARS

We got to the Spokane Arena early today for a lot of reasons, but the main one is simple. This is my final day as The Spokesman-Review's Washington State beat writer and we wanted it to last as long as possible. Read on.

Another in a long line of morning posts

COUGARS

What is it with dogs and squirrels? No reason, and no relevance, but just wondered if you knew of some longstanding war between the two species. Our dog, Yogi (named after a certain catcher) and the gray-white squirrel that lives in our maple tree, don't like each other much. And the expression of that dislike can be quite jarring in the morning. Anyhow, that's what awaited me this morning as I began to write this daily post, one that has special relevance. Read on.

Zags face full-strength Xavier

Mark Few isn't putting much stock in Xavier's recent three-game losing streak. The team wasn't at full strength following the suspensions from a brawl near the end of the Cincinnati game.

For the first time since thumping Cincinnati, the Musketeers will have their complete roster, just in time for the matchup with GU on New Year's Eve. The winner has a pretty good shot of returning to the rankings.

Here's my game preview.

Different feel for Idaho-Boise St. hoops

The Idaho and Boise State men's basketball teams have met every year since 1971, and off and on for many years before that. But this time it's different.

Read on for the reasons why, and a preview of the nonconference showdown set for 11 a.m. PST on Saturday.

WSU’s loss to Oregon, the morning after

COUGARS

Walked out of the Spokane Arena last night and directly into a pouring rain. Oregon weather. Seemed sort of appropriate after the offensive showing the Ducks put on inside the place a couple hours earlier. Read on.

WSU blown out by Oregon, 92-75

COUGARS

I've been watching Washington State basketball off-and-on since the early 1980s, real closely the past five years. And I don't remember a poorer defensive showing by the Cougars. Read on.

WSU ready to play Oregon in Spokane

COUGARS

Welcome from the Spokane Arena, home of the Inland Northwest Hall of Fame and now the second home of the Washington State Cougars. Like any second home, it's a bit different. Rather it will be as crowded as the lake place on the 15th of July, who knows. Read on.

A busy Thursday morning from WSU

COUGARS

I can't remember when we had so much news to pass along this late in December. There are so many links, we're going back to our football-season format, which lists each school individually. Yes, there is at least one story for each. And quite a bit from Washington State. Read on.

Day after Portland

Gonzaga took care of business last night, drubbing cold-shooting Portland (that seems strange to write) 90-51 at the MAC. The Pilots, who have had multiple perimeter threats and solid interior play the last 4-5 years under coach Eric Reveno, have struggled this season with a young roster. Knowing Reveno's track record, the team will develop throughout the season and be a formidable outfit in the future as the roster matures.

Back to the Zags, who have interest in another Canadian, former Pitt Panther Khem Birch, a 6-9 forward who is friends with GU point guard Kevin Pangos. More on GU's rout of Portland below, but here are the links: S-R game story, Chris Anderson's photos, John Blanchette's column and Oregonian gamer.

Read on..

Gonzaga cruises in WCC opener

Back with my game story from GU's 90-51 rout over Portland tonight. It was by far the Bulldogs' easiest win over the season. GU had a pair of 20-point wins over Notre Dame and Western Michigan.

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

 

Pac-12/Big Ten football and WSU basketball

COUGARS

There was an interesting conference call today among two college sports bigwigs and the media. I know, an interesting conference call. Wow, what an upset. It featured Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and his Big 10 counterpart Jim Delany. Instead of going into all the particulars we'll share the bottom line: The two conference are going to collaborate more in scheduling, with the big news that, by 2017, there will be 12 nonconference football matchups between the conferences. You can find more from ESPN.com here and here and this from the Seattle Times and more from the LA Times. … There was another conference call that we were on, that is with WSU basketball coach Ken Bone. That one we will summarize. Read on.

Chiefs deal Bardaro for goalie

Looking to strengthen their goal tending and to shake up the roster, the Spokane Chiefs made a big move Wednesday morning, trading leading scorer Anthony Bardaro to Prince. To pick up goalie Eric Williams and forward Todd Fiddler (above in October matchup, going against now injured Spokane defenseman Tanner Mort), the Chiefs also sent backup goalie Luke Lee-Knight back to the Raiders, along with the fifth-round Bantam Draft pick they got when they traded Tyler Vanscourt to Prince Albert for Lee-Knight in September.

2011 winds down for WSU in Spokane

COUGARS

Not many of these WSU-centric blog posts remaining – blog posts, yes, but they'll be more well-rounded – so we better fill them up with interesting items as often as possible before we pass the baton. Luckily, today we can do that. Read on.

Zags eye 8th title; Cooper leads EWU

Three of the four area Division I women's basketball teams start conference play on Thursday. That is the topic for this week's notebook, leading off with Gonzaga's quest for an eighth-straight WCC title. I also realize I neglected to link to last week's story on Eastern Washington mighty mite Chene Cooper, who leads the Big Sky in assists and is about to set the Eagle record for steals.

Zags open WCC play against Pilots

Gonzaga enters WCC play against the visiting Portland Pilots on Wednesday night. The Pilots have won 60 games the last three seasons, but they haven't beaten Gonzaga under sixth-year coach Eric Reveno (0-10). Gonzaga is 23-1 against the Pilots under 13th-year coach Mark Few.

Here's a look at my game preview that will run in tomorrow's S-R.

Rower Jamie Redman training in Spokane with Olympic goal

U.S. Women's Rowing Team member Jamie Redman, 25, is home in Spokane for the holidays, but her training regimen never lets up. In the video above, the Lewis and Clark High School validictorian, NCAA champion and two-time world champion talks about her life and her golden dream for 2012.

Tuesday afternoon post. Almost.

COUGARS

Wondering why the morning post is so late this morning? Read on.

A Boxing Day post from WSU

COUGARS

I guess it's traditional on the day after Christmas to write about boxing on most sports blogs. It is, after all, boxing day. But being the only thing I know about the sweet science these days is Andre Ward is the best super middleweight in the world, I don't believe I'm qualified … what, boxing day doesn't have anything to do with boxing? Oh. … Nevermind. Read on.

WCC on the upswing

An early post today because 16 hungry people are about to arrive and I've got an appointment with a deep fryer. Gonzaga isn't done with non-conference play (at Xavier on Dec. 31), but its next ball game will begin the WCC slate. Struggling Portland visits the MAC on Wednesday.

Below, you'll find my unedited WCC preview that will run on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas to all!

Day after Air Force

Round two. First attempt at my day-after Air Force post vanished before my eyes. So here we go again.

Here are the links: S-R game story, photos. Other links of interest: Butler, two days after losing at GU, toppled Stanford, Saint Mary's lost to No. 6 Baylor, WSU thumped Pepperdine and Portland (visits GU on Wednesday) lost its sixth straight, falling to Nevada. 

Read on.

WSU’s win over Pepperdine, next-day edition

COUGARS

Merry Christmas Eve Eve from SeaTac. Sorry I was just too worn out last night to blog after Washington State's easier-than-it-might-seem 67-56 victory over Pepperdine in the seventh Cougar Hardwood Classic, but between the game, the crappy – no other way to put it –conditions in KeyArena and the traffic jam on the way back to the hotel, it just wasn't going to work. So we slept, got up early and headed to the airport to put together a more-detailed-than-usual morning report. And sorry about the whining. Read on.

GU beats Air Force for 4th straight ‘W’

Gonzaga had its hands full with Air Force, which, as advertised, crisply ran its Princeton offense and made things difficult for the Bulldogs' offense for the first 20 minutes. GU used a 19-7 run in the second half to knock off the Falcons 70-60.

Here's a link to my game story. Check back tomorrow for my day-after post.

Another two-point loss for Idaho

The Vandals have lost three games in December — and all have been by two points. Two nights ago, it was a buzzer-beater from Wright State that sank Idaho. Tonight, the Vandals dropped a 63-61 decision at Wisconsin-Green Bay. UI is now 7-6 on the year heading into a New Year's Eve showdown with Boise State at the Idaho Center in Nampa.

Here's a recap of tonight's game.

Some pregame thoughts from KeyArena

COUGARS

There is a cloud of smoke descending on my computer as I write this. I know that opens up a lot of jokes, but we will refrain and hope you do too. It's for the pregame activities, I'm sure, but it is a bit disconcerting. Read on.

WSU at home in Hardwood Classic

COUGARS • UPDATED: 1 P.M.

When I awoke this morning and looked out the window I thought I was still in Pullman. There was quite a bit of ice on the car, something I wasn't expecting in Bellevue. Talk about feeling at home. Read on.

WSU in Seattle to face Pepperdine

COUGARS

In KeyArena watching Virginia and Seattle University play, but wanted to pass along another story we have for tomorrow's S-R. It's an advance for the Cougar Hardwood Classic game Thursday that pits Washington State and Pepperdine. I guarantee there will be more people, more energy and more atmosphere in this building tomorrow night. Anyhow, you can read the advance here. Back in the morning.

Zags, Falcons collide at McCarthey Athletic Center

Gonzaga continues its busy home schedule against visiting Air Force tomorrow. The Falcons, whose 6-2 start ties for the second best in school history, start four juniors and one senior. Junior forward Michael Lyons (18.4 ppg) leads the Mountain West Conference in scoring. Air Force went 16-16 last year, losing to Santa Clara in the CollegeInsider.com tournament.  

Here's a short preview that will run in Thursday's S-R.

Leach’s agreement with WSU

COUGARS

Just a quick post to link a story we did today on Mike Leach's agreement with Washington State. Leach has yet to sign a contract, but he did sign this letter of agreement with Bill Moos at the end of November. It outlines the terms of the deal.

Day after Butler

Good morning. Let's get to the day-after Butler post with links: S-R gamer, photos and column and a recap in the Indianapolis Star

Much more below.

WSU has a classic matchup with Waves

COUGARS

Washington State bused across the state, over the pass and into Seattle yesterday in advance of Thursday's Cougar Hardwood Classic at Key Arena. The term classic immediately brings to mind a comment from former Cougar coach George Raveling, whose definition of a classic was when “a coach invites three teams he can beat.” Read on.

GU wins battle of Bulldogs, 71-55

Back with my game story from Gonzaga's 71-55 victory over visiting Butler tonight. Check back in the a.m. for a day-after post.

A Tuesday without snow

COUGARS

Crazy, isn't it? It's less than a week before Christmas and all through the Palouse, not a bit of snow could be seen, not even … oh heck, I'm not a Clement Clark Moore, so we'll quit trying to be. It is kind of interesting though, that there is no snow around. Some years you can't walk from the door to the truck without using a shovel. Read on.

Close, but Cougs fall to No. 14 Cards

What a nice drive home from Pullman - hard to believe Christmas is almost here. Also hard to believe that's my last road trip for The Spokesman-Review, but that's another story. Kudos to the Washington State women's basketball team, they battled another ranked team, but they need to pull out one of these. This time it was No. 14 Louisville escaping Beasley with a 75-71 win.

Gonzaga finally got its regular-season statement game, rallying to beat No. 13 Georgia.

GU, Butler square off at McCarthey

Gonzaga's arduous non-conference slate continues Tuesday night when Butler, which has played and lost in the last two NCAA title games, visits the MAC.

Butler is an enjoyable team to watch — I recall the Bulldogs drilling seemingly 10 3s a night while winning the Great Alaska Shootout several years ago. A fitting description of Butler's team dynamic and successful system can be found on page 4 of the school's release. There you can find the Horizon League preseason poll and first- and second-team selections. Detroit has three first-team selections, including player of the year Ray McCallum. Butler has no first teamers and Andrew Smith on the second team, yet the Bulldogs are picked to win the Horizon title.

Here's a link to my game preview.

Gonzaga women upend No. 13 Georgia

Haiden Palmer's 3-pointer with 3 seconds left gives Gonzaga a 71-68 win over 13th-ranked Georgia in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs (8-2) trailed by 15 in the first half, eight at halftime and by 10 late in the game. Palmer finished with 22 points, Katelan Redmon had 23 and 10 rebounds. Georgia had three players in double figures and two players that had to play all 40 minutes. No story on the wire yet, but that link is to the box score.

Another Akey aide no longer at Idaho

UPDATED: 6:25 p.m.

Luther Carr, who served as Idaho wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator the last five seasons under Robb Akey, is no longer with the program. UI confirmed that Carr's departure on Monday evening, after Vandals defensive back A.J. Annelus referenced it earlier in the day on his Twitter account.

Read on for more about the continued shakeup of the Vandals' coaching staff.

So what does the future hold?

COUGARS

There are 14 days left until New Year's Day, so I guess it's about time I told you what the next chapter of my life is going to be. For the uninitiated (that sounds better than uniformed, doesn't it?) I will be retiring from The Spokesman-Review after Dec. 31 and will no longer be covering Washington State football and men's basketball. Exclusively. Read on.

WSU’s win over Western Oregon, the day after

COUGARS

In a sense it is Christmas week. Ya, we know the holiday isn't until Sunday, the start of a new week, but it is less than seven days until everyone opens their presents. With that in mind, we have a question for you. Read on.

WSU gets past Western Oregon, 66-42

COUGARS

Western Oregon ran its offense with precision, caused trouble for Washington State on the other end by trapping out of its matchup zone and gave the Cougars all they wanted. For 20 minutes. The second half? It was 38-17 WSU. Read on.

WSU set to face Western Oregon

COUGARS

If, as a fan, you are taking Western Oregon lightly, quickly take a look at Washington's score today. Then rethink your opinion. Read on.

Day after Arizona

Here's a twist, a smooth fly-in, fly-out to the Battle of Seattle, making up for the two extra days I spent a couple years back when Sea-Tac ran out of de-icer. It's possible that I got back to Spokane before the Zags. How? Gonzaga was forced to land in Pullman because of fog at Spokane Airport, then bus to Spokane.

Here are the links: Game stories from the S-R, Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, A.P. Tucson Citizen, and Daily Star, and Times' photos. Columns from John Blanchette, Art Thiel, Steve Kelley and Dave Boling (quite the foresome there).

Much more below.

WSU plays last game in Pullman for a while

COUGARS

Washington State will play its final Beasley Coliseum game of 2011 today, when it hosts Western Oregon this afternoon at 4:35. Yet the Cougars will host three more games, including two conference games, before the year is done. Read on.

Chiefs limp into break after 8-6 loss

 With 15 wins and 16 losses, including some not so pretty ones recently, there could be a lot of changes in store when the Spokane Chiefs come back from Christmas break. They hit the break with a 6-2 loss in Everett and Saturday an 8-6 loss at home to Portland.

 3 stars: 3, Jarid Haputman, Spokane (2g, a). 2, Ty Rattie, Portland (g, 2a). 1,Chase De Leo, Portland (2g).

Long box below.

Idaho overpowers Bakersfield

Suddenly the Idaho Vandals are playing quality basketball. They bagged their third straight win — and fourth in five games — tonight by steamrolling Cal State Bakersfield 72-44 at Cowan Spectrum. The only loss during that stretch: a two-point setback to Washington State in the final seconds.

Catch an early look at my story below.

Zags start fast, hold off Arizona

Gotta dash for the airport so I'll post the unedited version of my game story that will run in Sunday's S-R.

You can find it below.

Calm in Pullman right now

COUGARS

There's only one Christmas carol appropriate for Pullman this time of year. “Silent Night.” Not sure how many of you attended WSU as a student or, if you did, stuck around over Christmas break, but there is something so relaxing about the town right now. Heck, even Arby's was empty last night. Read on.

GU ready for Arizona

Gonzaga returns to the court tomorrow, facing Arizona in the Battle in Seattle. Checked in with Gary Bell Jr., who is playing in front of his family and friends, and Guy Landry Edi, who will make his official season debut, for my game preview that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Day after Oral Roberts

An abbreviated post with travel and a GU-Arizona preview to get to. Read on for the day-after Oral Roberts post and check back later for my Battle in Seattle advance.

Here are the links: S-R game story and photos.

Another Friday from WSU

COUGARS

This is the silly season of college football and the fun part of college basketball. The silly comes from the game of musical chairs played by coaches, though it doesn’t seem all that silly to the families involved. The fun comes from the interesting matchups on the court, with schools traveling thousands of miles to play or local schools getting together. Read on.

Zags hold off Oral Roberts, 67-61

Interesting game at the MAC tonight as Gonzaga went from having a comfortable lead to fighting off an Oral Roberts' comeback. Mike Hart, 0 of 6 on 3s this season and 0 of 4 on 3s last season, hit a big 3-pointer and Gary Bell Jr. followed with another key 3 as GU won 67-61.

You can access my game story here. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post and a preview of the Battle in Seattle.

A quick and easy Thursday from WSU

COUGARS

Some days this time of year, like yesterday, there is a lot to pass along. Other days, like today, not so much – a phrase we use a lot for effect, but mean literally this morning. Read on.

Chiefs win in overtime

The Spokane Chiefs didn’t exactly erase all the bad taste from a pair of bad home losses but they took a step in the right direction.

Playing the lowly Everett Silvertips (5-21-1-5, 16 points), the Chiefs (15-9-3-2, 35) got a nifty goal from Steven Kuhn with 46 seconds in overtime to pull out a 3-2 win Wednesday night.

3 stars: 1, Kuhn. 2, Simpson. 3, Uher.

Long box below. 

Tidbits from the Spokane Chiefs

Bet you didn't know former Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Spurgeon is the leading scorer among blue-liners for the Minnesota Wild.

On the home front, Brenden Kichton is returned from the Team Canada camp but Dominik Uher will be headed to join the Czech Republic for the World Junior tournament. Also, Corbin Baldwin has lost the mullet.

Unconfirmed but the hot rumor around Spokane Chiefs hockey is that Tanner Mort, who has been scratched from the last five games, including tonight, has requested a trade. Other scratches are Tyler King and Carter Proft.

Gonzaga women No. 25 in coaches’ poll

The Gonzaga women return to the Top 25. ESPNW also provided an in-depth look into the rise of the Bulldogs to national prominence, powered by Courtney Vandersloot.

Washington State is hosting Louisville next Monday and it's Native American Appreciation Night.

Finals week final exam: Oral Roberts

It'll be the 100th game at the McCarthey Athletic Center when Oral Roberts (7-3) visits Gonzaga (5-2) on Thursday night. GU is 92-7 in the building and has never suffered consecutive losses. The Bulldogs lost to Michigan State last Saturday.

Gonzaga won 38 straight to open the building. Its MAC losses are to Santa Clara in Feb., 2007; WSU in Dec., 2007; Portland State, Dec., 2008; Wake Forest, Dec., 2009, San Diego State, Nov., 2010; Saint Mary's, Jan., 2011.  

Read on for more on the game and Mark Few's reasons for concern (tough opponent, last day of Finals week, quick turnaround with Saturday showdown, etc.) The short article on cancer patient Brandon Bird's visit to practice that I posted last night accompanies the preview.

Shock hosting tryouts

The Spokane Shock will hold the first of three tryout camps Saturday at the Shock Center (3212 N. Eden Road, Suite B, Spokane). Registration begins at 9 a.m. Players should wear workout gear and bring appropriate shoes for artificial turf. They will be tested in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle, position drills and one-on-one passing.  

Advanced registration is $75, on-site is $100. Registration forms are available at Spokaneshock.com. Free-agent tryouts will also be held Jan. 14 in Los Angeles and Feb. 4 in Pullman. Info: (509) 242-7462.

 

Got some time this morning?

COUGARS

We once worked for a boss who talked often about saving our readers' time. It was the one thing, he said, they had a finite amount of. Then we began blogging and found most of those same readers love to spend that finite amount invested with their favorite college athletic team, discovering every piece of news they can find on Washington State. But we still try to save their – or should we say, your – time. Read on.

Zags welcome special guest at practice

Media day today and I’ll have more in Thursday’s S-R, but I wanted to pass along a heart-warming scene from Tuesday’s practice. Gonzaga had a special visitor in 11-year-old Brandon Bird, a two-time cancer survivor who is battling a third recurrence.

Please read on below.

Injured Cougars may return Sunday

COUGARS

Just got through with Ken Bone's weekly teleconference and have some news to share. Read on.

WSU in the midst of finals

COUGARS

It's finals week in Pullman (and the senior football players who graduated over the weekend have all said goodbye and left town) so it's kind of quiet and dull. But we did find a few items to pass along. Read on.

Idaho offensive coordinator Axman retires

Idaho offensive coordinator Steve Axman, who faced increased scrutiny during the Vandals' 2-10 season, has retired, the school announced this evening. Axman was UI's top offensive coach for five years — including the ultra-successful 2009 campaign in which the Vandals won the Humanitarian Bowl and finished 10th in the nation in total offense.

Read more below.

Zags drop out of rankings

Gonzaga's two-game losing streak has cost it a spot in the Top 25. GU, 23rd in last week's A.P. poll, dropped to 32nd (receiving votes category) in the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today's rankings. Michigan State, which defeated GU on Saturday, moved into the A.P. rankings at No. 21..

Here are both polls.

Everything’s slow on a Monday

COUGARS

Monday morning in Spokane. Attended a party, and an after-party party, last night. Though we woke up early this morning, there was no way we could stare at a computer screen for an hour or so. But time passes and the vision clears. Read on.

Idaho clobbers Seattle U at KeyArena

Maybe the Vandals should jam more three-game weeks into their schedule. They capped a frenzied five-day span on Sunday with their second decisive win in a row — a 73-62 triumph at Seattle University. Their only loss during the stretch was a last-second home defeat to Washington State (which won its fourth game in a row Sunday by steamrolling Santa Clara).

Read more about how Idaho improved to 6-4 here. The Vandals' next game, after finals, is Saturday night at Cowan Spectrum vs. Cal State Bakersfield.

Day after Michigan State

Good morning. Let's get right to the day-after Michigan State post.

It's been a rough stretch for Gonzaga. The Zags lost to Michigan State, picked third in Big Ten preseason poll, and Illinois, picked sixth, both by seven points, seven days apart. Here are the links: S-R game story, John Blanchette column and Dan Pelle photos. Here are gamers from A.P., the Lansing State-Journal and Grand Rapids Press, a column from the Detroit Free Press and another recap from Rivals.com.

A couple of alarm bells ringing after this one. For the second straight game, GU's defense was an issue. Illinois blistered GU with 53 percent shooting and MSU drained 54 percent. The Spartans average 74.8 points per game, but their season averages were 46 percent on field goals, 30.4 percent on 3s and 67.7 percent at the line. They were well above those averages (54.2% FG and 46.2% on 3s), the exception coming at the line (64%) where they missed several free throws late. After Illinois hung 82 on Gonzaga, it mustered just 48 in a sloppy win over St. Bonaventure.

Read on.

Leach’s less-traveled path to Pullman

COUGARS

Weird questions run through my mind sometimes, especially as they relate to sports. The nice part of this job, though, is when such questions pop up, oftentimes you get to ask them. Read on.

Green’s 34 points carry MSU past Gonzaga

Back with game story from Gonzaga's 74-67 home loss to Michigan State on Saturday night. The Bulldogs are running out of non-conference resume-building opportunities after suffering back-to-back losses to Illinois and MSU. GU has a home date with Butler, Arizona in Seattle and then a tough road trip to Xavier, which actually comes a few days after the Zags open the WCC slate against Portland.

Draymond Green lit up GU with 34 points, even more impressive considering he attempted just 13 field goals.

Here's a link to my game story and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Chiefs prove to be too charitable

 It was a night for charity and the Spokane Chiefs were most obliging. After producing a record number of stuff toys on Teddy Bear toss night, the Chiefs coughed up a 3-0 lead to the Prince George Cougars and lost 4-3 in a shootout.

stars: 3, Bourke, PG; 2, Fram, Spo; 1, Carlson, PG.

Long box below.

GU-MSU hour to tip

Gonzaga and Michigan State are less than an hour from tipping off at the MAC. I had some kids' duties earlier today, so I haven't been able to post ex-Zag Jeremy Pargo signing with Memphis and former Zag Ronny Turiaf being traded to Washington.

GU-MSU in-game updates at twitter.com/srjimm.

The Saturday morning WSU buffet

COUGARS

It looks as if UCLA has finally found a coach, as if Andrew Luck will not win the Heisman and as if we will have some fun this weekend. Read on.

Gonzaga women edge EWU

Not sure how many more computer issues I can take, I think I'll have to find a new line of work. After writing the local angle from the National Finals Rodeo, my soon to be ex-computer wouldn't let me blog. But now, safely home getting ready to watch a taped college football game, I can now link to Gonzaga's narrow win over Eastern Washington, which came with an unusual final 40 seconds. Could say much more, but the playoff game is waiting and it has to be viewed before the other Big Sky team plays early tomorrow.

Vandals net big Pac-12 upset

Coming into the year, Idaho coach Don Verlin looked at this week — with games at home against Washington State and at Oregon State separated by three days — and knew it would be telling for the Vandals. Could they hang with two Pac-12 schools? It turns out they could, and they almost went 2-for-2 in upsets for the week.

UI squelched every Oregon State rally attempt in the second half and rolled to a 74-60 rout of the Beavers in Corvallis — its most decisive win over a Pac-12 school since 1992. Idaho moved to 5-4, while OSU dropped to 6-2. We've got more below.

Zags entertain Michigan State

Gonzaga's tough non-conference home schedule heats up big-time when Michigan State (7-2) visits Saturday night. The Spartans aren't ranked, but they're one of the storied programs in college basketball. Here's my advance that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Heathcote on Izzo, Izzo on Heathcote, Heathcote on Few

Fun reading this morning as the Gonzaga-Michigan State game approaches Saturday night. The storylines are plentiful with many centering around Jud Heathcote, the former Spartans coach who lives in Spokane and takes in nearly every GU home game. Heathcote paved the way for Izzo to succeed him at MSU and he remains close to the program. The retired coach also counsels Mark Few during regular breakfast/lunch meetings.  

John Blanchette visited with Heathcote and Izzo for this column. Here's more on Heathcote/Few/Izzo.

It’s Friday and all that entails

COUGARS

Another Friday morning, another Friday morning post. The first Friday in a while without a pretty full slate of college football games to look forward to on the weekend. Kind of sad, isn't it? Read on.

Linfield no match for Eagles

Collin Chiverton scored a game-high 25 points and four of his teammates also finished in double figures Thursday night as Eastern Washington University blew away NCAA Division III Linfield College 102-54 at Reese  Court.

You can get an early look at the game story that will appear in Friday morning's S-R here.

Eags up big at halftime

Collin Civerton scored 13 points, Cliff Colimon added 12 and Cliff Ederaine chipped in 12 at Eastern Washington cruised to a 52-29 halftime lead over NCAA Division III Linfield College at Reese Court Thursday night.

This one was over early as Eastern scored at will inside against the smaller, slower Wildcats, who got 12 of their 29 first-half points from Zach Anerson.

The Eagles shot 52.5 percent (21-40) from the field in the opening period and turned the ball over only twice.  The only Eastern starter who did not score in the first half was Laron Griffin, who picked up a couple of early fouls and took only one shot in the eight minutes he was on the floor.

Thursday Prep Page

Click the tab below to see a wrestling-themed Prep Page with a column about changes to postseason boys and girls basketball that involves the Greater Spokane League.

WSU’s win over Idaho, the day after

COUGARS

It's time to make the transition to basketball. Yep, there is still some football to be done, but the main emphasis from now to the end of the year will be hoop. Read on.

Moore’s jumper sinks UI, 66-64

COUGARS

We're back after talking with Ken Bone, Reggie Moore, Dexter Kernich-Drew and listening to Idaho coach Don Verlin. That allowed us to get our story on Washington State's 66-64 road victory together. Read on.

Dickau joins Trail Blazers

Former Gonzaga Bulldog Dan Dickau is leaving the broadcast table to become a player development assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers. Dickau, who had two stints with Portland as a player, joined Greg Heister and ex-Zag Richard Fox for Gonzaga men’s basketball broadcasts on KHQ, but he won’t be able to continue with his new duties.

“I’m extremely excited,” Dickau said. “It’s definitely time to be done playing after three years out of the (NBA). The more I thought about this and what I want to do, this is a perfect opportunity. It’s a great opportunity to learn the coaching side of it.”

Dickau said he’ll miss being an analyst for GU games. He won’t have to relocate because he lives in the Portland area.

“I really enjoyed the first four games we did, but there isn’t the competitive factor like there is in games,” Dickau said.

WSU about to take on Idaho

COUGARS

We spent quite awhile this morning waiting for a call from the new football coach, but it never came. So now, as we prepare to cover tonight's basketball game in the Cowan Spectrum on the University of Idaho campus, we're waiting again. Just call me Vladimir. Or Estragon if you prefer. Read on.

Tuesday night prep hoops

I'm tardy in posting links to Tuesday's prep basketball stories.

The Central Valley girls played well in a 75-55 win over defending 4A state champ Lewis and Clark. Read about the game and the other GSL openers here. Pictured above are LC's Taylor Howlett and CV's Brooke Gallaway. The LC boys staged quite the second-half rally to top CV. Read about that game and the other GSL openers here.

Here's our roundup of other area girls games and here's our roundup of area boys games.

Green making her mark in Montana

Under the radar is a good description for Alysha Green but the Mead grad has made her mark in college basketball. She's the subject for the weekly basketball notebook. For a couple of other notes, including some that ended up on the cutting room floor, read on.

A jam-packed Wednesday morning

COUGARS

Sure hope you freed some time this morning. As weekday mornings in December go, I can't remember more good stories to read than the ones grouped on the link. From Mike Leach's public coronation in Pullman to San Diego State becoming part of the Big East – yes, I just typed that – it's a morning filled with stories you'll want to make time for. Read on.

Akey in offseason mode

Robb Akey spoke Tuesday about the importance for his players and coaches to take a breather after Idaho's forgettable 2-10 season. Although I get the sense the coach is not relaxing all that much, if at all, he also said he was “grateful the season is over.” Clearly the tight games — and blowouts — wore on him.

We have details from Akey on the Vandals' coaching staff and the program's direction, the departure of receiver Preston Davis — as well as his meeting with athletic director Rob Spear.

More on Leach’s big day

COUGARS

We're back in our palatial Pullman apartment with the heater going full blast, the sun that shined most of the day a distant memory. We have a few thoughts, along with links to our stories from Mike Leach's introduction, so read on.

Leach meets the Pullman faithful

COUGARS

Just a quick note now that I am where I can write following the Mike Leach introductory meet-and-greet. Actually, the last part of it was a press conference – after the cheering stopped. Read on.

Bell, Zags back to work

Gonzaga returned to practice Monday in preparation for Saturday's date with Michigan State. The Spartans defeated visiting Gonzaga 75-71 two years ago.

Checked in with Gary Bell Jr., who was one of the first players on the practice floor Monday, for an update on his right knee, as well as Robert Sacre for an update on his neck. Both seemed fine during practice and went at it hard. Here's my GU notebook that ran in Tuesday's S-R.

Adam Morrison and Jeremy Pargo visited practice. Morrison, by the way, left many Zag defenders shaking their heads as he hit step-back jumpers from all over the court. He drilled on fadeaway 3-pointer over 7-foot Kelly Olynyk from 23 feet. As Olynyk went back in line under the hoop, Pargo told him, “You're all right, nothing you can do about that.”

Leach ready to make WSU debut

COUGARS

OK, where were we? Oh ya, Mike Leach is in the Inland Northwest, arriving Monday afternoon by private plane in Spokane. He'll be in Pullman most of the day today before flying over the Seattle this evening. Read on.

Eastern Washington woman reaches milestone for U.S. x-c skiers

NORDIC SKI RACING — Rookie national team member  Sadie Bjornsen of Winthrop, Wash., teamed with Alaskan Kikkan Randall to make history for U.S. Women cross-country ski racing by finishing second in the sprint relay at the World Cup finals yesterday in Dusseldorf, Germany.

It’s the first time U.S women have won medals in a sprint relay.

The U.S. Ski Association says the previous best for U.S. women was a fourth-place finish in a January 2009 Olympic test event at Whistler Olympic Park.

Randall says in the team announcement that the relay medal topped her individual victory on Saturday as she won the freestyle sprint, her fourth career gold in World Cup sprint.

Bjornsen, a former women's champ at the Spokane Langlauf at Mount Spokane, says she now understands why skiers come back year after year.

Norway’s Mari Eide and Maiken Caspersen Falla edged the U.S. team by 1.6 seconds.

This week in preps

Well, we've turned the corner. I can officially call this the winter sports season.

Greater Spokane League boys and girls open league play Tuesday. We ran our season previews last week.

Our wrestling preview package will be published Thursday. GSL teams open league duals on Wednesday. The first big tournament is Saturday at the annual Inland Empire Classic at Central Valley with 21 teams including Oregon power Hermiston.

QUESTION: What do you see transpiring in the basketball court in any of our area leauges - Washington or Idaho? What are the storylines this season?

Gonzaga falters down stretch

USC shuts down the high-octane offense of the Gonzaga women's basketball team and pulls away down the stretch.

In other games, Idaho loses at Colorado. On Saturday Eastern Washington picks up a win in the Arizona State tournament and on Friday Gonzaga won at Riverside the Washington State clips San Diego State.

Day after Illinois

Gonzaga brings out the best in Illinois. A couple of Illinois-based reporters told me Illinois played its best game of the season by far in defeating Gonzaga 82-75 Saturday. They said the same thing about Illinois' win last year in the Battle in Seattle.

The teams conclude a four-game set with a meeting next year at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Illinois has won 2 of 3.

Read on for my day-after Illinois post.

Summing up WSU’s week

COUGARS

It's been a long time since I've written a morning post from Spokane. But that's where we find ourselves on this nicer-than-average Sunday in early December. We only have one question for you. Is your Christmas shopping done? Read on.

WSU runs over Eastern, 75-49

COUGARS

On Wednesday, Washington State pounded a Grambling team that had seven players on the bench. On Saturday afternoon, the Cougars pounded Eastern Washington, but this time it was WSU that was short-handed. Read on.

Idaho’s season ends with ugly loss

The Vandals lost four games this year by a touchdown or less, prompting coach Robb Akey to continually insist his team was close. But there was nothing positive — or competitive — about Idaho's effort in its season finale, a 56-3 defeat at Nevada.

We've got details on the blowout below and quotes from UI athletic director Rob Spear, who called it an “unacceptable performance.”

GU suffers first loss of season

Back with my game story from GU's 82-75 loss to Illinois in Champaign on Saturday. You're getting the hard copy because I've got a two-hour drive back to Indianapolis. I'll post a link later, but you can read my unedited game story below for now.

UPDATE: Here's the story link.

WSU shorthanded vs. EWU

COUGARS

Trying to keep track of about three games on my computer while also attempting to get ready for a Washington State basketball game is not the easiest juggling act. But it's fun. It's a Saturday with college football and basketball going on. Pretty fun time of year. Read on.

GU-Illinois pregame

About an hour to tip-off here at Assembly Hall, a dandy circular facility with 16,618 seats (all seat-backs). GU assistant coach Ray Giacoletti has been a popular man, doing radio interviews and greeting folks courtside. He grew up in Peoria, about 90 miles down the road, and his wife, Kim, has family in nearby Bloomington. Giacoletti expects to have 15-20 close friends and family here to watch.

Ex-Zag Jeremy Pargo is also expected attend the game.

Head over to twitter.com/srjimm for in-game updates.

An early morning post from WSU

COUGARS

Got up real early this a.m. so you could have your morning blog post on your computer's equivalent of a doorstep by 6:30 … who am I kidding? It's early because I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Read on.

Unbeatens collide in Champaign

Gonzaga puts its unbeaten record on the line against another unbeaten, Illinois, on Saturday in Champaign. After three games at the McCarthey Athletic Center, one at the Spokane Arena and one in Vancouver, this will be Gonzaga's first true road test of the season.

Here's my game preview that will run in Saturday's S-R. 

Leach speaks to Arute

COUGARS • UPDATED: 4:30 P.M.

Have a quick post for you summarizing Mike Leach's appearance on SiriusXM, talking football and what's happening with him now. Read on.

A sunny Friday in Pullman

COUGARS

The basketball season gets back into gear tomorrow, with Eastern Washington traveling down U.S. 195 from Cheney to face WSU in the early afternoon. There are still a few football loose ends to clear up, though. Read on.

An evening post from Pullman

COUGARS

The mood around Pullman has settled down after the events of the past few days, but that doesn't mean the waters are placid. We have some links and some notes, so read on.

Day after Notre Dame

Another late night with the Zags, who dismantled Notre Dame 73-53 on Wednesday, made later by watching the replay when I got home! Here are links: Game stories from S-R, The Observer and A.P, and the S-R photo gallery.

Day-after post below.

Prep hoops, hoops and more hoops

 

Here are the links to our prep basketball previews/glances. Although the University boys are picked to win the Greater Spokane League title, it could be a tight race. Here's our GSL boys glance. The Lewis and Clark girls should make a run at a repeat state championship, but will be pushed by another deep and strong league. LC's Julia Moravec and Devyn Galland are pictured above.

It should be a tightly contested race in 5A Inland Empire League boys basketball. And Pullman's boys and Clarkston's girls are clear-cut favorites in the Great Northern League.

NOTE: You can get updates on scores and other tidbits by following at Twitter.com/srpreps

Strange, WSU seems the same today

COUGARS

Got out of bed this morning and looked outside. Nope, it wasn't 74 degrees and sunny. It wasn't raining chocolate. And there wasn't an In-N-Out on the corner. Nope, Pullman was Pullman. Or was it? Read on.

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

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