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WSU faces Sun Devils tonight

COUGARS

Sometimes it's almost impossible to sleep. Used to be game days when I was a participant (wouldn't call what I did playing). Wake up in the middle of the night trying to remember where I left my shin guards or something. Usually they would turn out to be in the bottom of my bag. Just so happened the same thing occurred today. Woke up in the middle of the night trying to remember where I left my gerund or something. Turned out it was in the sentence right after the present participle. Relieved, we still couldn't sleep. So we have our morning post done early. Read on.

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• Washington State: There was some news yesterday afternoon, with Ken Bone telling me his decision to make Reggie Moore's indefinite suspension a one-game suspension. After Tuesday, when Moore practiced, sort of figured that was going to be the case. We put the news in a notebook item that runs below. It also has some information concerning the difference between Faisal Aden, starter, and Faisal Aden, reserve. There are times when numbers fit perfectly into Mark Twain's purported quote ("lies, damn lies and statistics") and this might be one of those times. Part of the bump in Aden's numbers as a starter can be explained in that six of those games Moore didn't play at all, which meant more playing time and more shots available. Plus, no player exists in a vacuum. How they fit with the other players around them is a crucial part of coaching. Making sure all the pieces mesh isn't easy but it is as important – or more so – as knowing when to call a time out or deciding how to defend the ball screen with your 5. Ken Bone is a believer, right now, that his team plays better with Aden coming off the bench. ... We also had a quick look at the upcoming weekend. ASU is going to be short a couple players thanks to a flu bug that's been going around Tempe. ... Ryan Collingwood had the Moore news on his blog. ... And that's about it for the Cougars. ... From Arizona, the Sun Devils are starting to get a contribution from a 7-foot-2 center back from his Mormon mission.

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• Here's the notebook item in its entirety ...

PULLMAN – Washington State coach Ken Bone said Wednesday following practice point guard Reggie Moore's suspension had been lifted and Moore would play tonight against Arizona State.

Moore was suspended indefinitely Saturday prior to WSU's win at Stanford. The suspension was in response to Moore being charged with two marijuana-related misdemeanors Jan. 4 that resulted from a Dec. 11 search of his dorm room.

With Moore returning to the starting lineup, junior college transfer Faisal Aden, who started against the Cardinal, scored 20 points and helped the Cougars to a 61-58 comeback victory, returns to his usual sixth-man role.

Aden has given Washington State another offensive dimension this season, averaging 14.6 points a game, second most on the team.

Which has engendered a bit of a debate among Cougar fans. Should Aden be starting?

In the eight games Aden has started, WSU is 7-1. In those, Aden is averaging 17.3 points and shooting 47.5 percent from the floor, 32.6 from beyond the arc. In his 10 appearances off the bench, Aden averages 10.5 points and shoots 46.7 percent, 41.0 from long range.

But no matter the numbers, Bone likes using the 6-foot-4 Aden as an instant-offensive injection.

"I think I prefer to see him come off the bench," Bone said. "I like what he brings coming off the bench. We are more used to that rotation ... and it's probably that more than anything else."

When the rotation is changed, as it was Saturday, it can play havoc with WSU's offensive flow.

"It had an effect the first half," Bone said. "Faisal's a prolific shooter and a very good scorer. (But) the team dynamics were not the same. And that sometimes can throw things off."

Aden, averaging 12 shots a game before Saturday, took 19 against the Cardinal, making eight.

"I knew I was going to get more touches, I knew I was going to have more opportunities," he said afterward. "I would just have to step up."

"One way or another, Faisal is going to get his share of minutes," Bone said.

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• Around the Pac-10: There doesn't seem to be much of a way to compare Arizona's Derrick Williams and Washington's Isaiah Thomas, but Bruce Pascoe does just that in today's Arizona Daily Star. ... Thomas has made the transition to the point since Abdul Gaddy's injury. ... When the Trojans host Stanford tonight, expect freshman guard Garrett Jackson to get more time thanks to Bryce Jones' departure. ... Stopping UCLA's big men will be a challenge for Cal tonight. ... Conversely, Malcolm Lee will pressure the Bear guards. ... Oregon State needs great play from Omari Johnson for its 1-3-1 zone to work. ... The Ducks' littlest player will have to come up big Saturday at Gill Coliseum if the Ducks want to get under the Beavers' skin (or is it fur?).

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• That's all for this early, early morning. We'll return before the game tonight with a quick look at the matchup. Until then ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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