COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:55 A.M.
Hope no one out there got up real early expecting our day-after post. When we got back to the apartment after the game, we got enthralled by and involved in the Francesca Schiavone/Svetlana Kuznetsova Australian Open tennis match (and yes, I had to Google both names so I could spell them correctly). The 4-hour, 44-minute match was so riveting I didn't fall asleep until around 1 a.m. Of course, it was before it was over. Even the second-most exciting sporting event I saw all weekend can't keep an old guy up past 1 in the morning. But we're up now and we have your morning report, so read on.
• Washington State: The one thing about Arizona that no one really notices is how many outside shooters coach Sean Miller can put on the court. Guys with sweet-looking strokes if not overwhelming statistics. With the beast – Derrick Williams – down low, you have to pick your poison. WSU started in a zone and Arizona wasn't stroking it, so the Cougars stayed in it. But when the Wildcats started hurting them from outside, they switched to a man. The zone reappeared in the second half for a while but when it came to crunch time, WSU was back in man. Then MoMo Jones' aggressive penetration coming off screens forced help and the shooters were open again. Specifically Jamal Horne, who has been a thorn in WSU's side for what seems like years. His two late 3-pointers, as DeAngelo Casto said, dug in deep. And ultimately were the difference in the game. ... That's if the Cougars' poor free-throw shooting or their 4-for-20 performance from beyond the arc or the video-inspired intentional foul on Marcus Capers or any of a myriad of other little factors that always can be found in a two-point defeat weren't the difference. ... OK, on to the links. Our story from this morning's S-R can be found here though there is quite a bit more here. ... Bud Withers has his take on this year's Cougars as defined by Saturday night's loss in his column. ... I wish I could give you all of Ryan Collingwood's Lewiston Tribune story, but the paper is behind a firewall, so all I can pass along is this morning's blog post. ... CougCenter had this piece while Braulio Perez filed this story for Cougfan. ... From Arizona, which is an hour-ahead, time-wise, so the deadlines are killers, Bruce Pascoe had his story, a notebook and a blog post. ... As an extra added attraction, here are some highlights courtesy of WSU's video department.
• Around the Pac-10: California's 68-66 victory at USC hinged – wait, you might have heard this before – on a foul initially ruled your typical two-shot variety later turned into an intentional one after a view of instant replay. ... The Huskies did what they do, hold on to their home-court advantage, in a 88-75 win over Arizona State. But the Sun Devils gave them a battle and that, for ASU this year, is something akin to a victory. ... Stanford not only lost 68-57 Saturday at UCLA, the Cardinal seemed lost the entire weekend in LA. Again, it sounds familiar. ... Oregon State had a chance to lay claim to basketball supremacy in the state of Oregon. Not only claim it, but grab it with both hands and squeeze tight. The only thing the Beavers did that to Saturday in their 63-59 home-court loss to the Ducks was their necks. ... In football news, USC made its case to the NCAA appeals committee and said all the right things afterward. ... UCLA ended the Norm Chow soap opera, with Chow moving on to Utah and the Bruins hiring a new offensive coordinator. There has been a lot of musical chairs among Pac-10 assistants this off season. ... The Seattle Times takes a look at Washington's recruiting.
• That's it for this morning. The week ahead will be a little different, what with the Cougars not playing until next Sunday. Not sure how it will play out, but we'll keep you updated here. Until then ...