Archive for December 2012
Kevin Pangos in the first half. Kelly Olynyk in the second half. And Gary Bell in the closing seconds.
The Bullogs rode Pangos' 18 first-half points, Olynyk's 22 second-half points and Bell's clutch 3-pointer with 37 seconds left to hold off Oklahoma State 69-68 on Monday..
Here's a link to my game story. I'll have a day-after post tomorrow, if flight schedules cooperate!
In honor of the final day of 2012, we participate in the widely-practiced tradition of recapping the previous 365 days in WSU sports (OK, just football and men's basketball, because those are the sports we cover). Read on for musings.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There really is just one thing to talk about on this New Year's Eve. The Seattle Seahawks' run to the NFL playoffs. And the upcoming week of anticipation and hope. It will be fun. Read on.
Hard to believe that a year ago, I was guiding my Honda Civic down I-84 en route to my new apartment in Pullman. Much has happened since. We reminisce briefly before rounding up our Pac-12 links on this New Year's Eve morning. Read on.
Gonzaga has faced four Big 12 teams thus far and each time the outcome gets a little tighter: Defeated West Virginia by 34 points, Oklahoma by 25, Kansas State by 16 and Baylor by 7.
Of course, that probably has more to do with the fact that they're facing a better Big 12 opponent each time out. And that trend will continue Monday night when No. 13 GU faces No. 22 Oklahoma State, which is 10-1 and has a number of impressive defensive statistics.
The Bulldogs will have to contend with freshman point guard Marcus Smart and a stellar supporting cast that includes leading scorer Le'Bryan Nash (14.9 ppg), Markel Brown (14.0) and Phil Forte (10.9). Gonzaga coach Mark Few saw Smart's all-around impact on games first hand as an assistant on Billy Donovan's Team USA U-18 staff. Smart helped the U.S. to a gold medal.
Here's a link to my preview that will run in Monday's S-R.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Sunday mornings are the best mornings, no doubt about it. Oh sure, Saturdays are great, especially for those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 70s and 80s and still have memories of being parked in front of the TV, cartoons blaring, a bowl of sugar-infused cereal in our lap. But Sundays, well Sunday mornings mean football, on the tube and on the Net. Sunday is great synonym for lazy, a euphemism for lolling around. To help, we searched the web and came up with 729 stories for you to read. OK, that's an exaggeration, but there is quite a few. Read on.
The Washington State men's basketball team did what everyone thought it would do yesterday. It won. So, too, did the WSU women's team, though in far more surprising fashion. We have links related to both, and more. Read on.
Sam Reinhart, one of the top 17-year-old prospects in the Western Hockey League, had two goals and one assist Saturday night as the Kootenay Ice had their top offensive showing of the year in a 7-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena. Read story
Robert Harris, hurt for the early part of the season, was just 2 of 5 from the 3-point line this season for the Idaho Vandals. That was before the small point guard uncorked three clutch 3s in the final minutes Saturday night to help the Vandals rally for a 71-64 win over Seattle U in their WAC opener.
Idaho (5-6, 1-0) won despite just six points from leading scorer Stephen Madison, who was saddled with foul trouble and played only 20 minutes. Senior center Kyle Barone matched a career high with 25 points. He also had 11 rebounds and was 9 of 11 from the free-throw line.
More after the jump.
The Kootenay Ice, who have the worst record among 12 teams in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference, scored five uncontested goals during the second and third periods Saturday night to topple the Spokane Chiefs 7-3 at the Arena. Story to follow
Todd Fiddler's league-leading 27th goal early in the second period Saturday gave the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 lead, but the Kootenay Ice responded with three goals to take a 5-3 advantage into the final period.
Angel Nunez spent a good portion of his 21st birthday Saturday roughly 35,000 feet in the air. Nunez, the former Louisville Cardinal who committed to Gonzaga on Friday night, flew from Spokane to his native New York on Saturday.
In a telephone interview, Nunez said he was blown away by the family atmosphere at GU during his visit. He was a highly touted prep prospect, but struggled to find a spot in Louisville's rotation, mainly for defensive reasons, according to this article. Gonzaga hopes to help the 6-8, 200-pound Nunez, who has been compared to ex-Zag Micah Downs, turn his considerable potential into on-court production.
Read on for my article on Nunez (pronounced NOON-yez) that will run in Sunday's S-R.
Friday night was a defensive stuggle, with the Spokane Chiefs edging the Kootenay Ice 1-0. Saturday night is proving much different as the teams are tied at 2 after 20 minutes at the Arena.
The Spokane Chiefs are about 15 minutes away from their first home game since Dec. 18. The Chiefs will play the Kootenay Ice, who lost to the Chiefs 1-0 on Friday night in Cranbrook, British Columbia.
Tia Presley, Mariah Cooks and Lia Galdeira combined for 38 points Saturday afternoon as Washington State overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat Gonzaga 57-51 at McCarthey Athletic Center. Read story
FROM KENNEWICK — Washington State's 74-39 win over Idaho State at the Toyota Center on Saturday was about as easy as it gets. We have details after the jump. Read on.
Tia Presley led three players in double figures with 15 points Saturday as Washington State rallied from a 14-point deficit to defeat Gonzaga 57-51. Story to come.
Gonzaga, boosted by scoring runs of 11-0 and 9-0, leads Washington State 32-26 at halftime Saturday at McCarthey Athletic Center. WSU trailed by 12 points until a 6-0 flurry to close the half. GU's Shelby Cheslek and Haiden Palmer have a game-high eight points.
FROM KENNEWICK — We've settled in on press row at the Toyota Center — which is courtside, a different perspective than usual — and have a few thoughts to share before Washington State and Idaho State take the court. Read on.
Washington State and Gonzaga will tip off in 20 minutes at a sold-out McCarthey Athletic Center. WSU enters with a 3-7 record while the Bulldogs are 10-3. For both teams, it's their final nonconference game before starting conference play next week. GU has won the last four games in the series.
The most entertaining game of Gonzaga's season is in the books. It'll take some doing the rest of the way to match or surpass GU's 94-87 victory over Baylor that was the equivalent of a two-hour carnival ride.
Read on for my day-after Baylor post. I hope to connect with the newest Zag, ex-Louisville Cardinal Angel Nunez, later today.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Like to be sitting in a movie theater and be able to find out who is winning the game you're missing? It's possible these days if you have the right app on your smart phone. Like to be able to find the movie theater in the first place, or the time of the movie, or a list of stars? All are possible with the right app. Pretty cool, huh? Want to see a picture of a public figure in what probably is a totally innocent position and watch it blown completely out of proportion? That's possible too. Such is the yin and yang of modern technology. Read on.
FROM SAMMAMISH — Our time on the west side is over, because it's time to head to the east side for a basketball game. But not to Pullman just yet. Washington State plays its first game in Kennewick since 2009 this afternoon. We have links to tide you over until the 3 p.m. tip against Idaho State. Read on.
Big night for Gonzaga basketball, which posted a 94-87 victory over a talented Baylor team, and picked up a commitment from former Louisville forward Angel Nunez.
My unedited game story is below. There's a short article on Nunez committing at the bottom (hopefully I'll have more on Nunez tomorrow).
Also, check back in the morning for a day-after Baylor post.
Dylan Walchuk took a meandering road before ending up with the Spokane Chiefs about one year ago. His addition has brought extra offensive firepower to Spokane. Read story
Eric Williams recorded the shutout and Todd Fiddler scored the lone goal Friday night as the Spokane Chiefs returned from a long break to edge Kootenay on the road. Read story
Washington State travels to Gonzaga for a 2 p.m. nonconference game on Saturday before a sellout crowd. The last two games, won by Gonzaga, have come down to the final seconds. Read story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Now that Christmas is starting to fade in the rearview mirror like the last gas station before the Mojave Desert, it's time for the sports world to get back to normal. And it is around here, with Gonzaga returning to the Kennel this evening to face a nationally respected program, prep basketball players getting back at it and a Pac-12 football team involved in a horribly officiated game. That's the sporting life I know. Read on.
The Washington State basketball team will be back in action tomorrow in Kennewick. We try to get back in the swing of things with a few Pac-12 links this morning. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs, who haven't played since Dec. 18, began returning to Spokane on Thursday in preparation for Friday's game against Kootenay at Cranbrook, British Columbia. Read story
Gonzaga, which hasn't played since defeating Campbell on Dec. 19th, returns to the court against visiting Baylor on Friday night.
The Bears have a talented guard line, led by Pierre Jackson, and a pair of interior standouts in Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin. Read more on the matchup here.
A week ago Idaho football coach Paul Petrino said the Vandals weren't likely to add a junior-college quarterback who would compete in spring camp. But that changed this past weekend, when the Vandals signed former USC preferred walk-on Anthony Neyer. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior-to-be spent last year as a backup at Pierce College in Los Angeles.
“Anthony has great talent,” Petrino said. “He throws a nice ball with a great release. We are very excited to have him join the team in January and compete for the quarterback job.”
More on Neyer below.
The Zags are back at practice, including Przemek Karnowski, who squeezed in a trip home to Poland during the holiday break that required essentially two days of travel . The big man said he was feeling some of the effects of the Spokane-to-Torun, Torun-to-Spokane venture, but was glad to be at home for an early Christmas.
I'll post a GU-Baylor preview later tonight.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is one NFL story you can count on this time of year. Actually, let's make that two. There is the one about the players who made the Pro Bowl. And there's the one about how the players who didn't will be motivated by the snub. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs will get their first look at the Kootenay Ice on Friday (on the road) and Saturday (at the Arena). Here's a story from last month about Ice phenom Sam Reinhart, who has been described as a 17-year-old with a 20-year-old's brain. Read story
One year ago in Las Vegas, the Gonzaga women defeated Dayton 82-76. Dayton was 6-4 after the loss. Now the Flyers are 12-0 and one of the biggest surprises of the 2012-13 season. Read story
Mike Pelino, an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs from 1997-99, was relieved of his head coaching duties by the Ontario Hockey League's Peterborough Petes last week. Read story
This week's women's basketball notebook leads with Washington State sophomore point guard Tia Presley, the Gonzaga Prep product who is bouncing back from last year's season-ending injury. Read story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
When I pulled myself out of bed today, I was expecting a light morning. After all, the day after Christmas couldn't be too overwhelming could it? About the only thing I thought I would be linking were boxing stories from England. Read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's Christmas morning and the stockings are hung on the mantle with care (the reason this is a bit late; that had to come first). But we also have a few stocking stuffers for you. Read on.
FROM LONGVIEW — We're back home for the holidays with Washington State out of action until its Saturday game in the Tri Cities (and the Cougars have a few days away from practice for the holidays, too). As expected, there isn't a whole lot to pass along in the way of news. But as a creature of habit, we still have a post. Read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Kind of fun, wasn't it? A Sunday night game that live up to its hype – if you are a Seahawks fan. I am assuming most of you are, so I'm also assuming you had a great time yelling at the TV last night. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — We won't lie. There just isn't a heck of a lot of news out there today, what with Christmas now fewer than 24 hours away. But we still scavenged the web for anything that might be of interest, so read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
You know, if this were 2005, the Mariners would have had a heck of an off-season. But it's 2012, nearly 2013 and this offseason has been, well, nothing less than mystifying. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — If not for USC's loss at Georgia yesterday, the Pac-12 would have run the table on a day full of games. Not a bad way to head into Christmas. Read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
You like college basketball? Well, today's your day. Pick up the remote, sit down in your favorite chair and watch an extravaganza that will last long enough to induce bed sores. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — Washington State practices later this morning before boarding a bus and heading back to Pullman, though some players are dispersing from here for their Christmas break. We're not on break quite yet. Here are some links to fill your Saturday morning.
FROM SEATTLE — We have some quotes to pass along after WSU's 65-54 win over Buffalo at KeyArena on Friday night. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — Not sure if Washington State has played two halves as differently as it did in tonight's 65-54 win over Buffalo at KeyArena. But when the result is a victory, nobody really cares. We recap the good, the bad and the ugly in our tale of the tape. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — Have to admit, I was dreading the commute from Greenwood into Seattle Center at 5 p.m. on a Friday night. But the drive was pretty smooth, and I was even able to find a parking spot on the street just outside the arena. Maybe the world really did end today. Anyway, we have thoughts and notes and such after the jump, so read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Numbers are a key aspect of any sport. From batting average to touchdowns scored, players are evaluated based on their numbers. It's serious business. But numbers can also be fun. And can lead to some odd occurrences. Such an odd occurrence occurred last night (and just a second ago, when I typed words with back-to-back “r”s in them, only the third time I've done that in my career). Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — After a 7-day layoff, the Washington State men's basketball team takes the court again today for its annual game at KeyArena. We have links and notes after the jump.
FROM SEATTLE — Ken Bone met with a couple of reporters yesterday after WSU's practice at KeyArena. He had some noteworthy things to say. We recount them below.
– Asked to assess his team at this point in the season, Bone said the most important quality of his players might be their understanding that Brock Motum is their best offensive weapon.
Bone said more than once last season that “get the ball to Brock” was his team's No. 1 priority, and that sometimes the players needed to be reminded of that.
“They appreciate and respect the best player, and that’s not always the case,” Bone said, also calling the Cougars the most cohesive group he's ever been around. “They understand Brock Motum’s our guy and they embrace it.”
Was that a challenge last year?
Jazmine Redmon kept finding the big players inside Thursday as Gonzaga strolled to a 97-62 win over visiting Idaho. Both teams will take a holiday break until Dec. 29. Read story
Idaho led by as many as 11 points Thursday night against rival Boise State at CenturyLink Arena in Boise. But the Vandals' most glaring weakness this season — an inability to lock down defensively late in games — was their undoing again. The Broncos shot 61 percent in the second half to pull away late for a 78-68 win.
Boise State's explosive offense came alive in the second half. After missing all seven of their 3-point attempts in the first half, the Broncos were 5 of 8 from outside after halftime. They outscored Idaho 49-31 in the second half.
Idaho finished nonconference play at 4-6. Boise State moved to 8-2.
Balanced scoring and superb passing led Gonzaga's women to a 97-62 nonconference win over visiting Idaho on Thursday night. Both teams now take a holiday break until Dec. 29. Story to come.
The Gonzaga women have used their passing game and advantage inside to take a 48-26 lead over Idaho at halftime of nonconference play at McCarthey Athletic Center. Centers Shelby Cheslek and Stephanie Golden and forward Sunny Greinacher have eight points apiece for the Bulldogs. Gonzaga already has 17 assists, led by Jazmine Redmon's eight. Idaho junior Alyssa Charlston leads all players with 13 points.
It's 15 minutes until tipofff for the Idaho Vandals (3-7) against Gonzaga (9-3) in nonconference women's basketball at McCarthey Athletic Center. Idaho leads the all-time series, but Gonzaga has won 10 of the last 12 encounters. The Vandals' last win in the series came during the 2005-06 season.
Yes, I'm a little cranky this morning. No, it wasn't because I watched a replay of the lackluster last 10 minutes of GU's 74-52 win over Campbell. I wisely stopped the DVR at the end of the first half. It's obviously because I shoveled a couple of driveways and toted a couple of kids to school before I had my first cup of coffee! And now it's snowing and blowing again!
You know the drill: S-R game story, A.P., Jesse Tinsley's photos. Not a whole lot more needs to be written about Wednesday’s game, other than Gonzaga got an easy win and nobody was injured – the primary goals for the last pre-Christmas game— but we have a couple of items.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
The Mariners traded for a hitter. Just what we've been asking for, right? Then why does it seem so wrong? Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — The football team added a few new players yesterday, while the basketball team will practice today on the same court the Sonics used to practice on. Too soon? Read on.
Gonzaga thumped Campbell 74-52 Wednesday in its final game before the Christmas break. Now the Zags will take a few days off, travel home to be with their families and return for practice on Christmas Day.
My unedited game story is below. Check back in the morning for a day-after post.
The Calgary Hitmen have one of the best records in the Western Hockey League (23-8-1-3), but their fans are worried about their 11-7-3 home mark. Calgary's lone trip to Spokane is on Feb. 13. Read story
Top-ranked Stanford had a scare at No. 21 South Carolina on Wednesday night. Read story
The series between Idaho and Gonzaga has been lopsided. Idaho dominated the early years and Gonzaga has won 10 of the last 12 against the Vandals. Read story
As expected, the Washington State football team signed three junior-college transfers to letters of intent on Wednesday, and also signed two players to financial aid packages.
JUCO transfers Lyman Faoliu (defensive end, College of San Mateo), Ivan McLennan (linebacker, El Camino Junior College) and Jacob Seydel (offensive lineman, Riverside Community College) each signed letters of intent, and B.J. Salmonson (offensive lineman) and Robert Lewis (receiver) signed financial aid agreements.
Salmonson and Lewis each signed letters of intent with WSU last February but delayed their enrollment. All five players who signed with the Cougars today will begin classes on Jan. 7 and will be eligible to participate in winter conditioning drills and spring practices.
“We are excited about the start to this class,” said WSU coach Mike Leach in a statement. “Our coaching staff has worked extremely hard over the past year and this class is going to be key for us in the future. Lyman and Jacob give us added size on both lines which is always a priority and Ivan gives us another athletic playmaker on defense. Robert will certainly add speed to our receiving unit and B.J. is a person who is physical and embraces contact.”
The national letter-of-intent signing period for high-school athletes begins Feb. 6.
Here's some biographical information for each player included in WSU's official release:
Idaho football coach Paul Petrino has been on the job for 16 days. In that time, he's assembled his coaching staff and had 13 recruits verbally commit. We've got a transcript of what he said in an afternoon teleconference below.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Sometimes the days just fly by. Not the ones in late winter when baseball season is just around the corner and the snow stands as high as Barry Bonds' head. No, those drag along. But around this time of year, when so much has to be done by certain dates, the days seem to disappear as quickly as Marshawn Lynch against the Buffalo defense. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — We trekked across the state last night and are in Seattle a few days ahead of WSU's game against Buffalo here on Friday. But that doesn't mean there wasn't any work to be done yesterday. Read on.
The Portland Winterhawks have won 25 of their last 27 games after Tuesday night's 4-3 win over the host Spokane Chiefs at the Arena. Portland had a much different look from its 9-1 win over Spokane five weeks ago. Read story
Adam De Champlain's third-period goal gave the Portland Winterhawks a 4-3 win over the host Spokane Chiefs on Tuesday night in the final Western Hockey League game before the holiday break. More to come.
Blake Gal's goal late in the second period Tuesday night allowed the Spokane Chiefs to tie the Portland Winterhawks at 3 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Third period is 15 minutes away.
Todd Fiddler scored his team-high 24th goal and Mitch Holmberg followed with his 23rd as the Spokane Chiefs, trailing 2-0 midway through the first period, rallied to tie the Portland Winterhawks after 20 minutes at the Arena on Tuesday night.
The top two teams in the Western Hockey League's U.S. Division, the Portland Winterhawks (28-5-1-0) and the Spokane Chiefs (23-9-1-0), will drop the puck in 20 minutes at the Arena. The teams will meet eight times this season. The only previous meeting this year, Nov. 10 in Spokane, was a 9-1 Portland victory. Spokane has won nine of 12 games since then, but the Winterhawks have won 24 of their last 26 games.
The U.S. Division first-place Portland Winterhawks are in town to play the Spokane Chiefs, but they aren't at full strength. Here's a story on one Portland player who will miss the game for a good reason. Read story
This week's women's basketball notebook leads with Community Colleges of Spokane sophomore guard Jorden Brons, who can play any position on the court. Brons' family has deep ties to Colville basketball through three generations. Read story
(UPDATE: Here's the unedited version of the story we're filing for tomorrow's paper)
FROM PULLMAN – Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel will no longer seek a fifth year of eligibility from the NCAA and will instead begin working toward an NFL career, Tuel confirmed to the Spokesman-Review.
The Seattle Times was the first to report Tuel’s decision.
Tuel sought the fifth year due to the amount of time he missed during the 2011 season. He broke his collarbone in WSU’s season-opener that year, missed the team’s next four games, then returned and played in one full game before reinjuring the collarbone in the first half of a game against Oregon State.
Tuel missed the rest of that season after being diagnosed with compartment syndrome.
Because that Oregon State game was WSU’s seventh of the season – meaning it came in the second half of the Cougars’ schedule – Tuel’s appeal was widely thought to be a long shot.
“It’s just all a big ‘if,’ and I’m not going to put my future on if,” Tuel said. “So the decision had to be made.”
FROM PULLMAN — We have news, notes and quotes from coach Ken Bone's meeting with the media on Tuesday. Read on.
Kris Cinkovich, formerly the wide receivers coach at Arkansas and UNLV, has been hired as Idaho's offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, according to multiple reports. Cinkovich coached last season at Arkansas with Paul Petrino, the Vandals' new coach, and played at Carroll College with Bobby Petrino, Paul's brother. His teams at Carroll were coached by Bob Petrino Sr. He also spent two years as a player at Spokane Falls Community College (1979-1980).
Cinkovich was named one of the nation's top 50 recruiters by 247Sports.com in February. He spent three seasons with the Razorbacks after six seasons at UNLV. This is his first coordinator job. He led Las Vegas High to a state title in 2003.
This past season Cinkovich made $214,800 at Arkansas. In 2011, Idaho paid offensive coordinator Steve Axman $130,000. The salary for Jason Gesser, who replaced Axman for one season, was never disclosed.
Cinkovich's reported hiring means the Vandals have let go receivers coach Mike Levenseller, who spent one season in Moscow after being dismissed after a long coaching career at Washington State.
Give our news quiz a try and you'll be entered in a random drawing for four tickets to EWU's men's basketball home game against Idaho State. You will also be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Find the news quiz here.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is little in the way of earth-shattering news in the world of sports today. At least that's the way it looks from my perspective. I guess if you were a New York Jets fan, you would see it differently. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — It's that time of year when things really, really, really slow down on the Pac-12 basketball front. That's especially true for WSU, which doesn't play again until Friday. Ken Bone meets with reporters today to discuss that game. We also have links for you. Read on.
Ohio State senior guard Tayler Hill dominated the court Monday night during the Buckeyes' 65-60 nonconference win at Gonzaga. It was the first meeting between the teams. Ohio State improved to 7-3 and dropped GU to 9-3, with every loss against a ranked team or one that was just ranked (Ohio State). Read more
Senior guard Tayler Hill burned Gonzaga for 25 points and made all the big plays down the stretch on Monday as Ohio State defeated the host Bulldogs 65-60. More to come.
GU media day today and we touched on a couple topics: 1) What is Gonzaga's approach to balancing practice/individual workouts with a short holiday break? And 2) An update on Gonzaga and the breakaway seven Big East schools.
Senior guard Tayler Hill has 11 points at halftime while leading Ohio State to a 23-21 edge over Gonzaga at McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga never trailed until Darryce Moore scored off an offensive rebound to snap a 21-all time. Gonzaga is mixing defensive intensity with offensive balance, as no Bulldogs player has more than four points.
The Gonzaga women's basketball team was supposed to play 20th-ranked Ohio State tonight. Yes, Ohio State is still the rival at McCarthey Athletic Center, but the Buckeyes are no longer ranked. Washington State saw to that by upsetting Ohio State 62-55 on Saturday in Pullman, dropping the Buckeyes from the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Gonzaga sports a 9-2 record heading in against Ohio State (6-3). GU's two losses are to ranked teams, Louisville and No. 1 Stanford. The Bulldogs and Buckeyes have never met.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is just something different in our lives right now. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the Christmas spirit. Maybe it's the fact the region's professional football team is playing so well the main argument each Monday morning is about whether the coach ran the score up or not. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Sure, it's Monday. And nobody likes Mondays. But take some comfort in knowing you don't have to move into a new apartment today. And if you do, well, I can sympathize. Read on.
Up at 6:45 in Seattle, home by 11. Blogging by 11:15. I'll take it.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
What a football game. It had almost everything. A seemingly insurmountable lead. A Rockne-like locker room jump-start. An incredible comeback. Everything, it seems, except the storybook hometown victory. Well, real life isn't the movies. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — The biggest story on the Palouse yesterday didn't involve Mike Leach. Or Brock Motum. The WSU women's basketball team stole the spotlight for a day. Read on.
Tri-City Americans goaltender Eric Comrie shut down the Spokane Chiefs during teddy bear toss night at the Arena on Saturday. Comrie blanked the Chiefs for nearly 57 minutes to guide the Americans' 2-1 win. Read story
In some ways, Idaho's 91-47 rout of Walla Walla University — an NAIA Division II school that lost its first 14 games of the season — seemed like a glorified scrimmage. But the Vandals were happy to be playing nonetheless. Especially after a week of grueling practices in which Don Verlin had one goal: “We've just got to get a little more nasty.”
Gonzaga rebounded from its first loss of the season by throttling Kansas State 68-52 in the 10th annual Battle in Seattle on Saturday.
Kelly Olynyk had 20 points — in just 19 minutes before fouling out — and Elias Harris had 10 points and seven boards as the Bulldogs worked over K-State inside. Gary Bell Jr. added 11 points and Kevin Pangos had nine points and six assists.GU, coming off an 85-74 home loss to Illinois, improved to 10-1 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
My unedited game story is below. Check back for a day-after post in the morning.
The Tri-City Americans held off the Spokane Chiefs 2-1 on Saturday night at the Arena. The Chiefs avoided their first shutout of the season — on teddy bear toss night — when Reid Gow scored with 3:14 left. Story to come
The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans are still scoreless after two periods. Spokane has outshot the Americans 23-14. The game has had just three penalties, one by the Chiefs. Spokane is 13-2 at home this season.
Spokane Chiefs fans are eagerly waiting to throw their teddy bears on the ice after their team's first score, but Tri-City goalie Eric Comrie is holding up the fun. The Chiefs have peppered Comrie with 15 shots (to seven for Tri-City) during a first period that ended scoreless. The teddy bears will be donated to needy children.
The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans will square off in about 15 minutes at the Arena. The big rivalry game will feature the annual teddy bear toss to benefit needy children. These teams have met in the playoffs the last two seasons. Spokane has won four of five from the Americans this season and leads the all-time series 147-126-2-5.
Ohio State's Amber Stokes and her father, Ron, are the first father-daughter combo to have played at the Columbus school. Stokes' 20th-ranked Buckeyes lost at Washington State on Saturday and play at Gonzaga on Monday. Read story
Washington State, playing its first game in two weeks since a disappointing loss to Fresno State, showed off its potential Saturday afternoon by toppling No. 20 Ohio State in Pullman. Read more
Game Day,Cheney, a chance for the Eagles to return to the national spotlight with a win today over Sam Houston State, a chance for a title game against North Dakota State that would match the last two national champions. Here's our pre-game package, including story and the keys to victory for both teams. Vince Grippi also weighed in on the Eagles with this blog. From last night, here is the story from North Dakota State's exciting win over Georgia Southern. From the Huntsville Item (Sam Houston State's hometown newspaper), here's a story from the Bearkat perspective.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
One more step. That's all Eastern Washington has to take to make another trip to Frisco, Texas and the FCS championship game. But, as they used to say in cartoons, that step is a doozy. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — The men's basketball team doesn't play again until the 21st. But there's another basketball team at this school, and they're going to have their hands full this afternoon against a nationally-ranked opponent. We'll be there. Read on.
Spokane Chiefs fans can say they've seen it all after Friday night's game at the Arena against Seattle. Trailing 6-2 with less than 12 minutes left, the Chiefs, powered by Mitch Holmberg's incredible night, tied the game in regulation and won in a shootout. Read more
A wild third-period rally led by Mitch Holmberg gives the Spokane Chiefs a 7-6 win over Seattle after a 2-1 shootout. Story to come
Luke Lockhart has a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal through two periods Friday as the Seattle Thunderbirds lead the Spokane Chiefs 5-2 at the Arena. Spokane entered with a 12-2 home record.
The Spokane Chiefs struck early Friday night on Dylan Walchuk's ninth goal of the season, but Seattle scored power-play goals 38 seconds apart for a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
It's been an eventful seven days for Gonzaga, which has arrived on the west side for tomorrow's Battle in Seattle contest with Kansas State. The 14th-ranked Zags (9-1) are back on the floor for the first time since falling at home to Illinois.
GU and Kansas State are expected to meet again next season. Wildcats coach Bruce Weber indicated the contest probably will be played in Wichita.
More on the matchup here.
The Spokane Chiefs are minutes away from playing their first home game since Nov. 24. The Chiefs will take on Seattle, aiming to improve to 4-1 against the Thunderbirds this Western Hockey League season.
FROM PULLMAN — As multiple reports indicated this week, Washington State inside receivers coach Eric Morris has left the school for a position on the staff of new coach Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech.
Morris played receiver for Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2005-2008. It's not known what his exact role will be on Kingsbury's staff, though it's likely Kingsbury, a former Texas Tech quarterback, will call his own plays. Kingsbury played for Leach during the coach's first two seasons at TTU.
Morris has experienced a quick rise in the college coaching ranks. He was a graduate assistant at Houston last season before Leach hired him to coach receivers in his first season at WSU. Morris was entrusted with sitting in the coaches' booth on game day, a position to which Leach has assigned great importance over the years.
At age 33, Kingsbury is the youngest head coach of a BCS school. Morris, 27, adds even more youth to a staff that Kingsbury promised would be “young and energetic.”
Jeff Choate, WSU's linebackers coach, is also reportedly headed to UTEP as that school's defensive coordinator. WSU has not confirmed either move.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
I was a little depressed yesterday. No, make that a lot depressed. Read on.
The Eagles are working hard to prepare for San Houston State and tomorrow's semifinal game. In that spirit, we're continuing our two-a-day coverage with a look at the Eastern defense and a feature story on former EWU and Spokane Shock quarterback Erik Meyer, who's now a student assistant with the Eagles. We also had a live chat. Here's the transcript. From Sam Houston State's homer, er, home-town newspaper, this interesting short. Also out of Texas, another piece on Sam Houston State.
FROM PULLMAN — It was back to basketball on Thursday night, though the small crowd that showed up at Beasley Coliseum wasn't exactly treated to a strong showing. Regardless, we recap the night's happenings after the jump, so read on.
FROM PULLMAN — For the second consecutive game, Washington State won ugly. But, as coach Ken Bone and players said afterward, it was a win. We recap it after the jump.
Todd Fiddler is hot and so are the Spokane Chiefs. Fiddler has scored 18 goals in his last 18 games as Spokane has moved within striking distance of the Western Hockey League's elite. Read story
Before Washington State begins the Pac-12 season, a tough nonconference stretch will challenge the Cougars. Coach June Daugherty welcomes the challenge. Read story
With only two days until Saturday's FCS semifinal, we have a couple more stories, including my preview of the intriguing matchup between Eastern's passing offense and Sam Houston State's aggressive defense. I also have a notebook with several interesting storylines. In the meantime, we'll have our weekly Live Chat today at noon, right here at SportsLink. From the newspaper in Huntsville, Texas (an hour's drive north of Houston and home of the Bearkats) here's a nice feature on Sam Houston's chances of knocking off three Big Sky Conference teams in as many games. Also from Texas, a Q and A with two of the Bearkats' top players.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some days there is little to write about. Other days a whole bunch. And today? Today there are a couple of subjects we want to touch upon. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — We knew it was coming eventually. And on Wednesday, Washington state released the findings of its internal review of the football program. That dominates today's headlines, so read on for plenty more on the subject.
Gonzaga has a tradition of walk-ons who have made contributions to the program. You can add Mike Hart to the list, but his story is truly unique.
Find out why in a feature article on Hart that will run in Thursday's S-R.
FROM PULLMAN — In his review of the WSU football program, WSU athletic director Bill Moos noted that “the departed player” — a reference to former receiver Marquess Wilson — had redacted his claims of abuse in a text message shortly after the UCLA game on Nov. 10, the same day Wilson announced his departure from the team in a letter to media.
In documents obtained by the Spokesman-Review through a public records request, that message from Wilson to Moos is included in a forwarded email from Moos to president Elson Floyd sent on Nov. 11 at 1:57 a.m.
Moos wrote to Floyd that the message was “Sent to me at 11:33. Unfortunate as our guys gave a valiant effort and deserved to be the lead story.”
The name of the sender is redacted in the document, but Wilson identifies himself in the text, which reads: “Mr. Moos this is marquess … With that letter I wasn't trying to accuse the coaches of hitting players or anything. I was just trying to put it in different terms and now everything is getting misinterpreted and I didn't mean it like that at all … I simply was trying to get my story across and get my name cleared instead of having it say I'm suspended for breaking team violations … That could mean like I did drugs or something … I was never trying to harm the university or the program with it.”
That jives with what Moos told reporters in a conference call late Wednesday afternoon.
“He wanted to primarily tell the fans goodbye, I’ll miss you and that his suspension did not have to do with things that some of our earlier dismissals had to do in regards to behavior,” Moos said.
FROM PULLMAN — WSU released its final findings from its internal review of the football program prompted by former receiver Marquess Wilson's allegations of abuse made in early November.
We have the full review posted below.
Bill Moos also said in a statement: “Last month President Floyd asked me to fully review allegations raised concerning the football program and report those findings and conclusions as soon as possible,” said Moos. “I have fulfilled his charge over the past few weeks, which included interviews with multiple student-athletes and support staff involved with the program. Once I received the findings from members of my staff, I found that the program is moving in the desired direction, that is it on-par with, or exceeds, other BSC-level programs in terms of expectations and commitment. Transition in coaching changes is rarely smooth, however, after reviewing the comments from the players that were interviewed, I am encouraged the program is moving in a positive direction.”
Perhaps of most interest and importance is Moos' statement in the review that “Throughout this review there was no report or detection of abuse or inappropriate behavior.”
Moos also confirmed that Wilson recanted his claims in a text message following the UCLA game.
Moos said he did instruct coaches to stop spraying water on players who were working out in the sand pit. That directive was issued around midseason.
It had to happen at some point. Gonzaga's name is being mentioned in the never-ending conference shuffle.
Now, who knows if the seven Big East Catholic, non-FBS schools will form a basketball-only conference and whether they would want to bring Gonzaga aboard. There's an incredible number of factors involved. One thing is certain, as GU athletic director Mike Roth pointed out, the decision on a basketball-only conference will be made by others, not Gonzaga, and at this point it's not even certain the seven schools have the voting power to do it.
When, or if, there's an offer to join is when Gonzaga will decide if it benefits the school, though it figures to have crunched the numbers just in case..
As I mentioned in a previous post, I asked a Gonzaga official about the possibliity of a Catholic super-power conference 8-9 days ago and got a blank stare in return. That all changed when the seven Big East school's presidents and A.D.s, unhappy with the conference's future direction, met in New York Sunday to discuss different options.
Here's my article that will run in tomorrow's S-R. Here's other reading material: ESPN.com's Andy Katz, more on ESPN.com, the Philadelphia Daily News, a CBSsports.com podcast (Big East topic comes up around 14-15 minute mark, they don't sound convinced GU would be part of a new conference) and some interesting comments from Marquette A.D. Larry Williams.
Could the conference shuffle, which took some time off during the first part of the football season before heating back up, include Gonzaga?
There's an ESPN.com report this morning that Gonzaga would be interested in a “national, branded” conference alongside national Catholic-based schools. I asked a GU official about this maybe 9-10 days ago when rumblings first surfaced and got the “are you out of your mind?” look. However, coach Mark Few did say something akin to Gonzaga having to look out for the school's best interests in a response to a recent question.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
A prolific fiction writer can take one line a college basketball story and weave it into a long, easy-to-read bestseller (think Stephen King). We're not prolific. We're not a fiction writer. We're not capable of writing a long, easy-to-read bestseller. But we can take a single line of a story and weave it into a short lead-in to the morning links. Read on.
Take this week's news quiz and you will be automatically entered into a drawing for four tickets to EWU-Weber State men's basketball game and a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Take the news quiz here. Good luck.
It's a big week in Cheney, and our hopefully our coverage will live up to the moment. Three stories today, including John Blanchette's column on football attendance, my report from practice and a look at the Sam Houston State triple/double-option/pistol. Whatever it is, you get the idea: It's tough to defend, and now it's Eastern's problem. From Sam Houston, here is the official release from the school, which is packed with everything you want to know about the Bearkats.
FROM PULLMAN — It is Wednesday, right? These pre-winter days — can't actually call it winter until Dec. 21, even if it's snowing outside as I type — all seem to blend together. Yeah, that's all I've got for today. Read on for links.
The top three picks for the next Western Hockey League draft could be playing in Alberta. Read story
The Spokane Chiefs have been away from the Arena since Nov. 24, but home fans are about to get a pre-Christmas treat. Spokane will greet three U.S. Division rivals in five days - Friday against Seattle; Saturday against Tri-City and Tuesday against first-place Portland - before getting nine days off for the holiday. Spokane is 12-2 at home, but one loss was a 9-1 setback against Portland. The Chiefs are 22-8-1-0 after winning five of six games on a nine-day swing of the East Division. I just talked to Spokane's Todd Fiddler, who is tied for the Western Hockey League lead with 23 goals. Look for the story before Friday's game.
This week's women's basketball notebook focuses on Idaho junior Alyssa Charlston, the Vandals' leading scorer who has never regretted her decision to play in Moscow. Read story
FROM PULLMAN — WSU head basketball coach Ken Bone met with reporters earlier today. Nothing particularly newsworthy to pass along, but we have his comments below. Read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some days it's really easy to feel old. Today is one of those days. The Sporting News is discontinuing its print edition. Read on.
'Tis the season … for two seasons of sports at the same time at Eastern Washington University. On Monday night, the Eagle men's basketball team fell to visiting Seattle University. Meanwhile, the football team is preparing for the FCS semifinals. So are their opponents, the red-hot Sam Houston State Bearkats; here's a first look at the team from Texas, plus more All-American honors for four Eastern players. We also have the official release from Eastern, plus the Big Sky Conference's preview of the semifinals.
FRFOM PULLMAN — Not a whole lot to report from Pullman itself this morning — the basketball team had yesterday off and doesn't play until Thursday — though there are a few items here and there that are worth your attention. With that, read on.
Gonzaga, fresh from facing Illinois' talented trio of guards, moves on to another talented trio against Kansas State on Saturday in Seattle. And later this month, it's Baylor's Pierre Jackson and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart. And then it's on to the WCC and Saint Mary's Matthew Dellavedova, LMU's Anthony Ireland and Santa Clara's Kevin Foster.
It's a non-stop series of challenges for GU's starting backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. (pictured above) and the first item in this week's Gonzaga notebook. There are also updates on Sam Dower's health and Przemek Karnowski making adjustments to his free-throw shooting. Here's a link to my article that will run in Tuesday's S-R.
Programming note: Working on feature on Mike Hart that will run later this week.
FROM PULLMAN — For the second time in his career, Washington State forward Brock Motum has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Motum scored 23 points against Gonzaga on Wednesday and another 23 against Fresno State on Sunday. He's scored 20 or more points in each of his last four games, and has made nine of 13 3-point attempts in his last three games.
Motum's first player of the week award came almost exactly one year ago. He won it on Dec. 12, 2011.
Here's WSU's release:
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Washington State University men’s basketball senior Brock Motum has been named the Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 3-9, Commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday.
A native of Brisbane, Australia, Motum led the Cougars with 23.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game as WSU fell to No. 10 Gonzaga, 71-69, Dec. 5 and defeated Fresno State, 59-50, Dec. 9. He shot .552 (16-for-29) from the field, including a .700 clip (7-for-10) from 3-point range.
In Washington State’s loss to No. 10 Gonzaga, Motum had a career-high 5 3-pointers, going 5-for-7 (.714) from beyond the 3-point arc, while finishing with 23 points. He tied his career high and had a season-high 3 blocked shots in that game as well and finished shooting .615 (8-for-13) from the field. Sunday, in WSU’s matinee with Fresno State, Motum once again scored 23 points while going 2-for-3 (.667) from the 3-point arc. He added a team-best 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the victory.
Motum has scored at least 23 points in each of the last four games, averaging 25.3 points in those games and now is scoring 19.7 points per game on the season, good for third in the Pac-12 and 34th in the nation. He has scored in double figures in all 10 games this season. In WSU’s first seven games, Motum was just 2-for-19 from beyond the 3-point arc (.105), but in the last three games, he has gone 9-for-13 from 3-point range for a .692 clip.
The 6-foot-10 forward has 1,130 career points and is just 17 shy of reaching Steve Harriel in 20th in WSU’s career scoring record book. Motum became the 33rd Cougar to score 1,000 career points Nov. 19 of this season against No. 12 Kansas in Kansas City, Mo. He is the third Cougar in the last four seasons to reach 1,000 career points as Klay Thompson scored his 1,000 point during the 2009-10 season and Reggie Moore reached 1,000 in the Cougars’ second-to-last game of the 2011-12 campaign.
This is the second honor for Motum, who received Pac-12 Player of the Week last season during the same week, Dec. 5-11. Last year, Motum became the first Cougar not named Klay Thompson to earn conference player of the week since Taylor Rochestie picked up the honor, Feb. 23, 2009. WSU had two accolades last season as Faisal Aden was also named conference player of the week, Jan. 23. Motum’s honor is the 26th all-time player of the week for Washington State as he becomes the sixth Cougar to earn the award multiple times in his career.
Ronnie Lee, a former Washington State defensive back and Idaho assistant, is the Vandals' new defensive coordinator and secondary coach. In a release from UI, coach Paul Petrino said Lee was at the top of his list for the job. “For me, I hit the jackpot and got the guy I wanted,” Petrino said.
For a roundup of unofficial UI staff additions, see here.
It' FCS semifinal week in Cheney, where the Eagles are riding momentum from a 51-35 win over Illinois State last weekend. Two more stories: John Blanchette's column on EWU quarterback Kyle Padron, and the official EWU release from the game. This week it's Sam Houston State, which shrugged off the cold in Bozeman and routed Montana State.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Remember when Pete Carroll coached at USC? Remember when his Trojans were beating on Washington State so completely he had Mark Sanchez take a knee inside the 10-yard-line with time running out – in the first half? I thought about that yesterday when the Seahawks were pounding out their 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — A rare Sunday game means a rare Monday post full of after-game links. Read on for that and more.
Here's an early look at 20th-ranked Ohio State (6-2), which will play at Washington State on Saturday and at Gonzaga on Dec. 17. Read story
Gonzaga sophomore forward Sunny Greinacher capped a superb week Sunday by scoring 16 points during an 83-44 romp past Cal State Fullerton at McCarthey Athletic Center. The effort matched Greinacher's career-best 16 points during Tuesday's win over Eastern Washington. No. 20 Ohio State is the next opponent for Gonzaga (9-2), Dec. 17 at GU. Read more
FROM PULLMAN — Above are videos of Ken Bone, Brock Motum and Mike Ladd answering questions after WSU's 59-50 win over Fresno State on Sunday afternoon. Below are quotes. Read on.
Sunny Greinacher tied a careeer high with 16 points Sunday afternoon despite sitting out much of the second half as Gonzaga improved to 9-2 with an 83-44 nonconference win over visiting Cal State Fullerton. More to come
FROM PULLMAN — Well, that wasn't a whole lot of fun to watch. But Washington State didn't have to learn its lesson the hard way on Sunday, as it pulled out an ugly 59-50 win over visiting Fresno State at Beasley Coliseum. We have our capsulated review of the game after the jump, so read on.
The Spokane Chiefs will play their first home game in three weeks when they greet the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night at the Arena. The Chiefs' 5-1 road trip to the East Division ended Saturday with a loss to Moose Jaw. Read more
Five days after scoring a career-high 16 points against Eastern Washington, Gonzaga sophomore forward Sunny Greinacher is at it again. Greinacher has 12 points, on 6-foot-10 shooting from the floor, as the Bulldogs lead visiting Cal State Fullerton 40-29 at halftime Sunday afternoon. GU season scoring leader Haiden Palmer has seven points, and freshman Shelby Cheslek has six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
We're about five minutes away from Gonzaga's home game against Cal State Fullerton, the Bulldogs' final game until Dec. 17, when 20th-ranked Ohio State comes to Spokane. Fullerton (2-6) is 0-2 all time against Gonzaga and has dropped five consecutive games.
FROM PULLMAN — A few notes before Washington State and Fresno State get going this afternoon. Read on.
Probably should have renamed this one the day-after Brandon Paul post. Or Paul Brandon, as he was referred to(not by me!) a couple years ago in a previous GU-Illinois matchup. Interesting night at the Kennel as the Illinois guards got the better of Gonzaga's and the Zags probably didn't exploit their interior advantage as much as they would have liked, particularly in the second half.
The result: Illinois remained unbeaten with an 85-74 victory over previously unbeaten Gonzaga.
Read on for more.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's Sunday, the one day of the week when you are supposed to take time to reflect. So we will. Come along if you like. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — It's another gameday in Pullman, though this one doesn't bring as much hype as the last. Nevertheless, the Cougars will play a basketball game against Fresno State today at noon, and we'll be there. First, links.
Illinois took down Gonzaga again.
The Illini, behind Brandon Paul's 35 points, which equaled Virginia's Sean Singletary (Dec., 2005) for the most scored against GU at the MAC, knocked off Gonzaga 85-74 in a battle of unbeatens Saturday night. Illinois has won three of four against GU the last four seasons, including victories at the MAC and at KeyArena in the Battle in Seattle.
No. 13 Illinois improved to 10-0. No. 10 Gonzaga dropped to 9-1.
My unedited game story is below. Check back in the morning for my day-after post.
After falling behind by 18 points, Idaho twice got within two points of UTEP late in a nonconference game Saturday night. But the Vandals couldn't get over the hump in a 64-60 loss in El Paso. It was the second straight game in which Idaho mustered a mammoth rally. On Thursday night, it clawed back from 17 down to beat Eastern Washington in overtime.
Idaho fell to 3-5 heading into finals week. It will host Walla Walla University on Saturday before traveling to Boise State on Dec. 20.
FROM PULLMAN — It appears as if Washington State may have to find a new linebackers coach. The website CoachingSearch.com, along with the El Paso Times, reported Saturday that Jeff Choate will join new UTEP coach Sean Kugler as that team's defensive coordinator.
As of this writing, a WSU has neither confirmed nor denied the report.
If you'll recall, we profiled each of Mike Leach's new assistant coaches during the first few months of the year. Choate was very direct about why he left Boise State for WSU — he felt that he'd been pigeon-holed into a special-teams role, and found it difficult to move up the ladder because of that.
“I had interviewed for head (coaching) jobs and that was one of the things that came up – you haven’t been an offensive coordinator, you haven’t been a defensive coordinator,” Choate said at the time, “which quite honestly I think is ridiculous, because as a special-teams coordinator you address the entire team. It’s probably the best training ground for being a head coach.”
So he took the linebackers coaching job at WSU, obviously with the hope that it would lead to bigger things in a way his job at Boise State wasn't going to. Choate also reportedly talked with Idaho about its head coaching job in November.
Choate was given quite a bit of responsibility coaching WSU's linebackers, and also helped coach special teams, too. He talked about having players over to his house for dinner every now and then, and was instrumental in bringing together a linebacker corps that showed pretty well this season considering how many question-marks surrounded that group after the dismissal of C.J. Mizell and Sekope Kaufusi.
(And in an odd bit of WSU connectivity, the UTEP job was open because former WSU coach Mike Price retired at the end of the season.)
We'll update if more information becomes available.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
I'm sure glad I don't have a Heisman vote. I'm not sure I saw enough games from around the nation to make an informed choice on who is the most outstanding college football player in the nation. And I watched a lot of football this fall. Read on.
The Big Sky is falling, the Big Sky is … well, two-thirds of its teams in the FCS playoffs, anyway. Last night in Bozeman, the Sam Houston Bearkats throttled Montana State 34-16 to reach the semifinals. Next up for Sam Houston will be Eastern Washington, provided the Eagles can win today's game against Illinois State. While MSU pondered the lost opportunities, the Eagles hope to take continue their mastery of the close game before a sellout crowd at Roos Field. Then again, some fans might hope for an easy win for a change. but where's the fun in that? We'll see you there, and bundle up.
FROM PULLMAN — With this weekend's game being played on a Sunday, it's a quiet Saturday in Pullman. But we do have some basketball notes, as well as assorted other links, to pass along. Read on.
While Spokane was improving to 5-0 on its East Division trip Friday, the Tri-City Americans were helping the Chiefs' cause by defeating Portland. Former Chief Luke Lee-Knight was the star, turning away 44 Portland shots. The Chiefs are now just two points behind Portland in the U.S. Division. Read story
Haiden Palmer scored a season-best 21 points and Gonzaga caught fire in the second half during Friday's win at Portland State. Read more
They've met the last three seasons with Illinois winning two of three from Gonzaga. The 10th-ranked Bulldogs and 13th-ranked Illini are both 9-0 so something has to give when the teams clash Saturday night at the MAC. By records and rankings, it shapes up as one of the best matchups on Gonzaga's schedule.
After a nine-game losing streak against ranked opponents, Gonzaga is 3-4 in its last seven vs. ranked foes.
Here's my preview that will run in Saturday's S-R.
The Spokane Chiefs have won 13 of 16 games after Friday's 5-2 victory at Brandon, Manitoba. Read more
FROM PULLMAN — Some day, Richard Longrus — everyone calls him Junior — wants to help build athletic facilties.
That's why the Washington State freshman wanted to major in architecture. But conversations with others led him to believe the academic workload would be too difficult to balance with basketball, so Longrus is leaning toward a business degree instead.
“I figured if I could go into the business end of it and open athletic facilities, I can still kind of be in the same realm of what I want to do later in life,” Longrus said.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There were two local college basketball rivalry games this week and there was a big difference between the two games. Though that difference wasn't on the court. Read on.
As I'm writing this the snow is falling on the South Hill in Spokane. Thoughts turn to trimming the tree and who the heck can handle the snow in tomorrow's FCS playoff game between Eastern Washington and Illinois State. Eagle wide receiver Nick Edwards can handle anything, as this story shows. So can Jeff Minnerly, who can handle a double-major while getting a 3.78 GPA and playing high-caliber college football. In basketball, the Idaho Vandals can surely handle adversity, rallying from a 17-point deficit to beat Eastern Washington in overtime. Me? I can handle a few questions, as long as they're easy. Here's the transcript from our Live Chat on Eastern football.
FROM PULLMAN — There's little in the way of WSU news on this end-of-work-week morning, but we do have some interesting reading to pass along. So keep reading.
The Seattle Thunderbirds had lost 22 consecutive games to the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick. That streak is over … AND the Americans lose a chance to gain ground on second-place Spokane in the U.S. Division. Read story
This columnist has tried to watch two big women's games on TV this season, including Stanford's upset over Baylor, and wonders why he came up empty. Read column
UPDATED: 5:15 p.m.
Paul Petrino's a busy man. The new Idaho football coach has completed at least part of his staff, with names of new assistants trickling in. We've got the latest updates below. Read on.
If you're a college basketball fan you should take this week's news quiz for a chance to win two tickets to the Hardwood Classic in Seattle on Dec. 21. The game pits Buffalo against Washington State. You can also be placed in the drawing for four tickets to the Seattle University at Eastern men's basketball game on Dec. 10. Enter here, and you're in the running for the random drawings. Take the quiz today, the drawing is Friday. Good luck.
Well, was that any fun last night? It was great fun, until you have to try to write a coherent game story that was due at 10:15!
Got a conference call with Illinois coach John Groce in a bit, so we'll put together our day-after WSU post and get on with the day.
First, the links: My game story for Idaho readers (didn't quite make that 10:15 deadline!), WSU beat writer Christian Caple's gamer, John Blanchette's column, Tyler Tjomsland's photo gallery and an A.P. recap. Christian has more video/quotes from WSU coach Ken Bone (pictured above) and Cougar players here.
Much more below.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
After a basketball game as good as last night's, I can't wait to read about it in the morning. What I can't wait to read might just surprise you. Read on.
It's Thursday, which means another Live Chat at noon today on Eastern Washington football - quarterfinal edition. Until then, here's my weekly notebook and a look ahead to tonight's men's basketball game with Idaho. Back to football, Illinois State just came out with its official release for this week. Out of Billings, a feature on Montana State All-American linebacker Jody Owens
FROM PULLMAN — It was a thriller last night at Beasley Coliseum, though the game ended in heartbreaking fashion for the home team. We have links to catch you up to speed. Read on.
Spokane Chiefs fans may remember this veteran. Read more
FROM PULLMAN — Some quotes from WSU players and coach Ken Bone after Gonzaga's 71-69 win on Wednesday night.
FROM PULLMAN — We're back with our tale of the tape from WSU's gut-wrenching, 71-69 loss to Gonzaga at Beasley Coliseum. Read on.
Todd Fiddler's Western Hockey League-leading 23rd goal on Wednesday night gave the Spokane Chiefs their 12th win in 15 games, this one 4-1 over the host Saskatoon Blades. Read more
FROM PULLMAN — Washington State players are out shooting around and warming up for tonight's game against Gonzaga. And for the first time in a little more than two weeks, DaVonte Lacy is with them. Read on for our pregame post.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Don't worry. I'm not using this forum to go on about gun rights or gun control or any other divisive argument out there. Heck, there are enough just in the world of sports to keep me busy. Read on.
It's a big football weekend in Cheney, not least of all for Luke Huard,the younger brother of Damon and Brock and also the offensive coordinator for Illinois State. The host Eagles earned another award on Tuesday, and later practiced at Roos Field as finals week looms. Here's the latest release from Illinois State. It's also finals week at Montana State as the Bobcats prepare for Sam Houston State.
FROM PULLMAN — We'll have our weekly live chat again today at 1 p.m. in lieu of a pregame chat (since participation on those has been pretty sparse, anyway). And we also have links for you as the Cougars prepare to play Gonzaga tonight at 8 p.m. Read on.
The Seattle Thunderbirds announced the retirement of 19-year-old Tyler Alos, who graduated from Shadle Park High. Read more
The Spokane Chiefs continued their dominance of the East Division on Tuesday night, defeating East leader Prince Albert 7-4 behind Mike Aviani's four-point night. Read more
It may have been rainy outside, but it sure was Sunny inside McCarthey Athletic Center on Tuesday night. Sunny Greinacher scored a career-high 16 points as Gonzaga improved to 7-2 with a 65-50 nonconference win over Eastern Washington. Read more
This week's women's basketball notebook features Eastern Washington sophomore guard Lexie Nelson, whose hard-working habits have impressed coach Wendy Schuller and her Eagles teammates. Read more
I went to Zags media day Monday with several ideas in mind and only a couple ended up in the notebook. It's always better to gather more stuff than you end up using!
The main item was Gonzaga encountering another rugged December schedule, and rising expectations along the way. The last team to create this much buzz was the 2008-09 crew, which we also touched on in today's notebook. There's also this brief on more tickets being available for the Battle in Seattle next weekend (it's the second item here).
And Robert Sacre's stint in the D-League was short. After three games with the L.A. D-Fenders, Sacre is back with the Lakers.
A quick time-out from football this week: coach Rick Majerus was mourned by the basketball world, especially Eastern coach Jim Hayford, who writes this heartfelt letter to his mentor and friend.
It's the Elite Eight of FCS football (although they call it the quarterfinals). Eastern faces Illinois State on Saturday at 3 p.m., Here's a story on Eagle attendance, and the official, information-packed release from the school. Bozeman, Mont., will host the Co-coaches of the Year as MSU faces Sam Houston State. The Bobcats look back at a hard-fough win over Stony Brook in the second round in this story from the Bozeman Chronicle.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Think about what sports would be without rivalries. Not nearly as much fun, huh? But what happens when your rival falls on hard times? Do you rejoice or do you mourn the lack of competition? Hah, who am I kidding. You rejoice, right? Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — There's a big basketball game here tomorrow night, and we have some information on that front. But there are also a few football notes and links to pass along. Read on.
Paul Petrino is from a coaching family. He remembers breaking down game film with his father as a boy. And he and his brother, Bobby, would watch tape for eight hours at a time in the offseason while together at Arkansas. Yes, Petrino is a coach's son, and now he has another title he's always wanted: head coach.
Petrino was introduced Monday as the new face of the Idaho football program. He had lots to say, and we've got lots of details to pass along below. You can also find an early version of our story for the paper.
FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone met with reporters today to discuss Wednesday's game against Gonzaga, as well as a few other things. Read on for notes.
FROM PULLMAN — A quick note to pass along a ticket promotion from WSU …
For each home game this season, fans can purchase tickets in Section 5 (lower bowl, behind the basket next to WSU's bench) for $5 beginning 90 minutes prior to tip-off at the Beasley box office.
A couple stipulations: fans seated in that section must wear WSU colors or apparel, and each person who sits in that section must be present in line when the tickets are purchased (so you can't have one person buy 10 tickets for a group, that kind of thing). There are 193 seats in the section. Tickets are first come, first served.
A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED 9:45
A few years ago I gave up on the NFL. I almost did the same thing yesterday. And one play was the tipping point. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — And a relatively quiet one on the Palouse, considering all the goings-on around the college football landscape (read: bowl selections). Read on for links.
Gonzaga's women's basketball team knew it would have its hands full Sunday with top-ranked Stanford's stars, Chiney Ogwumike, Joslyn Tinkle and Amber Orrange. The Bulldogs couldn't have prepared for the career-high six 3-pointers and 18 points unleased by sophomore forward Taylor Greenfield. Stanford won going away, 69-41 at McCarthey Athletic Center. Read more
Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has accepted an offer to become the next Idaho football coach, the Spokesman-Review has confirmed.
UI has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Litehouse Center in the Kibbie Dome.
CoachingSearch.com was the first to report the hire.
Petrino replaces Robb Akey, who was fired on Oct. 21 after five-plus seasons. The Vandals went 1-11 this year and have had one winning season since 2000.
In addition to running the offense and coaching quarterbacks at Arkansas, Petrino has previously coached at Illinois, Louisville and with the Atlanta Falcons, among other stops. The Butte, Mont., native was an offensive and special teams assistant at Idaho from 1992-1994. He's the brother of former Arkansas and Falcons coach Bobby Petrino.
Idaho narrowed down a large list of candidates to five finalists last week. Petrino interviewed for the job on Thursday, according to a source. The other finalists were Wyoming defensive coordinator and former UI coach Chris Tormey, Central Washington coach Blaine Bennett, San Jose State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren and UI interim coach Jason Gesser.
The Vandals will compete as a Football Bowl Subdivision independent next year after the WAC dissolved as a football league. Petrino becomes the sixth UI head coach since the school became an FBS (then NCAA Division 1-A) program in 1996.
Back with a day-after post on Gonzaga's 85-67 victory over Pacific on Saturday night.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It was sort of odd Saturday when I turned on the television set. There wasn't wall-to-wall football. A few games, sure. All good ones. But no East Rockwood State vs. Southwest Missouri Southern on ESPN8, the Ocho. It made channel flipping a lot less fun. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — If we covered the SEC, there'd be a really good football team to talk about this morning. But we don't. There is basketball news, though, so read on.
It was far from pretty basketball, especially offensively. But for Idaho, which came in 1-4 on the year, any win is big right now. Especially with a road trip this week that includes games at Eastern Washington and UTEP — and a game looming at Boise State in a few weeks.
We've got our story below and an update on Antwan Scott, the Vandals' guard who will not play this year for personal reasons.
FROM PULLMAN — The score won't tell you how thoroughly the Cougars dominated the Portland Pilots on Saturday night. Maybe our capsulated look-back will. Read on.
It was an inside job tonight at the MAC.
Gonzaga's bigs — Sam Dower (18 points), Elias Harris (17), Kelly Olynyk (15) and Przemek Karnowski (6) — did most of the heavy lifting in the Zags' 85-67 victory over visiting Pacific.
Here's a link to my game story. Check back tomorrow morning for a day-after post.
Spokane's dominance of the Western Hockey League's East Division continuted on Saturday night, with a couple of new twists. Tyler King had his first winning goal of the season to lift the Chiefs to a 6-5 overtime win at Regina, Saskatchewan. Fourth-liners Riley Whittingham and Tyson Predinchuk had their first multipoint games of the season, assisting on the Chiefs' fourth goal and tying goal. Predinchuk did so in front of his hometown crowd. The Chiefs, two games into their six-game eastern swing, are 8-0 against the East Division the last two years. Read story
Idaho president Duane Nellis told The Spokesman-Review on Saturday evening the Vandals should have a new football coach early next week.
UI was set to interview Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino on Thursday and Central Washington coach Blaine Bennett on Friday, according to a source. Petrino and Bennett were finalists for the job, along with Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey, Idaho interim coach Jason Gesser and San Jose State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren.
Tormey and Lindgren reportedly met with Idaho earlier in the week. Gesser said Wednesday he was going to intervew again, but it's unknown if that interview took place.
All five finalists have coached or played — or done both — at Idaho.
Games against Stanford have been a highlight of Gonzaga's women's basketball schedule for four years. This year's game is infused with extra spice because Stanford comes to Spokane on Sunday as the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll. Read more
This didn't go well the last time it happened a couple years ago. Gonzaga took on then WCC-bound BYU at the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Denver and got Jimmered by 22 points. The venue and the opponent change today when the Zags entertain Pacific, which joins the WCC next season, at the MAC.
Pacific (3-3) has already knocked defending WCC champ Saint Mary's. The Tigers are an experienced club with all five starters and 11 letterwinners returning from last year's 11-19 squad. Pacific has won 20 games six of the last nine seasons under Bob Thomason, who is retiring at the end of the season. More on Thomason and the Tigers here.
In-game updates from tonight's game on twitter @srjimm.
It's a big sports weekend in Cheney, starting off with a big win by the basketball team and today's big second-round FCS playoff game matching Eastern Washington and Wagner. Here's our preview, plus links to the official, information-packed releases from Eastern and from Wagner College. I just realized that I forgot to mention that the winner will face either Appalachian State or Illinois State next weekend; if Eastern wins today, the Eagles will host.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
While watching the rain fall on the Pac-12 championship game last night, a thought popped into my mind. So I checked out the statistics. And what I found made me sad. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — As I sit down to write this, the clock has ticked past midnight, which means it's officially December. Which means there's only another five weeks or so until college football season is over. But basketball is Pullman's primary concern now. Read on.