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More links than usual on a Monday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- Traveling is fun, but there's always a certain comfort to walking through your own front door and knowing you're going to be home for a while. Such was the case Sunday. But, Monday begins another week, and we have some links for you to get it started. Read on.

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Sunday to Monday is typically pretty slow when it comes to Pac-12 basketball news, and today certainly falls under that category -- though there were a couple of games on Sunday, and we'll get to that in a moment. ... Not much WSU news to pass along, although we did want to make note of Mike Ladd's performance this weekend, because it didn't get mentioned in the game story and there wasn't time to include it in Sunday's post. Ladd played perhaps his best game of the season on Saturday -- certainly the best game he's had since returning from his most recent thumb injury -- and looks far more confident shooting the basketball. His first few games back, he seemed very concentrated on performing the duties of a role player, primarily focusing on defense and rebounding, two areas in which WSU sorely needed to improve. And he did it well, and helped the Cougars simply by being on the floor. "I'm just trying to do what's right for the team," Ladd said. He's still doing those same things, but is also looking to score when he catches the ball, is more fearless attacking the rim and seems far more willing to shoot from the perimeter, evidenced by 13 points on 6-8 shooting Saturday. Of his contributions, coach Ken Bone said, "we need that. We really need that extra body out there competing." Added Brock Motum: "I think the more he plays, the better we are." ... Klay Thompson is featured prominently in this game story from Golden State's win over Houston.

As mentioned above, four teams were in action in the Pac-12 on Sunday ...

Washington 75, Oregon State 72: Neither team led by more than six points, and it certainly didn't sound like much fun to watch. The Huskies stayed tied with California atop the conference standings. Steve Kelley says it's time for Terrence Ross to be a leader.

Stanford 59, USC 47: The Cardinal has struggled lately, but playing the Trojans continues to be the perfect cure for ailing Pac-12 squads.

Bill Plaschke has some harsh words for UCLA's Josh Smith, whom he labels a disappointment. ... Oregon will try to stay in the Pac-12 race against Cal on Thursday. ... Utah wants to continue the positive effort displayed this weekend. ... Arizona seems to have the whole playing-on-the-road thing figured out. ... Colorado is getting big contributions from its freshmen. ... USC made some football coaching hires. ... ASU's president has taken a stand against the BCS. ... The Sporting News says the Pac-12 should get more than one bid in the NCAA tournament.

All for now.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple




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