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Archive for January 2012

Zags have line on success

Good evening. Media day earlier today and I took a deeper look at the correlation between free throws attempted and winning basketball. Gonzaga and other successful teams thrive on their ability to get to the free-throw line. Here's a link to my notebook that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

(UPDATE: The linnk above doesn't contain the graphic that accompanied the article. You can find it below).

Elsewhere, Mark Few and Kyle Stanley have never met, but that didn't keep Few from texting encouragement to Stanley after he blew a three-shot lead at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday. More on their connection here.

Tuesdays with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We already passed along the biggest news of the day, but there is more to summarize from Ken Bone's two teleconferences on Tuesday. Read on.

Faisal Aden’s college career is over

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The news on Faisal Aden's knee is the worst possible. He's torn the ACL in his left knee, and will miss the rest of his senior season. Tough break for the Cougars, and even tougher for Aden, who was playing the best basketball of his career just before the injury. We have some more details after the jump, so read on.

Around the Big Sky

When the Bracketbuster pairings were revealed Monday afternoon, you had to feel happy for the Eagles, who get a nice winter trip to Los Angeles when the play at Cal Irvine on Feb. 18.

Two seniors, Laron Griffin and Tremayne Johnson, are getting something special - a last chance to play in front of family and friends. Both played high school in the L.A. area and were teammates at Southwest L.A. Community College. Freshman  Harvey is from nearby Torrance, Calif.

First, though, comes another trip south, namely this Thursday to play Northern Arizona.

Sweet decisions coming soon

A GRIP ON SPORTS

On this last day of January, 2012, I would like to commit to having a chocolate doughnut for breakfast. In a few minutes, however, I may switch my commitment to a glazed one. By the time I'm done writing, though, I may either be back to chocolate or have decided on toast. Read on.

Recruiting dominates this morning post

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Wonder if Mike Leach felt the same way when he locked up his latest recruit as Blake Griffin did when he destroyed Kendrick Perkins last night. Regardless, your morning links are always a slam dunk. So read on.

Third Idaho football assistant leaves

John McDonell, a Spokane native and the offensive line coach at Idaho last year, has left the Vandals' football program for the same position at Tulane University in New Orleans. Tulane announced the hiring in a release over the weekend.

Read on for more on the continued shake-up of the Vandals' coaching staff.

Report: Cedric Dozier to decide between WSU, Cal on Tuesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A quick post to fill you in on a WSU-related recruiting announcement expected tomorrow. Read on.

Preps this week

The postseason is upon us in Idaho and Washington wrestling and boys and girls basketball. From here until the first weekend in March it's going to be a roller coaster for yours truly. But I love - LOVE - this time of the winter season. And I'm especially enjoying the sunshine today.

Click the tab below for more information. If there's something I haven't touched on please post your comments.

Zags back in A.P. poll at 24

Gonzaga returned to the A.P. rankings at No. 24. The Bulldogs (17-3, 7-1 WCC) are 26th in ESPN/USA Today's latest poll.

The Bulldogs have a big week as they visit WCC newcomer BYU on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday. Saint Mary's, which thumped BYU on Saturday to remain unbeaten in conference at 10-0, moved up to No. 18 in A.P. and No. 16 in the coaches' poll.

The Gaels entertain San Diego on Thursday in their only game of the week. Saint Mary's is at Gonzaga the following Thursday.

The Axe may fall on Lumberjacks

It was a busy weekend in the Big Sky, on and off the court, highlighted in Cheney by a nice 69-52 win for EWU over Montana State. Here's my story on the game.

The Eagles travel to Northern Arizona for  a Thursday game against an NAU team that fell into a last-place tie after getting trounced 77-43 at Sacramento State.

The Lumberjacks have lost six straight; worse they may have violated numerous NCAA rules under former coach Mike Adras, who resigned suddenly on Dec. 6.

My letter of good intent

We always seek the truth here, and my story yesterday on EWU football recruiting didn't quite hit the mark. In that story, I mentioned four quarterbacks who were considering Eastern. One of them, Andrew Berg of Kamiak (Mukilteo), rates EWU as one of four favorites, but I stated that EWU was his number one choice. Turns out that  scout.com, my source for this information, listed the schools (EWU, Idaho, Montana and Montana State. along with a few others) alphabetically, and in my inexperience, misinterpreted that list as a ranking of the schools.

Another site, rival.com lists Berg as having “medium interest” in all four schools, whatever that means.

Berg may yet wind up at Eastern, but I didn't mean to overstate his interest.

That said. we will know for sure on Wednesday and I promise to deliver a complete story.

A Monday morning rant from the woods

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We've said this more than once. Monday mornings after NFL season are the light days when it comes to sports on the web. But does that deter us? No way. We've found enough items to make your morning interesting. To make Monday morning interesting. Is that an oxymoron? Read on.

It’s Monday, and these are links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Breaking: I've given a verbal commitment to write another morning post. My 40 time is rusty and I can't run or throw, but I've got a serviceable motor and plenty of intangibles. Read on.

EWU angling team wins berth to regional bass championship

COMPETITIVE FISHING — The Oregon State University team of Zach MacDonald, of Willits, Calif. and William Sparks, of Corvallis, Ore. won the National Guard FLW College Fishing West Conference event on Lake Shasta near Redding, Calif., Saturday.

Looking back on a hoop Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It seems like about the same time every morning I hear sirens near the old homestead. It doesn't matter whether it's a weekday or weekend, about this time some sirens pop up in the background and heads off into the distance. My guess: It's a police officer who is also a sports fan realizing he has to get back to the station as quick as possible to read his morning Grip on Sports. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. Read on.

Vandals let golden opportunity slip away

At home. After winning four of five. With the chance to hang alongside New Mexico State as one of the clear top two teams in the WAC behind Nevada. That's what the Vandals had in front of them last night heading into a matchup with Hawaii.

But they couldn't take advantage in a 76-70 loss to UH. John Blanchette had this game story, summing up the missed opportunity well. Now the Vandals are 11-10, 4-3 in the WAC — tied with Hawaii and Utah State and a game behind second-place NMSU.

The beat goes on with Pac-12 links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Set a new personal record by covering the 72 miles between Spokane and Pullman in just a shade over an hour. Just in time to put together our morning post.

Chiefs go to battle in OT win over Ice

The Spokane Chiefs picked up another two points in the standings on Saturday night after grinding out a 5-4 overtime victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice. My unedited story from the game is below. I'll follow up with some extras from the game tomorrow, so check back.

Area women’s basketball teams have themselves a nice little Saturday

It was a pretty fantastic day for area women’s basketball teams.

The No. 22 Gonzaga Bulldogs avenged a rare West Coast Conference loss with a win over Saint Mary’s, Washington State pulled together for a Pac-12 victory over Arizona and the Eastern Washington women defeated Montana State to complete their first sweep of the Montana schools on the road. The Idaho women didn’t fare as well, falling to Utah State.

The game that was: Arizona State 71, WSU 67

COUGARS

FROM PHOENIX — We made it to the airport, and have time for our quick overview of the game before our flight leaves for Spokane. Read on.

EWU leads Montana State

Eastern Washington used an 18-3 run midway the half to take a 37-28 halftime lead over Montana State in a Big Sky basketball game Saturday night.

Eastern guard Cliff Colimon led all scorers with nine points, while Laron Griffin and Parker Kelly added eight apiece.

Pregame notes from Wells Fargo Arena

COUGARS

FROM TEMPE, Ariz. — There's really nothing quite like the feeling of sitting in an empty arena a few hours before the game starts. Everything is calm, quiet. You can watch the arena staff get everything ready to go. Team staffers are playing 2-on-2. Trent Lockett is riding an exercise bike. Wait — that might actually be noteworthy. Read on.

There’s a comforting sameness to high school hoops

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I've spent a lot of time in high school gyms over the years, from my own high school days through the games as a fan to times when I've been in them as a reporter. Last night was one of those reporting times. And little has changed. Read on.

Aden sidelined, plus some links

COUGARS

FROM TEMPE, Ariz. — Washington State won't have the services of Faisal Aden when it faces Arizona State this afternoon. That and more after the jump.

Portland hands Chiefs overtime loss

 

Don Nachbaur will be the first one to tell you his Spokane Chiefs are not a run-and-gun team.

The Portland Winterhawks, however, are – so when they forced their style of hockey upon the Chiefs on Friday night the result was a 3-2 Western Hockey League loss in overtime in front of 6,243 fans at the Arena.

Shock try to get back on winning track

Spokane, coming off its first losing season, opens training camp in three weeks trying to recapture the winning ways of the franchise's first five seasons. I checked in with majority owner Brady Nelson and new head coach Andy Olson earlier this week to see what they have planned for 2012.

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

It’s the Big Sky halftime show

I had plenty of time to ponder last night's Eastern loss to Montana, because the EWU coaches and players wouldn't come out for interviews for almost 30 minutes. (The interval is usually about 10 minutes while players “cool down” and the media wait to get some quotes for news stories and TV reports.) I can tell you're feeling sorry for me right now…

It was a tough loss for the Eagles - their third straight in the conference, and the during the wait I realized

A Friday morning scratching post

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Always thought there was no greater distraction working at home than a young child wanting attention. But now we have a cat. A pushy, needy, demanding cat. The cat is worse. It won't stay in its crib. Read on.

Day after Portland

A plane to catch, a day-after post to prepare.

You know the drill. Here's a link to my game story and the Oregonian's recap, Elsewhere, Saint Mary's remained unbeaten in conference with a 71-64 road win over Loyola Marymount. The Gaels visit BYU on Saturday.

Read on.

Links, notes, quotes on an in-between Friday

COUGARS

FROM TUCSON — We've got our Pac-12 roundup, plus some more notes and quotes from last night. Lots of words. Keep reading.

Vandals secure 4th win in 5 games

During his time at Idaho, Deremy Geiger has proven to be a hot-or-cold outside shooter. And during most of this season, the Vandals have been the same as a team. Geiger was feeling it Thursday night, and so have the Vandals in the last few weeks.

Idaho pulled away from San Jose State for a 74-66 win last night in front a small crowd in Moscow. More details below.

The game that was: Arizona 85, WSU 61

COUGARS

FROM TUCSON — It's nearing 1 a.m. here, but we've got plenty more to get to. Read on for our capsulated summart of tonight's game.

Zags ground Pilots with big second half

Good evening from the Chiles Center. Compared to the 4,852 inside here earlier, there's six of us in the building right now, five people on the maintenance crew and myself. I can tell they want me out of here so they can break down the media tables so I'll get a move on.

Strange game, and not just because they used a women's-sized ball for the first 90 seconds or so before one of the players brought it to the attention of the officials. Portland outworked, outplayed and outcoached Gonzaga in the first half — Mark Few's assessment — before the Zags roared back with a 49-point second half to win 74-62. The final score was a bit deceiving. GU was pressed to the closing minutes.

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

Chiefs host Portland and Kootenay this weekend

The Spokane Chiefs return home this weekend to play the Portland Winterhawks and Kootenay Ice on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. You can read a quick advance that is running in tomorrow's section here. Last Sunday's game between Spokane and Portland at the Arena resulted in a few, well, altercations. I would expect Friday's game to be very intense.

The Chiefs trail fourth-place Vancouver by one point in the Western Conference standings.

Not to be a tease, but I thought I'd let readers know that I'm working on a piece on Chiefs goalie Mac Engel that will run next week. When it's done, you all will be the first to know.

Update on Faisal Aden

COUGARS

FROM TUCSON — We have an update on the status of Faisal Aden, so read on.

Golden sparkles in Gonzaga women’s win over LMU

Stephanie Golden had a career-high 15 points and the No. 22 Gonzaga women's basketball team earned a 79-61 win over Loyola Marymount at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday night. As you'll see in my story, I overheard a fan throw out a horrendously obvious pun after the game. I'd like to thank that fan. After he said it, I couldn't get it out of my head. Hence, the first couple paragraphs.

Oh well.

Keep reading for more on area women's basketball teams.

Montana leads EWU at halftime

Derek Selvig hit a trio of 3-pointers to led the visiting Montana Grizzlies to a 40-27 halftime lead over Eastern Washington Thursday night in Cheney.

Collin Chiverton scored 12 to pace EWU, which missed 12 of its first 13 shots from the field.

Spokane's Shawn Stockton added six points  for the Grizzlies, who had won eight of nine coming in.

EWU hosts Montana State Saturday night. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

Pregame from McKale Center

COUGARS

FROM TUCSON — We've made it to press row at McKale Center, where Arizona and Washington State will try to stay awake long enough to play each other tonight (the game doesn't start until 8:30 p.m. Mountain Time). We have some pregame thoughts, so read on.

Thursday Prep Page

You know the drill. Click the tab below to see what we have today. Above is a picture, taken by Dan Pelle, of Shadle Park hoops standout Brett Boese, who is headed to Washington State University. He's one of the most impressive student-athletes (emphasis student, citizen, etc.) I've ever had the chance to get to know - and the league is chock full of them.

Shawn Stockton ready to roll

The Montana Grizzlies, including Spokane product Shawn Stockton, are in Cheney tonight to take on Eastern.

Stockton, a member of Ferris High School's back-to-back unbeaten state title teams in 2007-8, isn't a starter, but might be the toughest, grittiest player on the Grizzlies' roster.

The reason? Growing up a basketball family. right here in Spokane. Here's a link to an entertaining story about Stockton in the Missoulian.

EWU places 52 on Big Sky All-Academic teams

Eastern Washington placed 52 athletes from four sports on the Big Sky All-Academic team for Fall 2011, the conference announced. Here is the full list, which includes athletes from all nine member schools.

And here's the breakdown for Eastern:

EWU football champs honored

The 2010 Eastern Washington University football team received a big honor on the west side of the state Wednesday night.

The Eagles were named “Sports Story of the Year” for 2011 at the 77th Annual Sports Star of the Year awards show at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.

Gonzaga closes first half at Portland

Good morning. I'm about to hop on the plane for Portland for tonight's game so here' s a quick update.

Here's my GU-Portland preview (wth a few notes on the bottom), a little more on the contest and a preview from the Oregonian. We'll be back tonight where you can get in-game updates at twitter.com/srjimm.

 

Another day in the wilderness

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Growing up, catechism was a big part of everyday life at St. Rita's School. We learned lots of Bible history, from the lion's den back in the old days to the letter writing of the later years. And we learned the importance of numbers. Three, seven and 40 were pounded into our heads via the nuns' rulers artfully applied to the backside of our hands. So when I counted today's links and finished at 40, I immediately thought of the years wandering in the desert, the days fasting in the wilderness, things like that. Some lessons reinforced via physical pain are never lost. Read on.

Game day from the desert

COUGARS

FROM TUCSON — Or at least we will be in Tucson, eventually. Making the drive from Phoenix in a bit. While I'm behind the wheel, you can pull up to your computer monitor and read the links we've provided for you, plus a conversation with Faisal Aden.

Chiefs beat Everett

 

The Spokane Chiefs have made beating the top teams in the Western Hockey League look easy in January. They’ve struggled against the teams stuck in the basement. That changed - at least on Wednesday night - as the Chiefs beat the cellar-dwelling Everett Silvertips 4-2.

Spokane has won 9 of its last 11 games and brings a four-game winning streak home as they face Portland on Friday night at the Arena.

Tuesday prep basketball

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Attached you'll find video of a postgame interview with Shadle Park girls basketball Chad Dezellem following his team's come-from-behind 58-52 win over Gonzaga Prep last night. Here's a link to the story including the other girls games. I apologize for the abrupt end to the interview. I'm learning how to edit these things. I attempted a postgame video last week when I covered the Central Valley boys and coach Rick Sloan was very accommodating. But I forgot a key element: hit the red record button!

Here's our GSL boys roundup. Note what a fourth quarter Central Valley had against Mt. Spokane. Here's our area girls roundup. Here's our area boys roundup. And here are updated standings of area leagues.

EWU football - a busy week awaits

Seats are still available for the Eastern Washington Eagle Football Awards Banquet Sunday at EWU's Pence Union Building. The fun starts at 5 p.m. Here are the details

Payton Award winner Bo Levi Mitchell will be there of course. In fact,

It’s warming up - for one day at least

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As I sit down at my computer to write this post, it is 41 degrees outside. The snow is sweating like I used to do walking up those Beasley steps to my perch high above Friel Court. At least travel for the area's basketball teams won't be a problem this week. Read on.

Dave Emerick, Ken Bone and some links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's just about time to hop on a plane for Phoenix, but before we do, we have plenty of stories — both WSU-related and from around the conference — to guide you to. Read on for many words about sports.

Tuesdays with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's amazing what a couple of wins can do for the amount of media attention a team receives. For example, there were just two people listening to Ken Bone's Tuesday comments last week. Today? Four, plus a whole bunch of questions on the Pac-12 call. Read on for a summary of both.

An odd sort of morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Really don't know how to hook you into this morning's post. Maybe the best way is to be honest. We have a bunch of links today covering the wide breadth of the sporting world. And a lot of them have rather odd connections to local schools. Read on.

LMU beats Foster-less Broncos

Loyola Marymount did it again, winning its fifth straight WCC road game. The Lions knocked off Santa Clara 74-62 Monday behind Anthony Ireland's 25 points. LMU is 5-0 on the road, 0-2 at home (losses to GU and BYU).

The Broncos' Kevin Foster, who leads the WCC in scoring, didn't play due to a rules violation. Three Broncos who usually start, including guard Evan Roquemore, were held out of the starting five but did play, also for rules violations. Foster is expected to return Thursday.

-In case you missed it in my late post last night, I had a Gonzaga notebook in today's S-R, focusing on Guy Landry Edi.

-This showed up in my inbox this morning and it's an interesting read. An A.P. poll voter explains why he has GU ranked higher than Saint Mary's on his ballot.

Salaries and links on a Tuesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Anyone ever seen the South Park episode where Kyle's dad buys a Prius and moves the family to San Francisco? Hilarious. That has absolutely nothing to do with any of our morning links, though. So read on for information on WSU's football coach salaries, our usual Pac-12 roundup and some more inane references to unrelated subjects.

Edi adds speed to GU transition game

Back with a notebook from Gonzaga's media day Monday.

I focused on Guy Landry Edi, who seems to be getting more comfortable on the court with each passing week. Edi has added a spark to the Bulldogs' transition game, which was evident in two plays he made in Saturday's win over San Diego. I go into more detail on those two plays in the notebook, as well as explain why GU is looking forward to playing just one game this week. 

Salary details for WSU football assistants

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We've obtained a list of base salary figures for the WSU assistant football coaches. A story on this topic will appear in Tuesday's paper, and we'll link that when it's available. But for now, here's a list of the salaries. Read on.

Faisal Aden is Pac-12 Player of the Week

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN -- As surprises go, this isn't one. At all. Faisal Aden has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week after averaging 28.5 points per game in wins over Stanford and California. And in the process, Aden and Brock Motum join a pretty exclusive WSU group. Read on.

EWU and the Big Sky

It was a frustrating ending to regulation play for EWU last Saturday at Reese Court. Eastern had just gone ahead by three points with 16 seconds left against Portland State. But PSU's Lateef McMullan raced down the court hit a three to force overtime, and EWU eventually fell 78-76 in overtime.

As the Pac-12 turns, starring Chip Kelly

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Was watching the NFC championship game last night when something far more impactful began brewing — first on Twitter, then just about everywhere else. But literally as I put my fingers to the keys to write this just after midnight, it appears as if Chip Kelly may be staying at Oregon after all. That and some links after the jump.

Chiefs blast Winterhawks

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The Spokane Chiefs wrapped up a solid weekend of hockey tonight at the Arena. After scoring on their first shift of the game, the Chiefs went on to a 6-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks. That's three wins in a row now for Spokane, which trails both teams it beat this weekend in the standings.

Sorry for the late post, I had some internet issues back at the Arena tonight. I'm home now and am happy to share the link to tonight's game story and photo album. Also, here's a link to the game sheet.

Cougar women fall short against Cal

The Washington State women’s basketball team came up just short on Sunday against Cal. The 60-55 loss was Cal’s sixth-straight win, and you can read The Daily Californian’s game story here

Day after San Diego

I'm on the road with kid duties and I've finally found a cooperative wireless network (signal strength low) so I'll put this day-after San Diego post up as quickly as I can. Wrote it about six hours ago, but haven't been able to post it. Here are the links: Game stories in S-R, San Diego Union-Tribune and S-R photos.

Read on.

A road trip and an epiphany

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Slept in a bit today – after all, it is Sunday – after staying up late last night. Well, late for me. But despite the extra hour or so of sleep, we have a lot to cover and we want to get it up on the web before you get fixated on the NFL playoff games. Read on.

Cougs: Day-after thoughts, quotes, links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — After such a big win, it's only right that we empty out the rest of our notebook, as well as provide you with the usual dose of daily links. Read on for a whole bunch of words and some video.

Vandals rally to edge Utah State

Idaho coach Don Verlin made an astute point in his postgame session with the media: Utah State doesn't lose back-to-back games under Stew Morrill, at least not usually. So when USU dropped a game Thursday at Seattle U, Verlin knew it would be that much more difficult to beat his old ballclub. 

Somehow, the Vandals found a way. Read on for more about UI's 57-54 victory at Cowan Spectrum.

Chiefs take down Winterhawks

In the opening act of three straight home games against the Portland Winterhawks, the Spokane Chiefs proved that desperate hockey goes a long way - especially this time of year.

Below you'll find the unedited story I filed for tomorrow's section. There will be more later.

GU pulls inside job on San Diego

Gonzaga rode the 48 combined points of 'bigs' Robert Sacre, Elias Harris and Sam Dower to a 77-60 win over San Diego on Saturday.

You can read my game story for Sunday's S-R below. I'll have a day-after post up in the morning.

The game that was: WSU 77, California 75

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As usual, here's our quick overview of Washington State's 77-75 upset over California. There isn't nearly as much drama in this post as there was in the final minutes of the game we just watched. Read on anyway.

Video: Mike Leach addresses crowd at Beasley

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We've got a lot of basketball stuff to get to, but I wanted to post this video of Mike Leach's halftime speech at Beasley real quick. You can view  it after the jump. It takes about a minute before he comes out onto the floor, FYI. Apologize in advance if it's shaky at all.

Saturday afternoon at Beasley

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN – We’ve arrived at Beasley Coliseum, where the Cougars are about an hour from tipping off against California. We have a few thoughts after the jump, so read on.

Another near-perfect Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Another beautiful Saturday is here. Aren't Saturday's always beautiful no matter what the day is like? If the week was a high school, Saturday would be the quarterback of the football team, the head cheerleader, the coolest teacher. Yep, Saturdays are great. Felt that way since I was about 5 years old. Read on.

Game day links, notes and quotes on a full Pac-12 Saturday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A very welcome sight greeted anyone who looked outside today: no snow. For now, anyway. Regardless, the California Golden Bears will be here today for a 3:05 p.m. tip against the Cougars, who will try to knock off a first-place team for the second consecutve game. Read on for some links and some thoughts from WSU coach Ken Bone and players about Cal. It also appears (again) that the football team has found a strength coach.

Chiefs beat Tri-City on the road

Beating the top team in the Western Hockey League on home ice is one thing. Doing it on the road is another.

Less than a week after beating the Tri-City Americans at the Arena, the Spokane Chiefs scored the encore they were looking for on Friday night as goalie Mac Engel made a season-high 37 saves and Colin Valcourt, Brenden Kichton and Dominik Uher made third-period goals to lead Spokane to a 3-1 victory at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

Chiefs take on Tri-City tonight

Before a frustrating 3-2 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Spokane Arena on Monday put out the Spokane Chiefs' fire, they ingnited the ice last Saturday to defeat the top team in the Western Hockey League - the Tri-City Americans. New Chiefs' forward Dylan Walchuk - who I profiled in a feature that ran in Thurday's section - had the game-winning goal in the 5-3 win. 

The Chiefs and Americans meet again for the seventh time of the season tonight (Tri-City leads the series 4-2) at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, so unfortuntately for Chiefs fans there won't be any home-ice action tonight. However, you can catch the live broadcast of the 7 p.m. game on Root Sports or listen to Mike Boyle's call on 1510 KGA. 

No GSL basketball games tonight

All Greater Spokane League boys and girls basketball games tonight have been postponed.

“It was decided that the forecast was to threatening with the possibility of freezing rain on top of snow,” GSL secretary Herb Rotchford said.

Rotchford had hoped the games could be made up Saturday, but there aren't enough referees available.

The remake date for all the games is Saturday, Feb. 4.

Join our live chat

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Join us for our live chat at noon. You can submit your questions now and we'll be here at noon.

Day after San Francisco

The words of warning have been issued and they finally came true last night. LMU, one of the teams outside the Big 3 of Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and BYU, rose up and smacked the Cougars in Provo last night. It probably won't be the last time the top three absorb a loss from one of the upstarts.

Gonzaga avoided a similar fate, dismissing San Francisco 74-63. Still, it's apparent USF has the weapons to give the conference frontrunners problems. GU led by 20 points, but USF rallied to make it fairly competitive. And the Dons did it with none of the regulars having a particularly good night, particularly at the offensive end.

Here are the links: Meehan game story, Blanchette column, Anderson photos (several examples of the scraps Sacre encounters every game). More on BYU's loss, Saint Mary's win and San Diego's three-point barrage against Portland. USD visits Gonzaga on Saturday.

Read on for more in my day-after USF post.

Nothing but college hoop news

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was a perfect night for Inland Northwest men's college basketball teams, despite the weather. Gonzaga handled USF rather easily at home and Washington State rallied from 13 down in the second half to top Pac-12 front-runner Stanford. It wasn't as perfect for me as we spent the last part of both games away from the television set and computer snowblowing a two-block long path to allow my wife to make it home. Read on.

I’m awake, so here are your links and quotes

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN – Not going to bother explaining why I’m up this late. But here’s a hint: it involved snow and a 2002 Honda Civic. Anyway, here’s your morning post, with some additional quotes from WSU’s win over Stanford.

Edi’s 15 points help GU past USF

Back with my game story from Gonzaga's 74-63 victory over San Francisco on Thursday. Guy Landry Edi gave the Bulldogs a big lift off the bench, scoring a season-high 15 points. Elias Harris and Robert Sacre each had 14 points and six rebounds. Kevin Pangos chipped in 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

David Stockton had four first-half steals. He also had a pair of assists.

You can access my game story here. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

The game that was: WSU 81, Stanford 69

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The 3,119 who came out to Beasley tonight are glad they did. The Cougars ripped off a huge second-half run to run away from the Cardinal with an 81-69 win, a nice response to their three-game losing streak. Read on for our standard capsulated review of the game.

GU-USF tipoff coming up in 40 minutes

The commute from my doorstep to the McCarthey Athletic Center took exactly an hour, essentially double what it usually takes. Unofficial count of rigs in the ditches: six, three on I-90, rest on side streets. We'll see how the storm impacts attendance, but the Kennel Club is close to full while the rest of the sections are sloowwlllyyyy filling up.

Follow me on twitter.com/srjimm for in-game updates. I'll post my game story here (and there) at about 10:30.

Pregame from Beasley: WSU vs. Stanford

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN – The weather hasn’t improved any, but both teams are here and warming up before our 7:05 p.m. tip-off. No TV tonight, so if you’re not here, you can listen on the radio or at wsucougars.com. Read on for some thoughts.

Thursday Prep Page

Pictured above is Central Valley four-year starter Brooke Gallaway, the subject of my Prep Page feature today.

Click the tab below and see the PP menu.

EWU football schedule, and a poll

Eastern Washington released its fooball schedule on Wednesday, a front-loaded package that includes early trips to Idaho and Washington State plus an early matchup with Montana. Which poses an important question:

Snow … and making it rain in college sports

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It snowed quite a bit in Spokane yesterday. Enough to disrupt life in Washington's second-largest city. But the snow on the streets around the Lilac City pales in comparison to the piles on the Palouse. South of Spokane the snow came a couple days earlier, fell harder and will probably stay longer. Classes at Washington State were cancelled today but the basketball game will go on, provided the Stanford Cardinal made the trip down U.S. 195. As a veteran of that trek (I still follow the state's traffic cams religiously this time of year), I will say the trip will be slow, but can be done. So the game will go on. We have more on that today, of course, but we also have another issue to discuss, one that might raise some eyebrows, so read on.

A very full Pac-12 Thursday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Hey, there are six Pac-12 basketball games today, and one of them is in Pullman. Finally. Lots of game day reading for you to get to, so let's see about those links.

Zags back home for San Francisco

Gonzaga is back at the MAC tomorrow night and the Kennel Club, which has been on winter break for the last six games, should be back in full force, too. Here's my game preview of Gonzaga-San Francisco that will run in Thursday's S-R.

Some notes and a Stanford scouting report

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — No matter your age, there always seems to be a little more excitement in the air when school gets canceled. That's what it feels like here, as WSU has canceled Thursday's classes due to inclement weather. We're still working, though, and have some weather-related notes for you, along with our interview with a Stanford beat writer. Read on.

How’s this for a 3-pointer?

In the University/Central Valley boys basketball game last week, U-Hi junior Brett Bailey made a long-distance shot he'll always remember. Check it out.

Big Sky TV - the morning after

The Big Sky Conference announced its new TV contract on Tuesday, calling it a win-win for everyone in the league. Indeed, the contract with Root Sports calls for up to 18 football games, including many double-headers, and up to 12 basketball games.Revenue will get a boost and the conference will get more exposure, says Commissioner Doug Fullerton.

But some may win more than others. And then there's those two words: “up to.” What does that mean, exactly?

Basketball news on a Wednesday morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 8:50 A.M.

Tuesday is the day the local college basketball coaches talk with the media, from Mark Few at Gonzaga to Ken Bone at Washington State. That results in stories from the S-R staff concerning those coaches' teams. A pretty simple cause and effect really. Read on.

Morning links on a Wednesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN – In Seattle, they’re losing their minds over the forecast of a few inches of snow. Here? The roads are coated and it’s business as usual. That applies to your morning links, too, so have at ‘em.

Hauptman leaves Chiefs

Spokane Chiefs forward Jarid Hauptman has left the team and returned home to Morinville, Alberta, the Chiefs announced Tuesday.

Keep reading for more details.

Area women’s basketball teams look to rebound after tough week

June Daugherty summed it up quite simply.

“We have to be able to rebound,” the Washington State women’s basketball coach said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Daughtery was speaking literally, of course, about rebounding in order to get more looks at second and third shots in an effort to jumpstart the Cougars’offense – which has been out of sync and is still adjusting after losing guard Ireti Amojo, a key component to WSU’s offense.  

It’s not just the Cougars that need to rebound, however. After last week, all area Division I women’s basketball teams are looking to bounce back from losses – some more surprising than others. Read on for the rest of my unedited area college women's basketball notebook, which will run in tomorrow's paper.

Spangler sidelined with broken pinky

Back with my Gonzaga notebook from today's media day. As mentioned before, Ryan Spangler will miss 2-3 weeks with a broken pinky finger. More details on that and a few other notes here.

Also, Gonzaga coach Mark Few mentioned shortly after Finals week that the team's graded out very well. Turns out all of GU's teams had success in the classroom, according to a school release. Mike Hart made the President's list (3.7-4.0 GPA) and Kelly Olynyk made the Dean's list (3.5-3.7 GPA).

Spangler out 2-3 weeks with broken finger

Good afternoon. A quick post after attending media day earlier today. I tweeted a couple hours ago (twitter.com/srjimm) that freshman forward Ryan Spangler broke the pinky finger on his left hand in Monday's practice. He'll have surgery this afternoon and will probably miss 2-3 weeks. More here later when I post a Gonzaga notebook. 

Also, the Wooden Award has trimmed its preseason Top 50 watch list to a midseason Top 25. Gonzaga's Elias Harris made the former, not the latter.

Lastly, I'll be on AM 700 talking GU hoops with Patchin, Lukens and Osso at 3:20 this afternoon. You can find a link to tune in here.

Ken Bone talks rebounding, among other things

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN – It was a sparse teleconference with Ken Bone today, but we do have some news and notes to pass along. Read on for what the Cougars coach had to say in Pullman and on the Pac-12 call.

Preps this week

In Greater Spokane League boys basketball tonight, the co-leaders - Gonzaga Prep (8-4 overall, 8-2 league) and Central Valley (9-3, 8-2) meet at CV. Tipoff is at 5:30. CV romped past G-Prep 60-41 in the first meeting Dec. 9.

I'll be covering the G-Prep/CV boys game. You can follow my tweet updates on Twitter @srpreps.

In other GSL boys games, Shadle Park (9-3, 7-3) and University (9-3, 7-3) face off in a key 3A game at U-Hi; North Central (2-10, 2-8) goes to Rogers (4-7, 3-7); Ferris (8-4, 6-4) is at Mt. Spokane (3-9, 2-8); and Lewis and Clark (8-4, 6-4), which is coming off two straight losses, is at Mead (1-11, 1-9).

The No. 1-ranked Central Valley girls (12-0, 10-0) entertain Gonzaga Prep (10-2, 8-2), which is all alone in second. All girls games begin at 7.

In other GSL girls games, Shadle Park (7-5, 6-4) is at University (9-3, 7-3); Lewis and Clark (7-5, 7-3) goes to Mead (5-7, 5-5); North Central (3-9, 3-7) visits Rogers (1-11, 0-10); and Ferris (4-8, 2-8) is at Mt. Spokane (3-9, 2-8).

Eagles fly home, face PSU next

We're not even at the halfway mark, but the Big Sky basketball race is shaping up. Well, Weber State is shaping up to dominate the conference.

The Wildcats, who have many more weapons besides national scoring leader Damian Lillard, moved into sole possession of first place after an easy win over Montana. At the bottom are Sac State, Idaho State and NAU, all of whom are struggling for various reasons.

That leaves a pack of five teams, including Eastern Washington, in the middle.

It’s Tuesday with all that entails

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Really thought I would wake this morning to a covering of snow. And yet, nothing. I know 80 miles south of here, in Pullman (my home away from home the past five years), there is a covering of the white stuff (how do I know? Christian Caple passed on the news in his blog post, plus I can look at Martin Stadium on the Cougars' construction camera), but here in beautiful Spokane, nothing yet. At least where my home is located (and no, we don't have a construction camera link to pass along). Anyhow, the lack of snow sort of mirrors the lack of links to pass along today. OK, I know. That was a long way to go for a short, poor metaphor of sorts, but it was all we could cobble together today. Read on.

It’s cold outside, but links are room temperature

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN – Snoqualmie Pass was not friendly yesterday, but the Honda managed to plow through the slush, ice and snow and arrived safely back on the snow-covered Palouse. Though looking at the forecast, it seems we may have left the worst of this storm behind in Seattle. Regardless, we have a flurry of links for you with a 50 percent chance of entertainment (OK, probably less than that). Read them anyway, though.

Chiefs have serious case of the Monday’s in loss to Seattle

There’s really nothing gentle about hockey – and that includes honest feedback when a lackluster performance is turned in.

Two days after scoring an impressive victory over the Western Hockey League’s top team, the Spokane Chiefs went scoreless on six power-play opportunities and gave up a shorthanded goal late in the third period in a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in front of 4,243 fans on Monday afternoon at the Arena.

Read on for the rest of my unedited game story…

Zags fall out of rankings

As expected, Gonzaga dropped out of the Top 25 in the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today rankings. GU was 21st in A.P. and 23rd in ESPN/USA Today a week ago before going 1-1 on its road trip. The Bulldogs slipped to 29th in A.P., T-30th in ESPN/USA Today. 

Saint Mary's, which clobbered GU 83-62 on Thursday, moved into both polls (No. 24 A.P., No. 23 ESPN/USA Today). BYU received one vote in the ESPN/USA poll.

Looking back at a near-perfect Sunday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is nothing better than spending a Sunday having breakfast, getting comfortable, watching football, having a nice dinner and then hitting the sack early with an engrossing book. Yes, everything was perfect yesterday except a stretch between 5 and 6 p.m. Read on.

Postgame quote sheet: UW 75, WSU 65

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — It's going to be a long, slow drive back to Pullman tomorrow morning, and we're hitting the road early to take full advantage of the daylight. So here are some quick quotes from each team after Washington's 75-65 win over WSU. This will be it as far as blogging until I get back into the 509.

Spokane’s Redman crosses paths with Dan O’Brien at Olympic Training Center

Jamie Redman of Spokane crossed paths with a former University of Idaho track star as she works out with the U.S. Women's Rowing Team at the Olympic Training Center near San Diego.

Redman took time out to chat with former Olympic decathlete Dan O'Brien, who won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.  O'Brien is one of the Center's ambassadors to athletes training for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He helps Redman and other athletes prepare for the pressures of the Olympic spotlight.

Redman, a product of Lewis and Clark High School and Yale University, said the U.S. Team training is hard work, but the center has a wealth of professional trainers, therapists and dieticians to help them hone their way toward London.  Said Redman:

“In between rows, I’m trying to utilize the many resources the O.T.C. offers the athletes: the newly renovated and expertly staffed Performance and Rehab Center; the delicious dining hall (serving plenty of vegetables, but no desserts, alas); the sports psychology and nutrition counseling; the on-site laundry facilities; the big-screen TVs in the Athlete Lounge… I am *so thankful* for the opportunity to train at this marvelous complex!”

The game that was: Washington 75, WSU 65

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — Just filed our game story, and we'll link that when it's up. But for now, here's our capsulated  look at tonight's game, a 75-65 win for Washington over Washington State.

Follow-up from Chiefs’ big win on Saturday

After watching the Spokane Chiefs grind out a gutsy win Saturday night against the Tri-City Americans, I woke up this morning for my usual Sunday morning read of the Sports section. When I get to my story, I can't help but focus on anything I've missed. 

In case you missed it, here's Saturday's game story from the 5-3 win over the Canadian Hockey League's top-ranked team and Spokane's biggest rival.

Below you'll find extras from the game and other Chiefs notes leading into tomorrow's 2 p.m. game against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Arena. This will be the first time Spokane has hosted Seattle this season and the second time the U.S. Division teams have played each other. Spokane beat the Thunderbirds in Seattle on Jan. 7.

A pregame post from snowy Seattle

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE – Pullman was sunny and dry when I left it on Friday. Now Seattle is covered in a layer of wet, slushy snow. But we made it to the arena and have some thoughts on today’s game, so read on.

Day after Loyola Marymount

Greetings from snowy Sea-Tac Airport. It doesn't snow here often, but you can pretty much count on me being at Sea-Tac when it does.

I put together this day-after LMU post on the first leg of the trip. Here's a link to my game story from last night's game — a GU win 62-58. I know the perception is that Gonzaga rolls to easy wins in Gersten Pavilion, but that hasn't been the case at all the last three years. Those results: LMU 74-66, GU 67-57 and GU 62-58. All were dogfights.

Read on for my day-after post. 

Game day for WSU, day after for most others

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — We've got some Pac-12 games to recap, and one — the one you care about — to preview. Read on for links and game-day content for the Cougars, as well as a football personnel note.

Sunday morning in the Northwest

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Can't say I joined what was probably most of you in your main activity yesterday. Nope, I didn't get to watch the NFL playoffs, most notably the game of the century – as of now, anyway – in San Francisco. Missed that one and the rout in the nightcap. Had other obligations. Read on.

Idaho fades down the stretch

All in all, Don Verlin has to be happy with the longest WAC road trip, in miles, for the Vandals. They gutted out an overtime win at Louisiana Tech on Thursday — their first-ever victory in Ruston — and tonight they hung with one of the league's elite teams, New Mexico State, for all but the final minutes.

We have details on UI's 80-68 loss to NMSU below.

Zags bounce back with win over LMU

Two days after getting thumped by Saint Mary's, Gonzaga dug out a 62-58 road win over Loyola Marymount tonight at Gersten Pavilion. Elias Harris had 19 points and Gary Bell Jr. was outstanding at both ends of the court. He had a season-high 16 points and carried Gonzaga at times.

Here's a link to my game story that will run in Sunday's S-R..Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Saturday links, and a scouting report

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — We have a quick look at game-day in the Pac-12, as well as another visit with an opposing team's beat writer. Read on for the whole gauntlet.

A darn full Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was a big day in the Northwest yesterday and the biggest aspect of it didn't hit until late afternoon. That's when news began to leak about the Mariners' trade of Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees for catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero. There were others involved in the biggest trade of the offseason thus far, but those are the main characters in this Hot Stove play. Read on.

•••

WSU officially announces football assistants

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE —  Yes, Seattle. We were driving when an email popped into our inbox announcing the official hires of Mike Leach's assistant coaches. And then wrote this story from the front seat of our Honda Civic while parked on Elliott Avenue. There are no surprises among the names, but read on for our unedited story on the announcement.

Day after Saint Mary’s

Good afternoon from sunny L.A. Travel went fairly smoothly until that 40-person line at the Hertz counter, but we've had some time to put together a day-after Sant Mary's post, following the Gaels 83-62 runaway over the Bulldogs on Thursday.

First, the links: Game stories from S-R, San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times and A.P. (authored by former S-R staffer Janie McCauley).

Read on for more.

Lorenzo Romar talks Cougs

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's just about time to get on the road, but first, some quick notes from Washington coach Lorenzo Romar's conference call today. He addresses recruiting against WSU in the Northwest, Reggie Moore's transformation and WSU adjusting to life without Klay Thompson. Read on.

EWU and the Big Sky

The top teams in the Big Sky Conference preseason polls did a good job reinforcing that confidence, with the Eagles, picked third, keeping pace with a 65-60 win at Sacramento State.

Montana, second in the preseason polls, burnished its image with an easy win at Northern Arizona.

Fight songs are not supposed to be taken literally

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I was really looking forward to watching a couple of basketball games last night, one of which was tight, the other not so much. But sandwiched in between were a very interesting few minutes down in Tucson, a few minutes that might have ramifications this weekend. Read on.

No Cougs on Thursday, but plenty of Pac-12 action

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It felt a little strange to sit at home and watch basketball on a Thursday night. But there was some quality action in the Pac-12, even with the Cougars idle as they await their Sunday game at Washington. Read on for a link-aided summary of Thursday's games.

Gaels humble No. 21 Gonzaga

Good evening from McKeon Pavilion, which is about 15 degrees cooler than it was when the Gaels were busy crushing the visiting Bulldogs earlier Thursday evening.

Saint Mary's beat Gonzaga in every conceivable fashion. Outside, with Matthew Dellavedova's 26 points and the team's nine 3-pointers. Inside, with Brad Waldow and Mitchell Young combining for 29 points. On the drive, with Dellavedova handing out six assists and Stephen Holt maneuvering for 13 points, many on dribble penetration, and handing out six assists.

The Gaels handed GU an 83-62 setback, the largest WCC loss in Mark Few's 13 seasons as head coach at Gonzaga.

You can access my game story here and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Vandals pull out wild WAC road win

Conference road wins are hard to come by in college basketball, so the Idaho Vandals will no doubt relish their 90-88 overtime victory at Louisiana Tech tonight. Especially since it's Idaho's first win in program history at the Bulldogs' Thomas Assembly Center.

Read on for a recap of the wild finish in Ruston, La.

UPDATE: Dawson staying at K-State?

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The AFCA conference has ended, though there still hasn't been any official announcement from WSU regarding Mike Leach's assistant coaching staff. But a name has been added to the school's faculty directory. Read on for details.

UPDATE: The Wichita Eagle is reporting that Kansas State has denied that Chris Dawson has left to take the strength and conditioning position at Washington State. And a KSU player tweeted that Dawson has informed him he will remain at the school. Dawson's name remains in the WSU directory. Go figure.

I've been told that Dawson had been mulling the decision and going back and forth on it for some time, and the same was reported by CougCenter.com's Brian Floyd, who was the first to report that Dawson was on the WSU radar. FootballScoop.com also reported the hire Thursday. It seems odd that WSU would register him with a university email address and place him in the directory if nothing had been set in stone. It seem highly unlikely that an addition to the directory would be made without some sort of paperwork being filed.

It remains unclear whether Leach has completed his staff. We'll let you know as soon as anything official comes from WSU.

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

BCS playoffs - a radical solution

Before the “glow” wears off from the BCS title game, I just have to throw in my idea for playoff system for major college football. It's radically different from most proposals, because we should be asking less, not more, of the student/athletes/gladiators who make this game of college football what it is.

Levenseller to reunite with Akey at UI

The Spokesman-Review has confirmed that Mike Levenseller will make the short move from Pullman to Moscow to join Robb Akey's staff as offensive coordinator at Idaho.

Read our story below.

Big Sky roundup

I could blame Tim Tebow for this, but I forgot to catch a time change for Saturday's Eastern basketball game at Northern Colorado. The game is now scheduled at 3:05 p.m. Pacific time, one hour earlier than previously planned, to avoid aconflict with the Denver Broncos' playoff game at New England. The time change was announced a couple of days ago, and I picked up on that about as well as the Steelers did to the play-action pass last week.

AROUND THE BIG SKY - Can Damian Lillard be stopped? It's only January, but the Weber State guard is averaging

 

More on GU-Saint Mary’s

Some day I'll have to add up the hours/days/weeks I've spent at Sea-Tac Airport. I've got some time on my hands in the terminal and i noticed reading the S-R this morning that the last four paragraphs of my GU-Saint Mary's preview were cut.

You can read them below.

Also, here's a link to a San Francisco Chronicle article on the emergence of Jorden Page and Stephen Holt.

Nothing surprising today … well, yes there is

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Some days you guys surprise me. Other days you don't. Yesterday was of the latter variety – and the former as well, actually. Read on.

Can Idaho win at La. Tech or NMSU?

Winless in 12 games. That's what the Vandals are since joining the WAC in their 3,500 mile road swing to Louisiana Tech — where they play today — and New Mexico State. Can they breakthrough finally?

I have much more on that below.

Very early morning links as Wednesday turns to Thursday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN – There's a bit of WSU news and lots of links to get to, and I’m all hopped up on Mountain Dew and feeling a little antsy. So we’re not going to wait until the morning to pass along our coverage and our conference links. Read on for a late-night (early morning) snack.

Nachbaur picks up 500th win in Chiefs’ victory.

The Spokane Chiefs extended their win streak to four games tonight (funny - that's when I took over covering the team). Just kidding. But no joking matter - Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur picked up his 500th win with Spokane's 6-1 win over Everett. Here's the unedited game story.

Zags, Gaels renew heated rivalry

I've been on hand for the last 11 Gonzaga-Saint Mary's games and every one of them has been fairly memorable.

Gonzaga has won 8 of the 11. Both teams have won via blowouts (GU 83-58 in the 2009 WCC Tournament title game and the Gaels returning the favor 81-62 in the 2010 title matchup). Both have won in overtime. Both have won in the closing seconds (Mickey McConnell connecting over Robert Sacre in the Kennel; GU's Sam Dower and Sacre hitting 6 of 6 FTs in the closing 20 seconds last year in Moraga.

Freshman Elias Harris pouring in 31 points in a road win (Steven Gray adding 14 points and 14 boards in that same game). McConnell going scoreless as GU ripped the Gaels 80-61 in Spokane two years ago; McConnell responding with 27 points and the game-winner in SMC's 73-71 win at the MAC last year. Patty Mills scoring 18 first-half points before leaving with a wrist injury and Gonzaga rallying for a 69-62 win. Omar Samhan pushing Robert Sacre and earning a technical foul in the Gaels' 19-point win in Las Vegas.

More memories are on tap Thursday night. Meanwhile, here's my preview that will run in Thursday's S-R.

Report: Levenseller joins Idaho staff

UPDATED: 6:05 p.m.

Mike Levenseller spent 19 years on the Washington State football staff, including the eight years Robb Akey was defensive line coach and defensive coordinator in Pullman. And now, according to FootballScoop.com, Akey has hired Levenseller to fill a vacant spot on his staff at Idaho.

Check below for an update.

Change may be coming to BCS

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was pretty obvious no one was real enamored of Alabama and Louisiana State meeting again in the BCS championship game. Heck, nearly two-thirds of the readers here would rather have watched LSU and Oklahoma State play. Well, it seems as if you are not alone. The BCS commissioners aren't all that thrilled with their system anymore either. Read on.

Follow me around the Big Sky

Now that I've covered my first two EWU basketball games, it's time to offer more: from here on out I will post interesting EWU and Big Sky news items at least three times a week, and I'll shoot for  a 10 a.m. post each time.

TWEETING MY OWN HORN - Last weekend, I sent 82 Tweet updates on Eastern's games against Weber and NAU, and I will do the same the rest of the season. So, if you can't make the game and want live updates, follow me on Twitter at @srjimallen

POLL TIME - It may be January, but some would say it's always football season. In that spirit, here is our first poll of the season:

Tuesday’s happenings are Wednesday’s links

 

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Woke up, looked out the window and saw some snow still on the ground, which can mean only one thing: it's almost time to drive across Snoqualmie Pass again. Speaking of which, there was a basketball game on that side of the state last night. An ugly one. Read on for that and more.

Nachbaur one away from 500 club

The Spokane Chiefs were quiet on trade deadline day in the Western Hockey League. Quiet in the traditional sense, that is. They did make some noise though. My Chiefs notebook, which will appear in tomorrow's paper, is below.

And, hey, make a girl happy. Follow me on Twitter (@jbrown_srsports). Yes, that would make me happy. Sigh.

Also, how great is the photo I dug up in our archives for this post? As they would say in hockey, that one's a beauty.

Tuesdays with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone has concluded his weekly conference calls — one with the local media, the other with media around the conference — and we have a summary of both of them, plus some video, posted below. Read on.

A big week for EWU, Big Sky

I came away impressed with the Eagles' resilience after they split their first Big Sky homestand of the season against Weber State and Northern Arizona. In both games, Jim Hayford's team struggled early, then fought its way back.

True, that wasn't enough to beat preseason favorite Weber, whose point guard Damian Lilliard just won his fourth Big Sky player of the week award of the season after scoring 34 points against EWU and Portland State.

A lazy Tuesday in the Pac-12

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There will be plenty more to talk about on the Pac-12 basketball landscape later today. But for now, we have a few links around the conference from a pretty slow Monday. Don't worry though: there are more links after the jump than there were touchdowns scored between LSU and Alabama this season. Read on.

Moving quickly into a slow day

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 11:25 A.M.

When you are trying to cover the whole spectrum of the Inland Northwest sports scene, there is no such thing as a slow day. Even the sluggish ones move pretty quickly. Take today, for instance. Besides the BCS title game – a once-a-year occurrence – there is news related to Gonzaga, WSU, the preps and more. Read on.

GU gets defensive

Back from media day earlier Monday — practice was at the Martin Centre because the floor is being re-finished at the McCarthey Athletic Center — and I took a deeper look at Gonzaga's defense, which has been steadily improving.

Since getting torched on 3s in its first three games (29 by EWU, WSU and Hawaii) and giving up 82 points to Illinois and 75 to Michigan State in GU's back-to-back losses, the Bulldogs have been solid at the defensive end. They'll need that to continue if they want to be successful at Saint Mary's on Thursday and LMU on Saturday.

Here's a link to my article on the defense that will run in Tuesday's S-R.

Also, I mentioned last week that Gonzaga was on Pitt transfer Khem Birch's list, but the 6-foot-9 forward has opted to transfer to UNLV, according to Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg and ESPN.com.

Gonzaga women crack AP Top 25 Poll

The Gonzaga University women's basketball team is ranked 23rd in the latest Associated Press Top 25 Poll after receiving 106 votes (94 more than a week ago) - the first time this season the Bulldogs have made the list.

WSU signs three, Rahmel Dockery enrolls, too

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A bit of football personnel news to pass along tonight. Players, not coaches. Though an announcement should be coming on the latter in the next couple days. Read on.

Preps this week

The Greater Spokane League boys and girls basketball teams reach the midway point this week with games on three dates - Tuesday, Friday and Saturday afternoon.

The Central Valley girls continue to rule while the GSL boys race is muddled. So the question is which team will emerge. It appeared University was going to waltz to a league title early, but then Ferris and Gonzaga Prep handed the Titans losses. Stay tuned.

In Idaho, big boys game Friday when No. 1-ranked Post Falls visits Coeur d'Alene.

Your thoughts?

A championship Monday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's official. The voters have spoken. It's time to congratulate to winner, console the loser and unite as American sports fans, working together for the greater good of our community. Personally, I'm ticked. But, hey, isn't that the way the system works? Someone wins, someone loses and Tim Tebow captivates. Read on.

Monday morning Pac-12 links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There was news from WSU on Sunday, though not from the sport using the roundball. We have plenty of those kind of links from around the conference, though, so read on.

A belated introduction / Chiefs beat Everett

This post is few days late and about 100 dollars short (anyone else ever have that feeling once in awhile?). I suppose I could blame it on the fact that I spent my first week back at The Spokesman-Review chiseling off the rust. I've been away from the sportswriting game for almost three years. That's a long time to be away from something you love, but really I'm just thrilled to have the opportunity to be back. I won't make any cliche innuendos about riding the bench, etc. The first week is over - and I'm as ready as ever.

Keep reading for information about the Spokane Chiefs' 5-3 win over the Everett Silvertips last night and a little stroll down Memorial Cup memory lane.

Mike Breske is Cougars’ next defensive coordinator

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A quick post to pass along our story on Mike Breske, the Cougars' new defensive coordinator. Read on.

Day after Santa Clara

Good morning. NFL playoffs coming up, so let’s get right to the day-after Santa Clara post.

Gonzaga won its eighth straight game, routing the Broncos 82-60, last night. Here’s my game story, John Blanchette’s column on Marquise Carter and Jesse Tinsley’s photos. More from A.P., Tacoma News Tribune and Contra Costa Times.

Much more below.

 

Your Sunday morning wrap-up

TALES FROM THE GRIP

It's Sunday so we slept in a bit. Heck, it was almost 7 in the morning when we dragged ourselves out of our nice warm bed. But duty called, so we slipped on our slippers and headed to the home office and our computer. And what a bounty awaited. Stories from Gonzaga's slow-starting-but-ultimately-easy win over Santa Clara. More on WSU's defeat in Colorado. The Vandals, the Eagles and the Pirates. What fun. And, lest I forget, almost 500 votes on our reader survey. Read on.

Chiefs win second straight

Mitch Holmberg scored two goals and Dominik Uher added two assists in the Spokane Chiefs' 4-2 Western Hockey League victory over Seattle in their first game this season against the Thunderbirds. New Chief Todd Fiddler scored in his second straight game, and defensemen Brenden Kichton and Corbin Baldwin were plus-3 in the game.

Spokane's next three games are against the Everett Silvertips - tomorrow and Friday (Jan. 13) in Everett and Wednesday (Jan. 11) in Spokane.

With the trade deadline quickly approaching, any thoughts on possible moves?

Zags rout Broncos for 8th straight win

Gonzaga spotted Santa Clara a 10-0 lead before rolling to an 82-60 win Saturday at the MAC. Sam Dower had 17 points, Gary Bell Jr added 15, Elias Harris 12 and Kevin Pangos 10 as the Bulldogs (13-2, 3-0) connected on 54.5 percent of their shots.

Raymond Cowels paced Santa Clara (8-7, 0-2 WCC) with 13 points, but the Broncos made just 38.3 percent from the field.

You can read my unedited game story below. I'll have a day-after post up in the morning.

Vandals finally win a close one

After claiming a taut win for the first time this season, Idaho coach Don Verlin walked into the interview room and said the following: “Whew. That feels good. We needed that one. Holy cow.”

Yes, the 63-59 victory over Fresno State was big for the Vandals. Not just because they found a way to win late. But also because they would have been 0-2 in the WAC with the loss. Keep reading.

Colorado 71, WSU 60: The rest of the story

COUGARS

FROM BOULDER, Colo. — So, what was the deal with Dexter Kernich-Drew starting ahead of Reggie Moore today? Read on as we empty out the notebook following Washington State's 71-60 loss to Colorado on Saturday.

Eastern trails NAU 31-27 at halftime

Guard James Douglas scored 15 points to lead Northern Arizona to a 31-27 halftime lead in a Sky Conference basketball game at Eastern Washington Saturday night.

Eastern led 9-2 early on a trio of 3-points by guard Cliff Colimon, but the Eagles' shooting cooled.

Colimon led the Eagles with 13 points.

For the half, Eastern shot just 11-for-30 from the field (36.7 percent) while NAU was 12-for-21 (57.1 percent).

The game that was: Colorado 71, WSU 60

COUGARS

FROM BOULDER, Colo. — We've filed our game story and will link that when it's available. For now, a quick look at Colorado's 71-60 win here at the Coors Event Center.

Idaho, Fresno State about to tip

VANDALS

We're here in the Cowan Spectrum for a key early WAC game for Idaho and Fresno State. Both are coming off lopsided defeats, and we'll see how the Vandals respond to a long postgame team meeting on Thursday night.

Read on.

Pre-game from the Coors Event Center

Get Adobe Flash player

COUGARS

FROM BOULDER, Colo. – We’ve arrived at the Coors Event Center. If you want a better look at it, there’s a video posted above that gives a 360-degree look inside the arena from press row. Warning: my hands weren’t steady enough to keep the camera from shaking. Watch at your own risk. We also have some thoughts on the game below.

EWU looks to rebound vs. NAU

Yes, rebounding, which was a shortcoming in the Eagles' 76-69 loss Thursday night against Weber State. EWU was outrebounded 44-31 in a game that could have gone their way.

Tonight, the Eagles (7-8 overall and 1-2 in the Big Sky Conference) face Northern Arizona (5-10 and 1-2) , which is coming off a 20-point loss at Portland State. Tipoff is at 6:05 at Reese Court.

Head Coach Jim Hayford found plenty of positives in Thursday's game, After trailing by 17, the Eagles rallied to take the lead midway though the second half.

“That’s something we can build on,” Hayford said. “We might not have beaten them today, but the time we need to beat them is in a couple months. There is a ceiling that this team can reach.”

NAU, a 13 1/2-point underdog, is led by interim coach Dave Brown following the adrupt resignation of Mike Adras last month.

A big Saturday

BUDGET BYTES

There is no way today's honorary title is going to win – as I write this, it is in last place in your voting, with three lonely clicks – so we thought we would use it today before it is buried forever (BTW, we moved the poll up to this post; voting will end today). But it really has no correlation to the theme of today's post, which revolves around the importance of today's basketball games for area teams. Read on.

Saturday morning cruise around the Pac-12

COUGARS

FROM BOULDER, CO. — It's Saturday morning, which means another day of Pac-12 hoops. And this time, you can actually see the Cougars play on real, live television instead of following a scoreboard stream. Read on for some links.

Chiefs stay perfect against East

It didn’t take long to get the message.

Despite being in the middle of a stretch of four games in five nights – four of which are on the road – the Spokane Chiefs looked anything but tired on Friday night when they played their first game at the Arena since mid-December.

Corbin Baldwin and Mitch Holmberg each had a goal and an assist and the Chiefs kept their perfect record against teams from the East Division intact with a 5-2 Western Hockey League victory over the East Division-leading Moose Jaw Warriors.

WSU hoops: Get to know the Colorado Buffaloes

COUGARS

FROM BOULDER, CO. — The Colorado Buffaloes finished tied for 10th in the preseason Pac-12 media poll with Washington State. But two games into the conference season, they've registered wins of 40 and 18 points, and are playing as well as anyone in the Pac-12. For some insight into Colorado's season, we turn to Ryan Thorburn of the Daily Camera in Boulder to answer a few questions.

Day after Pepperdine

Gonzaga took care of business and an outmanned Pepperdine squad 73-45 last night at the MAC. Here's my game story and here are other links of interest: BYU outlasted LMU in Los Angeles and Rob Jones scored 31 points to lead his current team Saint Mary's past his former team San Diego.

While Gonzaga has a day to prepare for Santa Clara, we took an Internet-plagued morning to prepare a day-after Pepperdine post. Read on for more.

A busy Thursday night turns into a full Friday

GRIP IT AND RIP IT • UPDATED: 3:30 P.M.

In the spirit of today's honorary title – and check back a bit later today because we are going to run our first poll and it will be on the name of this feature – we're going to do a bit of ripping. And we're not talking about coupons from today's S-R. Read on.

• UPDATE: As promised, we want to know which of the many names we were offered we should call this daily feature. More than a dozen were suggested, but we had to winnow down the order some. So here you go.

Utes 62, Cougars 60: The rest of the story

COUGARS

FROM SALT LAKE CITY – The post-mortem continues. Read on for some notes, quotes and observations from tonight’s loss to Utah.

Burton, Wolf Pack blow away Idaho

Before tonight, Idaho had yet to lose by more than eight points this season. But the Vandals, it seems, hadn't played anyone of Nevada's caliber either. The Wolf Pack smoked UI 73-55 at Cowan Spectrum, with just 1,018 fans on hand with the students still on holiday break.

Read on for my game story.

Zags trounce Pepperdine, 73-45

Good evening from the McCarthey Athletic Center, where Gonzaga thumped Pepperdine 73-45 tonight. GU won its seventh in a row to improve to 12-2, 2-0 in the WCC. The Bulldogs have defeated Pepperdine 21 consecutive times.

You can read my unedited game story below and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

The game that was: Utah 62, WSU 60 (OT)

COUGARS

FROM SALT LAKE CITY — We'll be back later with some more thoughts and quotes, but for now, a quick summary of Washington State's shocking loss to Utah tonight at the Huntsman Center.

Eagles trail Weber at half

NCAA leading scorer Damian Lillard scored 14 points to lead Weber State to a 36-33 advantage over Eastern Washington in the Eagles' Big Sky home opener Thursday night at Reese Court.

Weber State led by as many as 17 points with 9:07 left in the half, but EWU rallied in the final minutes.

Guard Cliff Colimon led the Eagles with 11 points. Cliff Ederaine pulled down four rebounds

Live from the Huntsman Center, it’s Thursday night

COUGARS

FROM SALT LAKE CITY – The first couple days on this beat have been a whirlwind, and today that meant a trek from Spokane to Salt Lake City. We’ve arrived at the Huntsman Center with a pre-game post, and a quick look at an arena the Cougars haven’t visited since 2006.

UPDATE: As a couple commenters have pointed out below, the game can be seen live here: http://utahutes.cstv.com/allaccess/

Thursday Prep Page

Click the tab below to see this week's menu. Pictured above are Deer Park's Dylan Miller (standing) and Billy Marshall.

Just add some dipping sauce …

VG'S SPORTS NUGGETS

It's a big day today in about 55 different ways. It all starts this morning with this post. Being it's a Thursday in basketball season, there is more to read from around the Inland Northwest than even I have time for – and I'm semi-retired. But if you want a quick overview of college and prep sports, this is the right place to be. We have links and notes from everything from Washington State basketball to prep wrestling, from the Zags to the Eagles. BTW, the headline refers to today's guest title. Read on.

WAC’s elite team in Moscow

The WAC portion of Idaho's schedule starts tonight, and it won't be easy. Not tonight against league favorite Nevada or Saturday versus Fresno State. And not over the next two weeks.

Read on for more about the Vandals' conference opener.

Scouting Utah with a little help from our friends

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Today we introduce what we hope will be a regular — and informative — feature leading up to game days. It's an interview with the beat writer who covers WSU's next opponent. Read on.

GU’s Dower makes his points

Gonzaga sophomore forward Sam Dower is an offensive force, an accomplished scorer inside and out with a feathery touch. He's the kind of player that can put up points in hurry (think Austin Daye, Adam Morrison, etc.). He's also rounding into a more complete player as he's taken strides defensively and rebounding.

I checked in with Dower and Ray Giacoletti, the GU assistant coach who helped recruit the 6-foot-9 Minnesotan, earlier this week and put together this feature that will run in Thursday's S-R.

Programming note: I'll be joining Tom Hudson, Richard Fox and host Toby Howell for another edition of GU Roundtable on KGA 1510-AM at 5 tonight. You can tune in on-line at the KGA Website: http://www.1510kga.com/.

An introduction and more

Greetings:

My name is Jim Allen and this is my first week on the job as I return to The Spokesman-Review Sports Desk after a short interruption of … 24 years.

Because of the holiday, this first week lasts only four days, which offers even less time for “housekeeping,” a euphemism for getting me electronically hooked up to cover sports teams at Eastern Washington and Whitworth universities.

Pac-12 releases football schedule

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We've just been handed (emailed, whatever) the Pac-12's 2012 football schedule. Read on for the Cougars' games and dates.

Tuesday preps

Click the tab below to read about Tuesday's boys and girls basketball games. Pictured above is Brett Bailey of University between Gonzaga Prep's Jacob Groh and TJ Bracey. The Bullpups knocked off the Titans 54-48 at U-Hi.

A hello, and some Pac-12 links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Whew. OK. We're finally up and running. I'm the new guy who will attempt to fulfill all of your WSU sports news needs. And we have some links for you. But first, an introduction.

Wednesday morning’s tales from the S-R

TALES FROM THE GRIP

Went through some training yesterday, attending a class on the Net tools available for us. Unlike most of our college classes, we had to attend this one. Now we know how to put up surveys, hold live chats, post video, a whole bunch of new-fangled things – none of which we will use today. Read on.

GU freshmen show poise beyond years

Back with a notebook from today's media day (and a feature on Sam Dower coming Thursday). The article that will appear in Wednesday's S-R is on Gonzaga's freshmen backcourt duo of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. (pictured above), who have been arguably the team's most consistent players. They've gone against several highly touted guard tandems, including Xavier's Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons, and more than held up.

More on the pair's contributions here.

Also, ex-Zag Ronny Turiaf (Washington Wizards) has been sidelined with a broken hand.

Preps, v. 2012

Happy New Year prep sports followers. I return from a restful 2-week vacation, excited to get back to the business of covering games, doing feature stories and columns.

Tonight I'll be at the Gonzaga Prep/University boys basketball game. Game time is 5:30. I'll be tweeting updates. You can follow along at srpreps.

Question: Which boys and girls basketball teams and wrestling teams in our region - regardless of state and classifcation - will have a Happy New Year. Let us know.

College football’s big day was big

MORNING CUP OF JOE • UPDATED: 4:30 P.M.

College football's New Year's Day – this year on Jan. 2 – was much more fun than the real New Year's Day, especially from about 2 p.m. on. The Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl were worth every second of the seven hours spent in front of the big screen, though it never fails to amaze me when coaches put the entire game on the foot of a kicker, especially a freshman kicker. Read on.

Day after Xavier

I didn’t travel to Cincinnati but I put together a game recap of Gonzaga's 72-65 win over Xavier from the TV broadcast and the help of quotes sent by Gonzaga SID Oliver Pierce. And I put together a day-after Xavier post below.

Here are the game-story links: S-R and Cincinnati Enquirer. More good info on Xavier here.

Read on.

A nameless first post

????

This feature wasn't supposed to start until Tuesday. Really haven't figured out a name yet – thanks for all the suggestions by the way, but want to run them by the boss and see what sticks – or a format, but what is the blogosphere better for than innovation and change? So what you see today may not be what you see tomorrow or next week or beyond. But for now, it is what it is, a bunch of question marks. Read on.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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