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Fri., March 2, 2012, 6 a.m.

Cougars search for answers on day after


FROM LOS ANGELES -- WSU has a lot to figure out after Thursday's disaster at UCLA. That's both bad and good. Bad because those kind of results were supposed to be behind them. And good because they have a chance to sort things out against the worst team in the Pac-12. Read on for some day-after notes and links around the conference.


If you read our game story, you know what the theme was afterward -- that the Cougars simply didn't put forth the proper amount of effort last night. If the game had been televised, you'd have known that early in the second half, when UCLA went on a 14-2 run to take the lead and WSU responded with zero resistance. Our postgame review is worth reading, if only for the lengthy quote from Marcus Capers, who defended the coaching staff and said the players should take all of the blame for the way the team performed last night. Abe Lodwick and Brock Motum were both accountable afterward, too, though coach Ken Bone said that if that many players don't come to play, then the responsibility falls on him as the head coach. So, at the very least, accountability doesn't appear to be a big issue. Consistency? Well, that's still a problem, even though it appeared WSU was past that, as Lodwick said. This is the first time this conference season that WSU has flat-out failed to show up, a concerning occurrence considering the time of year. ... UCLA players shrugged off the Sports Illustrated drama, Ben Howland saying that it didn't have anything to do with the way they played. On that topic, Bone said: "I didn’t know which UCLA team would show up after what’s been going on, all the drama with their program. I know which team showed up now." So does Brock Motum, who added: "There’s two ways you can use something like that. You can either drop your head or use it as motiviaton. I think that’s what they did tonight. Any decent team, when your program is shown as in disarray, you don’t want to prove them (right), you want to prove them wrong. It’s a combination of them playing very good and us not playing good at all. That’s why they beat us by 50 or whatever it was." ... The lead from Scott Reid's game story in the Orange County Register: "The question through much of UCLA's 78-46 romp over Washington State on Thursday night was who was going to show up first? The Sports Arena "crowd" or the Cougars?" ... WSU is now 2-54 against UCLA as the visiting team in Los Angeles.

As for the rest of Thursday's Pac-12 action ...

Washington 80, USC 58: The Huskies earned a share of the Pac-12 title, and can win it outright by beating UCLA tomorrow. Several NBA scouts attended the game. Not many others did.

Oregon 90, Colorado 81: The day's big showdown went to the Ducks, who remain alive in the chase for an NCAA tourney bid. Colorado isn't thinking NIT just yet.

Oregon State 77, Utah 67: This game wasn't nearly as close as the score, as OSU led by 31 at one point. The Beavers toyed with the Utes early.

Sean Miller says Arizona needs to win the Pac-12 tournament. ... Memorial Stadium should be ready for games in six months.

All for now.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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