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Archive for February 2013

Gonzaga hangs on, defeats BYU

Read on for my unedited game story from GU's 70-65 win over BYU on Thursday.

And check back tomorrow for a day-after BYU post and a feature on GU's three seniors as they prepare for their final home game against Portland on Saturday.

Gonzaga nips Pilots, heads to postseason

Few people expected Portland to give Gonzaga a big scare in the Bulldogs' final West Coast Conference game of the season on Thursday night. But Gonzaga needed some key free throws and a crucial steal in the final seconds to hold off the Pilots and take a 13-game winning streak into next week's WCC tournament. Read story

Idaho falls apart in second half

If Idaho's season wasn't slipping away before tonight, it certainly is now. The Vandals were poleaxed by Texas-San Antonio in the final 20 minutes of a 74-56 loss. It was another unsightly loss for UI — its fifth in six games — and suddenly the Vandals are in danger of falling into seventh place in the WAC and the play-in round of the conference tournament in two weeks.

We've got all the details below, including coach Don Verlin questioning his team's heart and effort.

Gonzaga holds off pesky Pilots

Gonzaga's offense wasn't at its sharpest Thursday night as the Bulldogs completed their regular season with a 59-56 win over Portland in West Coast Conference play at McCarthey Athletic Center. Jazmine Redmon preserved the win with two late free throws. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 25-5 and 15-1 in conference. Gonzaga will take a 13-game winning streak and the No. 1 seed into next week's WCC tournament at Las Vegas. Story to come

Cold-shooting Gonzaga holds slim halftime lead

Gonzaga's quest to increase its winning streak to 13 games and close out the regular season with a win is getting a stiff challenge from Portland. Gonzaga leads the West Coast Conference game at McCarthey Athletic Center 27-24 at halftime. The Bulldogs have shot 9 for 31 from the floor, including 1 for 14 on 3-pointers. GU's starters are a combined 3 for 17 from the field. Only 9-for-29 shooting from the floor has kept the Pilots from taking the lead. Portland reserve guard Kari Luttinen has a game-high six points. Reserve guard Keani Albanez leads Gonzaga with five points.

GU holds off BYU

By Jim Meehan

jimm@spokesman.com, (208) 765-7131

PROVO, Utah – The Gonzaga Bulldogs stated their case for the No. 1 ranking in college basketball by doing what they’ve done for most of the season.

The Bulldogs defended, took care of the ball and repeatedly came up with clutch baskets. Kelly Olynyk had another solid game. GU’s deep bench contributed 18 points.

Gonzaga needed all of the above to overcome a sluggish night offensively and the second-ranked Bulldogs held off BYU 70-65 Thursday at a raucous Marriott Center.

And the Bulldogs got help elsewhere.

Earlier in the week, No. 1 Indiana lost to Minnesota. Shortly before Gonzaga tipped off against BYU, Virginia’s upset of No. 3 Duke went final, clearing a path for GU to the top spot with a win over the Cougars and another against Portland on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (28-2, 15-0 WCC) got the first part of the job done, holding off a late BYU charge to clinch an outright WCC championship. GU never trailed and led 54-43 with 10:50 remaining, but the Cougars pulled even at 60 with three straight 3-pointers – two by Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick’s 3 just before the shot-clock expired – and a pair of Brandon Davies free throws.

Elias Harris powered inside for a basket to give Gonzaga a 63-60 lead, but Davies connected on a putback with 2:49 left.

It remained that way as BYU missed four field-goal attempts and GU had a turnover, an errant 3-pointer and a missed free throw. Finally, Olynyk made a 10-footer in the lane and Gonzaga had a 65-62 lead with 43 seconds remaining.

BYU (20-10, 9-6) misfired twice and Mike Hart grabbed a defensive rebound in traffic. Kevin Pangos made two free throws and GU’s lead was 67-62. Cusick made three free throws and Harris hit 1 of 2 foul shots to keep GU in front 68-65 with 6.6 seconds left.

Gonzaga elected to foul before BYU could attempt a tying 3-pointer. Cusick missed the first free throw and Harris made two free throws to seal Gonzaga’s 11thconsecutive win.

Olynyk finished with 19 points and Gary Bell Jr.  hit four 3s and scored 15 points. GU made a season-low 41.5 percent of its shots. Tyler Haws scored 19 points to lead BYU, which made only 36.5 percent from the field.

Gonzaga women will cap regular season

Gonzaga (24-5, 14-1) has already clinched its ninth consecutive West Coast Conference title and the No. 1 seed to next weekend's WCC tournament in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs will attempt to add to their 12-game winning streak when they complete the regular season tonight at McCarthey Athletic Center against Portland (10-17, 5-9). GU defeated the Pilots in Portland 82-51 on Jan. 14. The Bulldogs are honoring seniors Taelor Karr and Meghan Winters tonight. GU could be back home in three weeks from the school hosts the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. The game will start in 25 minutes.

State B action (Feb. 28)

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle, Jesse Tinsley and Colin Mulvany covered the first day of the State B Hardwood Classic.  Check out a big picture gallery of their photos.

Last set of EWU basketball tickets up for grabs

Enter the final drawing for Eastern Washington's men's basketball tickets. Just take the news quiz and you will be automatically entered into the drawing for four tickets to the EWU vs. North Dakota game on Saturday. In addition, you could also win movie tickets and a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel.

An early start to a big day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's only 5:30 in the morning and I've already spent an hour or so reading stories and prepping links for today's post. Is it because today is the first day of the Washington State basketball tournaments? Ya, that's what it is. That's the story we're going with. Read on.

Pac-12 race gets muddier

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Rare is a Wednesday night this season when we can just sit in front of the television and watch some other Pac-12 basketball games. But last night was different. It was also entertaining. Read on for links to words.

Stanford, Cal come to Northwest with title dreams

Washington State and Washington are the last hurdles for Stanford and California as the Bay Area schools attempt to win the Pac-12 Conference title when they travel to the Northwest. Winning conference titles is nothing new for Stanford, but Cal is looking for its first. Stanford may have the edge over Cal, because Washington has suspended three players for Thursday's game against the Cardinal. Read story

Chiefs move closer to Tri-City

The Spokane Chiefs defeated host Everett 4-1 on Wednesday night to close within one point of the Tri-City Americans for fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference. Spokane's gap on fifth-place Victoria grew to seven points, so it's looking more and more as if the Chiefs and the Americans will meet in the first round of the WHL playoffs. If so, finishing in fourth place means claiming home-ice advantage. Spokane and Tri-City meet two more times during the regular season, March 15 in Spokane and March 16 in Kennewick. Read story 

Zags make No. 1 pitch

The door to the No. 1 ranking is open and second-ranked Gonzaga can state its case with a victory over BYU on Thursday in Provo

No. 1 Indiana lost to Minnesota on Tuesday, which leaves a couple of viable contenders for the top spot: Gonzaga, No. 3 Duke and possibly No. 5 Miami, which tangles with Duke on Saturday. No. 4 Michigan became the latest top 10 team to endure an upset loss, falling to Penn State on Wednesday.

It's possible there could be two different top-ranked teams when the AP and USA Today polls are released Monday. The guess here is if GU and Duke have 2-0 weeks, AP will vote Duke No.1 while the coaches go with Gonzaga.

We address the No. 1 ranking and potential No. 1 seeding in the preview and also have a few notebook items below.

Gonzaga women will close out regular season

Gonzaga is on a roll, with 12 consecutive wins, a ninth consecutive West Coast Conference title and the No. 1 seed to the WCC tournament. The Bulldogs will cap their regular season at home Thursday against Portland. Read story:

Gonzaga is trending up

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is sort of an eclectic mix of stories available today, though they follow three main trends. If Gonzaga wins both games this week, will it be ranked No. 1? Are the Mariners really improved? And, who will win the prep basketball tournaments? Read on.

Wednesday brings WSU links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A slower-than-usual week begins to kick into gear for Washington State, which practiced Tuesday after doing some lighter work on Monday. We have some links to get you through your Wednesday morning. Read on.

Vandals begin final stretch

The Vandals' final stretch of the regular season begins Thursday night in San Antonio, where they'll try to complete a season sweep of Texas-San Antonio. Idaho (10-16) has three regular-season WAC games remaining — and as disappointing as the season has been for the Vandals, they still have something significant to play for.

We discuss after the jump.

Ams beat Portland, solidify hold on fourth

The Tri-City Americans defeated the high-powered Portland Winterhawks on Tuesday night to give them an extra cushion on fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference. The Americans, with 77 points, lead the fifth-place Spokane Chiefs by three points. Both teams have 10 games left in the regular season. Fourth place brings home-ice advantage in the WHL playoffs against the No. 5 team. Read more

Patience pays off for Idaho’s Graham

Idaho senior post Jessica Graham is as healthy as she's been during a difficult college career that included multiple injuries to her left knee. Her Vandals, too, are having a healthy season in the Western Athletic Conference. Read story

Tuesday with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — WSU coach Ken Bone met with the media for about 12 minutes today. He talked about more than a few subjects. Here are the highlights.

No. 2 GU passing chemistry test

A bit of a rough start to senior week for two GU seniors who will play in their final home game Saturday against Portland. Elias Harris took a shot to the nose and Guy Landry Edi a blow to the chin about 10 minutes apart in Monday's practice. Harris needed a handful of stitches to close a cut on his nose and didn't return to practice. Edi was checked out by training staff and returned later to practice.

Two topics for my notebook that ran in today's S-R. Gonzaga, as the college basketball world knows by now, is No. 2 in the AP poll, the highest ranking in program history. The Zags are the first non-power 6 conference team to be ranked in the AP top two since Memphis in 2007-08. Gonzaga has already set a school record with 27 regular-season wins. The Zags are closing in on the program's first 30-win seasons. GU won 29 games in 2002 and 2006.

We also explored Gonzaga's team chemistry, one of those intangibles that is easier to see than define. We took a shot at explaining it in this article.

Gonzaga remains a No. 1 seed, playing in Salt Lake City, in Lunardi's latest Bracketology (like that No. 7 UCLA vs. No. 10 Saint Mary's matchup).

Lake City boys poised for state

This is the first of a handful of state high school basketball previews we will publish each day leading up to the state tournaments.

Today we feature the Lake City boys basketball team and its quest for a state championship. Pictured above is one of the Timberwolves' two senior starters, Riley Moreen.

Hey, it could happen

A GRIP ON SPORTS

SPOKANE – Downtown Spokane shut down today as amazed Gonzaga University fans took to the streets in celebration of the schools first NCAA mens' basketball national championship. A crowd estimated at more than a million, all of whom said they have been fans of the Zoogs since birth, held banners and cheered as they marched through the streets of downtown toward Browne's Addition, until informed by police the campus was the other way. A large part of the crowd was diverted, however, when a rumor broke out that a Whole Foods had opened on Main. … Just doing a little fantasizing about early April. Sorry. Read on.

Slim pickings on Tuesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We'll have more for you on the blog later. Promise. Ken Bone meets with the media later this morning. But for now, you'll have to settle for the following links. There aren't many. Read on.

And the Oscar goes to …

A GRIP ON SPORTS

In honor of the Academy Awards being handed out on television last night, we've decided to shine a light this morning on sports movies. And in honor of Seth MacFarlane being last night's host, we are going to make sure the post is a little awkward, somewhat funny and isn't as well-received as it should be. Read on.

A few Monday links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's a Monday in February, which means there just isn't a heck of a lot to link to. We try anyway. Read on.

Pairings set for Spokane, Tacoma, Yakima

The WIAA hosted the draws for the final three days of the 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 2B and 1B boys and girls basketball state tournaments.

Click the tab below to see the pairings. Pictured above is Arizona State University-bound Kelsey Moos of Reardan. The picture was taken prior to the state tournament last year. Reardan is looking to repeat as state champ.

‘Be lazy’ should be on every Sunday to-do list

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's always good to have a checklist for a Sunday. If you don't, the whole day could get away without anything accomplished. You know what I'm talking about. Things like “sleep in” and “make coffee.” “Read the newspaper” has to be there somewhere – if you are over 40 – and “avoid housework,” that's a given. Well, we had a checklist for the weekend and, guess what, we have been able to accomplish a lot. Read on.

Day after Arizona (again)

COUGARS

FROM SPOKANE — A long day is nearly over, but not until we get some links cobbled together for you. Read  on.

Day after San Diego

Had a little time on my hands Saturday night, a new computer to mess around with and I'll be in a gym most of Sunday so I put together my day-after San Diego post.

The Zags worked over the Toreros 81-50. Here's my game story, S-R photos, John Blanchette's column and the AP game story.

Hughson blanks Blazers

Spokane Chiefs backup goaltender Garret Hughson completed a successful weekend by shutting out the Kamloops Blazers 2-0 at the Arena on Saturday night. Read story

Chiefs blank Blazers

Blake Gal and Todd Fiddler scored 24 seconds apart in the second period and Garret Hughson stopped 32 shots for his second career shutout as the Spokane Chiefs shut out the Kamloops Blazers 2-0 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena on Saturday night. Story to come

Zags clinch share of WCC title with easy win

Gonzaga rolled to its 10th straight win, hammering San Diego 81-50 at the MAC on Saturday. The victory secures at least a co-WCC title and the No. 1 seed in the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.

The third-ranked Bulldogs (27-2, 14-0 WCC) will probably move up to No. 2 when the polls are released Monday. No. 2 Miami lost to Wake Forest.

Gonzaga continues to put opponents away with dominating first halves. GU led USD by 18 late in the half before settling for a 37-23 halftime edge. The Bulldogs led by as many as 37 in the second half.

My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Chiefs seize 2-0 lead

Blake Gal and Todd Fiddler scored 24 seconds apart in the second period Saturday night to give the Spokane Chiefs a 2-0 lead over the Kamloops Blazers heading into the final period at the Arena. Spokane's Garret Hughson has stopped 23 shots and assisted on Fiddler's goal. Fiddler entered the night with 38 goals, tied for fifth in the Western Hockey League.

Chiefs, Blazers scoreless after one

The Spokane Chiefs and Kamloops Blazers are scoreless after the first period of a Western Hockey League game at the Arena. Spokane has outshot Kamloops 10-9 after the Blazers had the first six shots of the game. Spokane has come up short on four power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3.

GU defeats San Diego 81-50

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU home game against San Diego.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Tale of the tape: Arizona 73, WSU 56

COUGARS

FROM PHOENIX — We've filed our game story and are now seated in Terminal 4 at the Phoenix airport, awaiting a 9 p.m. flight back to chilly Spokane. Here's our tale of the tape. Read on.

Blazers arrive on hot streak

The Kamloops Blazers and Spokane Chiefs will meet for the final time during the Western Hockey League regular season in 30 minutes at the Arena. Kamloops has won two of the three previous meetings between the teams. The home time has won every time and each game has been decided by three or more goals. The Blazers have won 11 of their last 13 games to move within three points of Kelowna for the second-best record in the Western Conference. Kamloops has four players among the top 14 in scoring in the WHL: Colin Smith (95 points), JC Lipon (78), Tim Bozon (77) and Brendan Ranford (73).

Gonzaga reigns supreme in WCC

The West Coast Conference preseason coaches' poll slightly favored BYU to unseat Gonzaga as conference champion. How sweet it must have been for the Bulldogs to clinch the title outright at BYU on Saturday afternoon. Stephanie Golden has been on fire for Gonzaga. Read more

Idaho guts out win at Idaho State

Idaho's second four-game losing streak in the last six weeks is over. And so too is the Vandals' five-game skid in their on-again, off-again series with Idaho State. UI held off the Bengals this afternoon at Reed Gym in Pocatello, winning 75-69 in a BracketBusters game. It was the Vandals' first win at ISU since 1996.

Neither Connor HIll nor Stephen Madion shot particularly well for the Vandals, but they put in 20 and 19 points, respectivey, and Madison had nine rebounds to help Idaho dominate on the boards. Hill sank four straight 3-pointers to the push the Vandals ahead for good after they trailed early in the second half.

The Vandals (10-16) finish the regular season with three WAC games — two on the road next week at UTSA and Texas State before wrapping up at home versus Seattle U.

Task gets taller for WSU

COUGARS

FROM TUCSON — WSU is trying to break a 7-game losing streak. But this isn't exactly the easiest place to do it. Read on.

Zags close in on crown

Gonzaga entertains San Diego at 4 today, one win away from at least a co-WCC championship. The third-ranked Bulldogs (26-2, 13-0 WCC) defeated USD 65-63 on Feb. 2.

Here's my game preview that ran in today's S-R.

A summer feeling in February

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The snow was falling gently at our house just after noon yesterday, but it seemed like last summer. There were a couple reasons for that. Read on.

An early tip from Tucson

COUGARS

FROM TUCSON — Finally, the Cougars play the early game on a Saturday, facing No. 12 Arizona in a 12 p.m. game this afternoon. We start the day with a wide array of links. Read on.

No. 20 Colorado defeats Washington State

Poor shooting Friday night kept the Washington State women from catching up to 20th-ranked Colorado. The Cougars have three Pac-12 Conference games remaining, including home games next week against highly ranked California and Stanford. Read story

Chiefs turn back third-ranked Edmonton

The Spokane Chiefs went 3 for 5 on the power play and added two shorthanded goals Friday night during a 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Arena. Read story

Chiefs hold off Edmonton

Mike Aviani scored twice and Brenden Kichton had three assists Friday night as the Spokane Chiefs edged Canadian Hockey League third-ranked Edmonton 6-4 at the Arena. Story to come

Chiefs power to 4-1 advantage

Power-play goals by Mike Aviani and Mitch Holmberg less than 2 minutes apart have lifted the Spokane Chiefs to a 4-1 lead over the Edmonton Oil Kings after two periods in WHL play at the Arena on Friday night. Dylan Walchuk also scored during the period for Spokane. Chiefs goalie Garret Hughson, getting a rare start, has stopped 25 shots.

Chiefs lead Edmonton 1-0

Mike Aviani's shorthanded goal has given the Spokane Chiefs a 1-0 lead over the Edmonton Oil Kings after one period Friday night at the Arena. Shots: Spokane 11-9.

Edmonton brings the power

The Spokane Chiefs and Edmonton Oil Kings meet for the only time this Western Hockey League season in 20 minutes at the Arena. Edmonton (43-13-2-3) has the best record in the Eastern Conference and has won 13 of its last 15 games. The Oil Kings have two of the top three goalies in the league for save percentage, Tristan Jarry (.934) and Laurent Brossoit (.925). Brossoit is the regular starter and will start tonight. Edmonton also leads the league in power-play percentage (27.6) and killing power plays (90.1 percent).

Paul Simon had it right

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Tonight there will be tears. Tears of sorrow. Tears of joy. Count on it. Read on.

Friday links from the road

COUGARS

FROM TEMPE — We're headed down the road to Tucson here in a few hours, at which point we'll meet up with WSU to conduct some interviews. First, we have a light recap of yesterday's Pac-12 action. Very light. Read on.

BYU looks toward Gonzaga game

Haley Steed and Jennifer Hamson scored 23 points apiece Thursday as BYU stormed past Portland 79-64. The game was barely over when the Cougars started thinking about Saturday's home game with Gonzaga. Read story

Oil Kings come to Spokane

Here's a look at the Edmonton Oil Kings, who play the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena on Friday night. Edmonton boasts the best record in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference. It's the only time Spokane and Edmonton will play this season. Edmonton defeated the Chiefs last season, but Spokane has won the other four matchups between the teams. Read story

Whitworth defeats Lewis and Clark 74-69

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered Whitworth's home game against Lewis and Clark.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Gonzaga claims at least tie of ninth straight title

Taelor Karr's career-matching 27 points Thursday night sparked Gonzaga to its 11th consecutive win, 70-55 at Santa Clara. The Bulldogs clinched at least a share of their ninth straight West Coast Conference title. Only BYU has a chance to tie Gonzaga. Read story

Chiefs can count on Gal

20-year-old right wing Blake Gal will play his 314th game with the Spokane Chiefs on Friday night. Gal has recently helped bolster the Chiefs' defense, hit hard by injures. Read story

Postseason hoops, wrestling

The Mead girls basketball team is hitting on all notes. Here's a feature as the Panthers continue their journey to Tacoma. Pictured above is sophomore wing Sue Winger and coach Quantae Anderson.

Post Falls wrestling standout Drake Foster is primed for a state repeat.

The Timberlake boys basketball team qualified for state for first time since school opened in 1998 and the Pullman boys qualified for state.

Here's a link to the Washington boys and girls state basketball brackets. Also, here's a link for the WIAA Selection Show on Sunday from the WIAA headquarters in Renton when the draws for the three-day 4A and 3A tournaments in Tacoma.

Day after Santa Clara

I confess: I really expected Santa Clara, a seasoned team with proven scorers playing well of late, to give Gonzaga a battle Wednesday night. The Broncos are an upper-echelon WCC team that will probably win 22-23 games and play in one of the smaller post-season tournaments.Their RPI is 95. They gave GU everything it could handle in early January before the Zags prevailed 81-74.

Instead I witnessed a record-setting 85-42 beatdown that was over essentially 6 minutes into the first half. GU built a 44-15 halftime lead with the most complete half of basketball I've seen the Zags play this season. That includes  Gonzaga blistering Saint Mary's 46-28 in the first half in Spokane, 45-27 in the second half in Moraga, the 45-18 first half GU put on West Virginia, the 40-25 second half against Oklahoma, the 41-26 second half versus Kansas State and the 40-21 first half from the BYU game.  

“Probably the best defensive effort we've put together in this building, relative to the opponent,” said coach Mark Few. The MAC opened its doors in 2004.

The links: S-R game story, S-R photos and AP.

Read on for my day-after Santa Clara post.

Right on cue …

A GRIP ON SPORTS

For those of you with excellent memories – and, by that, I mean those of you who can remember yesterday – last night's televised college basketball games could not have come at a better time. They were near-perfect bookends to my feelings about the sport. Read on.

Live chat, plus Day after ASU (again)

COUGARS

FROM TEMPE — You all know what happened here last night, so let's just get right to the links. Read on.

GU crushes Santa Clara, 85-42

Gonzaga dominated from start to finish, from offense to defense to the glass. The third-ranked Bulldogs dismantled visiting Santa Clara 85-42 on Wednesday for their ninth straight victory.

Elias Harris had 17 points and nine rebounds in just 23 minutes. Kelly Olynyk added 14 points and seven boards in 18 minutes. Mike Hart finished with six points and seven rebounds, two coming at the offensive end that elicited a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd.

Eleven Zags scored and 13 played.

My unedited game story is below. Back in the morning with a day-after post.

Quotable: WSU can’t hang with ASU

COUGARS

FROM TEMPE — Here's the rest of our quotes to pass along after WSU's 69-57 loss at Arizona State on Wednesday night. Read on.

Tale of the tape: ASU 69, WSU 57

COUGARS

FROM TEMPE — The Washington State losing streak is at seven now after a deflating 69-57 loss at Arizona State. We have our usual recap after the jump, so read on.

Gonzaga defeats Santa Clara 85-42

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Gonzaga Bulldogs defeat of Santa Clara 85-42,  in a blowout home game, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Expecting a close one at Wells Fargo

COUGARS

FROM TEMPE — If you think the Cougars have been playing close games recently, you should take a look at Arizona State's game notes. The Sun Devils haven't done much for their fans' blood pressure recently, though the final results have been plenty acceptable. Read on.

Win tickets to Bracketbuster game, movie tickets

Test your knowledge of current events AND win four tickets to Eastern men's basketball vs. Sam Houston State on Saturday. You can also win two movies tickets and a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Just take the news quz and you will be automatically entered in the drawings.

Learning is a life-long endeavor

A GRIP ON SPORTS

How does the cliché go? You can't teach an old guy new tricks? No, that's not it. You're never too old to learn. Ya, that's it. That's the one that applies today. Read on.

No sleep til Phoenix

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — OK, so that's a lie. But we are leaving for Phoenix just about the time this post goes live. WSU and Arizona State get going tonight at 7 at Wells Fargo Arena. Preview the day with some links.

Americans pass Chiefs into fourth place

The Tri-City Americans held off Vancouver 5-4 on Tuesday night to move past the Spokane Chiefs in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference. The Americans (34-22-1-2) have 71 points, one more than the Chiefs (34-24-2-0) and two more than Victoria (32-22-1-4). The three teams hold down fourth, fifth and sixth places in the conference. All three will make the playoffs, but only the No. 4 will have home-ice advantage in the first round. Spokane has 12 games left in the regular season; T-C and Victoria have 13. The Chiefs will host the Eastern Conference's best team, Edmonton, on Friday night. Read story

Eastern’s Hodgins boasts basketball heritage

This week's women's basketball notebook features Eastern Washington's Hayley Hodgins, whose basketball pedigree is impressive. Read more

West Valley girls defeat Selah 47-44

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the West Valley High girls win over Selah.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

GU entertains Santa Clara

Gonzaga is closing in on a WCC title and the top seed for the conference tournament. The Bulldogs (25-2, 12-0 WCC)  have two home games this week, beginning with fourth-place Santa Clara (19-8, 7-5) on Wednesday.Two wins and GU claims the No. 1 seed for the tourney and at least a share of the WCC title.

Here's my game preview that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

Most of the state berths set

Final 4A boys and girls state berths were determined yesterday for the round of 16 games Friday and Saturday at regional sites.

Click the tab below to see matchups involving Eastern Washington teams. Great Northern League boys and girls teams are playing for state berths tonight.

Pictured above is Gonzaga Prep standout sofphomore guard Laura Sockton.

Mastering the classroom

Good morning. Media day on Monday and we talked some basketball, but my focus was on three Zags who have already earned their degrees and face different academic challenges than their teammates.

Kelly Olynyk, Mike Hart and Drew Barham are in Master's programs. Here's a look at their academic journeys

Back later with a GU-Santa Clara preview (remember, it's a Wednesday game).

A blast from the past

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know what seems like a good idea this morning? Hunt down that darn groundhog with the good PR and make him pay. I thought we were promised an early spring. Yep, it's snowing here in the Inland Northwest this morning. Read on.

Cougs take off for the desert

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We'll be doing the same thing the headline details here in about 24 hours. But first, we have some news and links to share with you from the Palouse. Read on.

Ladd likely still out, Bone says

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone held his weekly press conference this afternoon, and the most frequent topic of conversation was the status of Mike Ladd's left knee.

The verdict: it's probably not healthy enough for Ladd to play this week.

The senior guard will still travel with the Cougars to Arizona, but Ladd didn't practice on Monday and Bone said “it doesn't look promising” for him to play Wednesday against Arizona State.

There is good news, though.

WSU’s Gabe Marks cited for MIP-Exhibiting

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State receiver Gabe Marks was cited for minor exhibiting effects of having consumed alcohol early Sunday, WSU Police Officer Joe Kirshner confirmed.

Kirshner said he was not permitted to release further details.

According to the department’s activity log, Marks, 18, was cited at the Lower Soccer Fields on Northeast Colorado Street at about 1:47 a.m. Sunday. The log lists Marks’ alleged offense as “MIP-Exhibiting.”

As a freshman last season, Marks caught 49 passes for 560 yards and two touchdowns. He is a native of Los Angeles.

A WSU spokesman said coaches are aware of the citation and will handle it internally.

Marks is the third known WSU player to run afoul of the law since the season ended. Walk-on receiver Drew Loftus was arrested for alleged theft and dismissed from the team earlier this month. Previously, running back Leon Brooks was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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

What’s shaking?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

While trying to figure out what the heck this “Harlem Shake” thing is and why it is seemingly everywhere (and, to a lesser degree, trying to understand why everyone wants to be part of a crowd these days instead of being a non-conformist), I ran across a few sports stories. Read on.

Pac-12 roundup on Monday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As the sting of another close loss begins to subside for Washington State, another week begins with a recap of the weekend's Pac-12 action. Read on.

Day after San Francisco

Feels strange to wake up in my own bed on a Sunday morning after a Saturday road game. With Gonzaga's 1:30 Saturday matinee against San Francisco, I was able to catch a flight to Seattle — where I filed my game story around 8ish — and then on to Spokane about midnight.

Interesting game at USF's War Memorial Gym as Gonzaga put on a clinic early, endured a Dons' rally and put the game away with a solid final 7 minutes. The result, a 71-61 victory at a building where Gonzaga had dropped its last three games vs. USF.

We'll begin my day-after post with links: My game story, San Francisco Chronicle and AP.

More below.

Losing doesn’t always connote losers

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If one looks solely at the won/loss record, it would be easy to assume the Washington State basketball team is a bunch of losers. But nothing could be further from the truth. At least not in my definition of losers. Read on.

Day after Oregon (again)

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — For the sixth consecutive game, it's an unhappy recap for Washington State. But it's a recap nonetheless, and you can keep reading if you'd like.

Same story for Idaho vs. Louisiana Tech

Another lead, another chance to topple a team in the WAC's top tier. This time it was Louisiana Tech, which is in first place in the conference and happens to be one of the hottest teams in the nation. But alas, the Idaho Vandals crumbled down the stretch yet again in a 67-61 loss to first-place Louisiana Tech. It was Idaho's 10th loss in the last 13 games.

We've got our story and a few notes below.

Tri-City blanks Chiefs

The Western Hockey League Western Conference standings tightened up Saturday night when the Tri-City Americans shut out the Spokane Chiefs 6-0 at Kennewick. Read story

Zags pull away for 71-61 win over USF

Gonzaga built a big early lead, watched USF pull even in the second half, then regrouped to claim a 71-61 victory at War Memorial Gym on Saturday. Kelly Olynyk poured in 26 points and Elias Harris added 17 points and 13 boards.

My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Tale of the tape: Oregon 79, WSU 77 (OT)

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The heartbreak continues for Washington State, though it came in much odder and, perhaps, more painful fashion in Saturday's 79-77 loss to the No. 23 Oregon Ducks. We have our usual recap after the jump, so read on, if you can.

EWU beats Southern Utah 86-72

The Eagles defeat Southern Utah.  S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the game in Cheney.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Gonzaga’s offense erupts as streak hits 10

All 14 players on Gonzaga's roster scored during Saturday's 101-65 rout of San Francisco at McCarthey Athletic Center. Sunny Greinacher led the way with 15 points and Stephanie Golden added a season-high 14 as the West Coast Conference-leading Bulldogs notched their 10th consecutive win. Read story

Gonzaga women’s winning streak hits 10

Sunny Greinacher scored 15 points, Stephanie Golden added 14 to reach a season high for the second consecutive game and Taelor Karr had 12 as Gonzaga eased past San Francisco 101-65 on Saturday afternoon at sold-out McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs (22-5, 12-1) won their 10th consecutive game and maintained their 2 1/2-game lead in the conference. Story to come

Ducks likely a pressing issue for Cougars

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — If Washington State struggles against Oregon's defensive pressure this afternoon, it won't be for lack of mental preparation. As DaVonte Lacy said yesterday, the Cougars know it's coming. Read on for more thoughts.

One Golden homestand

This is turning out to be quite a week for Gonzaga junior center Stephanie Golden. The Californian, who began the season in Gonzaga's starting lineup, has scored 12 points during the first half Saturday afternoon as Gonzaga leads San Francisco 47-29 at McCarthey Athletic Center. Golden has hit 6 of 8 from the field. Golden led Gonzaga with a season-high 13 points during Thursday's big home win over Saint Mary's. Her career high is 15 points.

Gonzaga women aim for 10th straight win

Gonzaga vies for its 10th consecutive win this afternoon at McCarthey Athletic Center against San Francisco. The Bulldogs (21-5, 11-1) had a 10-game winning streak last season that ended with a home loss against Saint Mary's. Their current winning streak began after a road loss against Saint Mary's. Gonzaga leads the West Coast Conference by 2 1/2 games over BYU and Saint Mary's, both 8-3 in conference. The Bulldogs have just three WCC games left after today. San Francisco (10-15, 3-9) has lost 14 consecutive games to Gonzaga. The game will start in 20 minutes.

A fool-proof forecasting system

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It seemed almost summer-like around these parts yesterday, what with the high temperature skyrocketing into the 50s. But we all know that is an illusion. Summer is a long way away. Heck, spring isn't all that close. How do I know? Simple. Basketball, hockey and wrestling are still in full swing. Read on.

Gameday links before Oregon

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State is facing one of its biggest challenges of the season tonight as it faces Oregon. Mike Ladd isn't likely to play for the second consecutive game, meaning the Cougars are still without their senior point guard and one of their team captains. We have some links for you before the 4 p.m. tip. Read on.

Zags turn page to USF

Gonzaga didn't have much time to celebrate its big win over Saint Mary's. The Bulldogs left McKeon Pavilion around 11 p.m. Thursday and will be back on the floor against San Francisco at 1:30 Saturday for a rare afternoon game, roughly a 38-hour turnaround.

The fifth-ranked Zags are the highest ranked team to play at San Francisco since No. 3 Santa Clara visited the Hilltop on Feb. 15, 1969. GU has lost its last three games to USF at War Memorial Gym, two in overtime.

Read on for my unedited game preview.

Day after Saint Mary’s

The two best teams and the two best players in the WCC went at it last night in an ear-splitting atmosphere.

Gonzaga created some separation between itself and Saint Mary's with a 77-60 victory at packed McKeon Pavilion, fueled by a dominating second half. And Kelly Olynyk put some separation between himself and Gaels guard Matthew Dellavedova in the WCC player of the year race.

GU is two games up on the Gaels in the loss column with five to play. SMC has four WCC games remaining.

Here's my game story, and others from S.F. Chronicle, Contra Costa and AP.

Read on for my day-after post. Check back later for my GU-USF advance.

The sacrifices we make

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Before we get into Gonzaga's crucial West Coast Conference win at St. Mary's last night, I want Bulldog fans to know what I gave up for them. It's a pretty big deal. Read on.

Live chat and WSU links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — One more day until Washington State returns to the court for a game against Oregon. We'll be speaking with coach Ken Bone and players later today, but for now we just have links. Read on.

Gonzaga handles Saint Mary’s, 77-60

Gonzaga lost its grip on a comfortable lead in the first half. The Zags weren't about to do it again in the second half.

The Bulldogs blitzed the Gaels with a 20-4 spurt to open the second half, then turned away a spirited SMC comeback to post a 77-60 victory that gave Gonzaga some breathing room at the top of the WCC standings.

Gonzaga got contributions from numerous players, but were led by Gary Bell Jr.'s 20 points — tying his career high. Kevin Pangos delivered 18 points, Kelly Olynyk 17 points and seven boards and Elias Harris added seven points and nine rebounds. Mike Hart chipped in five points, six boards and a pair of assists.

My unedited game story is below. Back tomorrow with a day-after post. 

Kelowna turns back Everett

The Western Hockey League was quiet on Thursday night except for Kelowna's 4-1 win over Everett. The Spokane Chiefs will play at Everett tonight. Spokane is 3-2-0-0 against Everett this season, with all three wins at the Arena. Read story

BYU ties Saint Mary’s for second place

BYU strolled past Santa Clara on Thursday night and tied Saint Mary's for second place in the West Coast Conference after the Gaels lost at Gonzaga. BYU will host Gonzaga on Feb. 23. Note: The game story has BYU's conference record incorrect. The Cougars are 8-3. Read story

Golden, Redmon step up in Gonzaga victory

Stephanie Golden and Jazmine Redmon combined for 25 points Thursday night as Gonzaga moved a big step closer to a ninth consecutive West Coast Conference title with a 69-54 win over Saint Mary's at McCarthey Athletic Center. Golden and Redmon typically average a combined 10.7 ppg, but they were the big scorers as WCC scoring leader Jackie Nared (17.9 ppg) was shut down by Redmon's tough defense. Sunny Greinacher added 10 points and Taelor Karr nine for the Bulldogs, who have all but wrapped up the conference title with four WCC games left on their schedule. Read story See picture story

Vandals can’t convert in loss to UT Arlington

Idaho missed a lot open looks in the final few minutes tonight. How many? Not just one or two, but seven by my count. Some were more open than others, but they all were makeable. As you might expect, the Vandals dropped a 71-68 decision to the University of Texas at Arlington.

We have our story below.

Gonzaga women defeat Saint Mary’s 69-54

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU women vs. Saint Mary's game.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

First-place Gonzaga stops Saint Mary’s

Balanced scoring powered Gonzaga to a 69-54 win over Saint Mary's on Thursday night at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs (21-5, 11-1 West Coast Conference) won their ninth consecutive game and took a 2 1/2-game lead over Saint Mary's (16-7, 8-3) and BYU (17-7, 8-3). Stephanie Golden scored a season-high 13 points, Jazmine Redmon 12 and Sunny Greinacher 10 for Gonzaga. Story to come

Gonzaga leads Saint Mary’s by 12

Junior guard Jazmine Redmon scored nine points to lead Gonzaga to a 36-24 halftime lead over Saint Mary's in a key West Coast Conference game at McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday. Redmon shot 4 for 5 from the floor and added three steals and two assists. First-place Gonzaga (10-1 WCC) holds a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Gaels (8-3), the last team to defeat GU this season (Jan. 10).

Gonzaga can take gigantic step

Eight-time defending West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga can move closer to No. 9 tonight at McCarthey Athletic Center by defeating Saint Mary's. The Bulldogs (20-5, 10-1) hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Gaels (16-6, 8-2) with the conference season winding down to its final two weeks. Gonzaga has won eight consecutive games since a 54-51 loss at Saint Mary's on Jan. 10. The Gaels are the only WCC team to win at Gonzaga since the 2009-10 season (66-63 on Jan. 14, 2012). Game time is 20 minutes away.

Win tickets to Eastern basketball

Test your knowledge of current events AND win four tickets to Eastern men's basketball vs. Northern Colorado on Feb. 28. You can also win two movies tickets and a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. Just take the news quz and you will be automatically entered in the drawings.

A lot to love the past couple days

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There's no reason to lie. I'm tired. Really tired. Getting home from Pullman after midnight will do that to you. But before we can get back to what we do best – napping – we have to pass along a Valentine's Day blog post. It concerns, appropriately enough, what we loved about the past couple days. Read on.

Day after OSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another close game, another loss for Washington State. Have we written that before? Well, this one was a little different, given the absence of WSU's starting point guard. Anyway, we have links and thoughts, so read on.

Ice cool off Royals

The Kootenay Ice picked up their 11th consecutive home win Wednesday night by defeating the Victoria Royals 5-1. Kootenay's victory allowed the Spokane Chiefs to tie Victoria for fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference. Read story

Chiefs roar back to tackle Hitmen

The Spokane Chiefs trailed one of the Western Hockey League's best road teams, Calgary, 2-0 in the second period Wednesday when they caught fire. Four consecutive goals later, and solid play in goal by Eric Williams, and the Chiefs dispatched the Hitmen 4-3 at the Arena. With Victoria's loss to Kootenay, Spokane moved into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference. Read story

Tale of the tape: OSU 67, WSU 66

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Mike Ladd's absence was killer for Washington State on Wednesday, as the Cougars fell to Oregon State 67-66 at Beasley Coliseum. Here's our usual recap.

Chiefs knock down Hitmen

Eric Williams stopped 31 shots and Todd Fiddler and Dylan Walchuk had one goal and one assist apiece as the Spokane Chiefs held off the Calgary Hitmen 4-3 Wednesday night in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Story to come

Zags, Gaels await showdown

Four radio interviews this week, must be a big game coming up.

It'll be a battle for first place tomorrow night in Moraga. A win would give Gonzaga a sweep over Saint Mary's a two-game lead in the loss column. A win by Saint Mary's would leave both teams with one conference loss as the Gaels try to win their third consecutive WCC title.

More on the matchup below.

Chiefs fight back for 3-2 lead

Dylan Walchuk, Brenden Kichton and Carter Proft scored during the final 10:29 of the second period to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-2 lead on the Calgary Hitmen in WHL play at the Arena. Calgary led 2-0 after Cody Sylvester's power-play goal at 1:59 of the second before the Chiefs caught fire. Spokane outshot Calgary 17-7 during the period. The contentious game has seen 13 penalties for 48 minutes.

Hitmen take 1-0 advantage

The Calgary Hitmen lead the Spokane Chiefs 1-0 after one period at the Arena. Brady Brassart's 23rd goal of the season is the difference. The Arena crowd booed the goal as Chiefs goalie Eric Williams appeared to be knocked away from makiing the play.

Hitmen pack a punch

The Calgary Hitmen are one of the better teams in the Western Hockey League, as their record of 37-16-1-3 ranks second among 12 teams in the Eastern Conference. The Hitmen have won four consecutive games and have played better on the road (21-8-0-1) than at home (16-8-1-2). Calgary ranks first among 22 WHL teams in penalty minutes (1,096), 40 ahead of No. 2 Victoria. The Spokane Chiefs will see the Hitmen for the first and only time at the Arena tonight. Game time is 25 minutes away. For Chiefs fans, it will be the last time to see Spokane at home until Feb. 22.

Mike Ladd won’t play against OSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As if there wasn't enough pressure on Washington State already, the Cougars now must try to defeat Oregon State without the services of starting point guard Mike Ladd, who will miss tonight's game with a left knee injury. Read on for more.

GU women await big Saint Mary’s rematch

The biggest remaining game of the West Coast Conference women's basketball season is Thursday at Gonzaga. The Bulldogs (10-1 WCC) can take a huge step toward wrapping up their ninth consecutive conference title by avenging last month's loss at Saint Mary's (8-2 WCC). Gonzaga has won eight consecutive games since its three-point loss at Moraga, Calif. Read story

Ken Wilson hired as WSU LBs coach

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State officially announced Wednesday that Ken Wilson has been hired as the team's linebackers coach.

Wilson, who spent the last 23 seasons at Nevada — 19 as part of the coaching staff — replaces Jeff Choate, who left after the season to become the defensive coordinator at UTEP.

Wilson was Nevada's linebackers coach for the last five seasons and has also been a defensive coordinator. He and Jim Mastro, WSU's running backs coach, worked together at Nevada for seven seasons. Longtime Nevada coach Chris Ault retired in December.

Here's the school's official release on Wilson:

Washington State football has named Ken Wilson as the Cougars linebackers coach, head coach Mike Leach announced Wednesday.

“Ken brings tremendous experience to our coaching staff along with an attitude and expectation for success derived from his time at Nevada,” said Leach. “He is a great recruiter and teacher on the field and will step in immediately and make a positive impact on our program.“

Wilson joins Washington State after spending the past 23 years at the University of Nevada, 19 on the Wolf Pack coaching staff, including the last five seasons as the associate head coach/linebackers coach. Wilson has worked six seasons with linebackers, one with safeties, one with defensive ends and a total of three seasons as the defensive coordinator.

Wilson, who worked with current Cougars running backs coach Jim Mastro for seven seasons at Nevada, helped the Wolf Pack appear in 11 bowl games and claim nine conference championships during his 13 seasons on the sidelines.

Wilson has seen 16 of his former players sign professional contracts including six linebackers who were under NFL contract in 2012. Wilson mentored first team All-WAC selection Dontay Moch, who was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 66th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He put another defensive end into the NFL after the 2011 season as Kaelin Burnett signed with the Oakland Raiders.

In 2009, Wilson headed up the linebacking corps and oversaw the development of a youthful group that included second-team All-WAC selection James-Michael Johnson in 2009. He also coached current NFL linebacker Joshua Mauga (New York Jets) and former New York Giant and St. Louis Ram, Jerome Johnson. During the 2007 season, Wilson served as the defensive coordinator and was also the safeties coach. Nevada’s starting safeties, Uche Anyanwu and Justin Jackson, combined for 144 tackles. Overall, the defense was fourth in pass defense and fifth in total defense. 

Prior to that, Wilson headed up the Pack’s inside linebacking corps while also serving as the team’s assistant head coach. In 2006, two of Wilson’s pupils - Jason DeMars and Joshua Mauga – finished second and third on the team in tackles, tallying over 110 tackles combined.

The North Central (Ill.) graduate (1986) has coached six players who signed professional contracts, three of them in the NFL, including Nevada's all-time tackles leader, DeShone Myles, as well as Mike Crawford and Steve Bryant. Two of his pupils - Mylwa and Matt Clafton - were named to Nevada's All-Century team at linebacker.

Wilson has coached defensive line, linebackers and secondary during his career, which also included stints at his alma mater (1986) and at New Mexico (1987-88).

Wilson and his wife, Heather, have a son, Tyler, and a daughter, Baylie. 

A misguided decision

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let's get right to the crux of the matter. I am not a huge wrestling fan but the International Olympic Committee's decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Games is incredibly stupid. And borders on the criminal. Read on.

OSU, Part 2 for WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State has played every team in the conference exactly once. Tonight, the Cougars begin their seven-game second go-round with a home matchup against Oregon State. We have some links to start your day, so read on.

UT Arlington makes change ahead of Idaho game

The Idaho Vandals will see a different UT Arlington team for Thursday's Western Athletic Conference road game. Coach Samantha Morrow resigned on Tuesday, never able to recreate the success she had with high school teams. The third-place Vandals beat UT Arlington 70-52 on Jan. 19 in Moscow. Idaho has won eight of its last 10 games.

Record-breaking Noyes full of class

This week's women's basketball notebook features Washington State senior Carly Noyes, a record-setting player from Moses Lake with a future goal of elementary school teacher. Read story

Rough Hitmen descend on Spokane

The Calgary Hitmen brought their rugged style of play to Kennewick on Tuesday night, piling up 31 penalty minutes while dispatching the Tri-City Americans 6-2. Calgary put Tri-City on the power play eight times. Both Americans goals came with a man advantage. Now Calgary will come to Spokane on Wednesday night for its lone matchup of the Western Hockey League season against the Spokane Chiefs. Read story

Bone: “I need to do a better job”

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As the criticism of coach Ken Bone and his Washington State basketball team increases, so too does the speculation about whether Bone might not be around next season.

And while the coach says he doesn't read the blogs and message boards full of fans expressing their frustration with growing frequency, that doesn't mean he doesn't know it's there. He does.

Bone says he isn't used to it, either, noting that he's typically been associated with successful teams. Bone's first team at Portland State in 2005-06 finished with a 12-16 record, and that currently stands as the only losing team Bone has fielded as a head coach.

“When you lose, there’s criticism. It doesn’t matter whether you have injuries, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been close in games and competed well. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve kicked off your point guard. It doesn’t make any difference.

“At the end of the day, you’re expected to win. And in league we are 2-9, so therefore, like in any sport, you’re going to be criticized. So I’m sure I’m being criticized. But every once in a while I might hear about something, or someone might say 'hey, don’t read the blogs, don’t do this, they’re tearing you apart.' That’s the way it goes. That’s par for the course at this level and for me personally, you just roll with it. For me, I just keep doing the best I can. I’m not sure what else to do except try to keep the troops rallied and working hard and as a staff we stay together, we work hard.”

Four words that signal a rebirth

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Is it warmer outside? Is the sun shining brighter? Is there a spring in your step? All those things should be true. After all, spring training is starting today around the country. Summer is just around the corner. Read on.

WSU gearing up for Oregon State

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State is back to its normal-but-not-really schedule of playing on Wednesday and Saturday this week, which means the Cougars' game against Oregon State is now a mere 36-ish hours away. Ken Bone and WSU players will meet with the media later today, and we'll be there, as usual. For now, we have links, so read on (and sorry for the abrupt, non-sensical ending to this paragraph earlier. Stopped mid-thought while writing it and forgot to finish).

Zags expand options at ‘3’

Studied up a little more on Gonzaga-Saint Mary's today by watching the replay of the first game. Drew Barham and Kyle Dranginis didn't step on the court last month but they figure to be in the mix in Thursday's rematch.

We talked about that and the juggling at the '3' position in general in the lead item to the Gonzaga notebook that will run in Tuesday's S-R.

I visited with Kelly Olynyk about where he stands on returning for his senior year or turning pro. He's not going to make a decision until Gonzaga's season ends. (USA Today checked in with a feature on Olynyk. A New York Times reporter stopped by practice for an upcoming article.)

Also, GU moved up one spot in the AP poll to No. 5 and three spots in the USA Today poll to No. 3.

A couple of notes that didn't make the notebook: Louisville transfer Angel Nunez (concussion) is hoping to be cleared to begin practicing on Feb. 19. Providence transfer Gerard Coleman has been sidelined with a dislocated thumb.

Read on for more.

Coeur d’Alene coach won’t return

Kent Leiss, pictured above, will not return as Coeur d'Alene High's boys basketball coach this season.

Click the tab below to read my unedited story for Tuesday's newspaper.

It’s poll season

A GRIP ON SPORTS

After spending the first Sunday since September without the NFL, we spend the first Monday since then without NFL news. Which means today is sort of slow. Read on.

Slowing into Monday from WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's another typically slow Monday with Washington State, though we do have some other lniks around the conference to share. Read on.

Crooks carries Royals past Chiefs

Jamie Crooks scored twice to guide the Victoria Royals to a 5-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena on Sunday night. The Chiefs and Royals began the night tied for fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference. Victoria won its fifth consecutive game. The season series is 1-1 with games coming March 1 and 2 in Victoria, British Columbia. Read story See photo gallery

Victoria Royals beat Spokane Chiefs 5-3

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Chiefs' game against the Royals.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Victoria stops Chiefs, takes over fourth alone

Jamie Crooks scored twice Sunday night to guide the Victoria Royals to a 5-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena. The Royals' win put them alone in fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference, two points ahead of  the Chiefs. Story to come.

Chiefs trail Victoria 4-1 after two periods

Jamie Crooks' 27th and 28th goals of the season have helped stake the Victoria Royals to a 4-1 lead over the Spokane Chiefs after two periods at the Arena. Crooks has tied Brandon Magee for the team lead in goals. Victoria has outshot Spokane 18-9. Spokane's season low for shots in a game is 15.

Royals lead Chiefs 2-1 after one period

Goals by Jamie Crooks and Jack Walker have given the Victoria Royals a 2-1 lead over the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena. Victoria, leading 2-0, was on a 4-minute power play when Spokane's Dylan Walchuk tallied a shorthanded goal for his 15th score of the season.

Chiefs, Royals will snap tie

The Spokane Chiefs and Victoria Royals are tied for fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference with 66 points apiece. The teams will meet in 15 minutes at the Arena to break that tie. This is the second of four meetings between the Chiefs and Royals this season. Spokane defeated Victoria 5-3 at the Arena on Oct. 5. The final two games will be March 1 and 2 in Victoria, British Columbia. The Royals have won four consecutive games and are 19-7-1-3 since Nov. 23. The Chiefs are 10-14-1-0 since Dec.7.

Day after Loyola Marymount

LMU, overwhelmed in an 88-43 loss to Gonzaga in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, looked like a different team Saturday. The Lions battled throughout, but GU still claimed a 74-55 win.

The day-after LMU links: S-R gamer, S-R photos, AP and Kitsap Sun.

More below.

Changing horses in midstream

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Late last night I had already decided what I was going to write about today. But in the foggy focus of morning, I changed my mind. Read on.

Day after UCLA

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — Washington State lost its ninth game in 11 tries last night. We have to fly back to Spokane this morning, but first have some links to last night's coverage. Read on.

Whittingham steps up to ignite Chiefs

Riley Whittingham had his first two-goal night as a member of the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday during a 5-2 win over the Tri-City Americans at the Arena. The Chiefs led 2-0 after two periods, both goals courtesy of Whittingham. The night started with the Chiefs in sixth place in Western Hockey League Western Conference standings and Tri-City in fifth. Spokane moved up to tie Victoria for fourth and sent the Americans into sixth. Read story

Quotable: First half dooms WSU at Pauley

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — We once again empty out the notebook with some additional quotes from WSU's 76-62 loss to UCLA here on Saturday night. Read on.

Zags stay unbeaten in WCC

Gonzaga won its sixth consecutive game, taking down visiting Loyola Marymount 74-55 on Saturday night, to remain unbeaten in WCC play. The sixth-ranked Zags (23-2, 10-0 WCC) figure to move up at least a couple spots when the rankings come out Monday.

GU remained in first in the WCC entering Thursday's showdown against Saint Mary's in Moraga. The Gaels (21-4, 10-1) handled San Diego 74-64. The Gaels have won nine straight games.

My unedited game story is below. I'll have a day-after post up in the morning.

Tale of the tape: UCLA 76, WSU 62

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — Welcome to the new Pauley Pavilion, same as the old Pauley Pavilion. At least it was for the Cougars on Saturday night, when they lost 76-62 to UCLA, their 54th loss to the Bruins in Los Angeles in 56 ties. Read on for our recap.

Chiefs vault Americans in standings

Riley Whittingham had his first two-goal night as a Chief as Spokane defeated Tri-City 5-2 at the Arena on Saturday night to pass the Americans in Western Hockey League Western Conference standings. Connor Chartier, Adam Helewka and Mike Aviani also scored for Spokane, which moved from sixth place to a tie for fourth with Victoria, which plays at the Arena on Sunday. Story to come.

Whittingham strikes again

Riley Whittingham followed up his first-period goal with another in the second period Saturday at the Arena, giving the Spokane Chiefs a 2-0 lead over Tri-City in Western Hockey League play. Whittingham has just five goals on the season, but three in the last three games. Spokane has outshot the Americans 28-17, including 16-8 in the second period.

Gonzaga defeats Loyola 74-55

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered GU's home win against Loyola Marymount.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Whittingham’s goal gives Chiefs lead

Riley Whittingham's goal on a 5-on-3 power play at 17 minutes, 56 seconds gave the Spokane Chiefs a 1-0 lead over the Tri-City Americans after one period in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Whittingham's goal was his fourth of the season and second in three games. Shots favor Spokane 12-9.

One win could bring big jump

The way the Spokane Chiefs, Tri-City Americans and Victoria Royals are bunched together in Western Conference standings, there's going to be a lot of shifting going on duriing the final 18 games of the regular season. Spokane (64 points) is in sixth place, one point behind Tri-City (65), which is at the Arena tonight for the ninth game in the season series between the big rivals. Fourth-place Victoria (66) is idle tonight, so the Chiefs could leap from sixth to a tie for fourth with a victory tonight. Fourth place could be Spokane's alone by also defeating Victoria at the Arena on Sunday. Tonight's game will start in 20 minutes.

Denver thunders past Vandals

Idaho has come close to edging most of the WAC's elite teams, including Denver University last month in Moscow. But UI was never competitive with DU on Saturday afternoon in a 74-58 loss — its most lopsided defeat of the season. The Pioneers drained nine 3-pointers and held the Vandals to just 14 points in the first half. Idaho's Kyle Barone — one of the favorites for WAC Player of the Year — attempted only two field-goal attempts and finished with 8 points.

“We didn’t compete like we needed to against a good Denver ballclub,” coach Don Verlin said. “That was the thing that was most frustrating about it. For whatever reason, we didn’t compete like we needed to. No question about it. It’s very frustrating at this time of year.”

Idaho is 9-14 and 5-8 in the WAC. It remains solidly in sixth place in the conference, ahead of San Jose State and Texas State.

Cougs trying to start new Pauley tradition

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — Tonight marks Washington State's first visit to the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion — you can see some video of what it looks like now above — and the Cougars are hoping their ghosts of Pauley's past vanished along with the old building. Read on.

Gonzaga women notch eighth straight win

Junior Haiden Palmer and sophomore Keani Albanez scored 17 points apiece Saturday afternoon as Gonzaga strolled past Loyola Marymount 70-56 in West Coast Conference play at Los Angeles. GU (20-5, 10-1 West Coast Conference) jumped to a 15-0 lead and never faltered while recording its eighth straight victory and reaching 20 wins for the seventh consecutive season. The Bulldogs will host second-place Saint Mary's (8-2 WCC) on Thursday. Saint Mary's, the last team to defeat the Bulldogs, knocked off third-place BYU (7-3) on Saturday. Read story

Zags trying to stay on course

Watching No. 3 Michigan and Wisconsin (Tied at 47 with 9:08 left) and wondering where Gonzaga will end up in Monday's polls if the Wolvervines lose and the Zags take care of business against Loyola Marymount tonight. No. 3, No. 4?

Also wondering where GU would be if it had finished out the Butler game? No. 2 perhaps.

I know, I rarely pay much attention to the polls or projected brackets, but it is getting to be THAT TIME of the season. We'll see, but first some big games will be played today. Here's my GU-LMU preview and a look at Saint Mary's visiting San Diego, which could be interesting given the Toreros' improved play of late..

One of those mornings

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Some days there is precision when it comes to choosing the most important subject. Others days it isn't as clear. Today is one of the latter. Read on.

Saturday links from LA

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — It's another Pac-12 Saturday, and Washington State will spend it in the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. We have more on that and some other links for you after the jump. Read on.

Petrino on QBs, developing players

National signing day has come and gone, but below we revisit what first-year Idaho coach Paul Petrino had to say about developing players in general and quarterbacks in particular.

Read on for his revealing comments, and what they mean for the Vandals.

Portland ends Kelowna’s 23-game home streak

The most anticipated weekend of the Western Hockey League season began Friday night with the Portland Winterhawks defeating Kelowna 5-3 to end the Rockets' 23-game home winning streak. The teams will meet again in Kelowna on Saturday. Kelowna was coming off a 5-0 loss at Spokane on Wednesday. Read story

Loss drops Chiefs into sixth place

The struggling Spokane Chiefs slipped into sixth place among Western Conference teams Friday after their 4-1 loss at Kootenay was followed by Victoria's 5-3 win at Tri-City. Victoria moved into fourth place with 66 points, one ahead of Tri-City and two ahead of Spokane. Tri-City is at Spokane on Saturday, followed by Victoria coming to the Arena on Sunday. Read story

Gonzaga’s Winters adds spark off the bench

Gonzaga senior reserve guard Meghan Winters has caught fire the last few games, using her 3-point shooting in key moments during the Bulldogs' seven-game winning streak. Read story

Day after Pepperdine

Well, Gonzaga took it down to the wire last night but everything worked out in the end.

No, not Gonzaga's 82-56 rout over Pepperdine that was a bit of a snoozer. The sound system at the MAC went south about 70 minutes before tipoff and the problem was fixed just in time for the announcement of the starting lineups. The band played pretty much non-stop in the hour leading up to the game, drowning out the crackling sound coming from the speakers.

The links: Game story from S-R, AP and Seattle Times, and S-R photos. Read on for my day-after post.

We’ve seen this show before

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Isn't it supposed to be a sweeps month? Yet on one channel last night there was a rerun and on two others, the same show. Television has gone batty. Read on.

Day after USC, and a live chat

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — Another tough, close road loss, another morning-after post with links to our coverage and more. Read on.

Quotable: Cougs close, but not close enough at USC

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — As we typically do, we have more quotes to pass along after WSU's tough, 72-68 loss to USC here on Thursday night. Read on.

Zags ‘D’ stifles Pepperdine

Gonzaga shut down Pepperdine, holding the Waves to just 20 first-half points, and coasted to an easy 82-56 victory on Thursday.

My unedited game story is below.

I'll have a day-after post up in the morning.

Tale of the tape: USC 72, WSU 68

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — Washington State's basketball season is starting to feel like something of a Bill Murray movie. You can probably guess which one. Read on for our recap of Thursday's 72-68 loss at USC.

Eagles continue recent surge by slowing down Hornets

Lexie Nelson, Kylie Huerta and Carrie Ojeda combined for 42 points on 17-for-34 shooting from the floor Thursday night in Eastern Washington's 63-49 win over Sacramento State in Big Sky Conference play at Reese Court. EWU avenged an 85-70 loss to the Hornets four weeks ago and climbed within one game of first-place Montana. Huerta provided the biggest sparks during crucial EWU runs. She and Nelson showcased tough defense in holding the Hornets to 5-for-23 shooting on 3-pointers. Read story

Gonzaga beats Pepperdine 82-56

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU home game against Pepperdine.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Vandals drop another close game

More than halfway through the WAC season, it's clear Idaho can hang with the best the WAC has to offer. But this much is also true: The Vandals can't beat the conference's upper echelon teams. At least they haven't been able to yet.

Idaho rallied to forge a late tie at second-place New Mexico tonight, only to squander its last two possessions in a 76-74 loss in Lac Cruces. The Vandals (9-13, 5-7) turned it over with the game tied, then after NMSU hit two free throws, Kyle Barone's tipin came after the buzzer. Idaho fell for the seventh loss in its late 10 games, and its two losses to the Aggies have come by a total of three points. Said UI coach Don Verlin, “There’s not anyone who feels worse than those players in the locker room, because there’s two games in a row, for lack of a better term, where we gave it to them.” More on the game below.

A WAC note: The University of Missouri-Kansas City will join the conference for the 2013-14 season. The Kangaroos will be one of nine teams in the WAC next season, joining Idaho, NMSU, Seattle U, Cal State-Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon (Ariz.), Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/02/07/4054339/umkc-to-join-western-athletic.html#storylink=cpy

Anyone still awake? WSU, USC tipping soon

COUGARS

FROM LOS ANGELES — We've arrived at the Galen Center, one of the finest basketball facilities in the Pac-12. It's also usually one of the emptiest. We'll see how tonight's 8:30 p.m. tip affects that. We have other thoughts, so read on.

Eastern defeats Sacramento State

Lexie Nelson scored 17 points, Kylie Huerta had 13 and Carrie Ojeda added 12 Thursday night as Eastern Washington defeated Sacramento State 63-49 in Big Sky Conference play at Reese Court. Huerta had 10 second-half points and a game-best seven assists. Ojeda added a game-best 15 rebounds. Story to come.

Eastern leads Hornets at halftime

The Eastern Washington women have hit 4 of 7 3-pointers to lead Sacramento State 30-26 at halftime in Big Sky Conference play at Reese Court on Thursday. Sacramento State, a run-and-gun team, has hit just 2 of 11 from long range. Lexie Nelson leads EWU's balanced scoring with seven points. The teams have exchanged scoring runs. The Hornets used a 12-2 run to take their biggest lead, 21-12. Eastern responded with an 11-0 run.

Eastern women welcome Hornets

We're 10 minutes away from a key Big Sky Conference game between visiting Sacramento State (12-8, 7-4) and Eastern Washington (12-9, 8-4). EWU is tied for third place with Montana State, one-half game behind Northern Colorado, which hosts first-place Montana tonight. The Eagles are looking to avenge an 85-70 setback at Sacramento on Jan. 12.

Thursday Prep Page

Here's a link to a list of all of our Thursday prep stories.

Twitter-verse kind, cruel to Zags

Athletes deal with something that athletes a decade ago didn't have to: Twitter. It's a barstool for fans, but the chatter there often reaches the athletes they're praising or ripping.

Gonzaga isn't immune to those tweets, so we checked in with 4-5 players to find out how they handle Twitter in a feature that ran on today's S-R Four Corners page. Here's a glance at the GU-Pepperdine game tonight. And there's a GU-related note in the Four Corners notebook.

—The coaching staff from USA Basketball's gold-medal winning U19 team last summer will return to lead the 2013 team, including Gonzaga coach Mark Few. He'll assist Florida's Billy Donovan. VCU's Shaka Smart also will assist Donovan.

Well, it’s a catchy tune

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I wonder how many men in America are humming “Cats in the Cradle” at work this morning? After last night's “Modern Family,” I can't get the tune out of my head. But there is one line from the song that's appropriate today. Read on.

Signing day links and more

COUGARS

FROM SPOKANE — By the time this posts, we'll already be at the airport, headed to Los Angeles for Washington State's trip to USC and UCLA. But it just wouldn't be Feb. 7, 2013 if we didn't recap yesterday's signing festivities. Read on.

Chiefs pick up 1000th win in commanding fashion

The Spokane Chiefs earned the 1,000th win in franchise history in a memorable way on Wednesday, taking control from start to finish while shutting out the Western Hockey League's hottest team. Read story

Chiefs shut out fourth-ranked Rockets

Eric Williams made 33 saves and five players scored as the Spokane Chiefs snapped a season-high four-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 5-0 win over the Kelowna Rockets in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Williams became the second goalie to blank the Canadian Hockey League's fourth-ranked Rockets this season and the first since Sept. 28. The Rockets had won 23 of their last 26 games. Story to come.

More Leach from signing day

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's more of what Washington State coach Mike Leach had to say after WSU signed 24 players to letters of intent. Read on.

Chiefs pour it on Kelowna

Todd Fiddler and Brenden Kichton scored second-period goals and Eric Williams made 14 more saves as the Spokane Chiefs took a 5-0 lead over the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Williams has 24 saves as he attempts to become the first goalie to blank Kelowna since Sept. 28. Fiddler and Mike Aviani have one goal and two assists apiece; Kichton and Mitch Holmberg have one goal and one assist apiece.

Chiefs jump ahead of Rockets 3-0

Riley Whittingham, Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani scored as the Spokane Chiefs jumped ahead of the Kelowna Rockets 3-0 after one period in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. The Chiefs have lost a season-high four consecutive games and eight of their last 11 games while Kelowna has won 23 of 26.

Red-hot Rockets land in Spokane

The Spokane Chiefs are 30 minutes away from their first home game since Jan. 26. Their challenge will be difficult because the Kelowna Rockets have won 23 of their last 26 games. Kelowna has just one regulation loss since Dec. 5. Kelowna has also won 23 consecutive home games since a 6-4 setback to the Chiefs on Oct. 10. Spokane has dropped eight of its last 11 games. Spokane and Kelowna are meeting for the final time during the regular season. The Rockets, No. 4 in the Canadian Hockey League rankings, lead the season series 2-1.

Leach evaluates 2013 signees

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's a list of Washington State's 2013 signing class, with a brief comment — very brief, in some cases — from coach Mike Leach about each player.

Vandal signing day updates

Idaho's letter of intents started rolling in early this morning. Check below to see a list of players who have signed with the Vandals. We'll keep this updated throughout the day, leading up to Paul Petrino's news conference at 1:15 p.m.

Are football games won in February?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There are young men and women (yes, women) all over America waking up today believing it's the most important day of their lives. Most already have an idea of what they are going to do. They have made up their mind and have decided on their future path. See, today is the day young men and women declare to the world where they are going to play football and soccer and field hockey and track and field and cross country and men's water polo (bet you didn't know about those last five sports did you?) next season. It's letter-of-intent day. Read on.

WSU signing day thread

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's where you can track each letter of intent the Cougars receive today as they come in. Read on.

Signing day and all that entails

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's that special day when a bunch of teenagers sign their names to pieces of paper, then fax those pieces of paper to institutions of higher learning across the nation to indicate their intent to play football at those institutions. We'll be here to monitor said activity throughout the day. Read on.

Cal State Fullerton assistant shot to death

Cal State Fullerton assistant coach Monica Quan and her fiance were found shot to death on Sunday. Quan was in her second season with the Titans. Cal State Fullerton played at Gonzaga on Dec. 9, an 83-44 Bulldogs win. Read story

Victoria ties Chiefs for fifth place

The Victoria Royals continued their improvement in the Western Hockey League by defeating Seattle on Tuesday and tying the Spokane Chiefs for fifth place in Western Conference rankings (by points). Spokane had been solidly in fourth place for several weeks, but Tri-City recently passed Spokane and Victoria is threatening to send the Chiefs to sixth place. The conference's sixth-place team would open the playoffs at No. 3, presumably Kamloops. No. 5 would open at No. 4. Read story

Addition of Holsinger spurs Sasquatch

This week's women's basketball notebook focuses on Riley Holsinger, who is leading Community Colleges of Spokane in five big categories since her transfer from Boise State. Read story

Central Valley defeats Ferris 72-54

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered Central Valley High's win over Ferris.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Proft provides protection for Chiefs

Spokane Chiefs left wing Carter Proft leads the Western Hockey League in penalty minutes this season. He says all hockey players have to be ready to stand up for their teammates. The Chiefs host Kelowna on Wednesday in their first game at the Arena since Jan. 26. Read story

Tuesday with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As is customary on Tuesdays, WSU basketball coach Ken Bone met with the media to discuss this week's games. Topics ranged from USC, Royce Woolridge and whether the Cougars' 2-7 start has affected players' attitudes. Read on.

Dickau to be inducted into WCC Hall

Former Gonzaga great Dan Dickau will be inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor during the upcoming men's and women's basketball tournaments in Las Vegas.

Dickau, currently an analyst for Gonzaga games televised on KHQ/SWX, will be inducted along with one representative from each of the other eight WCC schools on March 9 at the Orleans Hotel. The tournaments will run from March 6-11 at the Orleans Arena.

Dickau was an AP All-American in 2002, the same year he was named WCC player of the year, and he went on to have a lengthy NBA career.

More here

Win tickets to Eastern basketball game

We are giving away four tickets to the Eastern Washington-Southern Utah men's basketball game on Feb. 16, plus movie tickets and a $50 to the Davenport. Just take the news quiz and you will be automatically entered. Good luck.

The nights the lights went out

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The Super Bowl blackout not only made for a longer-that-normal game, it also triggered some memories for Seattle Time baseball writer Larry Stone. And for yours truly. Read on.

The day before the letters

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — In another 24 hours or so, national letters of intent will begin to roll in around the country. By the end of tomorrow, Mike Leach's second recruiting class — and the first that is truly his own — is likely to be complete. Until then, the speculation continues. Read on for links.

GU trying to nail the boards

Media day today and we had a couple of topics for a notebook that will run in Tuesday's S-R. The first item is on Gonzaga being outrebounded by five of its last nine opponents, including San Diego winning the glass 38-32 on Saturday.

It took some time and research from GU's sports information department, but we think we found Mark Few's last technical foul before Saturday's against USD.

There's more, including GU moving up to No. 6 in the rankings, its highest ranking since Dec. 2008, and the Zags scheduling a two-game series with Arizona.

A Super Bowl to remember

A GRIP ON SPORTS

This Super Bowl had everything. It was a rout, than it wasn't. There were big plays on offense, big plays on defense and a fourth-quarter call that really ticked off Jim Harbaugh – though, to be fair, the 49ers' Harbaugh seems like a guy who gets ticked off if McDonald's leaves a pickle on his burger. There were expected stars and unexpected standouts. Heck, even the halftime show was dramatic. But there was more. Read on.

WSU trying to turn the page

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's Monday. A new week. And, with nine conference games behind them and nine more until the end of the regular season, it's a new half-season for the Washington State Cougars. With that, we pose a question. Read on.

Day after San Diego

The race is on to get home before the Super Bowl kicks off, so we'll get right to my day-after post following Gonzaga’s 65-63 win over San Diego.

 

The Toreros did three things extremely well. 1). They seemed to be the more energetic team. 2). They seemed to be the more physical team. And Nos. 1 and 2 were reflected in 3). USD’s dominance of the offensive rebounding in the second half. Combined, those three things made this one a nailbiter after it appeared GU would open up a double-figures lead with 13 minutes remaining.

The links: S-R game story, AP gamer and another from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

More below.

It’s time for a football holiday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I've said it before and I'll say it again, not that it will make any difference. Tomorrow should be a national holiday. Today is just too much fun to force folks to work the day after. Read on.

Day after Arizona

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The first half of the Pac-12 season is over. For Washington State, much was left to be desired, as was also the case in last  night's 79-65 loss to Arizona. We have our usual assortment of day-after links, so read on.

Zags hold off USD 65-63

Gonzaga had its hands full with San Diego, but held on for a 65-63 victory on Saturday.

Elias Harris had 18 points and Kelly Olynyk 15. David Stockton delivered in crunch time with two assists and tear-drop from about 6 feet to help the Bulldogs stay unbeaten in WCC play at 8-0.

My unedited game story is below.

Quotable: Arizona cruises past WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As usual, we have some additional quotes to pass along after Washington State lost, 79-65, to Arizona on Saturday at Beasley Coliseum. See the video for the full postgame media sessions. Read on.

Montana defeats EWU 65-46

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the EWU home game against Montana.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Vandals escape with ugly win

The Vandals beat a WAC team at home tonight, and coach Don Verlin was happy … to a point. For him and the crowd of 950 at Cowan Spectrum, it was hard to know what to make of Idaho's 66-63 win over San Jose State.

First, Idaho (9-12, 5-6) almost blew a 15-point lead despite miserable foul shooting — and shooting overall — from SJSU. The Spartans made 4 of 15 freebies in the second half (only 8 of 24 overall), and they shot just 32 percent from the field. So how did they almost rally for an improbable win? Offensive rebounds — 16 of them in the second half and 21 for the game.

Read on for our game story and news about an Idaho player's plans to transfer.

Tale of the tape: Arizona 79, WSU 65

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State's 79-65 loss to Arizona here on Saturday night was unlike the Cougars' previous six conference losses. In each of those, they led at some point in the second half. In this one, they trailed by 10 points or more for the final 26 minutes. We have our recap, so read on.

First-place Gonzaga heats up from outside

Gonzaga hit a season-high 12 3-pointers Saturday to turn back Pepperdine in West Coast Conference play at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs finished 12 of 24 from long range, with Haiden Palmer, Taelor Karr and Keani Albanez hitting three apiece. Gonzaga won its sixth consecutive game and improved to 8-1 in the WCC. Saint Mary's and BYU are both 6-2. Read story                                                                                                                      

Pregame thoughts before a white-out

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Fans are encouraged to wear white to tonight's game between Washington State and Arizona. Just how many will show up, well, that's another matter. But we're here, and we have some thoughts before the Cougars host another tough opponent. Read on.

Palmer powers Gonzaga

Junior guard Haiden Palmer scored 17 points Saturday afternoon as Gonzaga remained in first place in the West Coast Conference with an 81-52 win over Pepperdine at McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga had balanced scoring in a foul-filled game that turned testy at times. Story to come

Gonzaga takes control with 3-pointers

Haiden Palmer has scored 11 points to guide Gonzaga to 38-25 halftime lead over Pepperdine in West Coast Conference play at McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday. Palmer has hit three of the Bulldogs' eight 3-pointers. GU leads the conference in 3-point shooting percentage and scoring defense. Gonzaga stormed to a 13-2 lead and has twice led by as many as 15 points. GU's Keani Albanez hit two 3-pointers after the Waves closed within eight points.

Gonzaga welcomes Pepperdine

Gonzaga's West Coast Conference home schedule is down to four games, including a sold-out matchup with the Pepperdine Waves that will start in 15 minutes at McCarthey Athletic Center. The first-place Bulldogs (17-5, 7-1) enter with a five-game winning streak, having won seven of their last eight. Last-place Pepperdine (4-15, 1-7) is on a six-game losing skid, including an 80-46 home setback to Gonzaga on Jan. 24. Pepperdine is the only team with three conference wins against Gonzaga since 2004-05.

Maybe Linda Evans will come to a game

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is a college basketball dynasty in our area and hardly anyone knows. Read on.

Arizona awaits WSU on a Saturday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Arizona awaits Washington State in a 7 p.m. game tonight, but first we have some links for you. One of them is a little outside the box. Read on.

Kamloops drops Chiefs in standings

The Kamloops Blazers, who have won 20 of their 26 home games this Western Hockey League season, knocked off the Spokane Chiefs 7-4 on Friday night. The Chiefs have been holding steady in fourth place in Western Conference standings for several weeks, but Tri-City passed Spokane by winning in a shootout. Read story

Whitworth defeats Lewis and Clark 89-70

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Whitworth home game against Lewis and Clark.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Grier, struggling USD awaits Gonzaga

Good evening from San Diego.

Hard to believe it's Bill Grier's sixth year as San Diego's head coach after 16 seasons on Gonzaga's bench. Grier's team is battling to stay above .500 overall (11-11) and in the WCC (4-3) heading into tomorrow night's contest with the 7th-ranked Zags (20-2, 7-0).

My unedited preview is below.

WSU’s Loftus arrested for alleged tequila theft

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State receiver Drew Loftus was arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly tried to steal two bottles of tequila from the Dissmore's grocery store on North Grand Ave. 

Loftus, 19, was taken to the Pullman Police Department and issued three misdemeanor citations for 3rd-degree theft, minor in possession of alcohol and minor intoxicated in public. He was released upon his signature.

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said a store employee called the police just before 1 a.m. after observing Loftus shove two bottles of tequila — priced at $21.99 each — into the waistband of his pants. Loftus then grabbed a carton of eggs and proceeded to the checkout counter, where he attempted to pay for the eggs but not the tequila.

Tennant said a Dissmore's employee told Loftus he had noticed the tequila bottles in his pants. Loftus then hurried to place the bottles back on the shelf and ran out the front door, Tennant said, but he was confronted by police in the parking lot.

The eggs were left behind.

Police observed that Loftus was also displaying signs of being intoxicated, which prompted the drunk-in-public charge.

A WSU spokesman said coaches are aware of the situation and will handle it internally. Loftus' status with the team is unclear. Coach Mike Leach is famed for dismissing players who break one of his three cardinal rules — no drug use, no stealing, and no abuse of women.

Senior defensive tackle Anthony Laurenzi was dismissed from the team just before fall camp started last season after he allegedly stole a pair of headphones from Wal Mart.

Loftus was also arrested in December of 2011 on a car-prowling charge, according to the Tri-City Herald. He was 18 at the time.

After transferring from Hawaii, Loftus walked on at WSU last season. He appeared in two games as a redshirt freshman and caught one pass for 37 yards.

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

Day after Loyola Marymount

Coffee consumed, now able to move forward with my day-after Loyola Marymount post, followed by driving a couple of hours and writing a GU-San Diego preview. Had a nice visit with USD coach Billy Grier on Thursday, just before leaving for the LMU game.

Links: My game story and another from AP.  Kelly Olynyk is earning academic honors as well as on-court honors.

Read on for more on GU's 88-43 win over LMU.

What a fun evening

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Last night was fun. With the Eastern game starting at 6 and the WSU and Gonzaga games beginning at 8, I spent much of my evening keeping tabs on most of the local college basketball scene. Read on.

Day after ASU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We're capping a later-than-usual Thursday night by putting together this morning post, brought to you by Tylenol PM. Read on.

Quotable: Too much Carson for Cougs

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here are some additional quotes from Arizona State's 63-59 win over Washington State on Thursday night. Read on.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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