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Archive for November 2013

Bellevue vs. Shadle, Freeman vs. Cashmere

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered both the Bellevue vs. Shadle and Freeman vs. Cashmere high school football games at Joe Albi Stadium Saturday. Check out his big picture story

WSU Football: bowl situation update

Lots of speculation going on over where the Cougars will be headed for a bowl game, or if they'll be bowling at all. Jerry Palm's updated bowl projections have WSU staying home for the Holidays, while Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards' pre-Apple Cup projections have the Cougars playing in the Poinsettia Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, respectively.

Syracuse won today and became bowl-eligible, which hurt the Cougars, but North Carolina losing helped. After the jump we'll take a look at some of WSU's most likely destinations.

Idaho rallies past UC Davis

Connor Hill scored a career-high 29 points, and Idaho shook off a sluggish defensive start to clip UC Davis 80-76 on Saturday afternoon. The Vandals rallied from 15 points down to move their record to 4-4.

Hill sank 7 of 9 3-pointers, while Stephen Madison had 15 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks for the Vandals. Glen Dean contributed 18 points, all in the second half.

UC Davis scored just 33 points in the second half. Vandals coach Don Verlin said the key was locking down on the Aggies' outside shooting. “We had given them way too many points at half. I said if we would buckle down defensively, we could get on a roll. We were actually playing pretty well offensively. The key stat is we got those 3-pointers down, they made six in the first half and one in the second, we were able to guard the 3-point line in the second half.”

UI connected on nine 3-pointers in the second half, outscoring UC Davis 27-3 from outside after halftime.

More below.

 

Vandals drop 7th straight to close year

Paul Petrino's first season at Idaho ended on a familiar note, with more frustration and another loss. Idaho failed to score touchdowns in five chances inside New Mexico State's 20-yard line in a 24-16 loss to the Aggies at Memorial Stadium. The Vandals finished the year 1-11 after NMSU beat an FBS team for the first time since 2011.

The Vandals had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Taylor Davis' fourth-down pass at the 19 sailed out of the end zone as the clock expired. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Davis had a pass intercepted that UI believed was a catch by Dezmon Epps (it was reviewed and upheld), and the Vandals dropped two surefire TD catches in the end zone before that.

Asked about his team's red-zone woes, Petrino said: “Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Two of the drives (we) just dropped wide-open touchdowns.”

Idaho lost seven straight to close the season after its win over Temple on Sept. 28. After winning 14 games in 2009 and 2010, UI is 4-32 in the last three seasons — with at least 10 losses each year.

More below.

Unit Grades: Apple Cup

The Apple Cup didn't go as planned for the Cougars, who fell, 27-17 in Seattle. While the defense had possibly its best half of the season to start the game, holding the Huskies to just a field goal, but couldn't keep it up in the second half. Connor Halliday played well for most of the game, keeping the Cougars within striking distance despite constant pressure from the UW defensive line. However, in the fourth quarter's critical moments a pair of costly interceptions by Halliday doomed the Cougars, who fell to 6-6 on the season.

Grades for each individual unit, after the jump.

We always have the cure

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It didn't figure to be an early morning today. After all, Husky fans probably slept in after celebrating yesterday's 27-17 Apple Cup victory and Washington State fans are still drowning their sorrows. But every hangover has a cure and there is one today. Read on.

Idaho wraps up season at New Mexico St.

What's the difference between 1-11 and 2-10? In five years, it won't seem like much to Idaho and New Mexico State. But for the Vandals who want to shed a six-game losing streak and head into Paul Petrino's first full offseason with positive vibes, today's game at New Mexico State definitely means something.

The Vandals and Aggies meet this afternoon in Las Cruces at 12:30 PST, and both teams will try to squeeze some joy out of the final week of what's been a trying season for each program.

More below.

Saturday morning links

From Seattle — There was sense of deja vu surround yesterday's Apple Cup, as the game seemed to play out in a very similar fashion to last season's contest. Until the end, at least … Bishop Sankey made the difference in Washington's win … Just because the regular season is over doesn't mean Elliott Bosch is going to take a break … We've got postgame video from players and coach Mike Leach further down on the blog, and here are some of Leach's postgame quotes … Here are our keys to the game … With the loss, the Cougars aren't guaranteed of a bowl berth … But John Blanchette says WSU has bigger questions to deal with … Still, there was one big WSU win on Friday.

Links from around the conference, after the jump.

 

Psyched out by Portland

There's no getting around it: The Spokane Chiefs can't get the Portland Winterhawks out of their minds. Read story

Mike Leach postgame quotes

Washington State football coach Mike Leach spoke to reporters after the Apple Cup. Select quotes after the jump.

UW defeats WSU 27-17 in the Apple Cup

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the 2013 Apple Cup in Seattle.  Check out this big picture gallery of game action photos. The story, which will be updated, can be read here.

Apple Cup pregame chat

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

A lot to chew on in this rivalry game

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Look up overstuffed in the dictionary and you won't see a picture of a couch. You will see me. I'm still reeling from too much turkey, potatoes, stuffing, green beans and two, yes, two, huge pieces of pumpkin pie. Every bite was heaven. And, after a day of feasting, here comes the real dessert. Apple Cup Friday. A football rivalry seasoned to perfection. Read on.

Morning Pac-12 links: Apple Cup Edition

From Seattle — It's Apple Cup Friday and we've got you covered for stories on the game. Get started with our advance of tomorrow's game, featuring a familiar foe for WSU fans and check out our story on what Bill Moos thinks an Apple Cup win could do for the program … A few Huskies will be leaving school a year early … A former WSU beat writer for the Spokesman-Review, Christian Caple, and I answered five questions about the Cougars and the Huskies … Here is our 2-Minute Drill for the Apple Cup … This year the game means more than just bragging rights … My picks for this weekend's games … The WSU basketball team played well but fell late against Butler … Here's the box score.

Links from around the conference after the jump.Le

Week 14 Pac-12 picks

From Seattle — It’s rivalry week in the Pac-12, and just because the Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t expect many of the games to be close doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect an upset or two. Arizona State and Stanford will have to find motivation despite having already secured spots in the Pac-12 championship game. Oregon players said that they didn’t care about a Rose Bowl last week and then lost to Arizona. How do the Ducks feel about the Alamo Bowl? They won’t get there, either, if they have a similar letdown in the Civil War.

The picks are after the jump.

Christian Caple: He’s baaaaaaacckk

From Seattle — Former Spokesman-Review reporter Christian Caple now covers the Washington Huskies for the Tacoma News Tribune. That means he'll be in the booth for tomorrow's Apple Cup. Caple was generous enough to share his knowledge of both teams by answering five questions about Friday's game.

Read on, after the jump.

Day after Arkansas

First, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Gotta fly today so we'll get right to it. Here's my gamer from GU's 91-81 win over Arkansas.

Read on for my day-after post.

Honestly, it’s a great holiday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's hard to argue Abraham Lincoln wasn't our greatest president. You can point to his proclamations and speeches and generosity of spirit. I will point to the salient fact he was the first president to publicly endorse a day of thanksgiving. Yep, old Honest Abe was the granddaddy of Thanksgiving Day. What a great man. Thus ends the history lesson. Thankfully. Read on.

Boise State holds on to beat Idaho

The Idaho Vandals thundered back from 23 points down in the second half to make Boise State sweat, but the Broncos outlasted UI 98-89 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise on Wednesday night.

The Vandals (3-4) closed within five points, 94-89, with 43 seconds remaining on a Mike Scott layup to cap a 37-19 tear over seven-plus minutes. But BSU — and Derrick Marks specifically — was masterful from the free-throw line in the final minutes. Marks finished with a career-high 39 points. He was 21 of 23 from the foul line and scored the Broncos' final 15 points, all but two of which came from the line.

Stephen Madison poured in a season-high 26 points and eight rebounds. Glen Dean had 15 points and Scott contributed 14 off the bench. Still, tthe Vandals gave up 28 points in the paint in the first half, when BSU shot over 60 percent.

“I have to grow this team up, and I thought they grew up a little tonight,” coach Don Verlin said. “We got better. I’m not going to let them have a moral victory. You can’t accept that when you’re the coach of the Vandals, but you also have to build this team and I thought we got a little better tonight.”

This was the fifth straight win for BSU (5-0) in a rivalry that's turned into a once-a-season affair in Boise. Idaho's last win over the Broncos came on Feb. 6, 2010.

More below.

Pangos’ 34 leads GU past Arkansas

Gonzaga handled Arkansas' pressure defense and junior guard Kevin Pangos poured in 34 points as the Bulldogs cruised to a 91-81 victory Wednesday, closing the EA Sports Maui Invitational with a 2-1 mark.

My unedited game story is below.

Wednesday WSU practice report

From Pullman — With a game on Friday the Cougars had their underclassmen scrimmage a day early. The portion of practice that involved the entire team was relatively short, but WSU still got plenty of work in.

The team briefly had a 1's vs. 1's session in which quarterback Connor Halliday threw a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Damante Horton. Halliday recovered when the team did work against the scout team, completing 19 of 22 passes. During the session Zach Brevick played briefly at center and badly missed on one shotgun snap, sending Halliday scrambling for the ball. Rico Forbes saw some time at at right tackle and Riley Sorenson checked in as the right guard.

On the defensive side linebacker Jared Byers overcame his massive handlebar mustache to pick off a pair of passes thrown by scout team quarterback Tyler Bruggman.

During practice the team piped in crowd noise, as is typical on Thursdays.

Tana Pritchard continued to see the majority of reps at SAM linebacker, although Cyrus Coen was back at practice.

“I think he's doing good,” linebackers coach Ken Wilson said. “He got his first full game last Saturday. We didn't know how long he could go — he got every rep. He did a nice job, productive when he was attacked. Obviously he's got to get better but he gave us some good reps in there and hopefully we'll have Cyrus back some this week.”

In the past few Thursday Night Football scrimmages the offense has gotten the better of the defense. That wasn't the case today. More on that after the jump.

Three WHL teams in CHL poll

Kelowna, Everett and Portland continue to be ranked among the top 10 in the weekly Canadian Hockey League poll. Everett made the biggest jump, from 10th to sixth. Read story

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 14

From Pullman — Pac-12 dominance has migrated south after the conference’s craziest weekend yet. After years of Oregon and Stanford carrying the conference, Arizona State, USC and UCLA are asserting themselves as the next generation of West Coast powerhouses. A couple of furious comebacks fell short and a couple of favorites were not even competitive against their supposed underdog opponents. Arizona State secured its spot in the Pac-12 championship game outright with a win over UCLA, while Stanford backed into the championship thanks to a shocking upset of Oregon by Arizona.

Eastern’s Baldwin is Big Sky coach of the year

The bar was already high, but Eastern Washington football coach Beau Baldwin raised it further this season.

After leading the Eagles to their first undisputed Big Sky Conference title in 16 years, Baldwin was named Wednesday as the conference Coach of the Year.

After going 7-1 in league play a year ago, Baldwin guided the Eagles to an 8-0 conference record and a 10-2 regular season. The Eagles won the outright Big Sky Championship, becoming the first team other than Montana to finish perfect in league play since Nevada in 1991.

Eastern will take the No. 3 overall seed and a No. 3 national ranking into the Division I Championship. Eastern Washington received a first-round bye, and will play at home on Saturday, Dec. 7

Day after Chaminade

Busy day ahead with Gonzaga playing another matinee contest at noon local time (2 PST). Strange to be covering games at that time. GU has almost always played night games, typically the last game of the night, in Maui and the Old Spice Classic, but the first-round loss to Dayton, which let Baylor off the hook in the semifinals, put the Zags on an adjusted schedule.

GU rolled past Chaminade 113-81 Tuesday and awaits a serious challenge from Arkansas at noon today. There's an interesting connection between Gonzaga and the state of Arkansas.

More below.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Already the undisputed Big Sky Conference football champions, Eastern Washington was the undisputed winner of the top individual awards handed out Tuesday. Here's our story, plus the official release from the conference and from Eastern, which in another release details the accomplishments of three-time all-Big Sky cornerback T.J. Lee III and the other Eastern all-conference selections. …  Two Big Sky teams - Southern Utah and  possible EWU opponent Northern Arizona - are in action this week, and here's a first look. .. Elsewhere, former Eastern and Washington State assistant Jody Sears was fired by Weber State after a 2-10 season. … Montana State has a lot of unanswered questions after a late-season collapse…. Montana will face an experienced playoff team in the second round, no matter who it is.

Let’s catch up

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yes, we are back. Safe and sound. Feeling great. But, boy, did we pick a bad day to be out of commission. Read on.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Washington's Steve Sarkisian and Washington State's Dennis Simmons will be rival coaches on Friday, but first, they were teammates … Our very own John Blanchette weighs in on WSU athletic director Bill Moos' decision to ban some fans from a bowl game … The Huskies still don't know who their quarterback will be for the Apple Cup … There's a new team at the top of this week's Pac-12 Power Rankings.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

WHL notes: Kamloops crumbles

This week's Western Hockey League notebook leads with the Kamloops Blazers, who have dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference with eight consecutive losses. Read story

Eight WSU football players earn All-Academic honors

From Pullman — Eight Washington State football players have been honored for the success in the classroom, the Pac-12 announced Tuesday. Junior receiver Kristoff Williams was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team for sporting a 3.65 grade-point average while majoring in criminal justice. Williams has earned All-Academic honorable mention the past two years.

Senior right tackle John Fullington was named to the All-Academic second team after posting a 3.25 GPA while majoring in movement studies. He, too, has been honorable mention the past two seasons.

Six Cougars were named received honorable mention recognition including: Senior center Elliott Bosch, senior offensive lineman Zach Brevick, senior linebacker Jared Byers, junior longsnapper Alex Deb Bleyker and senior kicker Andrew Furney.

To be eligible, players had to have at least a 3.0 GPA and either be a starter or a “significant contributor.”

Tuesday WSU practice report

From Pullman — The Washington State defense carried the day during what may have been WSU's shortest practice of the year, harassing scout-team quarterback Tyler Bruggman and looking sharp heading into Friday's Apple Cup. The Cougars' defense took a page from the Seahawks' book, ending practice with a “We all we got, we all we need!” chant.

Quarterback Connor Halliday was sharp on offense, going 18 of 20 during the 11-on-11 session and backup Austin Apodaca completed all 10 of his reps. 

More from practice after the jump.

 

Zag women’s break is about to end

After playing four games, Kelly Graves and the Gonzaga women's basketball team get a 10-day stretch between games. But the rest ends on Saturday when Gonzaga plays Colgate at 2 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga thumps Silverswords, 113-81

Gonzaga got back on the winning track Tuesday, thumping D-II Chaminade 113-81. The outcome was hardly a surprise but the Zags did avoid letting Monday's disappointing loss to Dayton linger with a fairly clean performance.

My unedited game story is below. Day-after post in the a.m.

 

Pirates named to conference teams

The Northwest Conference announced this week that coaches had selected six Whitworth football players on its 2013 all-conference team and seven others received honorable mention.

Tight end Wade Meyer and offensive tackle Dalton Cosby were voted to the All-Northwest Conference first team offense and safety Casey Monahan was named to the first-team defense for Whitworth, which finished 4-6 overall and 2-4 in conference.

Running back D.J. Tripoli and wide receiver Drew Clausen, of West Valley, were chosen to the second-team offense. Defensive end Aaron Cochran was selected for the second-team defense.

Quarterback Bryan Peterson, receiver Devon Lind, defensive end Danny Welstad, defensive tackle Jacob Kriegbaum, defensive tackle Kyle Davidson, and cornerbacks Jerrell Norman and De’ Hall all received honorable mention.

Mike Leach monday press conference

Video courtesy of WSU athletics

 

Elliott Bosch monday press conference

Video courtesy of WSU athletics

 

Eastern QB Adams is Big Sky Offensive MVP; Kupp is top freshman

The Eastern Washington University football team picked up some more hardware Tuesday afternoon.

Eagle sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams was voted as the Offensive MVP, while Eagle wide receiver Cooper Kupp became the recipient of the first Freshman of the Year honor, the league announced three days after the Eagles won an undisputed conference championship.

 The two were unanimously selected to the all-conference first team, and Kupp was an unanimous selection for Freshman of the Year.

Day after Dayton, morning of Chaminade

My boss suggested I bring a sleeping bag to the gym with the quick turnaround from GU's 84-79 loss to Dayton and its morning (here)/early afternoon (home) tip vs. NCAA Division II Chaminade today. Good idea, but I would have missed that morning symphony of birds outside the window that tends to make one forget their home address for a while.

Gonzaga would like to forget a lot of aspects from last night's game. Here's my game story, A.P.'s,  and one from the Dayton Daily News. More below in my day-after post.

 

VIDEO: Apple Cup discussion with Neil Stover

From Pullman — Neil Stover of SWX and I got together and chatted about WSU's win over Utah, and the Cougars' chances in the Apple Cup.

Watch the video after the jump.

 

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars practiced long into the night on Monday to prepare for Friday's Apple Cup showdown … Don't expect to attend WSU's bowl game if you sent Bill Moos vitriolic emails last year … It's still anyone's guess where the Cougars will end up … Or who will start at quarterback for the Huskies … WSU players and coaches credit the work done in fall camp for their recent rash of success.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Dayton hands Gonzaga its first loss

It was all going so smoothly for Gonzaga, leading 34-18 late in the first half. Sam Dower Jr. was dominating inside, Przemek Karnowski was doing his part and GU's zone slowed Dayton's offense to a crawl. The Flyers missed 3 after 3 until Jordan Sibert connected with 32 seconds remaining in the half.

From that point on, Dayton took it to the Zags, The Flyers put up 56 points in the second half, holding off a late Gonzaga comeback to upset the Bulldogs 84-79 on Monday night at the Maui Invitational.

Here's my game story. I'll have a day-after post in the a.m. but it'll be an abbreviated one. Tight deadline on this game, leaving just a few minutes for post-game interviews.

 

Monday WSU football practice report

From Pullman — Cyrus Coen was the first WSU football player out on the field for Monday night's practice, which didn't end until around 10:45. The Cougars were in fine spirits for their first rivalry week practice, whooping and hollering after big plays. No position group's morale appeared higher than the offensive line, which has been receiving a lot of praise the past couple weeks after years of shouldering the blames for the Cougars' woes on offense.

“It's a good thing, I think our guys have built confidence and they are playing well,” offensive line coach Clay McGuire said. “But what we've done the last two weeks doesn't mean anything. We're facing a really good pass rush from udub and they do a nice job on the defensive line.”

More after the jump.

WSU Football Unit Grades: Utah

From Pullman — The Cougars have been acing their tests of late and if they keep bringing home grades like these they just might get that Red Rider bb gun for the Holidays after all. While the Cougars weren't perfect against Utah, they graded out pretty well, particularly on offense.

Unit grades after the jump.

WSU Football Highlights: Utah

Video courtesy of WSU Athletics

 

Dayton first up for Zags

This could end up being the toughest three-game stretch of the season for Gonzaga, which faces a tough, guard-oriented opponent in Dayton tonight and the possibility of two ranked teams, including No. 9 Syracuse, the next two games. The Zags have road dates ahead against West Virginia, Kansas State (in Wichita) and No. 11 Memphis, but the sequence of games before and after probably won't match up with Maui, provided the Zags stay in the winner's bracket.

Here's my look at tonight's matchup. Analysts weigh in on Maui here.

In-game updates tonight on twitter @srjimm.

By the way, in Sunday's article on Adam Morrison looking back at that magical 43-point night against Michigan State I mentioned ESPN had put together the five greatest moments in the tournament's history. Here's a link that shows the variety of ways Morrison put the ball in the basket (pull-ups, 3s, mid-range, power move, foul-drawing leaner from the baseline, transition and a nifty jump-hook from just inside the free-throw line). Sports Nation is polling readers on their favorite Maui moment.

 

A hard-to-top weekend that was

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was an exciting weekend, even without the Seahawks playing (though they were in the news). An exciting weekend correlates directly to a link-filled Monday, something that doesn't happen often. So let's get right to it. Read on.

Monday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — It's Apple Cup week and for the first time in awhile, more than bragging rights are on the line … the Cougars got the week started off on the right foot, reported picking up a verbal commitment from Darren Gardenhire … A little late but here is Bud Withers' column on the Utah game … The men's basketball team was unable to overcome a 10-minute scoring drought.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Maui memories

Good morning. Got a wee bit of traveling to do today, so we'll get right to it.

First, news-side did a story on Gonzaga's growth over the last 15 years fueled by the rise of the basketball program.

I put together a couple of articles on Gonzaga and the Maui Invitational, the main bar here and a sidebar on Adam Morrison's memorable 2005 tourney.

GU opens against Dayton on Monday night.

Eastern gets No. 3 seed in FCS playoffs

Eastern Washington was awarded a No. 3 seed and a first-round bye in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, the NCAA announced Sunday morning.

The Big Sky Conference champion Eagles (10-2 overall and 8-0 in the Big Sky Conference) will host either Northern Arizona or South Dakota State in a second-round game at  1 p.m. on Dec. 7.

NAU, the Big Sky runner-up behind Eastern, will play South Dakota State in a first-round game next week.

In all, the Big Sky is sending four teams to the playoffs. Montana earned a No. 8 seed and will host either Coastal Carolina or Bethune-Cookman in the second round. Southern Utah faces a first-round game against Sam Houston State.

 

My prediction for today: Sunny and 85

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know, when you are in the forest and dangers lurk all around, you are supposed to be quiet, right? Avoid doing anything that will attract the attention of the predators. Keep under their radar. Don't wake the bear. Good advice. Maybe someday I'll follow it. Read on.

Sunday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Game day couldn't have gone much better for the Washington State football team. While the defense struggled at times and the Cougars didn't run away with the game, all that seems relatively unimportant after WSU's biggest win in years. The Cougars raced out to a 21-0 lead thanks to big plays from WSU seniors in their final game at Martin Stadium … And as a mark of how much the Cougars have grown this year, they didn't back down when faced with adversity … Here's how the teams scored … And some keys to the game … This being a newspaper and all, we have a game story.

There is still no guarantee that the Cougars will be invited to a bowl game but fear not, Vince Grippi is willing to stake his entire reputation  on it. (But be careful, he also picked the Utes to win.)

John Blanchette's column on the game reads as purdy as a Blanchette column.

It may seem like the earth stood still and watched on Saturday as the Cougars sent home Stanford-slaying Utah home with a whimper. But the world continued to turn and other games were played. All that and more, after the jump.

Fram’s overtime goal lifts Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs pulled one out of the hat Saturday night, falling behind the Tri-City Americans 3-1 during the first 14 minutes but winning 4-3 in overtime. Chiefs season leaders Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani assisted on the winning goal, scored by an elated Jason Fram. Read story

Foul-prone Vandals fall to Columbia

It was an up-and-down weekend in Portland for the Idaho men's basketball team, which followed up a decisive win over North Texas on Friday night with a disjointed effort in a 65-60 loss to Columbia to close the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Chiles Center. The Vandals lost two out of three in the final leg of the event to move their record to 3-3.

Despite being called for 21 fouls in the second half and getting only seven points from leading scoring Stephen Madison, Idaho closed to within three points with 11 seconds left on a Sekou Wiggs' banked 3-pointer. But the Lions, an Ivy League school that likes to play at a slow pace, fit two free throws to seal the game.

Connor Hill led UI with 12 points, but the junior was just 5 of 14 from the field and 2 of 7 from the 3-point line. UI plays Boise State at CenturyLink Arena in Boise on Wednesday night.

EWU defeats Portland State 42-41

Colin Mulvany covered the EWU vs. Portland State game in Cheney.  Check out this big picture gallery of the game photos.

WSU vs. Utah

Tyler Tjomsland covered the WSU vs. Utah game today in Pullman, Wash. Check out this big picture gallery of the game photos

No. 2 Florida State waxes Idaho, 80-14

Florida State got the lopsided victory it expected. Idaho will get the paycheck it signed up for.

The second-ranked Seminoles bludgeoned the Vandals 80-14 on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium, moving their record to 11-0. UI (1-10) allowed the second-most points in school history, just behind the 84 points it gave up to Washington State in 1975.

More below.

WSU vs. Utah: Pregame chat

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

An inside look at Idaho’s athletic budget and how money games fit in

In today's paper, I wrote about the shifting revenue streams for Idaho's athletic department and the increasingly important role of money games, like today's at Florida State. The Vandals are getting a princely sum — $950,000, the biggest payout in school history — to play the No. 2 Seminoles today (12:30 p.m., ESPNU). But there's a contingent of UI fans — and perhaps players, too — who don't think the huge amount of money is worth risking injuries and embarrassment on national TV.

Vandals athletic director Rob Spear had some interesting thoughts on this topic that I explored in the story. And I have more from Spear below.

It could be a big day for WSU

A GRIP ON SPORTS

This could be a day Washington State football fans tell their grandchildren about. Or not. Read on.

Game day Pac-12 Links

From Pullman — There won't be much time to read these links if you're heading to the game, which starts at 12:30 in Pullman. But if you'll be watching the game on the Pac-12 Networks, read on. It will be the final home game for many Cougars, but not Vince Mayle … Here's our advance for the game, focusing on the bowl game ramifications … Our 2-Minute Drill  consists of four tasks the Cougars must accomplish to be successful.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

CDA defeats Highland 31-28 in 5A title game

S-R photojouralist Jesse Tinsley covered the CDA vs. Highland game in Moscow, Idaho.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Vandals rebound from loss, paste UNT

Idaho's 14-point loss to host team Portland in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Thursday night was discouraging on a number of fronts. It wasn't just that the Vandals lost to what appears to be a good team; it was the fact they weren't competitive against the Pilots. But it was a whole different story Friday night in an 87-76 win over North Texas.

The Vandals rocketed to a 24-point lead in the second half and held on for a confidence-building win. “It would have been real easy to be heartbroken after the way we played last night, but our guys came out and competed,” coach Don Verlin said. “Hopefully next time we get in that position we can finish a little better than we did tonight, but I’m happy with the win and we’re excited to face Columbia tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier for our guys.”

The Vandals (3-2) will take on Columbia (2-3) of the Ivy League on Saturday at 4:30 at the Chiles Center to wrap up the event. Portland cruised past Columbia 69-52 on Friday night.

More below.

WSU vs. Utah: 2-Minute Drill

From Pullman — The Cougars are gearing up for a critical Pac-12 matchup against Utah. Our 2-Minute Drill covers four things the Cougars will need to accomplish to be successful.

The unedited version is after the jump.

WSU Football: Mayle says he’s coming back

 

From Pullman — Wide receiver Vince Mayle announced on twitter this morning that his hardship waiver for a sixth year of eligibility has been granted by the NCAA. This is good news for the Cougars as the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Mayle ranks third on the team in both receiving yards (423) and touchdown-passes caught (5).

Day after Washington State

Second attempt at the day after post, hoping this one goes smoother than the first.

Here's the rundown of our coverage of GU's 90-74 victory over WSU last night: My game story, John Blanchette's column and Jesse Tinsley's photos (great snap of Barham wrestling with Jordan Railey for rebounding position).

More below.

Past success is an indicator of future performance

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There are few people in America as proficient at their jobs as the good fellows in Vegas that set sporting event lines. If they ran the government, we might not have deficit spending. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Thank goodness for second chances, such as the one Andru Pulu got with the Eastern Washington football team. Here's my feature on Andru, plus a partial transcript of yesterday's EWU live chat. (Check back for a full version.) The Eagles face Portland State on Saturday, and here are the all-you-want-to-know releases from Eastern and from PSU. … And after that? If you're wondering about FCS playoff scenarios and how the teams are chosen and seeded, this NCAA link is just what you need. … It's a must-win game in Bozeman for Montana State against Montana, which brings a punishing ground game in what could be the last game for MSU quarterback Denarius McGhee. Meanwhile, UM quarterback Jordan Johnson is good to go against the Cats. … A potentially even bigger game matches NAU and Southern Utah. … Weber closes out the season against Idaho State in a game that may or may not close out Weber State Jody Sears' two-year tenure in Ogden. … Cal Poly's season-long quarterback controversy will carry on past the season-ender at Northern Colorado.

Friday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The men's basketball team traveled up north to take on rival Gonzaga, falling to the No. 13 Bulldogs 90-74 … The Cougars blamed the loss on a lack of experience … But the basketball team got some good news as well … The Cougars are no longer allowing more sacks than their Pac-12 peers … The Cougars need to take advantage of their shot at a bowl … Here are five ways the Utes can stop them … The Utes have plans for WSU quarterback Connor Halliday.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Portland buries Idaho early, rolls to win

Fans had barely settled into their seats at the Chiles Center on Thursday night when the University of Portland delivered the knockout blow against Idaho. The Pilots rattled off 17 unanswered points early in the first half and went on to a more-decisive-than-it-looked 88-74 victory in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Portland (2-2) led 21-4 after its big run, and after the Vandals cut the deficit to 10 points at the half, the Pilots roared back to go up by as many as 24. Idaho (2-2) shot just 38 percent from the floor and made only three field goals in the game's first 10 minutes.

UI continues play in the event with a game against North Texas on Friday at 4:30. It then plays Columbia on Saturday at 4:30. Columbia beat UNT 70-66 on Thursday night.

Blogger: Chiefs face defining moments

The Spokane Chiefs are 0-3 against the Portland Winterhawks heading in to Friday's Western Hockey League game in Portland. One blogger for The Oregonian believes that the Chiefs must prove themselves as authentic contenders in the next few weeks or consider a blockbuster trade for young players. This blogger even brings up the name of WHL goals and points leader Mitch Holmberg. Read story

Pangos and Co. thump Cougars

Kevin Pangos made five 3-pointers and scored 27 points and the Zags had several other scoring options in a 90-74 victory over visiting WSU on Thursday night. The Cougars scored the last seven points to make the final margin 16.

Pangos has scored 60 points in two home wins over the Cougars and made the game-winning basket last year in Pullman in a 71-69 victory.

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

 

GU men defeat WSU 90-74

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the GU men's game against WSU.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Thursday Night Football

From Pullman — The thermometer dropped 25 and it felt even colder as the Cougars took the field for their last regular practice before a big game against Utah. Quarterback Connor Halliday was sharp, completing 22 of 25 passes in the 11-on-11 session. On the defensive side of the ball the secondary was sharp as Anthony Carpenter, Nolan Washington and Deone Bucannon all broke up passes. Casey Locker — playing in place of Taylor Taliulu — read scout team quarterback Tyler Bruggman's eyes perfectly to pick off a pass. Cyrus Coen was again a non-participant with Tana Pritchard taking his place at SAM linebacker.

WSU also held its weekly Thursday Night Football scrimmage. More on that after the jump.

WSU basketball adds last-minute signee

From Pullman — Yesterday was the last day for colleges to sign student-athletes to National Letters of Intent in basketball, and the Cougars picked up a power forward with little time left on the clock. Coach Ken Bone announced Thursday morning that Jermaine Morgan (6-8, 215, Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young HS/ Moberly Area CC) signed with the Cougars on Wednesday night.

Jermaine is another quality big that will give us the depth that we need for next season in the front court,” Bone said. “He's a good solid player at this point in his career, and yet has the ability to add weight and strength which will only enhance his game. We are excited to bring in a player from one of the top junior college programs in the country, Moberly Area CC, which is coached by one of the best coaches in junior college basketball, Pat Smith.”

More on WSU's new signee after the jump.

Eastern Sports chat, noon (Nov. 21)

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Yes, it’s a rivalry

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When Washington State enters McCarthey Athletic Center this evening to battle Gonzaga, is it a rivalry game? We have an answer. And we show our work. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

In order to run the table in the Big Sky Conference, Eastern has to slow down Portland State's prolific offense. Here's my Big Sky notebook, and a reminder to join our live chat today at noon. The Oregonian has a story from the Portland State perspective, and there all-you-want-to-know previews from both Eastern and PSU. … Looking ahead to the Montana-MSU game, the Missoulian has a feature on Bobcat running back Cody Kirk, while The Billings Gazette features Bozeman linebacker Brock Coyle, who plays for the Griz.

Thursday morning links

From Pullman — The Washington State football team had a frigid practice on Wednesday and Eric Russell shared his thoughts on some special teams struggles … The Cougars got some good grades this week … WSU's Elliott Bosch was nominated for a postseason honor … Jim Meehan has a story on a pair of old rivals that will compete yet again when the Cougars take on Gonzaga tomorrow … A former walk-on will suit up at quarterback for Utah on Saturday … If he goes down, the Utes may have to take drastic measures … Coach Mike Leach and Kyle Whittingham go way back … People are saying good things about Leach.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Chiefs charge back for overtime win

It didn't look like the Spokane Chiefs were going to rally for a home victory on Wednesday night. They did. It looked like Tyler King scored the winner. He didn't. Still, the bottom line was a 5-4 overtime win over Vancouver. Read story

WSU’s Bosch a Burlsworth nominee

From Pullman — The Springdale Rotary  Club announced on Wednesday that WSU senior center Elliott Bosch is one of 53 nominees for the Burlsworth Trophy, which honors the most outstanding player who began their career as a walk-on. Despite beginning his career without a scholarship from Washington State, Bosch has become a key player for the Cougars. After taking over at center last season Bosch played every snap on his way to All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention honors.

“I'm excited for him,” offensive line coach Clay McGuire said. “Ever since we've been here he's gone above and beyond in our program. He's done everything we've ever asked him to do and then has done the extras. He's been a leader on and off the field and I'm proud of him for getting something like that and I hope he gets it.

“It's one of those things where the other guys say, 'Hey. I'm supposed to be bigger, stronger, more talented and supposed to get the reps this guy's getting.' Then they see him outwork him and say, 'Hey. If he can perform at that level than why can't I?' I hope that's something that the other guys see from him.”

Bell, Lacy meet again

The paths of Gonzaga's Gary Bell Jr. and Washington State's DaVonte Lacy's have crossed numerous times before. They've been foes, teammates and roommates, and along the way they've become friends.

That friendship will take a couple hours off Thursday night when GU entertains WSU at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Here's a feature I put together on Bell and Lacy that run in Thursday's S-R.

Wednesday WSU practice report

From Pullman — The Washington State football team had its coldest practice of the year, with the thermometer reading 29 degrees by the time the Cougars trotted off the field. Special teams was a focus of the practice, and junior punter Thomas Fossedal took the majority of the reps. Quarterbacks Connor Halliday and Austin Apodaca were sharp in the 7-on-7, going 16 of 18 and 5 of 8, respectively. The session was highlighted when receiver Bobby Ratliff caught a deep Halliday pass with one hand and ran it to the end zone, much to the delight of his offensive teammates.

Halliday struggled when the team went 11-on-11, at one point throwing four straight incompletions, albeit with a drop by Kristoff Williams. The first-string quarterback finished the session 13 of 18, and Dom Williams led the way with three receptions. Apodaca was nearly flawless in 11-on-11, finishing 7 of 8 with the lone miss being a drop by Vince Mayle. Kristoff Williams acquitted himself well after his earlier drop, catching the first two of Apodaca's passes.

Defensively, cornerback Nolan Washington continued to play well, breaking up a pass by scout team quarterback Tyler Bruggman. Washington played extensively on Saturday against Arizona, drawing praise from the coaching staff. Daquawn Brown, however, struggled at cornerback, and was beat deep for a long pass play. Defensive end Xavier Cooper sacked Bruggman twice on Wednesday, while Mitch Peterson and Kache Palacio added a sack each. 

More on practice after the jump.

Three WHL teams among top 10

The Kelowna Rockets (16-2-0-2), at No. 3, are the top-ranked Western Hockey League team in the latest Canadian Hockey League Top 10 poll. Tenth-ranked Everett (16-4-4-0) moved into the poll for the first time. Read story

WSU Football Unit Grades: Arizona

From Pullman — The Cougars bring home a remarkably better report card home from the desert this week thanks to winning a critical Pac-12 matchup.

Wednesday WSU football chat


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Don’t sweat it

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Angst. It is a real thing, not just some made up word that sounds really cool. And it goes really well when paired with another word, like, say, “bowl.”  Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

I spent a fine day yesterday in Cheney. Among other things, I wrote this practice report from football and covered the Eagles' basketball win over Walla Walla. The stakes are pretty high for the football game against Portland State; here is a preview from Eastern and from PSU. … Elsewhere, it's win or be done for Montana State against arch-rival Montana, whose quarterback Jordan Johnson is just fine, thank you. .. Of course, there are old friendships that transcend even this game. … An ever bigger game looms at Southern Utah, where the Thunderbirds need to knock off second-place Northern Arizona to have a chance at the FCS playoffs.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — We'll be hosting a live chat right here on SportsLink at 11 a.m., so clear that schedule! In fact, you better take the whole day off, because you won't get anything done anyways once you start getting into these links.

Here at the S-R we've got our usual Wednesday Pac-12 Notebook … The Cougars took to the practice field on Tuesday (as they so often do) and we've got a report highlighting some changes we saw on defense … The bowl situation is a little hairy this year. We break it down, and explain why a 6-6 record may not be enough to ensure the Cougars is gone for the Holidays … Neil Stover and I had so much fun watching the coaches and players at WSU's Monday presser that we figured we'd do a little talking as well … These are no ordinary rankings, they're POWER RANKINGS …

In other WSU news, an offensive line recruit has changed his mind about becoming a Cougar. Britton Ransford has the scoop and CougCenter has a free story  …  Utah, the Cougars' opponent on Saturday, has faced its share of challenges this year … Maybe a move to the Pac-12 was a little more difficult than the Utes anticipated.

“Those who stay will get more links, after the jump.”

… 

Week 13 Pac-12 power rankings

Order has been restored in the Pac-12 football universe. We know, change was scary, but Oregon is back on top after a one-week hiatus. Stanford found out just how difficult it is to dominate a deep conference, falling on the road to Ed Orgeron’s upstart Trojans. We’ll have another potential shakeup this week when Arizona State travels to Pasadena to face UCLA in a game that could very well determine the Pac-12 South champ.

Idaho football, basketball notes

The two biggest rivalry games for the Idaho basketball team will be on regional TV networks, and the Vandals' second-to-last football game of the season — Saturday at No. 2 Florida State — will be on ESPNU. Idaho is a 57-point underdog to the Seminoles, who are in line to play for the national championship if they win out.

We have a mix of Vandals basketball and football news to pass along — check it out after the jump.

Few not seeing more fouls called

It's been one of the hot-button topics of the young college basketball season — how games are being officiated with the mandate to clean up hand-checking, arm bars, etc., to encourage more freedom of movement at the offensive end.

In Gonzaga's three games, coach Mark Few hasn't seen much of a change in overall foul totals from previous seasons, but he is puzzled by the number of whistles on center Przemek Karnowski. That's the main topic in my GU notebook that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

You can find the unedited article below.

Winterhawks prepare for Chiefs

The Portland Winterhawks have a big week ahead of them, including Friday's home game against the Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs are 15-4-0-1 against the rest of the Western Hockey League and 0-3 against Portland. Read story

Chiefs receive No. 7 ranking

The Hockey Writers place the Spokane Chiefs at No. 7 in the 22-team Western Hockey League for the second consecutive week. Spokane's Mitch Holmberg gets a tip of the cap. Read story

Tuesday practice report

From Pullman — Most of the Cougars were back at practice on Tuesday after taking Monday off, like always, to lift and watch film. Some defenders, however, were limited meaning their backups saw the bulk of the action. At safety Taylor Taliulu was limited during practice and Casey Locker took his reps with the first string defense. Taliulu was injured in Saturday's game at Arizona and needed to be helped off the field, but returned to play in the second half.

Also limited was linebacker Cyrus Coen, who missed much of Saturday's game despite starting. In his place at the SAM linebacker position was backup WILL linebacker Tana Pritchard. The sophomore appeared to handle the transition well.

“When you play as long of a season as we do everyone's getting cross-trained,” linebackers coach Ken Wilson said. “So it was just a matter of time before we had to start moving guys around a little bit. We've been very lucky up to this point but we were ready for that when it happened.”

Isaac Dotson, Bennett Bontemps, Jacob Seydel, Chester Su'a and Moritz Christ were the other limited players.

More from practice after the jump.

WHL notebook: Everett finds its groove

After placing eighth for three consecutive seasons in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference, the Everett Silvertips have fought their way to the top. Read story

WSU’s bowl situation

From Pullman — The Washington State football team extolls the virtue of limiting its focus to one game, series and even snap at a time. As such they've been reticent to discuss the possibility of playing in a bowl now that they're one game away from bowl eligibility. We, however, aren't taking the field on Saturday and as such don't have to limit ourselves. Because WSU (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12) is favored against Utah at home this weekend it seems appropriate to take a look at the Cougars' bowl situation. After all, a postseason bid could have big benefits for the Cougars. Here's what coach Mike Leach had to say about the extra practices granted bowl teams.

No question. I think you get more than 15 … I think it's 22 but anyways you get quite a few. But yeah that's huge, I think it's incredibly helpful. We went to 10 straight bowls and I thought in the middle of 10 straight bowls that everybody should have the practice opportunities because it's a definite advantage. And then your young guys, you know, you can work them and the young guys will have improved a lot since camp.

More on bowl possibilites after the jump.

Whitworth, Tully part ways

John Tully will not be back as the Whitworth football coach next season, The Spokesman-Review has learned. Click here for our story, which will be updated later today.

This and that for a Tuesday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

A few random thoughts for this Tuesday that are neither there or, well, yes, they are here. Read on.

WSU football video chat

From Pullman — Neil Stover of SWX in Spokane and I took to the airwaves to talk Cougars football. The video of that interview is after the jump.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars are trying to put together a winning streak for the first time in over a month, and are likely to do so according to vegasinsider.com, which has WSU listed as a one point favorite over Utah. Coming off their third road win of the season, the Cougars are searching for their sixth win and a shot at a bowl game. They won't have to face starting quarterback Travis Wilson, who may have to retire from football following the discovery of a head condition … The Utes have gone through some tough times this s eason … Mike Leach and select WSU players held their weekly Monday press conference and we've got video and a transcript … Washington State's seniors are hoping to leave an enduring legacy with their final home game … Leach's contract will roll along into 2018 … 

Mondays with Mike

From Pullman — Mike Leach and the Cougars had their weekly Monday press conference today. The videos are below but here's a transcription of Leach's comments:

(Was the fact that quarterback Connor Halliday scrambled more than usual in the Arizona game by design?)

By design by Arizona, it wasn't by design by us necessarily. But on the move he did some good stuff, and then on a couple of them we converted our routes and put together a good play despite the fact that we had to leave the pocket.

(More after the jump)

Day after Oakland

Back with my day-after post from Gonzaga’s 82-67 win over Oakland on Sunday. Find my game story here and Dan Pelle's photos here. Gonzaga has moved up two spots to No. 13 in the AP poll and three spots to No. 12 in USA Today's top 25. Rankings here.

FYI: With no media day this week, some of the items below may appear in a Gonzaga notebook that will run later this week in the S-R.

Read on.

For Carroll, rules are meant to be shattered

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I stand corrected. Throughout my career I could always count on one thing: Football coaches would say their bye week “came at a good time.” Always. I've even written that here. I never expected a coach to say any different. But it has happened. Read on.

Monday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars are one win away from a bowl, though you wouldn't know it to ask them … Deone “Big Play” Bucannon is looking at a big payday … The Wildcats suffer from an inability to get off the field on third down … Spokane native Tia Presley scored 29 points in a win over Ole Miss … Saturday's football game turned into a duel between two Floridian wide receivers … No. 98 has special meaning at WSU.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

The practice report that wasn’t

From Pullman — Due to a flight delay from an airline we shan't mention (but it rhymes with “smelt a”) we unfortunately were not able to make it back to Pullman in time to catch WSU's practice. We can only hope that no major catastrophes befell the Cougars or assembled media.

So instead, let's look at a neat piece from CBS's Rob Rang — one of the best draft analysts in the business — on WSU senior safety Deone Bucannon. Rang is bullish on Bucannon, saying that he anticipates the lumber-laying safety to be the Cougars' highest NFL draft pick in over a decade. He evaluated Bucannon's play during WSU's 24-17 win against Arizona on Saturday. 

It isn't difficult to understand why talent evaluators have grown enamored with “Big Play” Bucannon. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior entered Saturday's game leading the Pac-12 with 85 tackles. Further, he's accounted for 10 turnovers (five interceptions, three forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles) through nine games.

While the Wildcats certainly are not as gifted as Oregon or physical as Stanford, their versatile offense provided scouts a test from which to grade Bucannon.

The Wildcats boast one of the nation's elite running backs in junior Ka'Deem Carey. Bucannon is widely regarded as one of the better run-defending safeties in the country but he couldn't focus on stopping Arizona's All-American because Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez's quick-hitting passing attack was just as likely to carve up the Cougars' defense.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

GU pulls away, defeats Oakland 82-67

Interesting game tonight at the MAC as Gonzaga dealt with its first true speed bumps of the young season. Oakland shot well from long distance and battled throughout, but the Bulldogs made plenty of shots of their own and pulled away for an 82-67 victory Sunday.

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

A busy Saturday is always nice

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was a Saturday to remember. The Cougars won their third road game of the Pac-12 football season, something that hasn't occurred since 2006. The Eastern Eagles clinched the Big Sky championship and have a chance to post an unbeaten conference record. And we got to watch an oil tanker-full of college football. Read on.

Sunday morning Pac-12 links

From Tucson — It was a Saturday of significance in the Pac-12 and almost every game seemed to possess extra importance. Colorado ended a long slump, Arizona State moved within one win of locking up the Pac-12 South, USC shook up the balance of power in the Pac-12 and may have found its new coach and the Washington State Cougars won their fifth game for the first time since 2007 …  Here's how they scored … Our notebook from the game … And our keys to the game … Further down on SportsLink we have postgame videos of coach Mike Leach, quarterback Connor Halliday and more … The football team weren't the only winners on Saturday. The men's basketball team beat Lamar and improved to 2-0 on the season … It wasn't all good news for WSU sports, however, as the women's soccer team fell to Illinois in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

WSU cruises past Lamar, 84-64

From Tucson — Hours after the Washington State football team took down Arizona in the desert the men's basketball team was holding down the fort back in Pullman against Lamar University. Due to my football duties I couldn't be there to cover the game, but I was able to watch the snippets of it that the Pac-12 Networks actually broadcasted on my computer. 

DaVonte Lacy again led the Cougars with 21  points as WSU cruised to an easy 84-64 victory. The home team ran into some trouble as the Cardinals pulled within 55-51 after WSU had led by as much as 18. But the Cougars handled their business and got the win, improving to 2-0 on the season.

There were some highlights from the game, which we'll cover after the jump.

(jump)

Verlin not happy after UI struggles in win

The Idaho Vandals shot 52 percent and won by 14 points on Saturday night. What's not to like, right? Start with the fact they were playing Northwest Nazarene, a Division II school from Nampa. And add in the fact they led by just five points close to the midway point of the second half. UI coach Don Verlin wasn't happy on the sideline for much of the game, and you can read why in an unedited version of our game story below.

WSU stuns Arizona on the road

From Tucson — It took a trip to the desert for the Washington State football team to find its oasis. The Cougars ended a three-game losing streak that spanned five weeks by earning a 24-17 victory over Arizona (6-4, 3-4) in front of a partisan – though somewhat thin – Wildcats home crowd.

WSU at Arizona postgame notes

Notes compiled by Bobby Alworth and courtesy of Cougar Athletics.

 

WSU FB Postgame Notes vs. Arizona

WSU at Arizona pregame chat

 

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Eastern and Big Sky links

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Yes, it's warm down here, and heartwarming for the native Californians on the Eastern football team. Hundreds of family and friends are coming from all directions for today's game against Cal Poly. Here's my preview of the game, focusing on Eastern's defensive preparations for the triple option. The San Luis Obispo Tribune has this story, with a retrospective on last year's 34-17 EWU win. … Elsewhere, Montana isn't going to look past last-place Weber State, according to the Missoulian.. …Montana State hosts Southern Utah in a high-stakes game. … Portland State is looking for its fourth straight win today. … NAU is on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, and Northern Colorado stands in the way.

Saturday morning Pac-12 links

From Tucson — For those diehards fans who consider a win for their favored team to just a smidge better than a loss by their rivals this weekend is already a success as the hated Huskies lost both the game and their quarterback … UCLA's star freshman continued to dominate on both sides of the ball … But the Cougars can complete the double whammy with a win today, and there's plenty of reasons to think they can … Their opponent will be looking to jump out to an early lead … Four keys to a Cougars victory … The women's soccer team is hosting an NCAA tournament game today and baseball coach Donnie Marbut implores fans to turn out … The Cougars have received Tramaine Isabell's letter of intent …WSU will be hosting a coach with a famous last name in its nighttime affair.

DON'T FORGET: We'll be hosting a live WSU football chat an hour before kickoff on SportsLink.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Eastern focused on Cal Poly’s triple option

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Eastern Washington football team is living right.

Already on a six-game win streak, the third-ranked Eagles left the snowflakes behind Friday afternoon and found temperatures in the low 60s for their walkthough on the grass at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

All things considered, it couldn’t be going better … much like a year ago, when the then No. 1 Eagles hit the road against a struggling Southern Utah team.

And lost 30-27.

 

Shadle Park defeats Mt. Spokane 27-7

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Shadle Park vs. Mt. Spokane game at Joe Albi.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Vandals sign Colton High’s Straughan

Jake Straughan, a 6-foot-1 guard from nearby Colton (Wash.) High, is the first member of Idaho's 2014 recruiting class. The Vandals announced the signing of Straughan this morning. He averaged 26 points per game last year as a junior for the Wildcats, who participate in Washington's smallest classification, and he's the starting quarterback for Colton's football team.

“As he grows up and makes the adjustment from where he’s playing now — a small school in Washington — to Division I basketball, he’ll be an excellent player,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “If I wasn’t convinced that he could make the transition, then obviously we wouldn’t have signed him. It’s going to be an adjustment, but it is for every freshman coming in. His character and his work ethic and all the things that Jake Straughan stands for will win out in the long run, without question.”

Straughan is the latest in a string of Northwest recruits that Verlin has signed, joining Ty Egbert, Perrion Callandret and Sekou Wiggs, among others.

 

Tramaine Isabell officially a Cougar

 

From Somewhere High Above the West Coast — Yesterday, we reported that Tramaine Isabell had signed a letter of intent to join the Washington State University basketball program, and today it became official when the Cougars received the fax with the letter. “We're very excited about the addition of Tramaine to our program here at Washington State,” coach Ken Bone said. “He's a gifted and versatile player with the ball in his hands, and yet he's also very capable of scoring at the guard spot.” 

Here's WSU's press release on the signing.

Not so fast my friend

A GRIP ON SPORTS

This was supposed to be the year the Pac-12 returned to national basketball prominence. Thus far, it hasn't worked out that way. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

McKenzie Murphy and the Eastern Washington football team were reunited this week. Here's my story, along with a transcript of yesterday's live chat. I'll be flying with the team this morning to San Luis Obispo, Calif., and will file a game preview for tomorrow, which will be online-only - one more reason to come back here! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the EWU-Cal Poly, from Eastern sports information director Dave Cook. The San Luis Obispo newspaper interview Eastern coach Beau Baldwin, who said he was impressed with the Mustangs' defense….Former Montana coach Robin Pflugrad still has strong emotional ties to the Grizzlies, the Missoulian reports.

Friday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars are on their way to sunny Tucson, to take on Arizona. The weather websites are anticipating a high of 75 degrees when WSU takes on the Wildcats for just the first time since 2010, when Deone Bucannon was a fresh-faced freshman … While it's not official until the school has the letter of intent in hand, it's highly likely that there's a new addition to the WSU basketball program … The women's soccer team is about to take on Illinois in the NCAA tournament and the first 500 students with a Cougar card can get in free … Arizona's student newspaper takes a look at six potential outcomes of Saturday's game … The Wildcats could be susceptible to some big plays from the WSU offense … Coach Mike Leach clarifies reports that he called the Big 12 commissioner during halftime of a game.

Don't forget that we'll be having a live WSU football chat an hour before Saturday's game.

More links after the jump.

 

Mike Leach clarifies 2007 phone call

From Pullman — Yesterday, former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell was interviewed by RedRaiderSports.com, and recalled an interesting halftime phone call made by then-TTU coach Mike Leach. Footballscoop.com had the initial report while Deadspin.com added details.

“I can remember in the third quarter, he's pulling his cell phone out. He always talked to me between series, so he's talking to me and he pulls his cell phone out and he called the Big 12 commissioner. He's like cussing out the Big 12 commissioner, telling him like, 'These refs are screwing us. You better watch my post-game press conference because I've got some stuff to say.'”

Leach, now the head coach at Washington State University, says that while the gist of Harrell's comments were correct, some details were not. Leach told the Spokesman-Review:
“I never called Dan Beebe in the middle of a game. There was a game that had some questionable calls and so I did call the head of officials and pointed it out, that's what that was. It wasn't Dan Beebe, I know Dan really well. I talk to Beebe a lot, I talked to him after that one, too.
 

Cougs sign Seattle’s Tramaine Isabell

From Pullman — Tramaine Isabell of Seattle's Garfield high school reportedly signed a letter of intent to play for Washington State on Thursday — the second day of the November signing period — although the school has not yet received the letter as of Thursday nightIsabell is the only known class of 2014 player to have committed to the Cougars. 

 

Decked out in WSU gear, Isabell signed the letter during a press conference at the Rotary Boys and Girls Club. The point guard cited WSU’s loyalty throughout the recruiting process as a primary reason he signed with the Cougars.

 

“I had looks from various places – all the way from Providence on the east coast, Creighton. For whatever reason, not too many offers actually stuck,” Isabell told reporters. “Most (were) questioning my attitude and stuff like that. The fact that WSU was the first big (Division-I) team to offer me, talking to the coaches, they kind of believed in me, didn’t seem to really believe in whatever the general thought or perception of me. That’s why I committed so fast.”

 

Isabell was originally slated to attend prep school next year, and then enroll at WSU as a member of the Cougars' 2015 recruiting class. Those plans have changed, however, and Isabell will be eligible to play next season.

 

“I think it’s a perfect fit. Usually their point guard facilitates a lot and has the ball in their hands, which is his strong suit. He makes plays,” said Darryl Hennings who coaches Isabell’s Rotary Select AAU team. “They give their guys just enough freedom to utilize their natural abilities and stay inside of what their system is. So I think it will be perfect for him.”

 

The 6-foot-1 guard also noted that uncertainty surrounding the future of coach Ken Bone at WSU did not concern him, and that the departure of point guard Danny Lawhorn from the Cougars played a role in his decision to forego prep school.

 

It is just one of those days

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Some days I head downstairs to write knowing exactly what I am going to pontificate about. Today is not one of those days. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Eastern Washington's offense and Cal Poly's defense - the top-rated units in the Big Sky Conference - will collide Saturday. Here is my preview story, along with links from Eastern and from Cal Poly. The Mustangs still have plenty to play for, according to this story from the San Luis Obispo Tribune. .. Portland State is on a roll, according to the Oregonian. … Weber State and its freshman QB come into Missoula as a heavy underdog. Former UM head coach Robin Pflugrad is coming too, as an assistant at Weber. … Montana State is looking to bounce back this week.

Eastern Sports chat (noon, Nov. 14)

 

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Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The first day of college basketball's early signing period came and went without any news for the Cougars, but fear not. Tramaine Isabell out of Garfield high school in Seattle is expected to sign with WSU today, and we'll make sure to update you if and when he does … The women's basketball team  inked an impressive recruiting class yesterday … SPOILER ALERT: If you can't wait to find out how this week's Pac-12 football games will turn out, then follow this link for a glimpse into the future … But we can't tell you what Arizona's offense will look like this weekend. Heck, even they probably don't know … More proof that the Cougars are about to take on one of the best running backs in the country.

More links after these messages.

Three WHL teams in poll

Here's this week's Canadian Hockey League top-10 poll. Kelowna (14-2-0-2) is the highest-ranked team from the Western Hockey League, at No. 3. The Spokane Chiefs, an honorable mention last week, didn't receive a notice. Spokane was ranked for five consecutive weeks earlier in the season, rising as high as No. 3, but the Chiefs are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Read story

Ex-Chiefs player Bartman named captain

Brett Bartman, a defenseman when the Spokane Chiefs won the Memorial Cup in 2008, has been named captain of the undefeated University of Calgary team. Read story

Kelowna climbs to the top

I had posting problems on Tuesday … sorry. This week's Western Hockey League notebook leads with the ascension of the Kelowna Rockets. Read story

After hot start, UI succumbs to Sooners

After a solid season-opening win last weekend, Idaho showed more promise in the early moments of a tough nonconference game at Oklahoma. But the Vandals' six-point lead midway through the first half quickly disappeared, and the Sooners rolled to a 85-65 win at the Lloyd Noble Center in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

The Vandals (1-1) were outscored 29-12 to finish the first half after leading 17-11. Oklahoma (3-0) beat Alabama and North Texas to start the season and was an NCAA tournament team last year. The Sooners ramped up their full-court pressure, forcing the Vandals into 14 turnovers.

Idaho is back home Saturday night against Northwest Nazarene, an NCAA Division II team from Nampa. More after the jump.

Wednesday WSU football practice

From Pullman — It was a bounce back day for the WSU offense, which struggled in the passing game during Tuesday's practice. There were no such issues on Wednesday, with quarterbacks Connor Halliday and Austin Apodaca combing to go 14 of 15 through the air against the scout team defense. The first team defense has struggled lately — although that has had more to do with excellent play of late from scout team quarterback Tyler Bruggman — but acquitted itself well on Wednesday afternoon. Sophomore BUCK Kache Palacio had the highlight of the day near the end of practice, gathering a tipped pass near the line of scrimmage and running straight into the end zone, capping the play by dunking the ball over the goal post.

Making an appearance at practice was safety Bennet Bontemps. The senior hasn't been at practice in months, but was at Martin Stadium in shorts on Wednesday. He did not participate in any drills. 

Three guards sign with GU

I've had articles about each of these three when they verbally committed to Gonzaga. On Wednesday, Josh Perkins, Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts made it official, signing their letters-of-intent. The last letter was received by Gonzaga earlier this evening.

I put together a short article that will run in Thursday's S-R. The unedited version is below.

Here is GU's release on the trio.

Pac-12 Power Rankings, week 12

The king is dead, long live the king! Thanks to Stanford’s 26-20 victory over Oregon there is a new team atop these rankings for the first time since I started doing this, six long weeks ago. Yes the Ducks have finally fallen from their perch and, who knows, there’s no guarantee they’ll be ranked No. 2 this week. Maybe Oregon deserves a couple weeks slumming with the teams that don’t need a personal stylist to help them manage their game-day wardrobes.

DaVonte Lacy pre-practice interview

From Pullman — DaVonte Lacy established himself as a go-to scorer for Washington State in the team's season-opening win over Cal State Bakersfield. He put up 28 points in the win and will be one of the Cougars key players as they try to move up the Pac-12 ladder this season. Lacy spoke with the Spokesman-Review before practice on Wednesday. Here's the video of that interview:

 

Nov. 13 WSU football chat

 

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By 10 p.m. the eyes started to glaze

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I spent the entire day yesterday watching college basketball. Yep, the entire day. And I came to a couple conclusions. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Lost in Eastern's big win last week over Montana State was a dominant third quarter by the Eagle defense, which has been making that a habit lately. Here's my story from practice, plus links to the football site at Eastern and at Cal Poly, this week's opponent. Also, we'll have another live chat at Thursday noon, right here at SportsLink. … Elsewhere, Portland State is going for its fourth straight win, while Southern Utah is at Montana State in a game with huge playoff implications, as both teams have three losses going in. The Billings Gazette has this preview. Meanwhile, Montana needs to beat Weber State to stay in the playoff hunt, and the Grizzlies are taking nothing for granted. … Eastern doesn't face Northern Arizona on the football field, but the Lumberjacks are just a game behind in the Big Sky standings going into this week's game against Northern Colorado.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The offense had some issues in WSU's practice last night … There's a new top team in the conference … But Oregon isn't going to start adapting to Stanford's style …Pac-12 coaches are becoming less conservative in their play-calling … The Cougars' opponent is having a hard time getting over its last loss.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Tuesday practice report

From Pullman — While Washington State coach Mike Leach said that practice on Tuesday was “great”, he appeared to take issue with the offense midway through practice. Quarterback Connor Halliday appeared off-target and there were some drops by the receivers, including one that led to an interception.

After a brief conditioning break for the offense the team was back at in and the offense seemed much improved. The receivers stayed after practice to get some extra work in. There was also some special teams work done, and I spoke to special teams coordinator Eric Russell after practice.

That interview, after the jump.

Wooden Award watching six from Pac-12

From Pullman — The prestigious John R. Wooden Award is presented to the best player in college basketball at the end of the season. But the Los Angeles Athletic Club, who presents the award, has released the names of 50 players it considers to be early contenders. While there are no Washington State players on the list, six of the Cougars' Pac-12 opponents are mentioned. 

They are:

  • G Jordan Adams — UCLA
  • G/F Kyle Anderson — UCLA
  • G Jahii Carson — ASU
  • G Spencer Dinwiddie — Colorado
  • F Aaron Gordon — Arizona
  • F Dwight Powell — Stanford

Day after Colorado State

Between my game story, John Blanchette's column on Gerard Coleman and Dan Pelle's photo gallery, most of what needed to be written or pictured following Gonzaga's 93-61 dismantling of Colorado State was in today's S-R.

But we have a few more items below in the day-after post.

It’s just part of the changing of the seasons

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know how, when football season starts, everyone seems to lose interest in the Mariners? I do. The optimism of what-hasn't-happened-yet always trumps the pessimism of another losing season. So when college basketball season begins around here, do people lose interest in football? Read on.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — It's been awhile since we've a regular schedule so let's recap. Yesterday was Monday, meaning there was Washington State football press conference, videos from which can be found on SportsLink. Like this one of coach Mike Leach … We also have a story on a freshman receiver who's filling some big shoes … And a First Look at the Cougars' opponent this weekend … In case you missed it, the WSU women's soccer team is hosting a NCAA Championship tournament game for the first time in more than a decade … It's not too late for the football team to join them in the postseason.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Bell’s 3-point barrage sparks Gonzaga

Let's see, Gary Bell Jr. made eight 3-pointers and the team hit 14 3s. Gerard Coleman slashed into the lane and finished on the break. The bigs of Przemek Karnowski and Sam Dower Jr. didn't miss a shot attempt and controlled the boards.

That would seem to be a winning formula, and it was for Gonzaga, which blasted Colorado State 93-71 on Monday night.

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

Idaho’s Madison WAC Player of the Week

Idaho small forward Stephen Madison was named WAC Player of the Week on Monday after he kicked off his senior season with a 21 points, a career-best 14 rebounds and five assists in a 67-63 win over Western Illinois. Madison also won the weekly WAC honor from College Sports Madness.

“Steve played great the other night with 21 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “He shot the ball extremely well and played with a lot of energy on both ends of the court. I couldn’t be happier for the way he started his senior year. That’s a great start for him.”

The Vandals (1-0) open the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Wednesday night at Oklahoma, which is  2-0. UI then comes back home to host Northwest Nazarene on Saturday night.

Gonzaga vs. Colorado State (Nov. 11)

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered the Gonzaga vs. Colorado State game at GU.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Shock 2014 schedule released

Spokane learned its 2014 AFL schedule and it'll bring more games against division/regional opponents.

The Shock will face Pacific Division foes Portland and San Jose three times each. Spokane will entertain Portland twice and visit the Rose City on July 26 in the regular-season finale. The Shock will visit San Jose twice and host the SaberCats on May 23.

Two-time defending champion Arizona is no longer a division rival but the Shock will see them three times this season, twice in Phoenix. Spokane will take on the Los Angeles Kiss twice, oddly with both games in L.A.

Spokane opens at home against Iowa on Saturday, March 15. Spokane's only true home-and-home will be with Tampa Bay (at T.B. on May 3, home vs. T.B. on July 18.). Spokane will also visit Jacksonville on June 7. Shock bye weeks come in Week 3 (late March) and Week 17 (early July).

Here's a link to the AFL schedule.

 

Gonzaga hosts new-look Rams

Gonzaga seemed to wait forever for the season to start with the new rules stretching out preseason drills. When the games began to count, the first two came in a hurry.

GU, which opened with a 100-76 victory over Bryant, is back at it 48 hours later against Colorado State, which has made the last two NCAA Tournament fields but must replace all five starters from last year's 26-9 team. The Rams, under second-year coach Larry Eustachy, are 1-0 after an easy win over Division II University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

I've known Eustachy for nearly 25 years, first covering his Idaho teams in the early 1990s. I caught up with him a couple years ago when his Southern Miss squad was at the same NCAA regional as Gonzaga in Pittsburgh. Here's that article.

My game preview here and the view from The Coloradoan (I've used up my number of free article views, but hoping this link works!).

 

We have some sick predictions

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Sorry I wasn't able to join you in this space yesterday. But just because I was not feeling well doesn't mean I didn't write some things down. Yep, as sick as I was I still sat up in bed and put together some thoughts on paper. Read on.

Monday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Most college football teams have played two games since Washington State last took the field, thanks to a Thursday game followed by a bye week. But it's finally game week once again for the Cougars, who travel to the desert to take on Arizona at 11 a.m. on Saturday … It's not all good news for WSU, however, as a highly-touted high school prospect has decided that maybe he won't be a Cougar after all … Bud Withers says it's time for the Pac-12 to start keeping tabs on injuries … I'm a couple days late but don't miss this column from John Blanchette. 

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Sunday night practice report

From Pullman — The Cougars took the field at 7:45 p.m. on a brisk Sunday night in Pullman for a short football practice. Freshman safety  Isaac Dotson was nowhere to be seen, but defensive coordinator Mike Breske said that the former quarterback remains a part of the team. The Cougars spent the bulk of practice working on various individual drills, and we had a chance to speak with Breske after practice.

Excerpts from that interview after the jump.

Day after Bryant

Back with a day-after post from Gonzaga's 100-76 victory over Bryant University. Perhaps lost a little bit in GU's easy win was that it came against a pretty decent ball club. Bryant has experience, played in the post season last year and has two nice offensive weapons in Alex Francis and Dyami Starks, who went on a scoring binge late and finished with 35 points, 29 in the second half (you can be sure that was mentioned to GU players by the staff after the game).

“At times, I don’t think we defended quite the way we needed to,” coach Mark Few said, “but they run nice schemes to get two really good players the ball. When we needed to, I thought we did a nice job on the glass and on the defense.”

More below.

Early Sunday morning blues

GRIP ON SPORTS

I have some bad news … or good news. It's just a matter how you look at it. Read on.

Sunday morning links

From Pullman — Lots of great story lines out of yesterday's action, with ASU narrowly avoiding an upset to keep command of the Pac-12 South. While Washington State didn't play because of their bye week, it was still a Saturday chock-full of west-coast college football, one in which just a single home team wonUtah coll. Check out our links from those games after the jump.

Mixed bag of success for Idaho hoops, football teams

It was more of the same for the Idaho football team this afternoon — a fifth straight loss, and another blowout to boot. Meanwhile, the UI men's basketball team gave 1,326 fans a taste of what might be in a 67-63 win over Western Illinois in its season opener. 

We have our unedited game stories we filed from the Kibbie Dome and Memorial Gym on a busy Saturday afternoon/evening after the jump.

Dower powers GU past Bryant

Sam Dower started his senior season off in style, racking up 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in 15th-ranked Gonzaga's 100-76 rout of Bryant University in the season opener for both squads Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Dower's previous high for rebounds was 10. He had 12 boards in an exhibition win over Simon Fraser on Oct. 25. Dower's career high for points is 26 and he probably would have eclipsed that if the game had been competitive in the second half.

The Bulldogs made 53.7 percent of their shots and put five players in double figures. Przemek Karnowski battled early foul trouble and rolled his ankle late but he seemed optimistic about playing Monday against Colorado State.

My unedited game story is below.

EWU defeats Montana State 54-29

Spokesman-Review photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the EWU vs. Montana State game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Cheney, Wash. Check out his large-format gallery

Thursday Night Football, Saturday edition

From Pullman — In the past couple weeks the Washington State football team has held its Thursday Night Football scrimmage on on Tuesday, Saturday, and even on Thursday! Just two days after the redshirts and underclassmen held their weekly scrimmage they were back at it today, and this time the running backs stole the show. Jamal Morrow set the tone early, breaking a few tackles during a nice 31-yard run. Not to be outdone, Gerard Wicks later took a routine running play up the middle, redirected to the right sideline and was gone for a 65-yard score.

During the normal practice session, which began at 11 a.m., the first-string offense took on the defensive starters in 11-on-11 play. Quarterback Connor Halliday finished the session 16 of 20 with a pair of deep touchdowns.

After practice we spoke with running backs coach Jim Mastro and outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons. Those interviews after the jump.

 

Football-basketball double-dip for Idaho

The Idaho football team plays its final home game this afternoon (vs. Old Dominion at 2 p.m.), just as the Idaho men's basketball team begins its season with a home game (vs. Western Illinois at 7 p.m.).

We have quick previews of both games below.

It’s getting crowded around here

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Not a lot happened yesterday. And nothing big is happening today. Ya, right. Read on.

Eastern game day links

OK football fans, when was the last time this much was riding on a college game played in these parts? That's right, the stakes are pretty big for today's Eastern-Montana State matchup, which likely will be decided on the lines. Here's my game preview, along with a look at the Eagles' recent success at the gate. Elsewhere, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle has a full package on the game, while the Billings Gazette offers a preview with the headline: “This one is big.” … The Great Fall Tribune weighs in with this story, while all the pre-game info you could want are contained in releases from Eastern and from Montana State. … Elsewhere, Montana faces South Dakota with plenty on the line.

Saturday morning links

From Pullman — Many of my fondest memories of growing up in Olympia include the basketball gym at the Evergreen State College. My AAU team had practices and occasionally tournaments there and you could always find a pickup game on weekdays in the late afternoon. Geoducks games were always a lot of fun, and occasionally they'd get a real stud, someone who could be playing D-I ball like Quincy Wilder or Nate Menefee. For just a few bucks you could watch the game until you were bored, and then head into the back gym to play against other kids with the same idea. When water damage made the Capital High School gym unusable my senior season, we practiced and played at TESC until everything was fixed up.

None of that is relevant, except to provide context for just how bemused I was to find out that Utah, a Pac-12 school, played a regular season game against the Geoducks today. The result was pretty much what one one would expect against a team that battles community colleges for recruits. It's especially curious considering that the Utes played their exhibition game against St. Martin's University, an NCAA Division-II team and the local rival of TESC, which plays in the second division of the NAIA.

The men's basketball team at Washington State University had its home opener today, narrowly beating Cal State Bakersfield.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Holmberg continues brilliant pace

Following Friday night's 6-2 win at Lethbridge, Alberta, Mitch Holmberg of the Spokane Chiefs leads the Western Hockey League with 22 goals and 49 points through 20 games. Read story

Shadle Park defeats Kennewick 48-7

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Shadle Park vs. Kennewick game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Richland defeats Ferris to earn a berth in the playoffs

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Ferris vs. Richland game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Bulldogs open against Bryant University

Short preview of Gonzaga's opener that will run in Saturday's S-R….

The 15th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs entertain Bryant University in the men’s basketball season opener for both teams Saturday at 4 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga will be without freshman center Ryan Edwards, who had his tonsils removed earlier this week, for the first two games. Senior forward Drew Barham, who tweaked his knee in practice last week, has returned to practice.

Bryant, a member of the Northeast Conference, went from two wins in 2012 to 19 last season in its first full season with Division I eligibility. Bryant advanced to the College Basketball Invitational, losing its opening game to Richmond.

The visitors from Smithfield, Rhode Island, return junior guard Dyami Starks (17.7 ppg last year) and 6-foot-6 senior forward Alex Francis (17.4 ppg, 8.6 rebounds). Both made the All-NEC preseason team.

—Jim Meehan

 

WSU’s Su’a arrested again

From Pullman — Linebacker Chester Su'a has been arrested for the second time in just under one year for failing to appear for a hearing at the Whitman County District Court. A warrant was issued for Su'a's arrest on Wednesday by judge Douglas Robinson after the 20-year-old didn't appear for a hearing regarding a charge of driving without a license, according to patrol sergeant Dan Dornes of the Pullman Police Department. The linebacker was arrested on Thursday and bail was set at $1,050.

A spokesperson for the school said that the team would neither confirm nor deny knowledge of the incident, but that all such circumstances would be handled internally by the team. The spokesperson did confirm that Su'a — who hasn't suited up for practice with the Cougars in some time — remains a member of the WSU football team.

Last year Su'a was arrested for failing to appear in court following a hit and run charge.

Friday morning links

From Pullman — Men's college basketball returns to Washington State University tonight … The Cougars are expecting a lot from their well-traveled forward … Five goals the team must meet to be successful in 2013-14 … Meanwhile, the football team is back at it … The Cougars signed a speedy running back.

More links after the jump.

It’s hard to be optimistic

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know it's not a good day in regional sports when you have to rely on the Mariners to bring you a dose of optimism. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

With one of the biggest games of the season looming, here's a feature on Eastern cornerback T.J. Lee III, one of the biggest players on the Eagle roster, in stature if not in size. We also had a live chat yesterday, and here's a partial transcript. … Very few links today - it seems every paper is inundated with high school sports coverage this week. … From the Billings Gazette, here's a story on how MSU hopes to slow the Eastern offense. … Montana is stepping out of conference with a game against South Dakota.

WSU football signs Calvin Green

From Pullman — Fleet running back Calvin Green from Sacramento, Calif., declared back in June that he intended to play for Washington State over scholarship offers from schools such as Arizona State, Boise State, and others. Today he made good on that pledge, signing a financial aid agreement that will allow him to enroll at WSU in January, in time for Spring semester.

“We are excited for Calvin to get in school and begin his Cougar career,” coach Mike Leach said. “He is a versatile player who can do a lot of things, explosive with the ball, and can play different positions. He will also have the benefit of going through winter conditioning and spring practice as he adjusts to college life.”

More after the jump.

Eastern Sports chat, noon (Nov. 7)

 

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Few’s 25-year ride at GU

Gonzaga's season opener is just two days away, but the S-R got a head start on all the teams in our region with the College Basketball special section.

Several GU-related articles to link to: Mark Few is entering his 25th season at Gonzaga, the last 15 as head coach. Here's a look back and ahead with the Zags coach. Here's GU's roster, fast facts and five keys to success.

Gonzaga tickets have been the hottest ticket in town for years. Tom Clouse explains how those 6,000 tickets are gobbled up and how the waiting list works. Here's five things to know about GU tickets.

John Blanchette shares area coaches' ideas for improving the game.

Eastern and Big Sky links

Who's the top quarterback in the Big Sky Conference. For years, it's been Denarius McGhee of Montana State, but there's a new kid in town. We can discuss that and more at noon today during our weekly live chat. … The Bozeman Daily Chronicle takes a look at the game, while the Billing Gazette ponders how the MSU defense will fare against Eastern. … The Great Falls Tribune chimes in with a notebook that leads with the big game. … The Missoulian gushes over the recent performances of UM's offense in this notebook.

A little something special this morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

On the night of the biggest football game in the Pac-12 this season, we are going to talk … basketball? Yep, we're talking hoops. Read on.

Thursday morning links

From Pullman — Good morning. The Cougars return to practice today so look for a story in tomorrow's paper … In the meantime, divert yourself with our Pac-12 picks … Are WSU players thinking too much?

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Holmberg lifts Chiefs with goal in overtime

Mitch Holmberg added another chapter to his impressive Western Hockey League season on Wednesday by accounting for two assists and the winning goal during a 5-4 win at Medicine Hat, Alberta. Holmberg leads the WHL with 45 points and 19 goals, and is second in assists with 26. The Chiefs are playing three road games this week and return home Nov. 15 against Prince George. Read story

Chiefs reflect on one-fourth juncture

The Spokane Chiefs headed to Alberta and British Columbia for three games this week, fresh off marking the one-fourth point of their Western Hockey League season. The Chiefs started the season 10-2 before dropping four of six to hit the 25-percent mark at 12-6. (Make that 13-6 after Wednesday's overtime win at Medicine Hat.) Read story

Nov. 6 WSU football chat


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When is the high going to hit 80?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You would think it was the middle of July or something with all the Mariners news yesterday. Raul Ibanez is announced as the winner of the Fred Hutchinson Humanitarian Award. Hisashi Iwakuma is a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award. And, lest we forget, they picked a new manager. Read on.

Eastern and Big Sky links

The biggest regular-season game in Eastern history? I think so, what with a sellout for third-ranked EWU and No. 4 Montana State this Saturday at Roos Field. Here is my report from Tuesday's practice, plus an all-you-want-to-know preview from Eastern and one from MSU. Meanwhile, the hometown Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports on the Bobcats' unfinished business, while Eastern receiver Cooper Kupp is the focus of this short story in the Billings Gazette. The Gazette also features the Montana Grizzlies' resurgent offense, along with a defense that is anything but. The Missoulian has a similar story on the UM defense, which gave up seven TDs in a 51-48 win over Sac State. … The San Luis Obispo paper has a story on the shifting tides at quarterback at Cal Poly. …Portland State has a chance for a third  straight win.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Well, another election day has come and gone. Congratulations/I'm sorry that your favorite candidate did so well/poorly. Speaking of tight races, the Pac-12 South is too close to call … Hopefully this poll is accurate … Alright, no more bad puns. Let's get to those links.

Vandals top Walla Walla in exhibition

Idaho had no problem discarding Walla Walla University, an NAIA school, in an 90-49 exhibition win on Tuesday night at Memorial Gym. Our story is here, but more telling that any stats is who started for Idaho — and who got minutes.

We run down those things after the jump.

Walk-ons running strong at GU

Gonzaga's bench is a little more crowded this season with the addition of three more walk-ons — Connor Griffin, Leo Roese and Dustin Triano — joining holdovers Rem Bakamus and Brian Bhaskar.

The popular Bakamus, who played 22 minutes last year, summed up the role of the walk-ons.

“They kind of knew what they were getting in to, the first week you realize the sacrifices you have to make,” Bakamus said. “We hold each other accountable to keep guys' heads up, bring a lot of energy. We bleed, sweat just like them. We just have to make sure we bring a little extra to the table as far as bringing energy.”

More on the walk-ons in my article that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

Fiddler traded to Prince George

This week's Western Hockey League notebook leads with the continuing saga of former Spokane Chiefs player Todd Fiddler. The Moose Jaw Warriors, who announced last week that Fiddler was no longer part of their plans, arranged a trade this week with Prince George. As timing would have it, Prince George plays at Spokane next week. Read story

Prep postseason football chat

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

The NFL is in a funk right now

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You think you have it bad. All those e-mails that are piling up. All the folks at work wanting things done yesterday. All the clothes in the laundry room that won't wash themselves. Kid's stuff. You want bad? Check out the NFL right now. Read on.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars are still off and won't practice again until Thursday. In the meantime, we'll be having our live WSU chat tomorrow at 11 a.m., and here are some links.

Athletic director Bill Moos has some advice for antsy fans … The Cougars will have their earliest kickoff of the season at Arizona … CougCenter takes a look back at the loss to ASU.

Links from around the conference after the jump.

Game time set for WSU at Arizona

From Pullman — The game time has been set at 11 a.m. for the Washington State football team's game at Arizona on November 16th. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, and ends a streak of three-straight night games for the Cougars. It will be the first morning kickoff for the Cougars this season.

Hawks walking a fine line

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Have to say it. Sorry. Mea culpa. Apologies. However you want to hear it. When we compared the Seahawks to a rollercoaster last week, we were wrong. Nope, a rollercoaster is too safe. It's more like a guy on a high wire between two skyscrapers, without a net. Sooner or later he's going to fall off. And it isn't going to be pretty. Read on.

Monday morning links

From Pullman — Today will be another Monday without a WSU football press conference. Thanks to the bye week there won't be as much access as usual while the team takes some time off, but we'll still be having our weekly Wednesday WSU football chat. In the meantime, peruse our unit grades check out what's going on in the Pac-12.

But do not click the upcoming link. You're not going to like it. OK, I warned you.

Unit Grades: Arizona State

From Pullman — It wasn't a happy Halloween for the Cougars, who bring home a report card that would've gotten me grounded for a fortnight. By the time the first half mercifully ended there were scarcely 10,000 fans still in the stadium, and more snuck out during the break. The game was out of hand just minutes into the first quarter and no position group distinguished itself from the abominable performance.

It should be noted that the Sun Devils have been playing great of late, and most impartial analysts assumed that ASU would walk away with a double-digit win. But the Cougars weren't playing 'Bama on Thursday night and should've been able to make the game competitive for a few drives, at least, in the schools' first home game televised on ESPN since 1990.

Unit Grades are after the jump.

It’s only a halftime score

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There was a priest at my high school with a deep Irish brogue. Well, there were a lot of them, but the one I'm thinking of was Fr. Cyril. The first quarter of my freshman year he came into our classroom – he was the principal then – to warn us not to get too cocky about our quarter grades. “It's only a halftime score,” he said, though, because of the accent, it was a bit hard to understand. But the sentiment, that halftime scores can have nothing to do with the final one, has stayed with me. It's just too bad he's no longer with us. He could walk the halls of CenturyLink right now and say the same thing to the Sounders and Seahawks. Read on.

Sunday morning links

From Pullman — Just a couple of games for the Pac-12 on Saturday, and with a third of the conference on bye weeks there frankly hasn't been much news. But we've cobbled together some links.

Texas State trips up Idaho, 37-21

A fumble on their first possession. Missed tackles all over the field. Dropped passes. Two personal fouls early in the game. That's a sample of the self-inflicted wounds from the Vandals in a 37-21 loss to Texas State on Saturday. But even with all the mistakes, the Vandals were competitive with the Bobcats — until things started to go haywire in the second half.

We've got our recap below.

Idaho-Texas State preview

Consecutive trips to the South, sandwiched around a bye, are behind the Idaho football team. Now it gets to back-to-back games in the Kibbie Dome to wrap up its home season, starting this afternoon with Texas State at 2.

It's Dad's Weekend in Moscow, and we've got our usual gameday preview after the jump.

It’s a matter of faith

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It doesn't take all that long for a fan to lose faith, does it? Sometimes it is a week-to-week thing. Other times it's cumulative. And often it's a combination of both. Read on.

Saturday morning links

From Pullman — Take a deep breath, make another pot of coffee. This is just the second out of three straight Saturdays you must endure without a Washington State University football game. I know, it's hard on me too. What to do with your Saturday? There are a few good games on this weekend (OK, just the Florida State-Miami game) or perhaps it's time to take a break. Instead of football, watch birds. Read a book rather than a box score. Or, if you're like me, there's nothing you'd rather do with your weekend than devour all the Pac-12 news you can find. But don't be too ravenous; you might get a tummy ache.

Come, friend. Links await after the jump.

Fram’s hard work pays off for Chiefs

Jason Fram added 15 pounds of muscle over the summer to give the Spokane Chiefs some extra heft among their defensemen. Fram learned the value of extra work from his parents, both of whom came to Canada from other countries. Read story

Gonzaga Prep defeats Central Valley 49-27

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Gonzaga Prep vs. Central Valley game.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Shadle Park defeats Lewis and Clark 43-20

S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Shadle vs. LC game at Joe Albi.  Check out this big picture gallery of his photos.

Eagles won’t overlook ISU, Baldwin says

As so-called “trap” games go, this one doesn’t have a lot of teeth.

In other words, Idaho State may be in the right spot on the Eastern Washington football schedule, but that alone probably isn’t enough to upset the Eagles in today’s Big Sky Conference game in Pocatello.

Third-ranked Eastern (6-2 overall and 4-0 in the Big Sky) is coming off an emotional win last weekend at Montana, and may be looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Montana State, but coach Beau Baldwin already has his players primed for the improving Bengals (3-5, 1-4).

Eastern and Big Sky links

Hard work has paid off for Eastern Washington cornerback Ronald Baines, the subject of my feature story that ran today. We also had a live chat on Thursday, and here's a partial transcript (look for the full transcript later today.) … The Eagles travel today to face Idaho State; here's a link to the official Eastern site. Montana State is at Northern Colorado this week in ROOT- televised game; here's a preview from MSU …. Standing room spots will go on sale next week for the Montana-MSU game. … Montana is looking for more consistency on offense. … A pair of struggling teams, Weber and PSU, meet Saturday in Portland.

It’s tricky to draw well on Halloween

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What's the deal with Halloween these days? We had less than a dozen costumed crusaders show up on our doorstep last night. Everyone couldn't have been down in Pullman, could they? Read on.

Friday morning links

From Pullman — By the time the Cougars came out for warmups the Sun Devils had already scored three touchdowns. Ok, not really, but that's how it seemed as Arizona State shot out to an early lead and never looked back in a 55-21 thrashing of Washington State … It wasn't a good showing for WSU on national TV … The new money coming from the Pac-12's TV deal is great. The late starts? Not so muchNot everyone enjoyed WSU's Halloween promotion.

Follow the jump to find out what the Pac-12 teams that weren't playing a Thursday night game were up to.

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Jim Allen 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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