Archive for March 2014
Columnist Ken Goe has written for The Oregonian for nearly 37 years now and in that time he's seen just about everything. He watched the Ernie Kent era at Oregon from start to finish and is uniquely qualified to grant some perspective on the new Washington State men's basketball coach. Goe was kind enough to answer five questions about Kent, who was announced as the 18th men's basketball coach at WSU on Wednesday.
Questions and answers after the jump.
From Pullman — Ernie Kent is the new men's basketball coach at Washington State and he comes with the endorsement of a former Cougars coach, George Raveling.
“Ernie Kent comes to WSU with sterling credentials and the necessary skill set to take the basketball program to higher levels of achievement. He has been a part of the growth of the Pac-12 from eight teams to 10 teams and now to 12 teams, he has lived the history and growth of the conference. Ernie clearly understands what it takes to achieve success in one the most difficult conferences in the country. Congratulations to ‘Cougar Nation,’ I’m excited about the selection and wish Ernie nothing but success.”
For all the news on the Cougars new coach read our story here.
Update[3:30]: I have confirmed that Kent will indeed by WSU's new coach.
That's what College AD is saying, breaking the news with the above tweet. The hire makes sense, Washington State athletic director Bill Moos also hired Kent when he was the AD at Oregon and Kent took the Ducks to a pair of Elite Eights. Kent, 59, compiled a 235-174 record at UO and a 109-125 record in the Pac-10.
For the past three years he has worked as a basketball television analyst. Prior to today's presumed announcement Kent was working as an analyst for the Pac-12 networks.
When the coaching search began Moos stated that his biggest priority was finding someone who could recruit good players, one of Kent's strengths while he was at Oregon. From Washington alone Kent lured future NBA players Aaron Brooks and Luke Ridnour, while also showing the ability to pull stars such as Malik Hairston out of the midwest.
We'll try to confirm the report and keep you updated as new information surfaces.
From Pullman — Bill Moos joined Cougar Calls with Bud Nameck on Monday for his weekly radio appearance. You can listen to the podcast when it's put up here, and we've put together some highlights after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Today is lamb day. As in how March is supposed to go out. Meekly. We'll see. Read on.
From Pullman — Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Final Four is set and that means the college basketball season is almost over. It also likely signals the coming end of the Washington State coaching search as athletic director Bill Moos plainly said he hoped to have the hire in place before the NCAA tournament was over. The hire could be announced today or it could be announced a week from today. Likely, it will happen sometime in between.
On Sunday we put up some notes and quotes from Saturday's practice and we had a live chat as well … With Marquise Lee entering the draft USC has already found his replacement … the Stanford women advanced to the Elite Eight … One Oregon unit isn't looking exactly championship caliber yet.
It came two days later than scheduled because of the weather, but Day 1 of spring practice at Idaho is complete. And coach Paul Petrino said the Vandals are way ahead of where they were a year ago.
We have a quick recap of the Sunday afternoon practice below. The Vandals will go Monday at 3:30 p.m., followed by sessions on Wednesday and Friday before the first scrimmage of spring on Saturday at 10 a.m.
From Pullman — The Cougars were up early Saturday morning for their second practice of spring football. Here is our practice report and a story on the offensive line. More notes and quotes from practice after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
I've tried. I've really tried. But last night was too tough. An exceptional college basketball game soiled. Read on.
From Pullman — Hope you didn't sleep in on Saturday. If you did you missed a flurry of Cougars news, not to mention some pretty great cartoons. The day began with Washington State's second spring football practice. We've got a practice report and a story on WSU's young offensive line. Soon after, we learned that the Cougars were making a second run at Boise State's Leon Rice. By mid-afternoon, however, we learned the Rice was going to stay put.
Boise State head coach Leon Rice has decided to stay in Boise. The Washington State grad signed an extension that comes with a significant raise as well as a rollover deal.
Boise State confirms that Leon Rice is staying, as the Press-Tribune and others reported last night. Salary increase to $596,573 next year.— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) March 29, 2014
He reportedly will receive an additional year on his contract every year BSU makes the NCAA tournament or wins 18 or more games.
UPDATE: The BSU press release announcing the extension is after the jump.
From Pullman — Forgive me if today's practice report isn't as meaty as Thursday's and ones to follow. During practice some basketball news was happening that proved to be more than a little distracting. Still, I think we got most of it. There were a couple new faces running with the ones today and a new quarterback got some significant reps.
Read on, after the jump.
Update [3/31/14 10:34 a.m.] On Monday athletic director Bill Moos told host Bud Nameck that he didn't fly to Boise to pursuit Leon Rice during his weekly Cougar Calls segment.
Our previous report is after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
College coaching searches don't follow a straight-line path. Usually. There are exceptions, of course, with Mike Leach's hiring at Washington State one of those. Cougar athletic director Bill Moos had his coach in mind early, had made contact and had hammered out the basic outline of an agreement before he let Paul Wulff go. But that's rare. The usual process is a lot longer and messier. As we are seeing right now. Read on.
Shortly after the news came down that Washington State had apparently offered the men's basketball coaching position to somebody, we confirmed that Boise State's Leon Rice interviewed with the Cougars. But apparently has decided to stay in Boise.
You're not going to believe this, but it looks like that 7th grader who committed to USC once upon a time may not actually end up a Trojan … Oregon is reloading in the secondary … Washington's Desmond Simmons will transfer.
Update [11:27 p.m.] It looks like Rice won't be the guy. On Friday night ESPN's Andy Katz reported this:
Source: Boise State's Leon Rice decided to stay, accept pay raise, 5-year rollover instead of continuing talks w/Wazzu after interviewing.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 29, 2014
From Pullman — Boise State coach Leon Rice has long been associated with the vacant Washington State men's basketball coaching job and with good reason, it turns out. Today I reported that Rice interviewed for the position earlier this week. Coming on the heels of the news that WSU has offered the position to a candidate and it seems that Rice becoming the next WSU head coach is a distinct possibility.
We'll keep you updated as we find out more.
From Pullman —The Washington State football team practices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the spring. So on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays we'll hold a live chat at noon to talk about the practice. We'll also have a followup post, which you're reading right now, with some notes and quotes from the practice that didn't make the story in the paper or our online practice report. We'll also have a 5 Questions video in which we ask a player about the lighter side of college football. Below is our 5 Questions with backup quarterback Tyler Bruggman, who is finishing up his first year at WSU
Follow the jump for notes and quotes.
AD Bill Moos has extended an offer to a new men's basketball head coach. The offer has yet to be accepted.— Taylor Hennessey (@T_Henn24) March 28, 2014
From Pullman — The above tweet is from ASWSU president Taylor Hennessey who heard it directly from school President Elson Floyd at this month's meeting of the Board of Regents. There is no word on when the offer was made or if the candidate is likely to accept.
Still, it appears likely then that Washington State will have its new basketball coach soon. We'll try and update things as fast as we can.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Reading is usually a good way to get to sleep late at night or in the early hours of the morning when your cat decides she wants to wake you up. But picking up the newspaper on-line and reading the sports section sometimes doesn't do the trick. Not when you read a story or stories that present more questions than they answer. For example, why was Jim Irsay driving around with $29,000 in cash in his car, as the police say in their report? And what would I do if I had $29,000 in my car? Heck, my car isn't worth $29,000. Read on.
Paul Petrino's second spring football at Idaho will look similar to his first a year ago. But there will be key differences. The quarterbacks will be off-limits after getting whacked last year. The coaches might try to install the playbook quicker now that many of the players are in the second year of the system. And for at least the first little bit, the Vandals will have Robert Asencio, a 6-foot-9 basketball player who's never played football, trying out with them at wide receiver. “You don’t see too many 6-9 guys walking around who can run and catch,” Petrino said, “so I’m excited to get him out there and see what we can do.”
Our spring preview story can be found here, and we've posted more from Petrino heading into the first day of practice (4 p.m. at the SprinTurf field weather permitting). Read on.
From Pullman — Football as back and that can only mean one thing: more links. The Cougars had their first practice of the spring yesterday and we've got a practice report as well as a story on WSU's developing quarterbacks. Yesterday, baseball coach Donnie Marbut was in an automobile accident but thankfully he's already out of the hospital. We've also got a blog post about New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies, who denied interest in the open WSU baseball coaching position, for now.
Don't forget, at noon tomorrow we'll be hosting a live chat to talk about spring practices and the basketball coaching search. We'll continue having a noon chat on the day following practices throughout the spring.
Another Spokane Chiefs season ended Thursday night as the Victoria Royals wrapped up a 4-0 sweep of the Western Hockey League first-round series with a 4-2 win at the Arena. Read story
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Chiefs vs. Royals game in the Arena. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Pullman — The Washington State Cougars recently wrapped up their first practice of the spring. The defense shined early but the offense won the day. Follow the jump for today’s practice report
From Pullman — We've written that New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies appears to be one of a number of candidates for the vacant men's basketball coaching position at Washington State. Menzies has recruited well in Canada and taken the Aggies to three WAC tournament titles in a row.
On Tuesday Menzies told the Las Cruces Sun-News that he doesn't plan on leaving for WSU, at least, not right this minute.
“Right now I'm 100 percent coming back (to NMSU),” Menzies said. “I don't know why I wouldn't. I have three more years.”
That qualified statement is about as clear as the WSU football team's cornerback depth. Menzies' contract with NMSU requires him to alert athletic director McKinley Boston of any contact with other schools regarding other coaching opportunities. Boston says that has not yet happened.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
If we were down South, today would be a holiday of sorts. We're not so it isn't. Read on.
From Pullman — It's finally here. In just a few hours we'll be heading out to watch Washington State's first football practice of the spring. Here's our story previewing the upcoming 15 practices and we've transcribed yesterday's interview with WSU coach Mike Leach. Later today we'll have more coverage from the Cougars first practice so look out for that. Tomorrow will also be holding a chat at noon to talk about WSU football.
Stanford's Johnny Dawkins was on the hot seat just a couple weeks ago. Now his team is playing for a spot in the Elite Eight … UCLA will try to stop Florida's runaway winning train … Arizona and San Diego State return to California for a duel to see who's best in the Southwest … Here's a good story on Xavier Thames' journey from Pullman.
Spokane Chiefs fans would be hard-pressed to come up with a worse period than Wednesday's first period that ended with Victoria leading 4-0 in Game 3 of the Western Hockey League playoffs. The Chiefs were held to one shot on goal through the first 11 minutes and trailed 1-0 after 11 seconds. Victoria can clinch the series win Thursday at the Arena. Read story
From Pullman — Today marks the final day before the Washington State football team puts the pads back on and takes the field for spring practice. Head coach Mike Leach met with the media this afternoon to preview the upcoming 15 practices and also gave his thoughts on Daquawn Brown's standing on the team and efforts by Northwestern University football players to form a union.
All that after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
For the longest time I was a big fan of the NFL's self-imposed parity. But that was then. Now it just seems wrong. Read on.
From Pullman — Things are starting to pick up in Pullman. Tomorrow will be the first day of Washington State's spring football practices, and on Friday we'll have a live chat at noon. In today's paper we take a look at five important position battles to watch this spring, and we also had a blog post on the topic. Cougcenter has a breakdown of WSU's football scholarships by class. The Daily Evergreen has a preview as well.
UCLA hasn't played Florida, yet, but they've played Arizona … spring practices are underway at USC under new coach Steve Sarkisian … ESPN's Kevin Gemmell says the Cougars have the fourth best “three-headed monster” in the Pac-12 North next season.
With a break here and there, the Spokane Chiefs might be talking about finishing off the Victoria Royals rather than desperately needing a win to get back in their Western Hockey League first-round series. The Chiefs, trailing the best-of-seven series 2-0 after a pair of overtime losses in British Columbia, host Victoria on Wednesday and Thursday at the Arena. Read story
From Pullman — This season the Cougars will have the luxury of an experienced group, particularly on offense. While Washington State is still young, the majority of the starters have a good deal of in game experience. However, the are some areas where the Cougars will be green. With that in mind, here is a look at five positions where playing time will be up for grabs.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Wow, the outlook about life changes when the sun is out, doesn't it? Smiles are a bit easier to come by, patience is a bit easier to find and every part of the body works just a bit better. That was yesterday. Now what does today bring? Well, not the same level of news and links we've been seeing, that's for sure. Read on.
From Pullman — Spring practice is just days away for the Washington State football team and the Cougars are already getting ready. And so is the media. WSU released its Spring roster on Monday and we've got a post detailing the differences we could find between the roster now and at the end of the 2013 season. Coaches Mike Leach and Mike Breske also appeared on Cougar Calls with Bill Moos yesterday to talk about the team. We've got some highlights from that discussion here. Moos also touched on the ongoing coaching search, something that we have a story on here. Speaking of coaches, former WSU coach Kelvin Sampson has emerged as a leading candidate for the Houston job.
From Pullman — Washington State will hold the first of its 15 spring football practices on Thursday, continuing every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Crimson and Gray game will be held at Spokane’s Joe Albi Field on Saturday, April 26 at 1 p.m. and spring practice will conclude on April 29. Tuesday and Thursday practices are at 3 p.m. while Saturday practice times are to be determined. Practices are open to the public.
The Cougars also released their roster and depth chart. Heights and weights appear to have been updated, with many players losing a few pounds, likely due to winter conditioning. We have more on the new roster after the jump.
From Pullman — Washington State athletic director Bill Moos joined Bud Nameck on KXLY 920 for Cougar Calls this morning and it was a pretty eventful show. Spring football starts on Thursday for WSU so the duo hosted both defensive coordinator Mike Breske and head football coach Mike Leach.
Highlights from those interviews, as well as some information from Moos regarding his search for a new basketball coach, are after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
The college basketball season in these parts is officially over. The ending wasn't what anyone wanted, I'm sure. For any of the area's teams. Read on.
From Pullman — The weekend passed and the Washington State men's basketball team remains without a long-term coach. While former Ken Bone assistant Curtis Allen has been placed in charge to oversee the day-to-day operations of the team we still don't know who the next Cougars coach will be. Former Oregon coach Ernie Kent's name has often been linked to the vacancy due to his close ties with WSU athletic director Bill Moos. Word out of San Diego last week was that Kent is very much interested. Another coach to keep an eye on is Marvin Menzies out of New Mexico State. Menzies coached the Aggies in Spokane last Thursday when they nearly-upset San Diego State. Menzies has made hay on the recruiting trail, particularly in Toronto. Could a move north make sense for the former assistant to Rick Pitino and Steve Fisher?
The WSU baseball team fell in extra-innings to No. 14 UCLA … Stanford knocked Kansas out of the NCAA tournament yesterday … Arizona beat up Gonzaga pretty bad yesterday. Jim Meehan has the game story from San Diego and John Blanchette has a column … UCLA took some heat off coach Steve Alford by advancing to the Sweet 16.
With a bounce or two, the Spokane Chiefs could be coming home from Victoria, British Columbia, with a 2-0 lead over the Victoria Royals in their Western Hockey League first-round series. Instead, the Chiefs are down 0-2 after back-to-back overtime losses. Read story
About the only question in the closing minutes was whether Gonzaga would suffer its worst NCAA tournament loss. They didn't, but it hardly eased their pain as the Bulldogs were crushed by Arizona 84-61 Sunday at Viejas Arena.
GU's 87-63 loss to Maryland in 1995 — the school's first NCAA trip — remains its most lopsided. This one wasn't close as Gonzaga couldn't handle with Arizona's pressure defense and coughed up 21 turnovers, leading to 31 Wildcats' points.
Przemek Karnowski had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kevin Pangos played through a sprained ankle to make four 3s and finish with 12 points. But the Bulldogs made just 41 percent of their shots and scored only 27 points in the second half.
S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered the GU men's NCAA game against Arizona. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the GU women's NCAA opener against James Madison. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Gonzaga, back in its familiar role as NCAA tournament underdog, takes on No.-1-seeded Arizona tonight in San Diego.
The Zags have pulled more than their share of tourney upsets — No. 7 Minnesota, No. 2 Stanford, No. 6 Florida in 1999, No. 7 Louisville and No. 2 St. John's in 2000, to name several — but they've never knocked off a No. 1. They're 0-5.
They've come close twice, falling to No. 1 UConn 67-62 in 1999, 77-62 to Michigan State in 2001, 96-95 in double OT to Arizona in 2003, 99-78 to North Carolina in 2009 and 87-65 to Syracuse in 2010.
Here's our coverage: My game preview, my notebook and look back at the memorable 2003 contest, and John Blanchette's column on a couple of 7-footers. A capsule look at the teams and keys to victory below.
In-game updates on twitter tonight @srjimm.
I'm pretty sure this game involving a team from Arizona and a team from Spokane isn't the one grabbing all the headlines (see NCAA basketball tournament), but it's a big one nonetheless.
The Spokane Shock and Arizona Rattlers resume their rivalry today in Phoenix. Both teams are 1-0 and both have been at or near the top of the AFL through the years. Arizona has ascended to the top the last two years. Spokane won the AFL crown in 2010. Most of those years, the winner had to go through the other to get there.
Here's my game preview.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
The funny thing about one of the more memorable college basketball games I ever covered? I wasn't even in the same arena. Heck, I wasn't even in the same state. Read on.
From Pullman — The NCAA tournament's first weekend is almost over and just a handful of the once-pround field of 68 remain. During the finals games at Spokane Arena we caught up with former Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk and asked him about the recent dismissal of Ken Bone, a Sterk hire.
Former WSU guard Xavier Thames put on a show in SDSU's victory yesterday, scoring or assisting on 45 points, enough to beat North Dakota State all by himself.
Oregon's season ended against Wisconsin yesterday … Stanford will try to knock off Kansas in just a few hours … UCLA will try to avoid becoming another 12 seed victim against Stephen F. Austin … Gonzaga stands in the way of Arizona's path to the Final Four, John Blanchette has a column about the Wildcats' opponent.
The Spokane Chiefs and Victoria Royals opened their Western Hockey League first-round series in style Saturday night, playing more than 8 minutes of overtime before Victoria squeaked out a 2-1 victory. Game 2 is Sunday night in Victoria. Read story
S-R photojournalists Jesse Tinsley and Colin Mulvany covered the NCAA third round games in the Spokane Arena. View a gallery of game photos.
S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the Zags women NCAA practice in Texas. Check out this big picture gallery of practice photos.
From Spokane — Former Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk is now performing the same job at San Diego State but his duties have brought him back to the Inland Northwest this weekend for the NCAA tournament. He watched his Aztecs cruise to the Sweet 16 by winning a pair of games over New Mexico State and North Dakota State at the Spokane Arena.
One of Sterk's last acts at WSU was hiring new basketball coach Ken Bone, who was dismissed last week by current athletic director Bill Moos. Sterk signed Bone to a seven-year, fully guaranteed contract meaning he'll still be $1.7 million for the contract's final two years. I asked Sterk about that today.
Our unedited story after the jump.
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS _ If Gonzaga women’s basketball players were miffed about being sent to Texas to play their opening round, they haven’t shown it here. Continue reading.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It seemed like old times yesterday afternoon. Gonzaga, that plucky little squad from Spokane, Washington, facing a Midwest powerhouse in its opening NCAA game. And the valiant Zags battled through adversity to pull out the win. How 20th Century of them. Read on.
It was a good day for the WSU baseball team as well. The Cougars shutout No. 14 UCLA and have won their last five games.
Oregon will play tomorrow. John Canzano has a column on UO's transfer-filled roster.
Good evening from San Diego. Gonzaga defeated Oklahoma State 85-77, behind Kevin Pangos' 26 points, Gary Bell Jr.'s 17 and Przemek Karnowski's 15.
S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle is in San Diego to cover GU's 16th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance against Oklahoma State. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Did you have a good day yesterday? Ready to do it again? Me too. Read on.
Here's a feature story on former Spokane Chiefs player Collin Valcourt, now with the Prince Albert Raiders. Read story
Good evening from San Diego. Gonzaga and Oklahoma State go about their business in different ways and that contrast of styles will be on display when they collide Friday in a round-of-64 game at Viejas Arena.
Lastly, we have a capsule look at GU and OSU below.
Spokane Chiefs Mitch Holmberg (first team) and Mike Aviani (second team) were named to the Western Hockey League's Western Conference all-star team, the league announced Thursday. Holmberg, the winner of the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league's top scorer, is also the conference's finalist for the Brad Hornung Trophy as Most Sportsmanlike Player. The Chiefs begin the WHL playoffs on Saturday night at Victoria. Read story
S-R photojournalists Jesse Tinsley and Colin Mulvany covered the NCAA second round games in the Spokane Arena. View a big-picture gallery of game photos.
S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle is in San Diego to cover tomorrow's Gu vs. Oklahoma State NCAA game. Today both teams hold practice. View a big picture story of both teams at practice.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is a move afoot, brought to you by our friends at Budweiser, to make the opening day of baseball season a national holiday. Publicity stunt? Sure. Heck, baseball's Opening Day isn't even the most important day in American sports these days. It's probably a poor third. Heck, in my eyes, if any day (or days) deserves national holiday status, it is today. And/or tomorrow. Call them Cinderella Days. Then the males of this country wouldn't have to schedule surgical procedures earlier in the week just to be able to enjoy them. Read on.
We took a look back through the S-R archives at the brief Gonzaga-Oklahoma State series. They've played five times since 2004 in five different venues in five different cities. Gonzaga has won all five.
Press conferences this afternoon. Back later with more.
From Pullman — It's tournament time in Spokane and we've got all hands on deck. While the Cougars were left out of the Big Dance, there's still some Cougar flavor to this March Madness. We've got a story on former WSU player Xavier Thames who returns to these parts as one of college basketball's best players. Our tournament notes have an item or two that will be of interest to WSU fans.
Mitch Holmberg, Mike Aviani and Eric Williams, wrapping up their 20-year-old seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, aim for one more chance at Western Hockey League playoff glory. Read story
The Kelowna Rockets claimed the top spot in the final Canadian Hockey League Top 10 poll of the Western Hockey League regular season. The Rockets, who led the league with 118 points, have been ranked No. 1 since the start of 2014. The Victoria Royals, the Spokane Chiefs' opponent for the first round of the playoffs, finished in the No. 10 spot after being ranked seventh last week. Read story
S-R photojournalists Jesse Tinsley and Colin Mulvany covered practices at the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships at the Arena. Check out this big picture gallery of action photos.
From Pullman — Handsome, sturdy, good in all weather. That polo hanging tantalizingly above this post is the prize in our Spokesman-Review NCAA Tournament Challenge. It, as well as a $25 gift card to the restaurant of your choice, can be yours if you fill out the best bracket.
To enter, simply follow this link and enter the password “SportsLink”. Good luck!
Gonzaga was coming off a stinging 0-2 road trip last month that sounded warning signs, particularly with another two-game road trip coming up, followed by the neutral-site WCC Tournament and wherever the NCAA road took them, if the Zags were fortunate enough to make the big dance.
The Bulldogs gathered prior to practice for, as Sam Dower Jr. put it, “a man to man” talk. The Zags have won five games since that meeting and seem to have become a more hardened squad that deals better with adversity.
More on the meeting and the aftermath here.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
The end came yesterday, as we knew it would, with the announcement Ken Bone was out as Washington State's basketball coach. His five-year tenure was over. And the gaze quickly turned to the future. Read on.
From Pullman —Lots of news out of Pullman today with men's basketball coach Ken Bone and Washington State parting ways. Here is our story on Bone's termination, an interview with Bone about next year's team, an interview with athletic director Bill Moos about the decision, and today's story on Moos' upcoming search for a new coach. John Blanchette has a column about the day's events, as does Bud Withers.
Hello everybody. At 10 o’clock this morning I met with Ken Bone to tell him that he would not be returning as men’s basketball coach at Washington State. I got to say that I felt all along that Ken was a good coach and certainly a great guy but it just wasn’t working, the record reflects that, certainly the attendance at our home games reflects it and I felt that it’s time to find knew leadership and go a new direction.
From Pullman — Rejoice, anti-Bone blog commenters. Your long-awaited day is at an end. Washington State athletic director Bill Moos fired basketball coach Ken Bone earlier this morning in the fifth-year of his seven-year contract. No word yet on who his replacement may be, but here is our story on the firing, Bone thoughts on his tenure and a look at who could be next.
Before he left Bone and I spoke in-depth about next year's roster and what he expects to see from certain players. His thoughts are after the jump.
Gonzaga has faced its share of adversity this season: injuries, come-from-ahead losses, tough road trips. Nearly every team goes through it.
Oklahoma State, GU's opponent Friday in the NCAA tournament, experienced the extremes of college basketball's four-and-a-half month grind. More on OSU's season here.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Thanks to the magic of the “first round,” the NCAA tournament begins tonight. Imagine, being picked on Sunday night, flying to Dayton on a Monday and then playing on a Tuesday. Lots of prep time contained in there. And lots of time for school too. Read on.
From Pullman — That 36-game losing streak to Washington? It wasn't even the longest drought the Washington State women ended this season. No, yesterday's invitation to the WNIT means WSU will be making its first postseason trip in women's basketball in 23 years. The Cougars will head all the way to Montana for their matchup against … Montana. While they're there maybe they can beat the Huskies again. A little late but here's a good piece illustrating just how good DaVonte Lacy was for the men this season.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's random thoughts time. The subject: March Madness. To be more precise, the field of 68. Read on.
From Pullman — It's St. Patrick's Day and you know what that means? This year it means March Madness is officially upon us. The NCAA tournament bracket has officially been set and followers of our Washington State and Pac-12 coverage can compete with other readers in our NCAA Tournament Challenge. Gonzaga will head to San Diego for a rematch with Oklahoma State. John Blanchette has a column on GU's seeding.
Six Pac-12 schools made the cut and Cal — which started conference play 5-0 and knocked off Arizona — will head to the NIT to face the Utah Valley team that Idaho just beat … Oregon State will play in the CBI … Arizona nabbed a No. 1 seed but still has some land mines to navigate … UCLA's loss to WSU just over a week ago didn't appear to register much with the selection committee, which granted the Bruins a 4 seed … Losing Spencer Dinwiddie didn't end Colorado's season and the Buffaloes are going dancing … Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins appears to have saved his job by guiding the Cardinal to the tournament … Oregon's late-season resurgence was enough to get the Ducks into March Madness … Arizona State will open up against Texas.
Having trouble coping with all the Madness? Jim Allen has some advice.
Eighth-seeded Gonzaga will open the NCAA Tournament against No. 9 Oklahoma State on Friday in San Diego.
Here's my article on the matchup that will run in Monday's S-R.
I checked in with Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge at the WCC Tournament for this update on Kelly Olynyk that ran in Sunday's S-R.
I cut-and-paste a capsule look at GU-OSU below.
Below that, I cut-and-paste my game story from Gonzaga's 69-68 win over OSU last New Year's Eve.
From Pullman — Well, Tony Bennett and WSU each got their first No. 1 seed. Unfortunately for Washington State fans, Bennett is coaching the Virginia Cavaliers and Wichita State University is the only WSU on this year's bracket. Throw in the fact that former Cougars guard Xavier Thames will be playing in Spokane and you might as well call it March Misery on the Palouse this season.
But there's no reason not to have fun during the most memorable month in sports and one WSU fan will have her or his own One Shining Moment by winning the Spokesman-Review NCAA Tournament Challenge. I'll be hosting a bracket pool on Yahoo! and we'll be offering a juicy prize to be announced in the next few days. Yahoo! also has other prizes participants are eligible to win.
To enter simply follow this link and enter the password “SportsLink”. You will have to register for a free Yahoo! account if you don't have one. Of course I'll be playing and no, I'm not eligible to win the grand prize.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
What was it your gramma used to tell you made up the paving material on the road to perdition? Ya, we had those today. Read on.
From Las Vegas — If you'll recall, the last team to beat UCLA was pesky Washington State. It's likely, therefore, that the Cougars played some small role in UCLA's victory over Arizona last night in the Pac-12 tournament championship game. Whether WSU's upset humbled the Bruins or merely caused coach Steve Alford to put the fear of extra suicides in his team, at the very least the Cougars can say they beat the conference champion.
Before Western Hockey League games started on Saturday evening, the Spokane Chiefs didn't know if they would play Seattle, Everett or Victoria to open postseason play. But the hot streak of Everett, which hasn't lost in regulation during its last 12 games, moved the Silvertips past Spokane and handed the Chiefs a No. 6 playoff seeding. Destination: Victoria next Saturday and Sunday. Read story
Spokane got off to a slow start, spotting Iowa nine points in the first 4 minutes, but dominated the rest of the way and crushed Iowa 64-35 on Saturday at the Arena.
Idaho's late-season mojo was no match for New Mexico State's size and athleticism.
The Vandals' best conference tournament showing in more than two decades ended one win shy of an NCAA tournament bid on Saturday when they fell quietly to New Mexico State, 77-55, in the WAC championship game in Las Vegas. Idaho shot just 38 percent and was outrebounded 38-21 by the much bigger and more physical Aggies.
After winning four straight and six of seven, Idaho's season ended at 16-18. This was its first conference title game since 1993. UI was seeking the school's first NCAA tournament bid in 24 years.
NMSU, which has won three straight WAC tournament crowns, controlled the paint with center 7-foot-5, 355-pound center Sim Bhullar and athletic big man Tshilidzi Nephawe. Bhullar, the tournament MVP, had 14 points and nine rebounds while Nephawe went for 12 and 7.
The Vandals knew they couldn't match up with NMSU's monstrous front line. But when the shots stopped falling after going up 8-3, Idaho was in trouble. The Aggies unleashed a 15-3 run and led by double digits most of the rest of the way.
Senior Stephen Madison led the Vandals with 17 points in his final game at Idaho, and point guard Mike Scott had 14 points. Shooting guard Connor Hill, who helped UI get on a late-season roll, was 0-for-5 from the 3-point line and finished with six points.
S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered the Spokane Shock vs. Iowa Barnstormers game in the AFL opener. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Spokane opens the 2014 AFL season at home against Iowa tonight.
AFL openers haven't been kind to the Shock. They're 1-3 in lid-lifters, including a loss to Milwaukee in the 2010 season-opener. That team, once 2-2, finished 16-3 and won the ArenaBowl.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
For most schools, just the idea of getting into the NCAA tournament is the Holy Grail of the season. That's why, for those schools, the conference tournament week is just as much fun – and more pressure-filled – than the rest of March Madness. Read on.
From Las Vegas — I'm still here in Vegas (alack!) serving as a sort of reporter-talisman for the Idaho men's and women's basketball teams, which have both made it to today's WAC tournament finals so indulge me for linking my game stories from the men's and women's semifinal wins. Josh Wright has more in this blog post. If you haven't seen UI's Stephen Madison play before, turn in to ESPNU at 7 p.m. and check out the superb senior.
Oh, and if you're wondering why there is a picture of a mountain wearing a basketball jersey at the top of this post, that's 7-foot-5, 355-pound Sim Bhullar, the wall the Vandals will have to go through to make it to the NCAA tournament.
The chase for home-ice advantage in the Western Hockey League playoffs heated up Friday as the Spokane Chiefs edged the Tri-City Americans 4-3 in a shootout while Seattle lost and Everett won. Read story
Suddenly, everything is coming together for the Idaho men's basketball team. One more win, and it will find itself in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 24 years.
The fifth-seeded Vandals showed poise in crunch time to knock off No. 1 seed Utah Valley 74-69 in the WAC semifinals in Las Vegas. Their fourth straight win — and sixth in seven games — put them in their first conference championship game since 1993.
UI last went to the NCAA tournament in 1990.
Both the Idaho men and women will play in the WAC title game on Saturday. The Vandal men will face the winner of the New Mexico State-Cal State Bakersfield game at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
Senior Stephen Madison was superb again for the Vandals (16-17). He scored 25 points and grabbed five rebounds, after his 26-point, 17-rebound performance on Thursday against UMKC. Mike Scott carried the Vandals in the first half and finished with 14 points, while redshirt freshman Ty Egbert came up with a team-high seven rebounds and hit 2 of 4 free throws late.
The Western Hockey League is honoring Spokane Chiefs dentist Dr. Mary Smith with a distinguished service award for nearly 30 years of working with the club. Dr. Smith will be honored before the Chiefs' home game with Tri-City, which begins in a little more than 2 hours. Read story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
If you had any doubts professional sports can spawn a true rivalry, then put them away. Now. We have proof. Read on.
Idaho's ineptitude in the WAC tournament? It's history. Senior Stephen Madison put in a masterful performance and his teammates stepped up in the final minutes as the Vandals vanquished the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 73-70, in the quarterfinals of the WAC tourney in Las Vegas.
This was Don Verlin's first win in the WAC tournament after going 0-5 to start his tenure at Idaho. And it was only Idaho's second win in this event since joining the WAC before the 2005-2006 season. It came at the right moment, too — the Vandals will depart for the Big Sky Conference this summer.
“It feels awfully good, and Stephen and I enjoyed a special moment because we hadn’t gotten one yet,” Verlin said.
Fifth-seeded Idaho (15-17) moves on to the semifinal tomorrow night, when it will face No. 1 seed Utah Valley at 6 p.m. The Vandals lost both regular-season matchups against UVU, but the games were decided by a total of six points.
Keep reading for more.
The Western Hockey League released the latest status on the Kootenay Ice's Tim Bozon, who is in intensive care with meningitis. Read story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
I had to be out of the house last night but I made sure the DVR was rolling for Washington State's basketball game with Stanford at the Pac-12 tournament. After all, I didn't want to miss a game with such significance. Read on.
Since joining the WAC, the Idaho men's basketball team has won one conference tournament game, and that was an opening round affair in 2007. The Vandals are 1-7 in the event all-time and 0-5 under Don Verlin. But Idaho's postseason struggles go back even further: Since 1997, the program is 2-14 in conference tournaments as members of the WAC and Big West. That's right — 1-7 in the WAC, 1-7 in the Big West.
The Vandals will try to break through this afternoon against UMKC when the quarterfinals of the WAC tourney get under way in Las Vegas. The topic of our preview for this morning's paper was Idaho's suddenly aggressive transition game. We've posted a longer version of the story below, as well as a few quotes from coaches and players.
From Las Vegas — Day one of the Pac-12 is in the books and four teams are already out. One of those teams was Washington State, which saw its season end in a thrilling late-night match against Stanford. Here is our story from the game, as well as quotes and video of coach Ken Bone and DaVonte Lacy. While in town I also covered top-seeded Idaho's blowout of Chicago State in WAC women's action.
From Las Vegas — The Cougars went on a 7-0 run to take a second-half lead against the heavily favored Cardinal. The game was a face-off of the team's starting fives — both teams received just two points from their bench. Though the Cougars played one of their better games of the season Stanford — which has two First Team All-Pac-12 players, the conference's Most Improved Player and an All Defense Team member — proved too talented.
After the game we spoke with coach Ken Bone spoke about the game and speculation surrounding his future as head coach.
The Spokane Chiefs could conceivably skate off the ice Saturday night in Kennewick, finished with their Western Hockey League regular season, and not know their assignment for the first round of the playoffs. Read story
Every Canadian Hockey League Top 10 poll since the start of 2014 has had the Kelowna Rockets on top. The 25th edition of the poll, released Wednesday, was more of the same. Read story
Gonzaga took all the guesswork – other than seeding, opponent and location — out of Selection Sunday by winning the WCC Tournament title over BYU on Tuesday. Had the Zags lost, most pundits still had them in the NCAA field as an at-large team but it would have been an uncomfortable few days waiting for Sunday’s announcement. (I’m guessing an 8 or 9 seed, I’m pulling for a trip to San Diego).
GU did it with a near flawless first half, leading by as many as 21 before settling for a 17-point edge at the break. The cushion helped the Zags withstand BYU’s second-half rally for a 75-64 victory.
Here’s my game story, John Blanchette’s column and Colin Mulvany’s photos. The view from Utah here, here, here, here and here. The Zags doubled up on championships as Gonzaga's women thumped BYU. My game story here and Colin's photos.
Onward for my day-after BYU post.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's almost a little ridiculous. Sixteen consecutive years in the NCAA tournament. For those of us who were around here in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Dan Fitzgerald's Gonzaga teams were battling to break through and make the NCAA tournament just once, it seems a bit overwhelming that GU has earned its 16th consecutive tournament bid. Read on.
From Las Vegas — Today the Washington State men will take on Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament. Here's our advance on WSU's do or die situation. We'll also be covering the top-seeded Idaho women. Josh Wright has the preview here. We've also got the news that starting cornerback DaQuawn Brown has been arrested and will in all likelihood be dismissed from the team. Oregon will look to defend its tournament title.
Tha-tha-tha-that's all, folks!
The WAC men's and women's basketball tournaments will again be held at one site — Orleans Arena in Las Vegas — over the next four days. The top-seeded Idaho women (22-8) get things started Wednesday at noon with a quarterfinal matchup with Chicago State. The Vandals are looking to get back to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, but the situation is different this time. We wrote about this in our preview.
The Idaho men take on UMKC on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The Vandals are just 1-7 in the WAC tournament since joining the conference in 2005-06, and Don Verlin is 0-5. We'll have more on this tomorrow. Idaho star Stephen Madison was named to the US Basketball Writers Assocaition's All-District VIII team on Tuesday, two days after being named a first-team all-WAC player. Meanwhile, guard Connor Hill was selected as the WAC player of the week on Monday — the seventh such honor for a Vandal this year.
Connor Chartier scored again Tuesday night, giving the Spokane Chiefs' right wing 13 goals for the season, more than double what he tallied last season. Read story
Spokane had lost all seven games against Seattle this season, but the Chiefs took care of that Tuesday night by toppling the Thunderbirds 6-4 during a rough-and-tumble road game. Read story
As junior guard Gary Bell Jr. put it afterward, “No more bubble talk.”
Gonzaga secured the WCC Tournament title with a 75-64 victory over BYU on Tuesday, earning its 16th straight NCAA Tournament berth. Sam Dower, with 20 points and 13 boards, was named MVP. David Stockton had seven assists, five rebounds, four points and three steals to join Dower, BYU's Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth and USF's Cole Dickerson on the All-Tournament team.
My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for my day-after post.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU men's 75-64 win against BYU in the WCC finals. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Las Vegas — Washington State cornerback DaQuawn Brown was arrested Friday and booked into the Whitman County Jail on charges of felony second-degree assault and misdemeanor assault.
The rising sophomore was released on Monday. Police logs indicate he was also arrested earlier this month for driving without valid identification.
More after the jump.
Gonzaga rode its defense to another WCC title.
The Bulldogs limited BYU to 14 first-half points and cruised to a 71-57 victory Tuesday in the championship game at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Keani Albanez led the way with 20 points, Sunny Greinacher added 16 and Lindsay Sherbert had 15.
My unedited game story is below.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU women's game against BYU in the WCC finals. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Another busy day ahead in Las Vegas with the Gonzaga men and women playing for titles at Orleans Arena — GU-BYU women at 1, GU-BYU men at 6 — so we'll move on to our day-after Saint Mary's post.
It'll be shorter than usual. Heading to the arena soon and Gonzaga players had exited the locker room by the time the Bulldogs' press conference ended.
GU roughed up the Gaels again Monday night, 70-54, to advance to the championship game. Here's my game story, John Blanchette's column, Colin Mulvany's photos (many of these pictures show the physical nature of the contest), and recaps in the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times.
BYU's men went cold for the last 6 minutes of regulation but managed to advance to the title game by edging San Francisco in overtime. More on that game here, here, here and here. BYU's women pulled away in the second half against Pacific.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is a ritual this time of year as dependable as the first robin of spring or the swallows returning to Capistrano. People won't be happy with all-conference selections. Read on.
From Pullman — Had my first flight out of the Pullman airport canceled so I don't have long before making the familiar journey up to Spokane. The final destination will be Sin City, the Land of Lost Wages. We'll be covering not only the Washington State men in the Pac-12 tournament — featured in our blog post here — but both Idaho teams in the Western Athletic Conference tournament … The Pac-12 announced its All-Conference teams today and there wasn't much crimson or gray to be found … Nor was there much purple and gold, on the first team at least, and Lorenzo Romar found the omission of his best player confounding … Arizona, however, had no shortage of honors … Ted Miller takes a look at the conference kickers …
Gonzaga took apart Saint Mary's for the third time this season, the latest a 70-54 rout Monday that sends the Bulldogs into the WCC Tournament title game for the 17th straight year.
GU beat the Gaels by 21, 28 and 16 in three meetings.
David Stockton, building a strong case for MVP through two games, equaled his career high with 21 points. GU (27-6) will face No. 2 BYU or No. 3 San Francisco in Tuesday's title game.
My unedited game story is below.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany is in Las Vegas for the GU men 70-54 win over Saint Mary's WCC semifinal game. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Haiden Palmer scored 16 points, Lindsay Sherbert had 14 in the first half and Shelby Cheslek added 11 points and 14 rebounds Gonzaga defeated Saint Mary's 68-60 on Monday.
The victory moves the top-seeded Bulldogs (28-4) into Tuesday's championship game against No. 2 BYU, a 77-64 winner over No. 3 Pacific.
The Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament begins on Wednesday. Follow the jump for a schedule of all the games.
Big Sky Conference scoring leader Tyler Harvey of Eastern Washington has been named a first-team all-star selection, the league announced Monday.
Harvey, a sophomore from Torrance, Calif., led the league in scoring and free-throw shooting while finishing among the nation's top 3-point shooters.
Harvey averaged 21.8 points, 89.7 percent at the free-throw line and made 109 3-point shots - second most in Big Sky history.
Eagle forward Venky Jois earned honorable mention honors.
Weber State guard/forward Davion Berry was named the conference's Most Valuable Player.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany is in Las Vegas for the GU women vs. Saint Mary's WCC semifinal game. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Pullman — The Pac-12 released its All-Conference teams today and there was nary a Washington State player to be found. DaVonte Lacy likely would have made the First or Second Team, but will settle for being named Honorable Mention after missing seven games with a rib injury. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 19.1 points per game this season, second most in the conference. Lacy played in 73.3 percent of WSU's games, falling short of the 75 percent threshold that would allow him to be ranked among the conference's top scorers.
All-Conference Teams after the jump.
The brackets for the men and women at the WCC tournaments look similar, at least from Gonzaga's perspective. The top four seeds in both tourneys advanced to the semifinals.
That means No. 1 Gonzaga will take on No. 4 Saint Mary's twice today. The women collide at noon, the men at 6. No. 2 BYU and No. 3 Pacific tangle at 2 in the second women's semifinal. No. 2 BYU and No. 3 USF meet in the men's late-night semi.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
If you are a basketball fan, the place to be this week in this part of the country is Las Vegas. The WCC tournament. The Pac-12 tournament. The WAC tournament. Heck, even the Mountain West tournament. A lot of basketball. Or, like me, you can just watch in the privacy of your own home. Not nearly as fun but a heck of a lot cheaper. Read on.
From Pullman — The Washington State men's basketball team is hitting the road a little early, leaving Pullman today and heading to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament. Their opponent will be Stanford. We touch on that and have some highlights in a blog post today … Bud Withers put out his Pac-12 All-Conference team … As did Percy Allen … Chris Foster says UCLA hasn't improved since sacking Ben Howland, but that's no reason to think they won't.
In the end, the Western Athletic Conference's nine coaches went with the best player on the one of the league's two best teams instead of the league's leading scorer. New Mexico State's Daniel Mullings was named WAC Player of the Year on Sunday afternoon, beating out Idaho's Stephen Madison.
Madison led the WAC in scoring, averaging 19.9 points per game in his senior campaign for the 14-17 Vandals. He was a first-team All-WAC selection along with Mullings, Utah Valley's Holton Hunsaker and Ben Aird and Grand Canyon University's Killian Larson. No other Idaho players were honored in the postseason awards.
Utah Valley won the league, just ahead of NMSU. Idaho, which finished tied for fifth, will square off Thursday with University of Missouri-Kansas City — the team they beat 87-80 on Sat — in the first round of the WAC tournament. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
Last year, Idaho's Kyle Barone nabbed the WAC's Player of the Year award despite the Vandals going 12-17 in the regular season.
Video courtesy of WSU Athletics
From Pullman — Washington State's win over UCLA last night was more than just an uplifting couple hours at the end of a dreary season. The game leapfrogged WSU over USC in the standings, keeping WSU out of last place in the conference. That means that 11th-seeded WSU will take on sixth-seed Stanford on Wednesday in Las Vegas' MGM Grand in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. The game is slated for 8:36 p.m., an oddly specific time considering that it almost assuredly won't start until after 9.
The Cougars will need to pull off another upset to advance. Stanford went 2-0 against WSU this season and the Cougars have never beaten the Cardinal in postseason play. In 2008 the Cougars lost to Stanford 75-68 before both teams would advance to the NCAA Tournament's “Sweet 16.”
The winner will have a date with No. 3 seed Arizona State.
Back with a day-after post from Gonzaga's 77-75 survive-and-advance special over No. 9 Santa Clara.
David Stockton hit the game-winner, a mad dash down the lane finished off by a right-handed layup from the left side of the rim. Sam Dower Jr. provided the foundation for the victory with 23 points, including a 15-of-15 night at the free-throw line.
Here's my game story and John Blanchette's column. Here's a game story from the San Francisco Chronicle and another on Saint Mary's win over Pepperdine. GU takes on the Gaels on Monday in the semifinals.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Do you know what time it is? Yep, an hour earlier than it should be. But the clock didn't strike midnight for a couple of local basketball teams. And it did for others. Of course. Read on.
From Pullman — The Washington State seniors went out in style last night, upending UCLA in the regular season finale. We've also got video and quotes from the win. However, the laws of the universe required that the WSU women fall in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals to balance out the men's good fortune.
The day's biggest upset however was Oregon's win over No. 3 Arizona, which likely assures Oregon of an NCAA tournament berth … Stanford scraped out a much-needed win over Utah … Arizona State, California and Washington also came away with narrow victories.
The Idaho basketball team entered the week with three road wins all year. In the span of three days, it pocketed two victories away from Moscow — and the latest was arguably the Vandals' most impressive road victory of the season.
Idaho thundered back from a late 10-point deficit to dispatch the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 87-80, in Kansas City. Senior Stephen Madison poured in 26 points and Connor Hill had 24 for the rejuvenated Vandals (14-17, 7-9), who finished the regular season by snatching their fourth win in five games.
“We’re playing our best basketball,” sixth-year coach Don Verlin said. “If this team will make a bigger commitment to defense and rebounding, we’ll have a chance to win the WAC tournament.”
The fifth-seeded Vandals will play fourth-seeded UMKC again in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Las Vegas. Idaho is still searching for its first WAC tourney win with Verlin at the helm. Its only victory at the WAC tournament came in a play-in game in 2007.
Click below for more.
Follow the jump for transcriptions.
Follow the jump for a transcription of coach Ken Bone following WSU's win over UCLA.
David Stockton's twisting layup with 1.4 seconds left lifted Gonzaga past Santa Clara 77-75 at the WCC Tournament on Saturday. The victory sends GU (26-6) into a semifinal matchup Monday at 6 against No. 4 Saint Mary's, which defeated No. 5 Pepperdine late Saturday night.
The Bulldogs trailed most of the game before catching the Broncos in the final 5 minutes. Sam Dower Jr. made 15 of 15 free throws and scored 23 points. Przemek Karnowski added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Santa Clara's Jared Brownridge put on a shooting clinic in the first half, using his quick-trigger release to score 18 of his 24 points. His jumper tied it at 75 before Stockton's game-winner.
My unedited game story is below.
S-R photojournalists Dan Pelle and Tyler Tjomsland covered the State B championship games. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Gonzaga's top-seeded women withstood a spirited effort from No. 8 San Francisco, posting a 81-68 victory that moves the Bulldogs into Monday's semifinals against No. 4 Saint Mary's, which rallied from 17 down to edge No. 5 San Diego.
Four men's games today at Orleans Arena, beginning with No. 6 San Diego vs.. No. 3 San Francisco (upset alert) at noon. Gonzaga takes on Santa Clara at 6 — updates on twitter @SRjimm.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
When we woke up this morning, there was just a hint of the sunrise to come. Just enough light in the house that the phone/flashlight was not needed. But it will be tomorrow. Yep, we spring ahead in the wee hours of the morning (miss you Frank) as Daylight Savings Time kicks in. And you know what? It's too darn soon for that. Heck, this weekend is so crowded, we need all the hours we can get. We can't lose one. Read on.
From Pullman — Washington State knocked off No. 20 California last night to return to the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament semifinals for the second time in three years. Thomas Clouse watched watched Lia Galdeira scored 28 points to lead the Cougars in their 91-83 win and has a game story from Seattle. The baseball team also won on Friday, taking a series opener from Texas State. Suiting up as Cougars for the final time in Pullman will be D.J. Shelton and Will DiIorio. A football player whose time at WSU has passed is getting ready for the NFL draft. Yesterday the State Senate passed a resolution honoring WSU's 1915 Rose Bowl team.
ESPN's Pac-12 blog takes a look at each team's safety depth … Washington's Spring practices may not be pretty … The Huskies are also getting ready to say goodbye to their seniors … The Ducks have one more chance to show they're legit, against No. 3 Arizona … Utah looks to cap an impressive late-season run against Stanford … The Beavers hope everything comes together against Arizona State … Cal and Colorado will have a lot of chips on the table in today's game.
S-R photojournalists Colin Mulvany and Tyler Tjomsland covered the State B semifinals at the Arena. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Pullman — The Washington State Senate has been a tumultuous place the last few years. Senators have crossed party lines in recent years to pass the biennial budget causing consternation and the formation of a new caucus. But the senate came together on Friday to unanimously pass SR 8715, a resolution honoring William “Lone Star” Dietz's 1915 Washington State football team that won the 1916 Rose Bowl over Brown University to finish the season 7-0.
The bipartisan resolution was sponsored by Sen. Michael Baumgartner with Sen. Joe Fain, Sen. Mark Schoesler, Sen. Linda Parlette, Sen. Sharon Brown, Sen. Andy Billig, Sen. Doug Ericksen, Sen. Janea Holmquist-Newbry, Sen. Brian Hatfield and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles signing on as co-sponsors.
The full text of the resolution can be found here.
After last night's 79-76 win over Chicago State, Idaho is still in play for the No. 4 seed in next week's WAC tournament. But it could also drop down as low as the seventh seed depending on what happens tomorrow. The full scenarios are below. The Vandals (13-17, 6-9) close the regular season at Missouri-Kansas City. Tipoff is 7:35 p.m. PST.
Possible seeds for Idaho:
4 If Idaho beats UMKC and Seattle U beats Chicago State
5 If Idaho beats UMKC and Chicago State beats Seattle U OR
If Idaho loses to UMKC, Chicago State beats Seattle U and UTPA beats Grand Canyon OR
If Idaho loses to UMKC, Utah Valley beats Bakersfield, Chicago State beats Seattle U and Grand Canyon beats UTPA
6 If Idaho loses to UMKC, Utah Valley beats Bakersfield and Seattle U beats Chicago State OR
If Idaho loses to UMKC, Bakersfield beats Utah Valley, Chicago State beats Seattle U and Grand Canyon beats UTPA
7 If Idaho loses to UMKC, Bakersfield beats Utah Valley and Seattle U beats Chicago State
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Some mornings you just feel like whining a bit. But what good would that do? The day is still going to happen. And you are going to be a part of it. It's better than the alternative, right? Read on.
From Pullman — For awhile it seemed that the USC game could very well be Washington State's last win of the season. Then last night they lost it thanks to a brutal second half. Here's our game story from the loss. Before the game former WSU safety Deone Bucannon met with the media to talk about his preparations for the upcoming NFL draft. We've got video of the All-American, as well as post game videos of a couple players and coach Ken Bone. We also had a blog post on former WSU RB/DB Clarence Williams who is on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
On the women's side the Cougars hit the century mark, again, in a win over Oregon to start of Pac-12 tournament play.
In the day's other game Washington fell to UCLA at home.
The top-seeded Gonzaga men's basketball team will face No. 9 Santa Clara in the quarterfinals Saturday at 6 at Orleans Arena.
The Broncos (14-18) thumped No. 8 Pacific 81-64 late Thursday night. Guards Jared Brownridge (20 points), Evan Roquemore (17) and Brandon Clark (15) led the way with a combined 52 points. Gonzaga swept Santa Clara during the regular season, winning 54-52 on Sam Dower Jr.'s 3-pointer in the closing seconds in Santa Clara and 74-60 in Spokane.
The No. 1-seeded GU women will take on San Francisco on Friday at 6 p.m. The eighth-seeded Dons (12-18) upended No. 9 Loyola Marymount 63-62 on Thursday on Taj Winston's layup with one second remaining. Gonzaga swept USF during the regular season.
It looked like Idaho might absorb another excruciating loss after going up big on Chicago State. This time, though, it was the Vandals who made the winning plays in the closing seconds — on the road, no less.
Connor Hill carried Idaho in the first half and buried the game-clinching free throws with 6 seconds left in the Vandals' 79-76 win at Chicago State on Thursday night. UI nearly let a 17-point lead disappear, but the Cougars missed four straight foul shots and threw the ball away with 11 seconds left to help Idaho escape.
From Pullman — Deone Bucannon was at today's Washington State basketball game against USC to accept the CFPA Elite Defensive Back trophy at halftime. Before the game he spoke with the media to talk about his preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft, his performance at the recent NFL Combine and the award.
S-R photojournalists Dan Pelle, Jesse Tinsley and Colin Mulvany are covering the action at the State B's. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Pullman — On Thursday the National Football Foundation released a list of 81 candidates for the College Football Hall of Fame. Former Washington State running back Clarence “Clancy” Williams was among those nominated.
More after the jump.
I believe it was Bill Murray who best described post-season basketball: “OK, I guess we're playing for keeps now.”
OK, I might be taking his line a tad out of context, but it's too late to type another intro. Gonzaga's men and women — I take on double duty at the WCC tournaments — move into their respective tournaments as the top seeds, awaiting Thursday's outcomes before learning their first-round assignments. Gonzaga's women open Friday, the men Saturday.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Isn't it just like Spokane? I commit to spending most of the next three days indoors at the State 2B basketball tournament and the weather turns nice. Highs in the high 40s and low 50s and sunshine, at least Friday and Saturday. The perfect time to step outside for a long walk after the interminable 30-degree days (and lower) of winter. But basketball is basketball. Read on.
The Idaho men's basketball team finishes the regular season with two games against beatable opponents — Chicago State and MIssouri-Kansas City. The problem for the Vandals? Both games are on the road.
It's almost been two full months since the Vandals last won away from Moscow, and they've won a total of three road games all season. After the jump, we take a look at what's gone wrong for Idaho (12-17, 5-9) on the road ahead of tonight's game at Chicago State and overall the last two seasons under Don Verlin. Read on.
From Pullman — The vocal majority that despises a proposed NCAA football rule change that would give defenses 10 seconds to substitute got welcome news yesterday. The proposal has been tabled, effectively cast off into a sea of bureaucracy and red tape from which it will never emerge … Today the Washington State basketball team will do battle with USC in a titanic matchup (“Titanic” referring to the ship, not the forebears of the Greek Pantheon). We've got our Four Corners preview of the game and a local college basketball notebook … Former WSU football player Steve Broussard has been hired at SMU.
Wednesday night's 3-1 loss at Kelowna leaves the Spokane Chiefs with six games on their regular-season schedule: two against Prince George and Tri-City, and one apiece against Seattle and Everett. Spokane is one point ahead of Everett in the chase for the Western Conference's No. 5 seed to the playoffs. Read story
The Kelowna Rockets continue to hold down the top spot in the Canadian Hockey League's Top 10 rankings. The Rockets will meet the Spokane Chiefs in four hours to complete their season series. Spokane is 2-1 against Kelowna this season. Read story
More teams have qualified for the Western Hockey League playoffs as the regular season winds down to its final 12 days. Read story
Kootenay Ice player Tim Bozon is hospitalized in Saskatoon with Neisseria meningitis. Read story
From Pullman — The chances of USC winning at Washington or Washington State upsetting UCLA on Saturday are remote at best. Therefore tomorrow's matchup between USC (10-19, 1-15 Pac-12) and WSU (9-19, 2-14) will likely decide the 11th and 12th place conference spots. WSU is favored by 5 ½ points in Vegas.
In a twist, the loser of the game will play at 2:30 against the conference's No. 5 seed while the winner will play the No. 6 seed at 8:30 p.m. (but really more like 9 p.m.).
More after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Coaching kids is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you might get. Case in point: I asked a group of high school-bound athletes the other day if they had any questions. “You have any pet peeves?” one kid asked. Yes I do. I named one. And as the practice wore on, I continually pointed out others. But it was a good question. Read on.
From Pullman — Just one more day until the Cougars take on Oregon in the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament. Thomas Clouse will be covering the team, and he's got a story on the matchup. Washington State will have a pair of All-Conference players taking the court. Mr. Clouse has a story on Tia Presley and Lia Galdeira, and we've got a blog post as well … In our baseball notebook the Cougars respond to the NCAA inquiry into a player's eligibility .
Check out John Blanchette's movie reviews … Ted Miller breaks down the Pac-12 defensive ends … Washington had its first practice under new coach Chris Petersen … But a longtime captain is in trouble with the law … Oregon now has a winning record with yesterday's win over Arizona State … Stanford is hoping to help its tournament resume with a win over Colorado today … Arizona needs to avoid a letdown in the home stretch … Utah has one more shot to prove it can win on the road.
This week's Western Hockey League notebook leads with the Everett Silvertips' late-season drive to improve their positioning for the upcoming postseason. Everett is now one point behind the Spokane Chiefs for the Western Conference's No. 5 seed. Read story
The NCAA has granted Eastern Washington linebacker Ronnie Hamlin a sixth year of eligibility, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.
Hamlin, whose 361 tackles rank third in school history, was given the extra year because he missed the 2009 and 2010 seasons with an ACL injury.
Hamlin, a team captain last year, was an all-Big Sky Conference performer last season with 140 total tackles.
From Pullman — For the first time in school history Washington State had two players earn All-Conference honors in women's hoops. Tia Presley and Lia Galdeira were both named to the All-Pac-12 team as voted by Pac-12 coaches. Fifteen players were named to the team. Galdeira was named All-Defensive team honorable mention for the second consecutive season.
Each are the school's first All-Conference player since Tricia Lamb in 1989-99.
Last year the duo were each named All-Pac-12 honorable mention. Presley led the Cougars in scoring this season and was sixth in the Pac-12 with 18.9 points per game. The Spokane high school star was second in the conference with 212 free throw attempts and third with 151 makes. After having her first two years cut short by injuries the leading scorer in Greater Spokane League history put up the third-highest single season total at WSU with 568 points.
Galdeira was second on the Cougars and ninth in the conference with 17.7 points per game. She was second in the Pac-12 with 73 steals including a league-leading 47 in conference play.
Kevin Pangos and Sam Dower Jr. made the All-WCC first-team but regular-season champion Gonzaga was blanked on the four major individual awards. Przemek Karnowski was honorable mention.
Here's my article.
Gonzaga's best chances individually were Mark Few for coach of the year and Karnowski for defensive player of the year. WCC coaches opted for San Francisco's Rex Walters for the coaching honor over Few, who kept GU on track despite injuries to its top three scorers early in the conference season. Walters guided USF to a tie for second place (the Dons were picked fourth in the preseason poll), but his methods have been called into question in a Contra Costa Times article.
Karnowski anchored a defense that ranked first in WCC play in scoring defense (61.6). Lane led the WCC in blocked shots. The Waves rank sixth in scoring defense (72.8).
“He’s a real problem solver when you can put him in there and not require any help,” Few said of Karnowski. “He's protected the rim as good as we've had in a long time. Our guards turned a lot of guys loose at the rim and he was able to master staying vertical and affecting shots by the guards. And through long sections of the league he stayed out of foul trouble.”
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It seems moviegoers aren't the only ones who can enjoy awards. College basketball fans get to experience the same joys and disbelief as well. Read on.
Deone Bucannon became an All-American at Washington State and there was little doubt that the safety would have a chance to show his stuff in the NFL. Because of his eye-popping combine numbers Bucannon could be picked pretty early in May's NFL draft. The experts seem to think Bucannon will go in the second or third round. A Cougar hasn't been drafted in the third round since Jason Hill in 2007 and if Bucannon can edge his way up to the second round he'll be the earliest Cougar picked since Marcus Trufant went No. 11 overall in 2003. In 2002 both Raonall Smith and Lamont Thompson were drafted in the second round out of WSU.
The Huskies have started Spring football and here are some notes from the first day … Stanford is also practicing and once again trying to replace some irreplaceable players … Arizona owes much of its success this season to a phenomenal freshman … The Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament field has been set, Thomas Clouse will be covering the action for the S-R.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
And so it begins. Read on.
Show me the money? Show him the diploma. Jason Monda's decision to turn his nose at a $200,000 signing bonus is the basis of our college baseball preview. The team split its double-header with Cal State Northridge yesterday.
The Pac-12 media was proven to be composed of geniuses once again when preseason favorite Arizona clinched the Pac-12 on Sunday, defeating Stanford to make it official … It wasn't easy but UCLA got by Oregon State at home … Their season is far from over so Arizona State fans will have time to brace themselves for life without Jahii Carson, who will enter the NBA draft …
Coming off an 0-2 road trip, there was concern in Zagland earlier this week. Gonzaga faced the prospect of dropping four straight, failing to win the WCC outright, losing the No. 1 seed in the WCC Tournament and drifting onto the NCAA Tournament bubble.
GU erased those concerns with an impressive road trip, thumping Pacific 70-53 on Thursday and Saint Mary’s 75-47 on Saturday. The Zags will enter the postseason with a two-game winning streak. They won the conference by two games over BYU and San Francisco. They’ll be the top seed in Las Vegas. They appear to have distanced themselves from the NCAA bubble.
Here’s my game story that ran in Sunday’s S-R, and others by A.P., San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times. In case you missed it, former San Francisco players and assistants are questioning Rex Walters’ coaching tactics.
Read on for my day-after Saint Mary’s post.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Remember that scene in “Titanic” when the lookout spies the iceberg, yells down a warning from his perch and they try to turn the ship out of harm's way? Me too. But I bet you're asking yourself, “What does that have to do with sports?” Read on.
The regular season is over for the WSU women's basketball team, which fell to No. 5 Stanford on Saturday. The Cougars will head to next week's Pac-12 tournament in Seattle as the No. 7 seed, and will play Oregon in the first round. WSU will need a very good showing to have a chance to make it to the Big Dance. ESPN's Charlie Creme projects just four Pac-12 teams to the NCAA tournament and WSU is not among them. Washington may have a chance, however, after upsetting No. 18 Cal on the road. The Huskies were led by freshman Kelsey Plum, yet again.
Former WSU pitcher Adam Conley is one of the Miami Marlins' best prospects. Conley picked up a Spring Training win yesterday.
Last weekend the Spokane Chiefs' offense was humming along, scoring 18 goals in three games. This weekend the Chiefs suffered back-to-back shutouts, including Saturday night's 3-0 setback to a Tri-City Americans team that had lost eight consecutive games. The Western Hockey League's regular season is down to seven games for the Chiefs, with two weeks to turn things around. Read story
Didn't see that coming. Doubt Saint Mary's did either.
Gonzaga blasted the Gaels 75-47 on Saturday to wrap up the regular season. The victory no doubt boosted GU's NCAA Tournament resume if the Zags don't win next week's WCC Tournament.
My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.
For much of Saturday night, Seattle U's Isiah Umipig was magnificent and Idaho's Stephen Madison was in foul trouble.
The duel between the WAC's top two scorers never really materialized in the Vandals' 76-68 loss to Seattle U at Key Arena. Madison finished with a quiet 18 points in 21 minutes after sitting for long stretches of both halves. That was half of the scoring total for Umipig, who drained eight 3-pointers and set a career high with 36 points.
Umipig had 23 points in the second half, when the Vandals (12-17, 5-9) struggled to get stops and looked disjointed on offense with Madison out of sync and Connor Hill quiet after playing superbly earlier in the game. Hill finished with 18 points but didn't score after his 3-pointer put Idaho up 48-45 with 15:29 left. Two possessions later, Seattle U took the lead and never trailed again.
S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland was courtside as the Gonzaga women defeated Pacific to cap a perfect home season. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Don Verlin and the Vandals close out the regular season with three road games. The first is tonight at Seattle U, and it's a big one for Idaho. The Vandals are 12-16 and 5-8 in the WAC and have a chance to grab the third seed in the conference tournament. But they lost by one point to the Redhawks (12-14, 4-9) in Moscow on Feb. 1.
The Idaho football team will open the 2014 football season at Florida — after its second-to-last game of 2013 was at Florida State — and play five of its first seven on the road. The Vandals announced their full slate for 2014, their first in the Sun Belt Conference since leaving the SBC to join the WAC prior to the 2005 season.
The Vandals have five home games, starting with Western Michigan (which went 1-11 in 2013, the same record as Idaho) on Sept. 13. Their other games in the Kibbie Dome are against South Alabama (Sept. 27), New Mexico State (Oct. 18), Arkansas State (Nov. 1) and Troy (Nov. 15).
“You have to win at home,” UI coach Paul Petrino said in a release. “It will important for us to make (the Kibbie Dome) a tough place to play. We need to win our home games.”
Idaho starts spring practice on March 28. We have more below.
If recent history is any indication, Gonzaga and Saint Mary's, who close the regular season tonight in Moraga, will see each other again fairly soon.
The Zags and Gaels have played for the last five WCC Tournament titles, with GU winning three. Tonight, Gonzaga tries to enhance its NCAA credentials against the Gaels, who probably need to win the WCC Tournament to reach the NCAAs. GU has won four of the last five at McKeon Pavilion.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
When does the statute of limitations expire on rooting for your high school? Never? Read on.
From Seattle — The Washington Huskies left no doubt they were the better team on Friday night, teasing the Cougars with their sharp shooting and clamping down on the Washington State offense. The Huskies made of half their shots and the Cougars barely broke 30 percent. D.J. Shelton had a remarkably unique game, collecting 15 rebounds but going 0 for 10 on 3-pointers.
We’ve got a game story on WSU’s 72-49 loss and the box score. Adam Lewis places the fault at the failure to establish Shelton inside the paint and here is a game story from the UW perspective. Kevin Dowd says that rumors of Lorenzo Romar's demise are premature.