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.
• The Washington State women slipped while wearing their glass slippers but the men made UCLA look like a bunch of pumpkins. The Gonzaga men looked to a senior to save them and he did. The Eastern men looked to two other Big Sky teams to save them and neither did. There were last-second shots that didn't drop, ones that did, blowouts that became nail-biters and blowouts that remained blowouts in a big day of high school basketball. All in all, a typical basketball weekend.
• The atypical part of it? Probably the Cougars 73-55 rout of second-place UCLA on senior night in Pullman. Though even that game shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. For some reason the Cougars have seemed to play UCLA tough here the past few years, though getting over the hump has been a problem. Remember the Klay Thompson-less near upset a few years back? And then there is the senior night stuff. WSU honored a couple, guys who are well-liked by their teammates. That also helps. Plus there was another guy who might have been making his last appearance at Beasley, coach Ken Bone. If it was his last home game in charge of the Cougars, he went out in style, that's for sure. Oh, and one other thing. If the Cougars had lost, they would have played a mid-afternoon game to open the Pac-12 tournament. A win pushed them into the last game Wednesday night. As a guy who has been in that position before, I knew what would happen. The WSU beat writer never catches a break.
• WSU: The guy who will be covering that game, Jacob Thorpe, was in Pullman for the Cougars' upset and has a game story, video of coach Ken Bone's postgame interview and video of the seniors (and more) talking with the media. He also has a morning post with links. ... We mentioned Klay Thompson above and guess what, here's an interview with him. ... The WSU women saw their run through the Pac-12 tournament end in the semifinals against Oregon State.
• Gonzaga: The smallest guy in the Zags starting lineup came up big for them last night as David Stockton's last-second drive dropped and GU pulled out a 77-75 win over Santa Clara at the WCC tournament. Jim Meehan was in the Orleans Arena and he has a game story and blog post following the win. He will also be back sometime today with a morning-after post. ... John Blanchette is also in Las Vegas and has this column on Stockton's big shot. ... The biggest news from the tournament's quarterfinals? BYU won without making a single 3-point shot. It's been a long time since that's happened. Not making a 3-pointer, I mean. ... USF also won as did St. Mary's. After today off, BYU will face USF and Gonzaga has St. Mary's.
• EWU: The Eagles were down about a zillion points in the second half yesterday, rallied and had a chance to take a lead in the waning seconds. But Parker Kelly's 3-pointer didn't go down and Eastern fell, 82-78, to Weber State. After Northern Colorado and Sacramento State won, the Eagles, tied for seventh place in the conference, were eliminated from the Big Sky tournament on a tiebreaker. Jim Allen has the story covering all that. ... Montana was blasted in Flagstaff.
• Idaho: The Vandals won their second consecutive road game last night, defeating UM Kansas City 87-80. UI had won three road games all season going into the weekend. Josh Wright has more in this blog post. ... The Idaho women also won last night.
• Whitworth: There is only one honest way to describe how the Pirates were eliminated from the NCAA tournament last night in Texas: They were homered. Wait, that's not politically correct. Just because their opponent, UT Dallas, shot 38 free throws and the Pirates shot, well, 12, calling it a home job isn't the way we are supposed to go. Well, if it walks like an armadillo, it squeaks like an armadillo and gets run over like an armadillo, then it's an armadillo. Anyhow, when Nolan Harvey's heave at the buzzer was ruled good via replay, UT Dallas had eliminated Whitworth 77-76. ... The Whitworth women also lost at Whitman.
• Chiefs: Remember Valeri Bure? He's the last Chief to score 60 goals in a season until Mitch Holmberg reached that mark last night in Spokane's 8-0 win at St. George's. ... Everett and Portland also won while Tri-City lost.
• Preps: For the first time in the short history of the 1B tournament, the winning teams, both boys and girls, came from one school: Colton. That's just part of our coverage from the Arena yesterday. We also can pass along summaries of the rest of the 1B boys and girls games along with the championship stories from the 2B girls (Colfax won) and boys (Morton-White Pass won) and the boys and girls summaries from that tournament. There is also a whole bunch of pictures. ... Greg Lee was in Tacoma as the Gonzaga Prep's girls took home the state 4A title. Greg also has a stories on the rest of the local action in Tacoma. ... Pullman won the state 2A boys title for the second consecutive season. ... Lake City rallied to take third at the Idaho 5A boys tournament. ... And with that, the prep basketball season is over.
• Mariners: If spring training wins meant anything, we would all be ecstatic, right? After all, with a split-squad doubleheader sweep yesterday, the Mariners continued to roll through Cactus League competition. But the wins don't count. ... The M's outfield defense has been less than stellar the past few years and may not be that much better this one. ... Brad Miller wants to be the shortstop. And he wants to be good at it. He better be. The pitching coach wants lots of ground balls.
• Sounders: There is no more dramatic way the Sounders could have opened the 2014 MLS season than with a last-minute goal for a 1-0 win over defending League champion Sporting Kansas City. Newcomer Chad Barrett's goal (pictured) on a contested ball in the penalty area lifted Seattle to the win in its 40th season opener. ... Sigi Schmid was really happy about it and didn't have anything bad to say about the replacement ref either. ... It was a season opener, so some folks made their debuts. ... There was some other news yesterday as well.
• That's it for this morning. It seems like it's not even 7 yet, but it's nearly 8. Weird. Until later ...