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Don Verlin Tuesday notes and quotes, Dec. 16

Idaho encountered nothing but heartbreak on its road trip through the states of Illinois and South Dakota last week.

The Vandals blew a 17-point lead in the second half at Western Illinois, losing 78-75. Two days later at South Dakota State, senior point guard Mike Scott missed a game-winning 3-point attempt with three seconds remaining. The buzzer sounded with an 87-85 win for the Jackrabbits, and back-to-back road losses for the Vandals. 

The theme of both games was Idaho's inability to get stops.

Ernie Kent Q&A: coaching confidence

Since arriving at WSU, Ernie Kent has said that the greatest barrier between the Cougars and success is a lack of confidence.

None of the players, who probably won a great deal in high school, have won much in their collegiate careers and Kent thinks that reminding them what it's like to dominate on the court will put them in a mindset to once again be successful.

But is confidence possible to coach? Kent says yes.

“A lot of what we do in our basketball program is to wrap our arms around these young men and give them the opportunity that we're in this together and have them grow internally,” Kent said during today's WSU press conference.

“A lot of them need to grow internally because of what they've been through in their lives, but at the end of the day the fact that they're on a Division I campus, for some of them and what they've gone through in their personal lives, are already a success,” he added. “And need to empty their backpacks of lack of confidence and guilt, fear, shame, whatever, and let's move forward. So, we spend a lot of time talking about that every day, to get them where they need to be mentally before we even get to the floor to practice or play a game.”

The Cougars sure looked more confident in a 91-71 pasting of Texas-San Antonio last week but will obviously face a much bigger challenge against No. 9 Gonzaga tomorrow.

Kent spoke about WSU's upcoming game and much more today. We've got video and a transcription, after the jump.

It’s the week of regional rivalries

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You a Cougar fan? How about Gonzaga? Both? If it's the last one, then it is going to be a tough couple days for you. Read on.

Morning links: Tia Presley takes the court in Spokane one last time

Tia Presley has scored a lot of points in Spokane, 1,469 of them at Gonzaga Prep to become the GSL's all-time leading scorer.

The Washington State senior will try to add a few more at 6 p.m. tonight when the Cougars travel to Gonzaga and try to add to their already impressive NCAA tournament resume. Thomas Clouse has a story in advance of the game.

The men will take on the Bulldogs tomorrow. Jim Meehan as a story GU's stellar international freshman.

More links from around the Pac-12 are after the jump.

Seahawk defense puts the D in domination

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Pulled out my dictionary this morning from its storage spot, under the broken back leg of our old couch. Blew off the dust and opened it to the “D” section. Flipped through until I found the word domination. Much to my surprise, there wasn't a picture of the Seahawks defense. Read on.

Morning links: That was kind of weird

Things were pretty quiet on the Washington State front on Sunday until a Houston TV reporter tweeted that Mike Leach might be looking at other schools.

This being the height of recruiting season, the Cougars quickly denied the report, which appears to have had some pretty light evidence. Still, it certainly livened things up after the Seahawks game.

In case you missed it during Seattle's big win, we also had a blog post yesterday looking back at the basketball team's win over Texas-San Antonio.

More links after the jump.

WSU denies Houston report that Leach interested in UH job

Houston reporter David Nuño set the Washington State Twittersphere ablaze with the above tweet, saying that Cougars coach Mike Leach could be interested in the vacant position at the University of Houston.

WSU officials doused the flames with a tweet of their own.



For what it's worth, the report didn't make much sense on first glance. Nuño did say “if buyout and contract issues could be worked out” but it's hard to see how they could be. Leach currently makes $2.7 million, which is more than twice as much as UH has been willing to pay its football coaches. Furthermore, he has an expensive buyout that is currently $2.25 million and will continue to be that high, as athletic director Bill Moos plans to roll over Leach's contract.

Looking back at the UTSA win

Washington State's 91-71 win over Texas San-Antonio on Saturday was insightful, but not indicative.

The Cougars are likely to win every game in which they shoot 60 percent on 3-point attempts and they are unlikely to come close to that success rate very often, so there's not a whole lot to be gleaned from yesterday's shooting performance other than that DaVonte Lacy appears to have found his shot and the team is shooting with more confidence.

But there is still a lot to dissect from yesterday's game and we'll do just that, and pass along the game book, after the jump.

Winners and losers from a great Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Well, that was fun. Even for the one team in the area that didn't post a “W.” And for all of us who got to watch. Read on.

Morning links: WSU romps past UTSA

A thunderous dunk was the grand finale to a 3-pointers parade yesterday as the Cougars made easy work of UTSA.

 

Texas-San Antonio never had a chance with the way Washington State shot the ball on Saturday, and the final insult came when the Roadrunners ended up as the saps in ESPN SportsCenter's No. 1 play: this dunk by Jordan Railey.  We also have our story from yesterday's game and postgame videos of Ernie Kent and some players.

On Friday we brought the news that a player from Riverside City College had decided to play football at WSU. Yesterday, three of his teammates joined him.

We also checked in with athletic director Bill Moos to get his thoughts on the state of WSU's football program. Some fans chimed in as well in today's paper with letters to the editor.

More links are after the jump.

Lacy and the Cougars get hot against UTSA

Washington State dominated Texas-San Antonio despite some struggles with turnovers. You can overcome a lot when you shoot like the Cougars did on Saturday.

My game story is after the jump.

Three more Riverside recruits headed to WSU

WSU's defense could look markedly different next season. In fact, it could look a lot like the one at Riverside CC.

 

Following yesterday's news that Riverside's Treshon Broughton will play at Washington State rather than Oregon State, today three of his teammates decided to follow suit.

 

Follow the jump for more.

Video: Ernie Kent after UTSA

A transcription of Kent's remarks is after the jump.

Jordan Railey punctuates WSU win with a dunk

With less than a minute on the clock, most fans were hoping for one more 3-pointer to break the Washington State single-game record. Jordan Railey looked for a shooter, but sized up the defense and decided to take it himself.

A fun day is on tap

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Is there a bigger Saturday than this one? Read on.

WSU hosts UTSA, plus morning links

Today at noon the WSU men's basketball team will try to get back on the winning track against Texas-San Antonio.

The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks and is the last home game for WSU (3-4), until its Dec. 21 matchup against San Jose State.

More links are after the jump.

WSU flips an OSU recruit

Washington State's defensive backfield got a little older today with JC cornerback Treshon Broughton's college switch.

More on WSU's newest recruit after the jump.

Darryl Monroe leaves the Cougars

Darryl Monroe entered last season as the spokesman of the Washington State defense.

Well-spoken and a two-year starter heading into his junior season, Monroe was WSU's defensive representative at Pac-12 Media Days and was asked to further engage with fans by conducting video walkthroughs of the football operations building and interviewing freshmen in short videos produced by the athletic department.

On the first day of fall camp he tried to set the tone for the season, saying, “Last year was just a taste, it was like a little drop of blood to a shark. He's fiending so now we're fiending for success, so right now the sky isn't even the limit. We're trying to go past that, go to outer space.”

Now, Monroe has quit the team. Cougfan.com's Chris Shaw first reported Monroe's departure and I have since confirmed it.

More on this after the jump.

 

 

College football’s wild day could hit here

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If you follow college football, yesterday morning was pretty exciting. And no one even played. Read on.

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