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Grip on Sports: It may be cold outside, but watching sports is nice way to stay warm

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams roars with delight after dunking on Pepperdine players, left to right, Jade’ Smith, Kameron Edwards  and Darnell Dunn on Saturday  in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams roars with delight after dunking on Pepperdine players, left to right, Jade’ Smith, Kameron Edwards and Darnell Dunn on Saturday in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s going to get cold in the Spokane area this week. Not Havre, Montana, cold, but pretty close. Let’s hope there are some really good basketball games on TV to watch. Like yesterday. Read on.

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• It’s not often you wake up before the sun, check the weather report and see the high temperature for the day has already been reached. But that was the case today in Spokane. It’s only going to continue to get colder as the day wears on and the cold will be accompanied, according to our friendly weather app, by snow.

Thanks a lot Mother Nature.

If you are lucky, you can settle into the easy chair and watch some hoop. Or maybe some golf from sunny Southern California. Or some Winter Olympics, even if it is ice dancing or team curling or whatever.

Anything is better than venturing out into the cold.

• Speaking of cold, the Cougars suffered one of their cold spells – patent pending – last night against Utah and went more than six minutes without scoring. It was the difference in their 77-70 home loss to Utah.

The extended scoring droughts, and the accompanying opponents’ runs, have crippled Washington State recently. Every game, it seems, other than Thursday night’s win over Colorado.

• The University of Idaho and Eastern Washington University aren’t even 100 miles apart. The roads between the two schools are pretty good, as are the logistics of flying in.

So that’s not the reason behind the toughness of the road trip. The two teams are.

The Montana schools found that out this weekend.

The Grizzlies came into the week with an unblemished Big Sky Conference record. They headed home after last night’s 79-77 overtime loss in Moscow with two defeats – and just a half-game lead in the standings.

Montana State also played two close games but also went back to Bozeman with two losses.

The conference schools must be talking about the Inland Northwest road trip with the dread they have for the one to Grand Forks and Greeley – where one suitcase is always devoted to overcoats – or Cedar City and Flagstaff – the Grand Canyon tour.

It’s not the weather or the travel, however, around here. It’s the basketball.

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WSU: The revolving door in the football assistant coaches’ offices just keeps turning. The Cougars lost another one this weekend, with Derek Sage headed to UCLA. Theo Lawson has that story and it’s also part of this conference news roundup. … Theo was also at the basketball game and has the game story along with video from the postgame media sessions with Ernie Kent and a few players. … The Utes’ performance is part of a late-season surge that’s brought them into the conference’s upper echelon.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Washington retired Isaiah Thomas’ No. 2 jersey last night in an emotional ceremony. Then the Huskies went out and hammered Colorado, snapping a three-game losing streak. … In a game both needed to win, UCLA survived at home against Oregon, possibly sealing the Ducks’ postseason fate. … USC found out it had lost its best player, Bennie Boatwright, for the season before holding off Oregon State. … California is really bad this season. … Arizona and Arizona State are focusing on the stretch run.

Gonzaga: It was Senior Night in the Kennel last evening and that’s spelled disaster the past few years. Not this time, however. Jim Meehan was there and has this game analysis as well as the three keys to Gonzaga’s 25th win. That marked the 11th consecutive time the Zags have won that many games, as noted in Whitney Ogden’s story. Whitney also has stories on the stirring national anthem, a Josh Perkins milestone and another on manager-turned-player Brian Pete’s start. … Pete’s start, and bucket, is part of my TV Take. … Dan Pelle has a bunch of photographs that accompany each of the stories. … The folks in the office put together the highlights package. …  John Blanchette focused more upon the guy on the other bench, Pepperdine’s out-going coach Marty Wilson. … The women’s team posted a perfect road record this season. … The baseball team lost another tough one yesterday. … Around the WCC, Saint Mary’s bounced back from Thursday’s defeat and bounced host Portland. … San Diego made a lineup change which seemed to spark a defensive resurgence as the Toreros shut down visiting BYU, 75-62. The Cougars are struggling from beyond the arc. … Santa Clara brought Pacific back to earth. … USF held off Loyola Marymount.

EWU: The Eagles rode Bogdan Bliznyuk and Mason Peatling to an 84-79 win over visiting Montana State. Jim Allen has the game story. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Portland State came alive in the second half to run away from visiting Idaho State. … North Dakota held off visiting Northern Arizona in overtime. … Northern Colorado routed Southern Utah.

Idaho: In a game that went back-and-forth and consisted of big play after big play, the Vandals made the last one for a 79-77 victory over Montana. Peter Harriman has the game story following Idaho’s last-second overtime victory. … The women won on the road in Bozeman.

Whitworth: The Pirates pulled away in the late going to down Willamette and finish an undefeated conference regular season – non-Whitman division. Jim Allen was at the Fieldhouse and has this game story.

CCS and NIC: The Sasquatch shot down visiting NIC in basketball last night.

Chiefs: Five Chiefs scored and Spokane routed Tri-Cities 5-1 at the Arena. Kevin Dudley has the game story.

Preps: State wrestling in Washington finished up yesterday with Mt. Spokane winning the 3A team championship, Deer Park the 1A crown and numerous Spokane-area wrestlers coming home with titles. … In basketball, Post Falls won its second Idaho 5A girls title in the past six years, getting past previously undefeated Eagle 62-53. … We also have roundups from girls and boys play in Washington and the girls state tournaments in Idaho. We also can pass along a state gymnastics roundup.

Seahawks: We have more answers to your questions. … We also know why the Hawks won’t draft a running back in the first round.

Mariners: The M’s are going to be relying on a veteran and a youngster to anchor their pitching staff.

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• We don’t get to stay inside all day. That’s OK. We have some fun things to do. Hopefully, you do too. Until later …


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