A GRIP ON SPORTS • Usually sports can be counted on to give you something unexpected. On the surface, last night's local college basketball results didn’t do that. But dig deeper. You’ll find nuggets. Read on.
• Yes, 15th-ranked Gonzaga blew out Portland, 103-57, Thursday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center. That was expected, though the margin of victory was wider than predicted.
But how it happened would have been hard to predict. A career-high 23 points for Portland native Silas Melson. A career-high-tying 20 points from Rui Hachimura. And not much of anything from Johnathan Williams, though there were extenuating circumstances.
Melson fiddled with the thermostat, turning up the heat on the Pilots with seven 3-pointers. And Hachimura just overpowered them, dominating inside on the offensive glass, leading the fast break, dealing from the high post.
Williams, on the other hand, banged knees again and this one, suffered in the first half, was kind of scary. He was examined, ran a bit, was cleared and watched the rest of the game from the bench.
And just when it seemed the easy part of the WCC schedule was over, comes news from Los Angeles that USF, the Zags’ opponent Saturday in the Bay Area, lost to Loyola Marymount. Now that was unexpected.
• Washington State is the only school winless in Pac-12 basketball play. That they lost to a suddenly hot Stanford team was all that unexpected, even if it was at Beasley.
But how the Cougars did it, with 22 turnovers negating a great defensive effort on Reid Travis, is what’s so startling.
OK, so the 22 turnovers aren’t all that eye-opening. The Cougars turned it over 23 times last time out. But holding Travis, the Cardinal’s best player, to six points and still losing? Now that’s surprising.
So was what happened to a Cougar player, Voint’e Daniels, who got tangled up with an official and had to leave the game, injured. Well, maybe not surprising to Ernie Kent, who has seen it happen before this season and grumbled about it afterward.
When you are 0-4 in conference play, grumbling about something that should not have happened is probably to be expected.
WSU: We said it yesterday. This is a big weekend for the Cougars. And it couldn’t have started worse. Even though Washington State made Travis look ordinary, the Cardinal won handily, 79-70, before 2,540 at Beasley. Theo Lawson was there and has this analysis of what happened. He also has video of postgame interviews from a couple players and Kent.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12, there seemed to be a little bit of bad blood leaking around the Galen Center on Wednesday night. USC coach Andy Enfield was the biggest donor. … Speaking of USC, this story doesn’t put Clay Helton in the best light. … Oregon and Mark Helfrich have reached a settlement just before he begins a new job. … On the courts, the biggest upset happened in Tempe, where Oregon got back on the winning track by handing No. 11 Arizona State a 76-72 loss before 13,693. … Washington is 3-1 in conference after handing California a 66-56 loss in Seattle. … Arizona put everything together late and raced past Oregon State 62-53. … Utah has fallen on hard times – and its athletic director fell on his sword last night – including losing 83-64 at inconsistent UCLA. … USC won’t reinstate a basketball player this year following an internal investigation. … ADDITION: I saw this story concerning the officiating at the Music City Bowl after I had posted today's column, but wanted to pass it along. Read the entire letter. It's worth the time.
Gonzaga: The earlier start last night allowed John Blanchette a chance for some postgame interviews and then a column that examined a relationship made in Japan. … Jim Meehan was also at the Kennel and has his analysis of what happened along with the three keys to the win. … Colin Mulvany turned his camera on the game and has this photo report. … The guys in the office put together this highlight package. … No deadline change for me. The TV Take is supposed to be in as close to the end of the game as possible, and then posted to the web. … The GU women won, as expected, at Portland. Though how they did it was a little bit unanticipated. … Around the WCC, Pacific is on a roll. The Tigers won their second consecutive home game, topping San Diego. … BYU started slowly but got it together and rolled over Pepperdine, 83-63. … For the 11th consecutive time, Saint Mary’s left the court with a win, this one 81-57 over Santa Clara on the road. … USF lost at Loyola. That is all.
EWU and Idaho: The two schools are intertwined here because they will be intertwined twice tonight at Reese Court. The women and men are playing a Big Sky doubleheader. Jim Allen has a preview of the two games. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Portland State picked up a win versus Montana State, setting up a showdown with 5-0 Montana on Saturday. The Griz got to that point with a win at Sacramento State, their personal house of horrors recently. … Speaking of horrors, Northern Colorado blew a 10-point halftime lead and lost to Weber State. … Idaho State was manhandled at North Dakota.
Chiefs: The WHL trade deadline passed this week and Kevin Dudley takes a look at the major deals. None of them, however, included the Chiefs.
Preps: It’s quiet outside, probably due to the snow that fell overnight. It was also quiet on the prep front, though there are girls and boys basketball roundups, a wrestling roundup and a gymnastic roundup to pass along.
Seahawks: Pete Carroll is not one to stand still, literally or figuratively. … He’ll be prowling the sidelines in London next season, at least for the game with Jon Gruden’s Raiders. … The Hawks are still looking for an offensive coordinator. … Tom Cable loved coaching in Seattle. … The players need to be accountable, according to Doug Baldwin. … Kris Richard is still the defensive coordinator, at least when I write this.
Mariners: There is one player in the major leagues who followed the same path as I did, albeit more than 30 years later. That would be pitcher Christian Bergman, who played baseball at St. Francis High and UC Irvine, just like yours truly. (Of course, after the time at Irvine, the paths diverge.) He re-upped with the M’s yesterday, which makes me really happy. … Mike Zunino won’t be going to arbitration.
• It’s Friday already? Wow, that week went fast. Until later …
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