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WSU struggles down the stretch


Well, if it’s any consolation for Coug fans, this one came down to the wire. Not many of the Cougars six losses have. Usually, the problem stretch occurs a lot earlier than it did Thursday night. But once again WSU was unable to make the plays it needed to win.

Read on for my story which will appear in tomorrow’s S-R.

Cal pulls away late to stop WSU


There was just too much Patrick Christopher. The reigning Pac-10 player of the week looked like he wants to win the award two consecutive times Thursday. Not only did he finish with 22 points, but he stuck dagger after dagger into the Cougar second-half hopes, hitting just about every shot Cal need in their 57-50 road victory - including a back-door dunk with 1:30 left that sealed it. The Bears stay atop the Pac-10 with the hard-earned win. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.

Cal leads by two at half


The tweaks WSU has instituted in its offense – more on-ball screens, moving Daven Harmeling back to the 4, giving Abe Lodwick some time – have certainly helped the Cougars stay close, trailing 28-26 at the half. But maybe Taylor Rochestie had it right last week. The Cougars are feeding off their defense. The Cal big men are so offensively inept, WSU’s guards have been able to control Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson with help from guys like Aron Baynes and Caleb Forrest. Only Patrick Christopher, matched up against Klay Thompson, has been able to get going, hitting 4 of 5 shots en route to 10 points. Thompson has exceeded that on the other end with 12 points, including a fast break layup that tied it at 26 near the end of the half – a bucket that came when Rochestie picked Randle’s pocket.

We’ll be back afterward, but this looks like it could be an interesting 20 minutes.

Cal may just try to beat WSU at its game


It should be a battle of tempo. But I’m thinking it won’t be. Read on for why.

WSU tries to end streak


Remember last season when WSU lost three consecutive home games? The Cougars avoided losing a fourth by thundering O.J. Mayo and USC, 74-50. Which means WSU hasn’t lost four in-a-row at home since 2004, Dick Bennett’s first year. But that is a possibility tonight if the Cougars can’t figure out a way to get past Cal. Read on.

Idaho preps

If the weather cooperates - the roofs don’t collapse and the gyms don’t flood - there might be some high school basketball in North Idaho soon! Click the extended entry tab below to continue reading.

FSN and the Holt hire - plus hoops


It was, seemingly, a huge day yesterday for Husky fans. The hiring of former Idaho head coach Nick Holt as defensive coordinator was such a big deal that Fox Sports Northwest televised the press conference – twice. Read on for more on that and some basketball notes.

Cal, Stanford headed for Pullman


The Bay Area teams come into Pullman this weekend, starting with the Cal Bears on Thursday night. Cal and Stanford are two of the surprising teams in the Pac-10 this season, so we thought we would take a look at their success. Read on for the unedited story that will appear in the S-R tomorrow.

WSU links drizzle out on a Tuesday


Not a lot in the way of links this morning. Now rain, that we’ve got a lot of. Piles of snow one morning, ice all afternoon and rain the next day. How fun. Anyhow, read on for the few links we do have and a couple of thoughts.

Randa recalls playing days at Eastern

As promised, I’ve attached an unedited version of the Then & Now yarn on former EWU center John Randa that will appear in Tuesday morning’s S-R below.

From his painful on-court encounter with Kevin Duckworth to his wedding on The Rock of Gibraltor, Randa has some entertaining memories to share.


Cal atop Pac-10? OSU wins? Stay tuned for a strange Pac-10 year


What an interesting weekend in Pac-10 basketball (and you guys had a lively conversation about it, that’s for sure). UCLA and Cal (yes, Cal) emerged from the first week atop the conference standings. Oregon State earned its first Pac-10 win in more than a year – 21 games in fact – by stunning USC in overtime. Arizona, filled with talent but obviously lacking leadership, settled into the cellar after a lost weekend in the Bay Area. And of most interest to you folks, WSU started 0-1.

Let’s take a spin around the conference and see what’s being said, then we’ll wrap up with a football note. Read on.

UW loss, the morning after


As I was looking back at the box scores from the past couple year’s worth of WSU/UW basketball games yesterday, I was struck by how often Washington State had played 40 minutes of basketball against an aggressive, physical team without turning over the ball more than a handful of times.

In fact, in the past two years, the Cougars had more than 10 turnovers vs. the Huskies only in last year’s double overtime game. Last night, WSU passed that mark midway through the second half. And defeat followed. Such has been the case throughout this season, and probably will be the rest of the year as well. If WSU takes care of the ball, is efficient on offense and shoots respectably, it will be in games. Fail on any one, it won’t.

WSU opens Pac-10 play with a loss


There isn’t a lot of margin of error available for the Washington State Cougars this Pac-10 basketball season. This isn’t a group right now that’s going to come roaring back from a big deficit to win a game. This isn’t a group that can get by without executing for 40 minutes. And this isn’t a group that could handle the Washington Huskies on Saturday.

The Huskies played better, especially in the second half. They played more poised, especially in the second half. And they played more physical, all game long. It adds up to a 20-point win. You can read the unedited version of my game story on the link.

UW pulls away in the second half


Another quick burst by the opposition to open the second half. Another home loss. That’s what happened again Saturday as UW scored nine consecutive points right after halftime and went on to defeat WSU, 68-48, in the Pac-10 opener for both. Yes, it seemed a lot like the Gonzaga game, WSU fought back but there was too much Justin Dentmon and Quincy Pondexter and everybody else for the Cougars. We’ll be back in a couple of hours with the game story.

UW leads by two at the half


WSU trails 30-28 at the half, with the Huskies dominating the boards and nailing just about every open look they have from 3. The Cougars are staying in the game because they are perfect from the line, hitting all seven they’ve taken.

Both teams started slowly, with the score just 6-6 after 8 minutes of play. But the offense down the stretch was better, with WSU committing just one turnover in the final 12 minutes and UW hitting four of its last six shots. Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter lead UW with eight points apiece, Pondexter’s two free throws with less than a second left giving UW the halftime edge. Aron Baynes has eight for WSU and Caleb Forrest has seven. We’ll be back.

Can WSU execute against the Huskies?


The Washington Huskies walked onto Friel Court today and Beasley Coliseum was silent. Really. No boos, no catcalls, nothing. What a difference without a majority of the students. There are a few, about a couple hundred right by the court, but they didn’t acknowledged UW’s presence. I wonder what Jon Brockman must think of this. Three years of being booed taking the court and his senior year, nothing. Read on.

Opening night prelude to rivalry day


The Pac-10’s first four games went pretty much as expected Friday night, with USC and UCLA winning easily in Oregon, Cal showing its nonconference record was for real and Stanford showing is wasn’t. The first wave of conference games ends today with WSU hosting UW. Click the link for more.

Eags no match for NAU

Eastern Washington’s second-half scoring woes were a key factor in Friday night’s lopsided Big Sky Conference road loss to Northern Arizona.

As promised, I’ve included this link to the game story posted by EWU’s sports information department and this link to what the folks at NAU had to say about the game.

Eags lose big to NAU

Northern Arizona held Eastern Washington to just 17 second-half points in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Friday night and cruised to a 72-49 win over the Eagles, who lost for the fifth time in their last six games.

You can get at early look at the final box score here, and don’t forget to check back for more details on the game, as supplied by the EWU sports information department.

Looking ahead to UW


Washington State opens Pac-10 play tomorrow by hosting UW, as I’m sure everyone who is reading this knows. On the link we have the unedited version of our advance for you to peruse. Read on.

Eags finally return to Big Sky action

Eastern Washington’s men’s basketball team returns to Big Sky Conference play tonight against Northen Arizona in Flagstaff.  You can access a Friday morning S-R story that includes comment’s from Eagles coach Kirk Earlywine about the Lumberjacks and how he sees the conference race playing out this winter via this link.

And check back later this evening to see how the EWU-NAU game turned out.

Pac-10 football’s finish and basketball’s start


There’s about the last of the football news. And there’s basketball news. All can be found on the link. Read on.

Pac-10 may be down, but still formidable


Here’s a special treat just for New Year’s Day and for you avid SportsLink readers. We’ve put together a team-by-team look at the Pac-10 basketball race. It’s not going to be printed in the S-R, so this is the only place to see it. Read on.

Happy New Year Coug fans


So it’s New Year’s Day, 2009. How many of you out there wondered if you would ever see this day? No, I don’t mean at 11:23 last night when you couldn’t remember if the person you were talking with through a self-induced haze was your cousin or the receptionist. No, I mean when you were young. For a certain age, 2009 seemed like science fiction, sort of like Armageddon, something that was possible but you were sure would never come.

But it’s here, 2009 I mean, not Armageddon. And it’s filled with WSU news. OK, not filled per se, but there is more than you might expect. So read on.

Only a few hours until 2009 WSU fans


Let’s see. It’s only a couple days before the Pac-10 basketball season starts. We’ve got that covered on the link. Oregon State put up an offensive show en route to defeating Pitt. That’s covered too. Anything else? Yes, there is. Read on.

Links from there to here


A quick post this morning, with a potpourri of links, including to UW’s win last night through Oregon’s football win and on to a new job for a former Cougar, though not in that order. Read on.

From guard play to football recruits


A couple notes from Tony Bennett’s teleconference this morning, along with notes about a former Cougar football assistant and football recruiting. Read on.

Young Cougars test K-State


I know it’s December so this shouldn’t surprise me, but darn if it isn’t snowing again. It’s stretches like these that make me wish I was covering Arizona State or UCLA or even Cal Poly. Read on for the one WSU-related link I found this morning.

WSU has a lot of work before Pac-10 starts


Pac-10 play starts in less than a week. WSU will enter conference 8-4, which is exactly what we thought as we doped out the schedule before the season started. Read on for more thoughts and links.

WSU collapses down the stretch


After the collapse was over, and WSU had lost 64-52 at LSU, basketball coach Tony Bennett talked about “regrouping.” The defeat itself was one thing, but the way the Cougars lost, blowing a seven-point lead midway through the second half by just giving the ball away, hurt even more. Bennett talked afterward on his radio show about getting ready for Pac-10 play. If WSU can play like it did for the first 10 minutes of the second half against UW, the Cougars will be all right. If they play like the did the final few minutes, it will be a long conference season. Read on for the album version of the game story I put together from watching on ESPN2, listening to Bud Nameck’s call and talking with Taylor Rochestie by phone afterward.