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Morning after links

Washington State overcame an early deficit to take a solid lead against Rutgers in Seattle yesterday, but was unable to sustain it, eventually falling 41-38.

Links from that game and from around the Pac-12 are after the jump.

Lunchtime Links: Meanwhile, in China …

While most of Pullman has been gearing up for fall sports season, DaVonte Lacy and the Pac-12 All-Stars have been barnstorming around China and beating up on professional teams. The All-Stars are 2-0, both blowout victories, and Lacy has been a solid contributor averaging 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists per game.

The All-Stars will face their toughest test tomorrow in the Shanghai Sharks, former NBA All-Star Yao Ming's old team that he now owns. The Sharks have a couple former American college basketball stars in Quincy Douby and Darnell Jackson, so the All-Stars should get a good test. Unfortunately, it appears that the team will no longer face the Guandong Southern Tigers and former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlian.

We have a couple links to pass along after the jump.

DaVonte Lacy heads back to China

Washington State senior guard DaVonte Lacy has been chosen to participate as one of 13 Pac-12 men's basketball players who will play in a four-game All-Star tour of China this summer. The tour is part of the conference's Globalization Initiative, which aims to market the conference to international fans.

Utah's Larry Krystkowiak will coach the team, which includes players from every member school except Oregon and UCLA. 

It will be at least the second basketball-related trip to China for Lacy, who led the Cougars with 19.4 points per game last season. He also competed internationally in Jamaica through Athletes in Action.

WSU's press release explains a bit about what the athletes will be doing abroad:

The Pac-12 All-Star team will face a Chinese university all-star team and play three games against teams from the Chinese Basketball Association, including the Shanghai Sharks. Eight-time NBA All-Star Yao Ming owns the Sharks. Max Zhang, a former CALIFORNIA student-athlete has been the center for the Sharks since his return to China in 2010. It will also play the Guangdong Southern Tigers, the 2013-14 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season champion. The Tigers' leading Chinese scorer is Yi Jianlian, who played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks under Krystkowiak during the 2007-08 season before returning to the CBA in 2012.

In addition to the competition in China, the team will participate in various youth clinics, as well as take in the culture and history of China with visits to various landmarks and historical sites in the cities of Shanghai, Nantong and Shenzhen. 

A full roster and tentative schedule is after the jump.

… 

Ken Bone and the team he leaves behind

From Pullman — Rejoice, anti-Bone blog commenters. Your long-awaited day is at an end. Washington State athletic director Bill Moos fired basketball coach Ken Bone earlier this morning in the fifth-year of his seven-year contract. No word yet on who his replacement may be, but here is our story on the firing, Bone thoughts on his tenure and a look at who could be next.

Before he left Bone and I spoke in-depth about next year's roster and what he expects to see from certain players. His thoughts are after the jump.

DaVonte Lacy credits trainer Nick Gallotto for his speedy recovery

From Pullman – The Washington State men’s basketball team has had good luck with trainers and managers of late. Current SWX producer (and frequent SportsLink contributor) Neil Stover achieved a level of fame that many players would envy.

Assistant athletic trainer Nick Gallotto may be next. Find out why after the jump.

Lacy trying to return for UW game

From Pullman – With a home game against the Huskies, Beasley Coliseum should finally fill up on Saturday. The Cougars are hoping that extra energy in the gym can give them a boost against their rivals. But not nearly as big a boost as the return of leading scorer DaVonte Lacy, something that WSU coach Ken Bone says could be right around the corner.


  

Lacy on the road to recovery

From Pullman — Washington State men's basketball coach Ken Bone provided an update on injured player DaVonte Lacy during Tuesday's teleconference. Lacy, WSU's leading scorer at 17.7 points per game, has been out since the ASU game with a rib injury. Doctors told him at that time that it would be 4-6 weeks until he return to the team and it sounds like he's right on schedule.

Just last night he went to the doctor's office and he's still at least 2-4 weeks out,” Bone said. “But he's at least going to get in some passing drills today so he'll be on the floor with a practice jersey and will at least be able to jog up and down the court.”

Lacy out for another month

From Pullman — Ken Bone talked to the media on Tuesday as part of the Pac-12 men's basketball coaches teleconference. Bone said that he was impressed with Stanford's size and athleticism in the post, that Josh Hawkinson is improving and may be overtaking Jordan Railey,  and provided and injury update on DaVonte Lacy, who has been sidelined since tearing some cartilage surrounding his rib at Arizona State on January 5th.

Read on, after the jump.

No timetable for Lacy’s return

From Pullman — Apart from a brief appearance against Arizona State, the Washington State men's basketball team has been without leading scorer DaVonte Lacy since the Cougars' loss to UTEP on December 21. During shoot around before their next game against Mississippi Valley State, Lacy felt pain in his torso and was taken to the hospital, where an appendectomy was performed. After missing the Arizona game, Lacy made a brief comeback against the Sun Devils, but left midway through the first half with a separate rib injury and missed the Colorado game.

We've got an update on Lacy's status, after the jump.

 

DaVonte Lacy out with new injury

From Pullman — The good news for DaVonte Lacy and the WSU men's basketball team is that the talented guard was suffering no lingering affects from his appendectomy when he left the Arizona State game after just 10 minutes. Returning just eight days after the surgery, Lacy started for the Cougar but rushed to the locker room clutching his side midway through the first half.

The bad news is that X-rays revealed a new injury, this time to Lacy's ribs, one that could keep WSU's leading scorer out even longer. During the Pac-12 coaches teleconference Ken Bone said that he expects Lacy to be out at least a week, meaning he'll miss tomorrow's matchup against No. 15 Colorado in Spokane, as well as Sunday's game against Utah.

Without Lacy's 18.9 points per game, the Cougars offensive struggled mightily this past week, scoring just 72 points in two games. Not only is Lacy the team's scoring leader, he's one of its vocal leaders as well. His ability to create shot and draw defenses provides opportunities for his teammates, and without him on the court the WSU offense often appeared to stall.

Freshman guard Que Johnson picked up some of the scoring slack against Arizona State will need to continue to shoulder the scoring load until Lacy's rib heals.

WSU men’s basketball: recapping the road trip

The Washington State men's basketball team's trip to the desert wasn't the cleansing experience often experienced by participants at Burning Man or those on various spirit quests. Rather, WSU's offensive drought was more reminiscent of one Wile E. Coyote — always chasing that blasted bird but always one step behind. 

A DaVonte Lacy sighting proved to be a mirage, and it's anyones guess when the Cougars leading scorer will return and provide some offensive relief. We'll recap WSU's road trip in full, after the jump.

WSU falls, hard, to No. 1 Arizona

From Tucson — A perfect storm of injured players, anemic shooting, a hostile crowd and great defense combined as the Cougars had a historically bad offensive night. 25 points. Says it all, really. Still, WSU coach Ken Bone and the players requested by reporters came out to face the media and answered our questions honestly and earnestly. That can't have been fun, and is no guarantee.

But the Cougars will pick themselves up and prepare to take on Arizona State on Sunday. Until then, our story is after the jump.

DaVonte Lacy update

From Pullman — Davonte Lacy is back from the hospital and his coaches say he's in good spirits. He even participated in Monday's practice, albeit as a manager for the WSU men's basketball team.

“As of now he's up and about, he came home from the hospital yesterday,” coach Ken Bone said on Monday. “He was at practice today as a manager. Handed the guys towels and water and did a good job of it.”

More on Lacy, after the jump.

Cougars likely won’t have DaVonte Lacy for Arizona swing

From Pullman — As we wrote in yesterday's game story, Davonte Lacy went to the hospital following WSU's pre game shoot around to have surgery for appendicitis. There is no firm timeline for Lacy's recovery, but coach Ken Bone says he has been told anywhere from three days to a few weeks.

Losing Lacy is a big blow to the Cougars. The junior was leading the team with 18.9 points per game, and is considered by the players to be the team's vocal leader. In his absence, freshman Que Johnson was the team's go-to scorer on Saturday, taking 17 shots and scoring 19 points. Bone has said this season that he'd like the scoring load to be distributed more evenly than it has been this season, and that'll probably be the case with Lacy out.

It's an inopportune time for WSU to lose its leading scorer. The Cougars begin Pac-12 play next week at No. 1 Arizona. The undefeated Wildcats are No. 8 in the country in field goal percentage defense, meaning that WSU was going to have to work to score the ball even with Lacy. Now, the team is probably relying on a freshman playing in his first truly hostile environment against an excellent defensive team.

That recipe for disaster isn't exactly a family secret.

Johnson will have some help however. In Saturday's game against Mississippi Valley State, Royce Woolridge and D.J. Shelton combined for 30 points on 12 of 15 shooting. Woolridge especially has been coming on lately, and as had a lot of success driving to the basket. The guard transferred from Kansas and has plenty of experience going up against elite athletes. That experience will be valuable Arizona's Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon, or Jahii Carson and Shaq McKissic of Arizona State.

Men’s basketball: WSU 80, SFSU 50

From Albuquerque — The Washington State men's basketball team cruised to an 80-50 win over San Francisco State on Wednesday in an, ahem, neutral arena. Kennewick was once again kind to the Cougars, who won by the largest margin since the last time they headed to the Tri-Cities a season ago and beat Idaho State, 74-39. Stop me if you've heard this before but DaVonte Lacy once again led all scorers, putting up 22 points in the rout. The Cougars got a good game out of D.J. Shelton who finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds.

Also encouraging was the 10 points scored by Royce Woolridge, his fourth time in double figures in the last five games.

It wasn't immediately a romp, however, as SFSU led, 16-15, with 8:48 left in the first half. But the Cougars raced out to a 43-31 halftime lead and never looked back.

Follow the jump for the box score.

Bell, Lacy meet again

The paths of Gonzaga's Gary Bell Jr. and Washington State's DaVonte Lacy's have crossed numerous times before. They've been foes, teammates and roommates, and along the way they've become friends.

That friendship will take a couple hours off Thursday night when GU entertains WSU at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Here's a feature I put together on Bell and Lacy that run in Thursday's S-R.

DaVonte Lacy pre-practice interview

From Pullman — DaVonte Lacy established himself as a go-to scorer for Washington State in the team's season-opening win over Cal State Bakersfield. He put up 28 points in the win and will be one of the Cougars key players as they try to move up the Pac-12 ladder this season. Lacy spoke with the Spokesman-Review before practice on Wednesday. Here's the video of that interview:

 

Cougars at media day

From San Francisco — Coach Ken Bone and guard DaVonte Lacy led off a busy Pac-12 Basketball Media day. Below is the video provided by the Pac-12 and continue reading for a transcription.

DaVonte Lacy out for the season

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — When it rains, it pours. And we're not talking about the weather. Read on.

Quotable: WSU’s losing streak hits 9

COUGARS

FROM SEATTLE — Emptying out our notebook and passing along some more quotes after Washington State's 72-68 loss to Washington here on Sunday. Read on.