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A Pac-10 Thursday without WSU


COUGARS

A busy night, and a rare one, in the Pac-10 last evening. The busy part comes from the four games. The rare part comes from both Oregon teams winning on the same night. Hasn’t happened much recently (once last year, once in 2007). The atypical occurrence has scrambled the Pac-10 standings once again, though Cal is two games up on the main pack. The only team within one, Arizona, will host the Bears on Saturday. Enough rambling. Let’s get right to it.

A Thursday without a WSU game


COUGARS

Everyone in the Pac-10 has a game tonight, everyone except WSU and Washington, of course. Which means there are a lot of stories about everyone in the Pac-10, everyone except WSU and Washington, of course. Read on.

WSU’s Moore ready for Huskies


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One game this week. In Seattle. Against UW. A place Reggie Moore would have been happy to attend coming out of Rainier Beach High, when he didn’t feel he wanted to leave home. But he had already committed to Fresno State, was stuck and went to a prep school in New Hampshire. Now he’s in Pullman. We talked with Moore this week and we have a piece for tomorrow’s paper. Read on for the story.

This and that from WSU


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It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? We’re still seven months from a football game, but there’s only a week until most fans think the season – or seasons – will be a success or not. Yes, a week from today those all-important football letters of intent will start flooding in and “experts” will be all over the airwaves telling us who signed the best players. Then three years from now someone we never heard of on LOI day will win the Outland Trophy. But that’s for next week. Today, we have some basketball items. Read on.

Bone talks about his WSU team


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Washington State took the day off practice today, but that doesn’t mean it was an empty few hours. Coach Ken Bone held his two teleconferences this morning, and we have a summary on the link. Read on.

WSU earns a day of rest


COUGARS

Like any Tuesday, this one will start slowly, with just a few links, then build momentum, what with WSU coach Ken Bone’s presser this morning and the Pac-10 media call. But then it will stop completely, as the Cougars have the day off from practice, which is probably a good thing, as they looked a little tired at times this weekend in LA. We’ll use the time wisely, gathering information for another beat we will be covering this spring, college baseball. But that’s for another post. Read on for WSU and Pac-10 news.

Monday morning around WSU


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An interesting Monday morning … and not just because it’s snowing/raining in Spokane. No, it’s interesting on a couple of fronts, with basketball news from around the West Coast and football news out of Eugene. Read on.

WSU’s UCLA loss, the day after

COUGARS

Not only did Saturday’s loss at UCLA – the Bruins first win on a Saturday this season – deny Washington State a rare sweep in Los Angeles, it also denied the Cougars a chance to ensure a winning record in the Pac-10 Conference’s first half. Now, for that to happen, WSU must travel to Seattle and defeat the Huskies in Hec Ed. That’s all. Pretty simple, huh? We have some notes, links and thoughts from Saturday’s defeat, so go ahead and read on.

WSU can’t zone in, loses to UCLA


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Is it as goes Klay Thompson, so goes WSU? It was Saturday, as Thompson struggled mightily against a UCLA zone defense that was keyed to stop him (see the comment from Tyler Honeycutt in the game story) and only Reggie Moore came to his rescue. We have the game story, in its unedited version on the link. Tomorrow, we’ll put out our usual day-after post, with lots of notes, thoughts and comments..

WSU loses, 74-62


COUGARS

Patience is never a strong suit of the young and it certainly wasn’t Saturday afternoon for WSU. UCLA’s matchup zone demanded patience and accurate shooting and the Cougars had neither, though the former may have led to the latter. Even when WSU showed patience in the second half, ball movement was lacking. And Klay Thompson wasn’t there to bail them out. Or, more accurately, his shot wasn’t there. The sophomore, the Pac-10’s leading scorer, the nation’s sixth-leading scorer, a 45.8 percent shooter, struggled all day, finishing 5 of 17, including 2 of 9 beyond the arc. He had 13 points, a little more than half his average. Reggie Moore led the way with 24 points. WSU shot 35.6 for the game, but it seemed like than that. We’ll be back in a coupl hours.

WSU trails UCLA 30-27 at half


COUGARS

Well that was interesting. The pace of the first half was glacial at times, as both teams emphasized transition defense and retreated into zones – the entire half for UCLA, much of the middle for WSU. That pace made it hard for the Bruins to pull away, despite playing markedly better. The Cougars had a couple chances to lead after falling behind by five in the first 5 minutes. But an offensive drought late – WSU went more than 3 minutes without scoring – allowed the Bruins to build a nine-point lead. A couple of 3-pointers by Nik Koprivica and Klay Thompson helped the Cougars crawl back to the halftime margin. … Thompson is the focal point of UCLA’s 2-3 matchup and it’s worked. The sophomore has just six points on 1-of-8 shooting. Reggie Moore has taken up the slack with 12 points, but that’s it, as DeAngelo Casto has not scored – and played just over half the time. Mustafa Abdul-Hamid, who beat UW with a late jumper Thursday, leads UCLA with eight points. We’ll be back after the game.

New era for WSU, UCLA?


COUGARS

Remember the recent Washington State vs. UCLA match-ups since Ben Howland’s arrived in Westwood? And how most of them finished in the 50s or low 60s? Then there was the 82-81 game here last February. And the dynamic has changed. With Ken Bone taking over at WSU and the Bruins’ defense leaving the building, we might see another game like we saw here last year. Or maybe not. Read on.

WSU hopes sweep is a slam dunk


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When Washington State headed off to Southern California this weekend, the second half of the trip probably seemed easier, what with UCLA coming off a beatdown from USC at home. But that was so last week. Now the Bruins look like a tough out, after playing well in their zone and taking down supposedly red-hot Washington on Thursday night. If there is one thing we’ve learned thus far this Pac-10 season, though, is that the last game’s results aren’t a great predictor of today’s games. We look at them all on the link, so read on.

Pac-10 is a home away from home for Serbians


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We have a short feature for you on the Simpsons-handful of Serbians in the Pac-10, all named Nikola. We talked with WSU’s, sixth-man Nik Koprivica. Read on.

WSU ecstatic about beating USC


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We don’t want to waste your time, so let’s get right to it. By shooting 56 percent in the second half, including its last eight shots, WSU was able to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit and get past USC last night in LA. As you could expect, this made the Cougar pretty happy. The locker room was pretty loud. Even Klay Thompson showed some emotion, smiling and pumping a fist after his 15-footer gave WSU a 64-58 lead with about a minute left. We have more, so read on.

WSU rallies for big Pac-10 win


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Of all the non-televised games this season, this was probably the one that should have been shown in the Northwest. After playing ugly – put that on USC, it makes everyone play ugly – in the first half, trailing 34-24, and continuing that trend early in the second, WSU woke up. And basically just battled to a victory. We have our game story on the link, so read on.

WSU battles back, wins 67-60


COUGARS

To win on the road, even in a down year in the Pac-10, it would seem WSU needs to play as close to perfect as it can. Thursday night the Cougars were not even close and yet they won. They overcame a 15-point second-half deficit and pulled out a big win at the Galen Center over a USC team that is playing the regular season as its post season, which in a sense it is. Offensively, Reggie Moore (21 points), Klay Thompsn (20) and Nik Koprivica (13) led the way. And this one, though frightfully ugly, had the feel of the postseason, with physical play, late clutch performances and key calls playing a big role in the outcome. More in about 90 minutes.

USC leads WSU 34-24 at the half


COUGARS

As I prepared to write this halftime post, the first thing I did was examine the WSU season lows for points in a first half (25 vs. ASU) and shots made (six vs. Kansas State). They got the latter with eight, four from Klay Thompson and three by Reggie Moore. But the former, that fell as the Cougars’ offensive ineptitude (or was it USC’s defense?) resulted in the 24 first-half points. … WSU hit 8 of 24 shots (even my bad math tells me that’s 33 percent) while USC converted 13 of 31. … The Cougars reverted to their 2-3 match-up zone midway through the first half, but it didn’t really matter when the Trojans were able to get out run with abandon – by my count they had 12 fastbreak points – because WSU couldn’t take care of the ball, with eight turnovers, four of which directly to transition hoops. … At least the Cougars didn’t start slowly, leading 14-12 halfway through. But USC finished the half on a 22-10 run. We’ll be back at the end of the game.

Can WSU get over the .500 mark?


COUGARS

Some thoughts from the Galen Center prior to the USC game, in which the Cougars will try to improve on their 3-3 Pac-10 record (and their 13-5 overall mark). I’ve noticed from comments that people believe they’ve found the game on TV. As far as I know, there is no TV broadcast at all. There are no announcers or cameras in the arena. As for other stuff, read on.

WSU will try to weather LA trip


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How often in January does one travel from Spokane, Wash., to Los Angeles, Calif., and arrive to much, much worse weather? Once, in my almost 30 years of doing just that. And this is the week. Left a clear, crisp 48-degree day in the Inland Northwest and replaced it with a 55-degree, storm-of-the-century day in the LA Basin. Noah weather. Mudslides, frogs, locusts. At least that’s what’s predicted. We’ll see. Read on for basketball news.

WSU’s Bone expects to stay the course


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A quick post on coach Ken Bone’s teleconference with the WSU coverage group. I was going to just post this as an update on the morning post, but decided to give the notes their own headline. Read on.

A little WSU, a lot of Pac-10


COUGARS

What were we talking about? Oh, ya, the WSU win over Stanford and the muddled state of Pac-10 basketball. Well, there’s not much more to say about the former until Ken Bone’s teleconference this morning. But there is a little bit to chew over concerning the latter, especially compared to yesterday morning when there was basically a barren landscape. Read on.

The Stanford win, day-after edition

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So let’s see. If Oregon State could have found a way to pull out a victory at home yesterday, every team in the Pac-10 would have been either 3-2, 3-3 or 2-3. That would have been some nice symmetry if nothing else. But the darn Sun Devils ruined it by winning, moving themselves into an insurmountable (just kidding) half-game lead in the standings at 4-2. That 3-2, 3-3 or 2-3 thing? That applies to everyone else. Read on for our look back at Saturday’s games in the conference of does-anyone-want-to-be champions.

WSU plays another close one


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From blowout to nail-biter in about 20 minutes. Such is the life of a young college basketball team. The bottom line, though, is WSU won, holding off Stanford and winning 77-73. The Cougars are 13-5, 3-3 in the Pac-10 and inching ever closer to a possible postseason appearance, in whatever tournament that may be. Read on for the unedited version of our game story.

WSU holds on 77-73


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After leading by as many as 21 in the first half, WSU had to hold on against a Landry Fields-led comeback, a comeback helped immeasurably by a five-point possession for the Cardinal. That came on a Fields hoop-and-harm that drew a response by WSU coach Ken Bone – he slapped the scorer’s table with both hands – and a technical. That helped the Cardinal cut the lead to as little as two. But WSU’s Reggie Moore hit enough free throws to hold on. We’ll be back in about two hours with our story.

WSU leads 46-26 at half


COUGARS

It’s easy to see why Stanford is such a poor defensive team. Heck, the Cardinal couldn’t even guard the high screen and roll, giving up three DeAngelo Casto point-blank looks midway through the first half. It was part of a 21-5 stretch the Cougars had to build a 13-point lead. At one point in the half WSU was shooting almost 70 percent and that included three misses right at the hoop. … The lead got to 21 at a couple points mainly because the Cougars were playing the type of defense they need to play to be successful in the Pac-10 – aggressive (especially on ball screens) and physical. Let’s see if they can keep it up in the second half. … Landry Fields has five points, Klay Thompson 17 in their personal battle. … We’ll be back after the game.

Will WSU shoot down Stanford?


COUGARS

Consistent readers of my part of this blog during basketball season know I’m a pretty big fan of defense. And, if you’ve been reading a while, you now I’ve never felt how many points a team yields offers a clear picture of how a team plays defense. I’m more into field goal percentage defense among the mainstream statistics. Which is why I believe I have an inkling how today’s game will go. Read on.

January games don’t get more crucial for WSU


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Really, it is only mid-January. But with three road games looming, including a trip to LA – never easy – and the rivalry with UW, if there ever was a must-win mid-January game for WSU, today just might be it. That’s if the Cougars want to make a run at the postseason. I’m pretty sure that’s a big priority around here. Read on.

WSU’s Thompson faces a friend


COUGARS

Tomorrow’s game in Beasley will match the top two scorers in the Pac-10, Stanford’s Landry Fields and WSU’s Klay Thompson. We found out today the two worked out together over the summer, which helped Thompson share a scouting report with us. We have an unedited version of our feature on the link. Read on.

WSU’s loss to Cal, the next day


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Boy it was hard to get going this morning. Think slow starts are rubbing off? Anyway, we’re up, we’re going and we’ve got links for you. Read on.