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WSU’s Harmeling has learned this season

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Saturday, five seniors will be on the court for the last time as a Cougar: Daven Harmeling, Taylor Rochestie, Aron Baynes, Caleb Forrest and walk-on Ryan Bailey. For tomorrow, I’ve written about the one who has had the most challenging senior season. For the unedited version of tomorrow’s story, read on.

And try to get a headline with WSU in it


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You know what’s really difficult? Coming up with this paragraph every day. Heck, two or three times on some days. Trying to figure out a few words that will entice you into reading what’s on the link and making sure those words tie in all the elements we cover on said link. The length is important as well. Too short and it looks like we mailed it in. Too long and it covers your entire computer screen, forcing you to scroll down before you go inside. Think it’s easy? Whatever. It’s done for another day. Read on.

WSU deals with quarterback’s arrest


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An interesting day around Washington State today, with the fallout from Marshall Lobbestael’s weekend arrest and a coach emeritus visiting basketball practice. Read on.

A rare Tuesday with WSU news

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For once there is a Tuesday morning with some linkable stories. Some from basketball, some from football. Read on.

Pac-10 going to the birds


COUGARS • UPDATED 11:30 A.M.

If you are a classic movie buff, and by that I don’t mean you remember the original Friday the 13th, you might recall a scene in “The Birds” in which Tippi Hedren et al walk by a schoolyard. There are thousands of birds on the playground equipment, the fence, the power lines, everywhere. If you remember that scene, you understand the view out my front window today. We have a robin infestation. And as I watched all of them peck around the trees, fight over the little holes in the snow full of water and avoid the squirrel that’s ticked off by their presence, I thought of the Pac-10’s basketball standings. Read on.

UPDATE: Taylor Rochestie’s career-best 33-point performance in Saturday’s upset of UCLA earned him the Pac-10 player of the week award. … Also, Marshall Lobbestael was cited by the Pullman police on Sunday as a minor exhibiting the signs of having consumed alcohol. We’ll have a brief in tomorrow’s paper. You can see the unedited version on the link.

UCLA win, the day after


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It’s the morning after WSU’s upset of the Bruins in Westwood, something that’s happened just once before in Cougar basketball history. And it came less than 48 hours after they sleepwalked through the first half of a loss at USC. We have our usual next-day post, with links to all the Pac-10 winners and some quotes that didn’t make the story. Read on.

WSU makes believers out of UCLA

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The clean up crews are working their way through Pauley Pavilion, picking up the debris left by 10,392 who probably couldn’t believe the Bruins lost today to Washington State. If they were in denial, they aren’t alone. It was hard for WSU to believe. Read on for the unedited version of my game story. I would write more but I have to get to the airport for my flight home.

WSU 82, UCLA 81

Washington State’s Taylor Rochestie, center, is fouled by the UCLA defense of Josh Shipp, left, and Darren Collison during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game Saturday in Los Angeles. Rochestie scored 33 points to lead the Cougars to only their second win ever in 53 tries over UCLA in Pauley Arena, 82-81. ESPN game story & boxscore here. (AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc)

WSU upsets UCLA, 82-81


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It’s been since 2004. And that was the only time ever. When Washington State won in Pauley. The first year of Dick Bennett’s coaching tenure the Cougars took a 55-48 win back to Pullman. Now they have two, but it wasn’t easy. Riding the clutch play of Taylor Rochestie, the Cougars upset the 20th-ranked Bruins to salvage their fading postseason hopes. Rochestie had 33, Klay Thompson, who came out on fire, had 15 and WSU won despite losing Aron Baynes to fouls after scoring 13 points. We’ll be back in a couple hours with the game story.

UCLA, WSU tied at 42 at half


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Washington State has suffered through some scoring droughts before. Lots of times this year in fact. But the problems the Cougars have had scoring have usually been cause by either their offensive ineptitude or a stellar defensive effort. Not until Saturday was it caused by a lack of weapons. With Aron Baynes and Caleb Forrest saddled with foul trouble – I’ll let you comment on the correctness of Michael Greenstein’s whistles – the Cougars lost their inside presence, along with Forrest’s ability to hit the 15-footer. Baynes left with two fouls at the 9-minute mark and WSU leading by eight. He returned 4 minutes later with the Cougars leading by two. He helped them build it back to four, then picked up his third with 1:40 left. Though the score is tied, WSU has outscored the Bruins by 11 from the field, with Klay Thompson putting up 15 (he hit his first five shots) and Taylor Rochestie 12. The 42 points in the first half is a season-high for WSU as is UCLA’s total for an opponent. WSU shot 68 percent in the first 20 minutes - hitting 8 of its first 9 shots - while UCLA shot 62 percent. We’ll be back.

WSU battles Pauley’s ghost

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Understatement of the decade: Washington State doesn’t have much luck in Pauley Pavilion. OK, now that’s out of the way, let’s look at today’s game. Read on.

One more game in LA for WSU


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The last time WSU and UCLA got together in Pullman, the Bruins prevailed by a couple points, mainly because Nikola Dragovic went nuts from beyond the arc in the first half. But all week WSU coach Tony Bennett kept telling his team they were going to have to be tough, because playing the Bruins was like going to be the most physically challenging game they would play all year. Now, reading what UCLA coach Ben Howland had to say this morning in the LA Times advance, we know that sentiment occurs on both sides. For more links, read on.

A long look at WSU’s future


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Though there are still at least five games left this season, we decided to look down the road a little bit today. As the season is winding down, the Cougar freshmen are slowing showing signs of being able to contribute more and more next season and beyond. The consistency isn’t there yet – they are freshmen, after all – but the flashes are. Klay Thompson, of course, has shown his ability most of the season. But DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers have stepped up more often recently, contributing on the defensive end and occasionally on the offensive end as well. For the long version of our advance of tomorrow’s UCLA game, read on.

USC loss, the day after

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For the first time in the Tony Bennett era at WSU, the Cougars have fallen to the .500 mark. They hit that point last night, losing 61-51 to USC in a game that wasn’t that close, then was, then wasn’t. The loss, WSU’s seventh in its last nine games, also dropped it to 5-9 in Pac-10 play. For our usual day-after post, read on.

WSU’s slips help USC to victory


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As we write in our game story – the unedited version of which you’ll find on the link – this WSU team can’t afford many lapses. And the Cougars had a big one in the first half Thursday. The result was a 61-51 loss at USC, dropping the Cougars to .500 overall and 5-9 in the Pac-10. Read on.

USC stops WSU, 61-51


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There was an impressive rally in the second half. But the 15-point deficit WSU built with its almost 8-minute first-half scoring drought was just too much to overcome. The Cougars, behind Taylor Rochestie and DeAngelo Casto, cut USC’s lead to one (45-44) on Casto’s 3-point play. In fact, when DeMar DeRozen missed on the other end, WSU had a chance to take the lead. But Rochestie couldn’t get a 3-pointer to drop with 7:05 left, and Dwight Lewis hit a baseline jumper on the other end. Three empty possessions later, USC was up six and the Cougars would never get closer than four after that. Rochestie led WSU with 16 while Caleb Forrest, who kept the Cougars close in the first half, added 12. Taj Gibson paced USC most of the night, scored 16, with Dwight Lewis, who didn’t play in USC’s Pullman win, adding 17. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.

USC’s big run gives Trojans a 29-21 halftime lead


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It wasn’t the triangle. It wasn’t any one player, though Taj Gibson was a load, with eight points and a couple rebounds. This first half score was a result of domination by USC’s defense of a WSU offense that seemed unable to score – and for 7 minutes, 38 seconds of the first half did exactly that. In that stretch USC built what’s going to be a tough-to-overcome lead, breaking out of a 6-6 tie with a 15-point run. That WSU is still in the game can be attributed to Caleb Forrest, who scored the Cougars’ first six points – he was the only WSU player to hit a shot in the first 13:33 of the game – finishing the half with 10 points, and Taylor Rochestie, who snapped USC’s 15-0 run with a three-point play and ended the half with seven points. WSU was 8 of 24 from the floor, including missing all eight 3-point attempts. USC was much better, hitting 12 of 25 and its only 3-point attempt. We’ll be back after this one is over with a quick summary.

WSU tries to stop USC


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What does Washington State need to do tonight to avenge the two-point loss to USC in the Palouse? A couple of things. Read on.

Lot riding on WSU, USC tonight

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Even Tim Floyd knows it. “Outside of UCLA, no team has given us more trouble than Washington State,” Floyd told the Los Angeles Times this week. Which makes tonight’s matchup at the Galen Center all that more interesting. The Cougars want to play in the postseason, any postseason. And the Trojans, who have lost three straight, want to make the NCAA tournament. A loss tonight might just kill those hopes – for either. Read on.

WSU heads into Pac-10 stretch run


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The final five games of the Pac-10 season come against teams in the conference’s top six. That sixth-place team is USC, the Cougars’ first opponent on this weekend’s trip to Los Angeles. Washington State has been pretty successful against the Trojans in Tony Bennett’s tenure, but this one won’t be easy. For the unedited version of our advance, go ahead and read on.

WSU picks up another junior tackle


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We’ve got a lot for you this morning, so we’re going to get right at it. There is a ton of basketball stuff, of course, along with another football commit for 2010. Read on.

WSU’s big week and more on NCAA rules


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This week is, according to WSU basketball coach Tony Bennett, a life lesson. “The test will be, a lesson of life, can you dust yourself off and get back up and try and finish strong,” Bennett said Tuesday, looking back to the Cougars second-half collapse against Oregon State last Saturday. For more on basketball and the unedited version of our story on the role of the compliance office at your local university, read on.

Tuesdays with WSU


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The last couple days have been somewhat thin on WSU news around the web. But we’ve found a couple things to pass on. You can find them on the link.

Oregon State, the morning after

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It was that kind of day in the Pac-10. WSU did what it did, blowing a lead and losing to Oregon State. Stanford blew even a bigger lead – 22 points – and lost to Cal. Arizona dominated UCLA, which a week ago looked like an Elite Eight team at the very least. Only Oregon remained consistent. Heck, the Ducks might be the only reliable team in the Pac-10 right now. They play, they lose. Read on for our usual postmortem.

WSU cut to the bone by OSU in second half


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In some ways maybe it was fitting. Oregon State frittered away a nine-point second-half lead in Corvallis and lost in overtime. Washington State returned the favor and even more so Saturday afternoon, giving up a 13-point, first-half lead with a strikingly lackadaisical second half and losing 54-52. On the link you’ll find the unedited version of my game story, along with some web-only notes. Read on.

WSU blows lead, loses to OSU, 54-52


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Washington State’s postseason hopes may have melted away in an almost 9 minute stretch of the second half Saturday, when the Cougars couldn’t get a shot to drop, couldn’t get a stop and, in effect, ensured they couldn’t get a win. WSU squandered all of a 12-point lead, fell behind by as many as six (with 5:41 to go), rallied but still lost to Oregon State. At home. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with our story. Till then …

WSU leads 32-20 at half


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It’s easy to see the fruits of a defensive effort like WSU had in the first half today. When the opposition is shooting 38 percent and has scored just 20 points, it’s pretty obvious the Cougars are doing pretty darn well on the defensive end. But what is harder to measure is offensive efficiency, though there are stats for that. The true test is not in points scored (32 in the first 20 minutes) or points per possession (WSU only came up empty on 12 in the first half) but in how a team is attacking the opposition, and what the defense does to react to the attack. In this, the Cougars have been quite efficient. When OSU uses its 1-3-1 trap, they’ve attacked through the elbows and corners, getting open looks. When it has been the 2-3 matchup, the attack has been through ball screens on the wings. The looks have been good against that as well. The Cougars are shooting 56.5 percent, have turned the ball over just five times – including one on Aron Baynes as time ran out – and have 11 points off the bench. They lead by 12 despite just three points from Baynes and none from Taylor Rochestie, who has taken just one shot. We’ll be back when it’s over. Till then …

WSU ready for Beavers


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If you watch Aron Baynes works on his right-handed jump hooks on one end and Caleb Forrest and Charlie Enquist their 15-footers on the other, as I am right now, you would understand how WSU will be attacking Oregon State this afternoon. For more on the Pac-10 matchup, read on.

We (heart) today … right


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There’s something scary about Valentine’s Day. And this year more than ever. Think about it. Friday the 13th, then Valentine’s Day? Coincidence? I think not. Anyhow, any day that’s symbol is a heart and the mascot shoots arrows, well that scares us old guys. So let’s concentrate on the basketball. That will take our mind off any type of worry about a card or … crud, forgot to get a card. Well, let’s get this post done and go find one. Read on.

OSU will try to spread out WSU

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As Washington State rolled through its defensive strategies for the Beavers and their Princeton-style offense, the emphasis was on communicating. Letting your teammate know what you are doing and knowing what he’s doing. Coach Tony Bennett emphasized more than once that the pack wasn’t going to work unless the Cougars talked. We’ll see how well that lesson sunk in about 24 hours from now. On the link you can find the unedited version of my advance. Read on.