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How tough can WSU be?


COUGARS

Toughness. That’s the theme for Washington State tonight. Can the Cougars be tough enough to take what UCLA dishes out and respond in the right way? It was coach Tony Bennett’s main message at practice this week. Were the Cougs listening? Read on.

UCLA starts six-game test for WSU


COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:30 A.M.

A tough six-game stretch tips off tonight for the Washington State Cougars, starting with Pac-10-leading UCLA coming to Beasley Coliseum. It’s been a long time since WSU has defeated the Bruins – eight consecutive games – and even longer since the Cougars have won in Pullman – the last win over UCLA was in LA in 2004. After the Cougars host UCLA and USC, they head on a four-game road swing, with two in Arizona and two in the Bay Area. We’ve got links. Read on.

A fitter Baynes good fit for WSU

COUGARS

With UCLA trying to find its way to foggy, storm-ridden, out-of-the-way Pullman, Washington (see the LA Times story linked later), we took this week to profile center Aron Baynes (shown attacking Oregon freshman center Michael Dunigan during the first half last Saturday in this AP photo). The unedited version of the feature story is on the link, along with some notes for our Thursday basketball page and the above-mentioned link. Read on.

For starters, WSU still not sure


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With only a day until Washington State risks its three-game winning streak against UCLA, the WSU players who will be introduced by Glenn Johnson are still up in the air. That, other notes from Tuesday’s practice, and a bunch of links all await you. Read on.

Rochestie’s not Pac-10 player of week


COUGARS

Just a quick post tonight before I head out to the Valley. I was expecting to link you to a Pac-10 release in which Taylor Rochestie, WSU’s nominee, would be named the conference’s player of the week. In the two Cougar road wins, Rochestie had 44 points – a career-high 30 against Oregon – 14 assists and two turnovers. But, alas, I’m not able to do that. Stanford’s Lawrence Hill, a good guy who had a career-high 25 points in a home upset of Cal, was named the conference’s player of the week. I guess Hill’s three rebounds and three assists made the difference. After all, he is 6-foot-8 and he’s supposed to rebound. The 6-1 Rochestie, a point guard, mind you, only had six rebounds in the two games. Nice choice. Oh, I forgot. Stanford is located in California.

Oregon win, the day after

COUGARS

Well you folks had a lively discussion this morning. Sorry to interrupt, because I want you to keep going if that’s your wish, but I have your links for the day after, along with some more comments from the players and coaches after Saturday’s win in Eugene. Hope you have a great Sunday.

WSU’s record day at the line


COUGARS

OK, I’m back in Spokane after racing up I-5 to make my flight. I made some changes in the story and added some web-only items. You can read it all on the link.

WSU pulls away in the second half


COUGARS

Ernie Kent didn’t stick around to see the end of WSU’s 74-62 victory . He picked up two technicals within 2 minutes, 18 seconds from official Chris Rastatter and was ejected with 12:12 left. That was in the midst of a game-clinching 12-0 run. Later, the game was stopped for five minutes as the officials tried to figure out if Aron Baynes’ shot to beat the shot clock was a 3-pointer, it was and the first of his career, whether it was before the clock should have expired, it was reset after a Taylor Rochestie 3-pointer. It shouldn’t have been, but the shot still counted. Baynes had 19 points and 11 rebounds. All those things checked out and the game continued. That’s also when Rochestie, who finished with a career-high 30 points, found the range from outside, hitting two key 3-pointers at the end of the shot clock to help WSU keep a double-digit lead. They kept it by hitting all 28 of their free throws. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story.

WSU leads 24-17 at the half


COUGARS

When did this game start? Was it early in the morning? Because at times it seemed like the teams were still asleep. There was one possession in which Oregon had three attempts, the last two without anyone challenging, as the Cougars just stood and watched. Of course, this came on the heels of three consecutive possessions in which WSU blocked shots, by Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto and Aron Baynes. That seemed to ignite the Cougar offense a little, and they scored the final six points of the half for the seven-point lead. Baynes and Taylor Rochestie each have eight points while LeKendric Longmire leads all scorers with 11 points. We’ll be back at the end of the game.

Ducks, fans ready to test WSU

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How good is Oregon? Or, put another way, how bad are the Ducks? Is the five-loss Pac-10 start a product of their schedule or is this a team that will struggle all year with on-court deficiencies and off-court chemistry? Read on.

Catching up on a Saturday morning


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Just a quick post with links from the morning. We’ll have more prior to the game. Read on.

Wounded Ducks still fearsome for WSU

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The Cougars held a late practice at Mac Court Friday afternoon, as WSU coach Tony Bennett wanted to give them some rest after Thursday night’s overtime win over Oregon State. They shot, they ran through their entries and in-bounds plays and they went over what they expect the Ducks to do. Typical day-before-a-game practice. We watched, then did a couple of interviews. Our advance that will be in tomorrow’s S-R appears in its unedited version on the link. Read on.

WSU can’t be caught looking back

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:30 A.M.

Ever take a drive in the mountains and find yourself constantly looking in the rear-view mirror, trying to catch a glimpse of the snow-covered peak behind, because what’s ahead isn’t as pretty? You know you shouldn’t be glancing back so much, because the road has a bunch of those “Watch for falling rock” signs, but you do it anyway. No? Shoot. I wanted to use that as a metaphor for the Cougars and this weekend. Though they didn’t play particularly well against Oregon State, they did earn a Pac-10 win. But now they have to face a ticked-off Oregon team that hasn’t won a conference game yet – and shows all the signs that an explosion is just down the road. If WSU is caught looking back to Thursday night, it could easily go off a cliff Saturday morning here in Eugene.

Of course, we have no such problem. On the link we look back at the Oregon State game … and look at the Huskies’ win over the Ducks as well. Read on.

WSU wins ugly, but it wins


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Tony Bennett was happy with the win. But he wasn’t happy how it happened. “It was enough to get a victory, but not enough to be where we have to be,” Bennett said in the basement of Gill Coliseum after WSU’s 61-57 overtime win over Oregon State. On the link you’ll find how the Cougars rallied for the win with the unedited version of my game story, along with some web-only notes. We’ll be back tomorrow with more. Till then …

WSU wins in overtime, 61-57


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Too many turnovers. Too many offensive rebounds. Too many easy buckets. Too many missed chances. This was a night when there easily could have been too manys for WSU. Instead all they added up to was a 61-57 overtime win over OSU the Cougars gutted out, outscoring the Beavers 11-7 in overtime and getting a big block from Aron Baynes to help seal it. But this isn’t the same OSU team. Just as his brother-in-law is about to bring change to Washington, D.C., Craig Robinson has brought it to Corvallis. These Beavers play harder, play smarter and just play better than those of the past few years. Still, a Pac-10 win is a Pac-10 win. We’ll be back in about 90 minutes with the game story. Till then …

Oregon State leads 33-30 at half


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The first half went pretty much as expected, except the Oregon State Beavers, shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc, hit three of their first four 3-point attempts, allowing them to build an early six-point lead. It didn’t help the Cougar cause when DeAngelo Casto, making his first start, picked up two fouls in the first 2 minutes, 20 seconds. Then Aron Baynes picked up a couple of cheap ones himself and sat the 9:20. With those two out (and Charlie Enquist getting some playing time), the Cougars struggled on the boards, getting out-rebounded 14-11, with all of WSU’s on the defensive end while the Beavers had six offensive rebounds, leading to four second-chance points. WSU also isn’t taking care of the ball on the offensive end with seven turnovers leading to 10 OSU points. One last thing … Marcus Capers is starting the second half instead of Nik Koprivica. We’ll be back afterward. Till then …

What’s in store for WSU, Oregon State


COUGARS

It’s time for our usual pregame post. Where we tell you what you should think. Well, not really. It’s where we tell you what we think will happen in the game. You are free to disagree – and then never read this blog again. Just kidding. Read on.

Beavers setting trap for WSU

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Welcome from beautiful Corvallis. Didn’t get in until real late – for me, that could be anytime after dark, but last night it meant barely in time for Letterman – so this is a little later than usual. But we’ve got links and thoughts before tonight’s game with the Beavers. Read on.

WSU already springing into football


COUGARS • UPDATED: 3:22 P.M.

Let’s get right to it today. There’s basketball news, from WSU and around the Pac-10. And there’s football news, also from WSU and around the Pac-10. Read on.

Beavers are now on WSU’s agenda


COUGARS

 

You think Tony Bennett was satisfied with one Pac-10 win? Well, you weren’t at practice Tuesday. The WSU coach pushed his team hard, as hard as I’ve seen this season, demanding attention and focus on the defensive end as the Cougars prepare to play Oregon State and their back-cut-oriented offense. As we get ready to head to Oregon ourselves, we have a story for tomorrow’s S-R on Taylor Rochestie’s emergence as the Cougs’ team leader through words and deeds. Read on for the unedited version along with some web-only notes and quotes.

A few links for Tuesday


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I didn’t post earlier this morning for a variety of reasons ranging from a time crunch getting back to Pullman to very few items floating quickly to the surface. But now I’m down in Pullman waiting for the teleconferences for June Daugherty and Tony Bennett to begin and I had a little more time to dig deeper. Read on for what I found.