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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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WSU and Idaho, the day after


COUGARS

There wasn't a lot of time after the game last night for in-depth analysis, either from those involved or on this space. The late start meant no one had much time to talk, with deadlines looming or early classes. But we have a few things that didn't make the paper, so read on.
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• Washington State: We're working on a story for tomorrow on how teams are defending Klay Thompson, now that he's one of the nation's top scorers at 25.8 per game. The Vandals had a game plan in place, but after listening to coach Don Verlin, I'm pretty sure they didn't do a good job of putting it into practice. Though Verlin continually gave WSU credit, he wasn't too happy with his Vandals, using terms like embarrassed, didn't play hard, disappointed and didn't compete. "They thoroughly man-handled us in every phase of the game tonight," he said. "They were coached better, I thought they played harder and I thought they were much more prepared than our basketball team tonight and they beat us in every phase of the game. You've got to give the credit to Washington State, to Ken Bone and their staff because they flat whupped our tails tonight." Verlin was so angry, it reminded me of an old line by Tampa Bay coach John McKay when the Bucs were in the middle of their winless expansion season. Asked about his team's execution, McKay replied: "I'm for it." ... The Cougars did some good things, especially defensively, at the end of the first half and for most of the second. They pressured Idaho into turnovers – the 12 Vandal turnovers resulted in 17 WSU points – and rebounded relentlessly. DeAngelo Casto led the way here with 14, but it was the guards who supplied the biggest boosts. Thompson had nine and Marcus Capers and Xavier Thames split another six. By nearly completely shutting down the UI offense – over 10 minutes spanning halftime, all Idaho was able to get was a long 3 with the shot clock running down from Jeff Ledbetter and Mac Hopson's inside score – and finding its long-range stroke (four 3-pointers), WSU was able to make a seven-point lead 27. ... The Cougars did not close the game all that well, missing two front ends of one-and-ones in the final three minutes and not closing hard on Ledbetter, who nailed a couple long 3-pointers. But they kept enough of their lead that no one was sweating too much. ... Some of you asked about Brock Motum not playing. I think he's participation will be a game-by-game thing because he's probably the 11th man right now and third at the 4 position. With Abe Lodwick playing well (six points, two big 3-pointers, three credited rebounds – he got his hands on a lot more – and an assist in 17 minutes) and Nik Koprivica doing the same (nine points on 3-of-4 shooting in 23 minutes), Motum just didn't have a spot to fit in. Against bigger teams, I could see Koprivica sliding down to the 3 spot and Motum getting some more minutes, but as long as the 4s are playing well, he'll have trouble getting time. ... One thing I don't want to forget. Kudos to the Idaho contingent last night. There was a pretty big group up in the rafters of Beasley and they did their best to cheer the Vandals on, despite the lackluster effort. ... Here's our game story as it appeared in the paper and the longer version we put up last night. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick had this piece in the Kitsap Sun and other papers. ... One more newsy note. We mentioned the UNLV athletic director search yesterday, with the three finalists having strong WSU roots. The Las Vegas Review-Journal did this profile of WSU senior associate athletic director John Johnson while its columnist made his choice.

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• Around the Pac-10: A couple of games last night, with Cal heading inland to Stockton and handling the University of Pacific. ... Meanwhile, Arizona struggled early, but ran away from Louisiana Tech at home. ... On the football side of things, Buster Sports' Nick Daschel takes an early look at the Pac-10 teams in 2010.

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• That's all for now. We'll be back as news warrants. Until then …



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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