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USC loss, the day after

WSU’s Caleb Forrest, left, and Klay Thompson battle USC’s Taj Gibson for position.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU’s Caleb Forrest, left, and Klay Thompson battle USC’s Taj Gibson for position. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

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.

• As the season winds down, looking more and more like it will end by March 12, there is fewer and fewer stories. But maybe that's a good thing. Anyhow, here's what we found, besides our story of course, the longer version of which you can find here. ... There's freelancer Howie Stalwick's gamer in the P-I and other papers and the Associated Press piece in the News Tribune. ... On the USC side of things, the LA Times' Chris Foster had this story, spending some time covering an upcoming ESPN piece that features Daniel Hackett and his dad.

• Around the rest of the Pac-10, Oregon State moved a game ahead of WSU in the conference standings by blasting Stanford early in Corvallis. Speaking of the Beavers, they picked up another win over WSU yesterday, when highly regarded Australian forward Angus Brandt committed to attending OSU. The Cougars had Brandt in for a visit but he told them a long time ago Pullman wasn't in his plans. ... UCLA reasserted itself in the conference race with a workmanlike victory over UW at Pauley. ... And Oregon continued its march to 0-18 with another defeat, this one at home to Cal. Is Saturday the Ducks best chance for a win?

• A couple of other WSU notes. The Cougar baseball team opens the 2009 season in Arkansas today, and the Democrat Gazette had this Jared Prince feature. ... Former Cougar basketball player Jeff Varem has found a place to play: The Philippines. ... And former WSU coach Dan Cozzetto has left ASU for Washington, where he completes Steve Sarkisian's staff.

• OK. That's it links-wise. Now from some more comments from Bennett and USC's Tim Floyd.

• Bennett on the slow start: "We started out a little sluggish. That was hard. I like the way the guys in the second half fought back, showed some life and energy. They really, really scrapped hard."

• On the subs: "I liked what DeAngelo (Casto) and Marcus (Capers) gave us. ... Some guys picked up the slack. ... Those guys played so hard they had to come out and that's what I like, when they give that kind of effort, but I was going to go with them as long as they could stand. ... It was nice to see DeAngelo score in the post a little bit. Marcus got a couple offensive rebounds, but we didn't capitalize at the free throw line. That hurt us. ... We pretty much have either our seniors or our freshmen. That's pretty much all we've got."

• On Thompson's troubles: "Whether it was coming back home and feeling pressure or the nerves, he certainly, you know he's been playing well but this was not one of his better games."

• Floyd on the game: "We're happy to get a win. It's been a while. We played long periods of time defensively and didn't lose concentration. ... We did a good job on Thompson, we guarded the 3-point line, we got to the line and we rebounded offensively and defensively."


• That's it for this morning. We're headed to practice in Westwood this afternoon, we'll be on the Dennis Patchin show at 4:05 and we'll be writing our advance for tomorrow's S-R. Other than that, there will be the 3 hours or so we'll be on the freeways. That's it. We'll be back later. Until then …

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

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