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WSU’s win over GU, the morning after


COUGARS• UPDATED: 3:40 P.M.

It was an interesting night in Pullman on Wednesday. With the Zags in town, the Beasley crowd of more than 10,000 was into it (the players were appreciative, as their comments show) and the Bulldogs were not, especially after halftime. We have more on Washington State's relatively easy 81-59 victory on the link, so read on.

UPDATE: Washington State, which will play a non-conference game in Spokane on Friday night, will play two Pac-12 games there next season. The first conference home weekend, against the Oregon schools, will be at the Arena on Dec. 29 and 31. As you may know, AD Bill Moos wants to get the Spokane market more involved. With the students gone on Christmas break, the two games gives WSU a chance to have that Spokane presence. Now let's see how many fans turn out for the Texas-Pan American game Friday. “It is vital to the growth of Cougar Athletics that we engage in the Spokane community and taking a conference basketball weekend to Spokane gives more fans the opportunity to see their team in person,” Moos said in a press release. “With students away from Pullman during the holiday break, it’s a great time to highlight Cougar basketball at one of the premier venues in the Pacific Northwest.”
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• Washington State: We had planned to sit down today and write a really long blog post on the improvement in WSU's defense and the Cougars ability to make in-game changes offensively. But after thinking about it, we decided to use those points for our advance of tomorrow night's game in Spokane with lowly Texas-Pan American. Seemed like good points to share with the newspaper readers. So we're going to keep this post light on (our) comment and heavy on links, video and post-game comments from the participants. Our Jim Meehan will also have a post today with GU comments. ... Here's our game story and John Blanchette's column on Gonzaga's struggles. ... There is also this recap from CougCenter. ... Ryan Collingwood's game story should be on his blog post soon. ... I missed Todd Milles' feature on Abe Lodwick yesterday, but still wanted to pass it on. ... In other WSU news, we had the story yesterday about the fate of the two football players arrested with the pot plants.

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• Here are some highlights courtesy of WSU ...

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• And now some quotes we didn't use from last night. We'll be using some of them in the advance for tomorrow's paper. ...

Ken Bone on Klay's game: "What I like about Klay's performance tonight was the face the goes in at half, I think he had made one shot, but he did have four rebounds, four steals, three assists and then other things that are not on the stat sheet, just tying up loose balls, and being aggressive and being a leader by example. And it paid off the second half in regards to getting shots. He just struck with it battled and had a great game." ... "He made a lot of positive things happen. He made a lot of great basketball plays." ... "He is not just a shooter anymore." ... "The emotion he played with and the energy he played with, in that respect it did not surprise me. I think if we were still out there playing, he would still be out there coming up with big plays." ... "I think he's tired of hearing me tell him to shoot. I don't have to tell him anymore. I think he knows that's his job."

On GU: "Gonzaga did a great job coming back in the latter part of the first half." ... "Their bigs are big and they are very good and at times they had their way with us."

On all the misses at the end of the half: "That was the plan, to go at Robert (Sacre) and see if he would back off and maybe we could score or he would play aggressive and maybe pick up his third. The strategy didn't work too well."

On the zone: "I liked the way we knew where their shooters were."

On the game: "It was really not a typical Gonzaga game. We all know how good they really are. A lot of the credit goes to our guys, but they're much better than they showed tonight."

On the crowd: "It's great to play in front of a crowd like this."

On the six charges WSU picked up: "We've tried to do that here this year. If we do a good job of ball pressure, sometimes people are going to be able to drive it on us. And if they drive it, sometimes we don't have the bigs to stop them inside with shots blocks or even a good post presence. But if we can get there in time to pick up a charge, we need to do that. Some of out kids did a great job tonight."

On the offensive change in the second half: "We tried to drive it a little more. They switched it and Gonzaga did a nice job of adjusting to (the pick-and-pop) but it's give and take. They switched it and stopped us from getting the pick-and-pop, but there were opportunities for us to drive the mismatch."

On the defense: "I loved the activity we had out there. We moved our feet, we moved our hands and we were very active defensively. That was a great sign."

On Patrick Simon: "He's just so calm and cool out there, you don't know if he hits a three or air-balls it. He just has the same demeanor. That's a good demeanor to have, especially for a freshman."

Klay Thompson on what the win means: "I think it means we're pretty good. We got a lot of confidence from tonight, to beat team like that, that has a lot of talent, by 22 points, ya, it felt really good." ... "Hopefully, people will see how good we can be, and hopefully we'll put on a show up there on Friday too, because you can't be too high on this win and we can't take any opponent lightly."

On whether this was his best and biggest game at WSU: "I would say so because I didn't take a lot of shots in the first half and I think my defense made a lot of offense. If I keep doing that and I keep aggressive, I'll be good for the rest of the season."

More on his block of Sacre: "I just saw him going up, I timed it well and I was pretty excited after that."

On his second half: "After I hit those layups and I was getting to the basket pretty easy, I was in a great rhythm, because when you see the ball go in like that, any scorer is going to feel good about themselves and hunt their shot."

On WSU's defense: "That's a big difference between this year and last year. We could score last year, but our defense was a little shaky. This year I think we're really solid defensively. ... If we keep doing that, we can play with anybody."

On the team: "When we face adversity like that, we don't fold." ... "We're a year older. A lot of us have more experience, we're more mature and we don't let (adversity) effect us anymore."

On his emotion: "When you play in front of that many fans, you're going to show emotion just because it's so fun to play in front of that many people who support you. I wish we played like that every game."

Fasial Aden on the game: "I didn't know how big a rivalry this was." (smiles) "It was a big win not just because of the rivalry, but because we needed the win."

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• Around the Pac-10: San Jose's Jon Wilner has a unique take on Pac-10 football coaches' salaries ... Washington: The Huskies' basketball team is so deep, a former starter is coming off the bench. ... Oregon State: Mike Riley wasn't happy about the season. You think? ... Oregon: Chip Kelly's contract makes it tougher for a school to poach him. ... Auburn's defense should be ready for the Ducks' offensive pace. ... California: The Bears lose 77-57 at home to San Diego State, possible the best team on the West Coast. ... Stanford: Nothing here. ... USC: Nothing here. ... UCLA: Or here. ... Arizona State: The Sun Devils are struggling and so is one freshman. ... Arizona: The Wildcats plays a disinterested game, but still defeat Cal State Fullerton 73-62 in Tucson.

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• That's all for this morning. We'll be back with our advance later in the day. 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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