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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Into December we go


FROM PULLMAN -- As I sit down to write this, the clock has ticked past midnight, which means it's officially December. Which means there's only another five weeks or so until college football season is over. But basketball is Pullman's primary concern now. Read on.


We'll have a live chat tonight at 6:30 p.m. to preview WSU's game against Portland (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network) and answer any football questions you might have. ... Our advance in today's paper is about Dexter Kernich-Drew's increased production -- and increased playing time -- though it's just a short item. To summarize briefly: Kernich-Drew has scored in double-figures in four of WSU's seven games this season, and is WSU's second-leading scorer at 9.9 points per game (with 69 points in seven games, he's one point shy of an even 10.0). This is both good and bad for the Cougars. Good for the obvious reasons -- Kernich-Drew is a player Ken Bone and his staff have been high on since he arrived on campus. Bone has said a number of times that Kernich-Drew is the best athlete on the team, but his slight frame (despite standing 6-foot-6) and inability to put on weight have hampered his development the past couple seasons. Now, thanks to his quickness and shooting ability, it looks as if he can be one of their primary scoring threats in the backcourt. ... Of course, there's the other side to it, too -- that Kernich-Drew is getting more minutes because, quite simply, sophomore guard DaVonte Lacy remains out with a left knee injury. Bone seems somewhat optimistic that Lacy won't be out too much longer, though it's probably a bit too presumptuous to expect him back for the Gonzaga game on Wednesday (when Bone was asked Wednesday if Lacy would miss at least one more game, he put the emphasis on "at least" when answering back). Lacy probably isn't in much danger of losing his starting spot at this point, but Kernich-Drew has certainly made a strong early case for more playing time once Lacy does return. ... Bone also mentioned on Wednesday that freshman walk-on Bryce Leavitt, who has already played some this year, sprained his ankle in practice earlier this week and his status is up in the air. ... Howie Stalwick has this preview box in the Kitsap Sun.

In Pac-12 football news ... Stanford is headed to the Rose Bowl after a 27-24 win over UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game (quick -- who was Stanford's coach the last time the Cardinal played in the Rose Bowl?) Stanford won by simply being itself. And keeping that chip on its shoulder. UCLA got closer this time, but not close enough. This one hurt for the Bruins. ... Arizona is eager to find out who its bowl opponent will be. ... Arizona State can still reach its bowl goals. ... Colorado's assistant coaches are working to keep their recruiting class together in the wake of Jon Embree's firing. ... With USC awaiting its bowl destination, Lane Kiffin is still the center of attention. ... There's still one more game to be played before bowl season -- Oregon State hosts Nicholls State today in a game postponed by a hurricane. ... 

In Pac-12 basketball news ... Oregon State showed well in Kansas City last night, falling 84-78 to No. 10 Kansas. ... Utah's senior leader came off the bench to score 18 points in the Utes' 74-69 win over Texas State. ... There might be some extra motivation for a Wyoming player tonight against Colorado. ... Oregon looks early as if it could contend for the Pac-12 title, says one writer. ... UCLA might play its dreaded zone defense again tonight against San Diego State. ... An Arizona State player is off to a slow start. The Sun Devils host Sacramento State tonight. ... Arizona faces a Texas Tech team tonight that is scoring at a high clip under an interim head coach.

Christian Caple can be reached at Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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