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Inland Northwest college basketball has a great Saturday

Eastern Washington's Felix Von Hofe (44) fights for a rebound against Idaho State during a college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, at Eastern Washington in Cheney, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / Spokesman Review)
Eastern Washington's Felix Von Hofe (44) fights for a rebound against Idaho State during a college basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, at Eastern Washington in Cheney, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / Spokesman Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Both Gonzaga teams win. Ditto for Eastern Washington, Idaho and Whitworth. The Cougar women win on the road. And Baltimore goes into Pittsburgh and knocks the Steelers from the playoffs. All in all, a really good Saturday. Read on.

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• When your team wins it’s a good day. And no matter which school you root for around here in the college basketball ranks, yesterday was a good day. It started with Washington State's women winning their Pac-12 opener in Tucson. It finished late at night with Idaho's men scoring a late bucket and upsetting defending Big Sky champion Weber State. In between there were routs and nail-biters, tough wins and even tougher wins. The only thing missing was a loss. 

• The next best thing to your team winning? One of its rivals losing. In the Seahawks' case, the only "rival" that was left playing yesterday was Pittsburgh. Ever since the Super Bowl debacle earlier this century, most Hawk fans have secretly – and not-so-secretly – hated the Steelers. So last night's 30-17 win by Baltimore, in Pittsburgh no less, must have felt good to that group. Though I'm sure there is a part of ever Hawk fan that would like to meet the Steelers in the Super Bowl again. This time the Seahawks would seem to have the upper hand. And revenge is sweetest when served cold.

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• WSU: The Cougar men had the day off – and yes, I know that opens the door for a lot of jokes about the undefeated Saturday referenced above – but Jacob Thorpe didn't. He had to write an advance of today's game at California, though it only appeared on the blog. And he put together a morning post with links for today. Of course, he also got to avoid all the snow and cold weather we experienced yesterday. ... Though Arizona made a couple runs, the WSU women had little trouble holding off the Wildcats in Tucson.

• Gonzaga: It was hard to stay focused on the Zags last night, what with the NFL playoff game on another channel. So when GU took a big lead, I switched over the NBC to watch the Ravens' defense make big play after big play. Which meant I missed a lot of Portland's comeback. But once I hooked back into the Zags' game, I stayed a while. And watched GU hold off a Portland team that tried to shoot its way back into it. Jim Meehan has the game story and this blog post. He'll be back today with a look back at the win. ... The Oregonian has this feature on Domantas Sabonis. ... The Gonzaga women broke out to a big lead and were never threatened, defeating Portland by more than 20 points. Thomas Clouse has the game story. ... Back to the men, St. Mary's remained undefeated with a 72-63 win over Loyola-Marymount, BYU picked up another win, this one 99-68 at USF and USD lost at Santa Clara, 59-56 despite Johnny Dee's 3-point record.

• EWU: A win is a win, especially when you are trying to protect home court and secure a Big Sky title. So Eastern Washington was not all that upset to earn a 65-57 win over Idaho State. What is more problematic for the Eagles is Drew Brandon's balky back, which again limited the talented point guard's minutes yesterday. Jim Allen has all the particulars in this game story while Tyler Tjomsland has a bunch of photographs from the contest. ... Montana got past North Dakota 74-63. ... Northern Colorado won at Montana State, 62-54. ... Sacramento State handed Southern Utah a 90-75 loss. ... Northern Arizona won 73-60 at Portland State.

• Idaho: The Vandals' first weekend in the Big Sky since the 1990s turned out to be a good one as they held off Weber State 86-84 to go 2-0 in conference. Sean Kramer has the game story from Moscow.

• Whitworth: The Pirate men are on a roll, having won eight consecutive games.

• Chiefs: The Chiefs had a tough weekend in Victoria, losing for the second consecutive night to the Royals. ... Portland got past Tri-City last night. ... Everett won on the road.

• Preps: The final Saturday of the winter holiday break was a light one for high school basketball but we do have girls and boys roundups. ... The SWABs finalists have been announced.

• Seahawks: The Hawks keep it simple on defense and that might just be the key to their success. ... Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin have been friends for a long time.

• Mariners: Is the M's roster better this year? This piece says it is.

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• The snow piled up a bit on the driveway overnight. If I want to go anywhere today it's going to take some shoveling. No big deal. I shovel stuff in this column every day. It's just not snow. Until later ...



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

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