The late Latah County magistrate William C. Hamlett first laid eyes on the University of Idaho and the law school from which he graduated in the early 1970s. Ever after, he said Moscow and UI reminded him of Wainwright College from Mickey Rooney’s Andy Hardy comedies of the 1940s.
PULLMAN – Andrej Jakimovski wasn’t exactly himself in his Washington State group’s win over UCLA on Saturday. That much was clear just by looking at him, at the wrap on his shoulder, at the cut on his bottom lip.
MORAGA, Calif. – After losing for the fourth time in eight games last month at Santa Clara, Gonzaga knew it had to do almost everything right to ensure the NCAA Tournament selection committee wouldn’t leave the Bulldogs out of the 68-team field for the first time since 1997-98.
PULLMAN – Myles Rice gave Kyle Smith a certain look. Washington State’s head coach had just taken his star guard out of the game, trying to steal a couple of minutes during Saturday’s home matchup with UCLA, knowing he probably couldn’t afford to do so later in the game.
Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett offered Gonzaga counterpart Mark Few a handshake and a compliment at the conclusion of the Zags’ convincing 70-57 victory Saturday night. Bennett’s words were similar to San Francisco coach Chris Gerlufsen’s after his Dons were thumped by Gonzaga 86-68 on Thursday night at the Chase Center.
Two key games in the last weekend of West Coast Conference play. Two contests in the Bay Area. Against the best and the third-best teams in the conference. Two Quad 1 opportunities. And two exceptional halves.
PULLMAN – Around the time Washington State coach Kyle Smith was discussing his group’s latest win, a come-from-behind victory over USC Thursday night that helped the Cougars improve their NCAA Tournament stock, the coach of his team’s next opponent was busy wondering which of his players he’s interested in retaining.
Gonzaga’s improvement was incremental after falling to Santa Clara on Jan. 11 and more pronounced since stumbling late in a 64-62 loss to Saint Mary’s in early February. The Zags have won seven in a row and 12 of their last 13, but they face their biggest West Coast Conference test Saturday in Moraga when Saint Mary’s attempts to close out an unbeaten conference season.