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Grip on Sports: Yes, the WSU Cougars won a basketball game last night

A GRIP ON SPORTS • If you only read headlines, there are a few today that don’t tell you the whole story. Or might even qualify for the newest rage: fake news. Read on.

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• This morning one of my stops was my old stomping grounds (and I mean that in the way I used to pound on the sports department’s manual typewriters), the Orange County Register. It’s not a usual stop for me, because the paper’s firewall rivals that of the CIA and I’m no WikiLeaks hacker.

Anyway, I wanted to see how my alma mater, UC Irvine, did last night against Santa Clara, Gonzaga’s WCC rival.

But, according to UCI’s hometown newspaper, the Anteaters didn’t defeat the Broncos 58-55. They defeated “UC Santa Clara.” (A quick note: I saved the page on my computer for posterity. The headline might be fixed by the time you get to the link.)

Heck, I know Santa Clara is a good school. I have high school friends who earned their degree there. One notable radio personality in this town is a proud alum. But UC Santa Clara? That would be a step up or a step down, depending on your point of view.

No matter. Irvine won. So for the next year, Bud, I have bragging rights.

• Another fake news headline comes from right here in this newspaper. At least I think it’s fake.

Malachi Flynn’s 27 lead WSU past UVU.”

The Cougars won a basketball game? Is it already April 1? That has to be fake.

With all the angst I’ve been hearing from Coug Nation, as it likes to call itself, concerning Ernie Kent’s team, there is no way it defeated the team that just traveled to BYU and took down those Cougars, is there?

Must have been a way. The headline is true. The freshman point guard did score 27 points and Washington State did defeat Utah Valley, which makes the Wolverines 0-2 against Inland Northwest schools after losing at Gonzaga to open their season.

• Speaking of BYU, this headline in the Deseret News caught my eye today.

BYU relies on defense, rebounding to grind out 77-73 victory over Utah State.”

The Cougars relied on defense? Did Bobby Knight replace Dave Rose after the 114-101 loss to UVU less than a week ago?

Nope. It’s real. And what’s really funny, BYU gave up 73 points in a game in which it was really proud of its defense. You can’t make that up.

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WSU: Jacob Thorpe was at the basketball game last night and he did chronicle the win. Then he posted videos of the postgame interviews with the players and Kent, who pleaded for fans to attend the games. … A player who signed with the Cougars in 2015 is back. Cornerback Sean Harper didn’t qualify out of high school, went to a junior college, will graduate and says he’s headed to Pullman. … It is looking more and more like the Cougars are headed to Dec. 27’s Holiday Bowl.

Elsewhere in Pac-12 football, the conference title game is tomorrow night in Santa Clara – at UC Santa Clara, maybe? – and has more on the line than just the Pac-12 crown. Washington is playing for a certain berth in the college football playoffs while Colorado is hoping for its first Rose Bowl berth. What are the keys?  … If you didn’t like the coaches’ All-Pac-12 team, maybe you will like this one better. … Oregon is in the marketplace, searching for a football coach. The Ducks need to win the day of the press conference, that’s for sure. The players deserve it. … Back to the Buffs, they have been better on offense this season. The biggest reason is quarterback Sefo Liufau has played better, when he’s been healthy. The Tacoma product has missed some time to injuries, including part of the Buffs’ loss at Michigan. … If the Huskies get past Colorado, can they win the national title? … There's a quarterback with Pac-12 experience available. Around the Pac-12 in basketball, USC, Arizona, California and UCLA won easily, but the Trojans, which defeated USD, and the Wildcats suffered injuries. … Washington lost for the second time this season to TCU.

Gonzaga: Arizona’s next opponent has a game tonight, which is the subject of Jim Meehan’s key matchups. The home opponent is overmatched – by a lot – Mississippi Valley State, and Jim has a story about the contributions of the freshmen inside players. … Around the WCC yesterday, in addition to Santa Clara’s loss and BYU’s win (both mentioned and linked above), there were a couple of nice wins. The biggest of which belongs to Saint Mary’s, naturally. The 12th-ranked Gaels went down the road to Stanford and handled the Cardinal easily, winning 66-51. … USF, which recently lost in Cheney, also won.

EWU: The football season at Eastern is not over. In fact, in some ways, a new one is just starting. Jim Allen will chat about that today at noon on SportsLink. He also takes a look at the stingy Central Arkansas rushing defense in this story today. … Around the Big Sky, Portland State is looking for an athletic director again. … North Dakota has an offensive lineman who is getting noticed. … In basketball, Northern Colorado lost at Oklahoma and Montana State preps for a tough road test at Utah.

Chiefs: Spokane is still scuffling some, losing at home last night 2-1 to Portland. Josh Horton has the story and Colin Mulvany has a photo report.

Preps: Sorry that we weren’t able to link the roundups from Tuesday’s action, but we do have the story of Wednesday’s games.

Seahawks: There is good news on the Hawks’ front, though I’m not sure any news about the offensive line, and changes to the group, are good right now. … But Michael Bennett looks to be back this week, as does Earl Thomas, and just in time to face defending NFC champion Carolina. … Are the Panthers suffering the effects of karma, as Richard Sherman says, or of being the Super Bowl loser, as history suggests?

Mariners: Does Edgar Martinez belong in the Hall of Fame? More than a few of his former adversaries think he does.

Sounders: Montreal came this close to winning the MLS Eastern Conference title last night but faded late. That means the MLS Cup will be in Toronto. The Sounders will be there and be pretty healthy, though that doesn’t mean Clint Dempsey will play.

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• Did you see baseball reached a labor agreement yesterday? And that the All-Star Game will no longer decide home field in the World Series? That sounds made up, too, doesn’t it? I hate when baseball throws away another of its traditions. (And yes, I am kidding.) Until later …

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