Questions or comments? Please direct them to Jessica Schmick, Assistant Director, Athletic Media Relations, Washington State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, Aug. 23 (2:45 p.m.)
Good Afternoon Cougs!
Some of you may not be aware, but we recently switched to a new blog format here at wsucougars.com. The new blog allows for you to catch all the latest Cougar Athletics news in one spot, but link to the specific sport of your choice for more details. Follow the link to the site HERE.for the latest on WSU Basketball, and the rest of the Cougs.
Keep it crimson,
Monday, July 19 ( 4:15 p.m.)
Speaking of strength and conditioning, the Bohler Weight Room has recently been renovated. You can read about it, check out photos and watch a video on the renovations HERE.
The Cougs were busy with camps this summer as well. You can check out photos from the different camps by clicking the link at the top of the blog.
Klay Thompson, Washington State: There hasn't been a quieter kid at a Nike Skills Academy over the years, but Thompson lets his play do the talking. In the first few workouts, Thompson was feeling his way through things and not showing just how good he is. In the last couple of workouts, however, there wasn't a better player on the floor. Thompson can really shoot it, and he can really move his feet and stay in front of a handler. I knew that Thompson could guard, but I was really impressed with how he could stay in front of anyone in the camp.
Also, if you didn't catch the feature story on the rising-junior from the front page of ESPN.com earlier in the summer, you can read it HERE.
Klay was also picked as the preseason national player of the year by ESPN's Doug Gottlieb in The Sporting News and was named to rivals.com's all-junior team.
One more link before I end this. Jon Teitel from collegehoops.net sent me a link to a Q&A he did with the school's all-time leading scorer, Isaac Fontaine. The story can be accessed HERE.
That does it for this quick check in. Look for more frequent updates throughout the summer.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, March 31 (2:45 p.m.)
We've got just a quick entry for you all today on the Crimson ZZU. Heather Warlick-Moore from News OK by The Oklahoman put together this piece on Kyle Weaver. You can check out the video below, or click HERE to see the video and read the article.
While we're on the topic of former Cougar standouts, I also have a link to an article on Taylor Rochestie courtesy of Carl Berman of NetScouts Basketball, an international basketball website. You can check out the article HERE.
Also, if you haven't seen Taylor win the 3-point contest over in Germany, you can check it out below.
That's all for right now.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, March 24 (2 p.m.)
Hello again Cougar fans!
Another memorable Cougar season has come to a close, and for one Pullman favorite it marks the end of a memorable career. Nikola Koprivica racked up 85 wins during his career, the second most all-time, and is one of just nine players in school history to reach three postseason tournaments. Koprivica capped his career with a stellar senior season. The man affectionately known (to some) as "The Serbian Sniper," showed off a shooting touch that gave way to the veterans ahead of him during his first three seasons on the Palouse. Koprivica hit 43 triples this season, after tallying just 26 career 3-pointers coming into the year. Nik not only shot the ball more, but shot it at a consistent clip, making a team-best 42.6 percent of his 3-point attempts, which ranks third-best on the WSU senior class list.
Koprivica actually turned in performances in a number of statistical categories that matched or bettered his totals from the previous three seasons combined. Seeing a lot of time at the power forward position on the small Cougar team, he grabbed 157 rebounds (134 entering season), including a monster effort on the offensive glass. Koprivica hauled in 44 second chances for the Cougars after accounting for just 14 in his first three seasons. Nik, along with the rest of the team, got to the free throw line a lot more and shot quite well once he was there. Koprivica was 59-of-79 from the line as a senior (47-for-77 previously). The free throw shooting, in addition to the 3-point proficiency, led to Nik scoring 276 points in 2010, surpassing the 257 points he scored during his first three years. He also recorded three blocked shots to bring his career total to six.
Koprivica was not alone in putting up career numbers. Much was made all season of Klay Thompson having one of the best seasons by a Cougar, let alone a Cougar sophomore. Thompson poured in 609 points in 2010 to become the first WSU sophomore to eclipse the 600-point mark, and just the third player to do so in any season (Isaac Fontaine score 657 in 1997, and Don Collins scored 647 in 1980). The 609 points this season, in addition to the 414 from his fabulous freshman campaign, give him 1023 on his career. Thompson joins 30 legendary Cougars as 1,000-point scorers, and is the third-fastest to reach the plateau in school history. Klay and Steve Puidokas are the only WSU players to hit 1,000 during their sophomore seasons. Here is a rundown of Thompson's accomplishments this season:
Thompson in WSU Season Rankings:
Points: 609 (3rd)
Scoring Average: 19.6 ppg (t-4th)
Field Goals: 200 (t-8th)
Field Goal Attempts: 485 (1st)
3-Point Field Goals: 76 (7th)
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 209 (3rd)
Minutes: 1096 (9th)
Thompson in WSU Career Rankings:
Points: 1023 (29th)
Scoring Average: 16.0 (6th)
3-Point Field Goals: 144 (8th)
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 374 (8th)
3-Point Field Goal Percentage: .385 (10th)
Free Throw Percentage: .817 (4th)
Blocks Average: 0.656 (18th)
Steals Average: 1.156 (19th)
Who else is excited for next season already?
Now add all of those accomplishments to the numbers posted by fellow underclassmen Marcus Capers, DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore.
Capers upped his offensive output from 1.7 ppg as a freshman to 6.9 in 2010, thanks to a 55.9 percent shooting performance from the field. That mark ranks second on the WSU sophomore class list. Marcus also grabbed 4.1 rebounds per game, swatted away 22 shots and racked up 26 steals.
Casto put his stamp on the WSU record books in a stellar sophomore season as well. Before this season the school record for blocks by a sophomore was 37. DeAngelo reached that mark by the 18th game of the season. He finished with 67 on the year. Casto also holds the freshman record with 39 last season, and his two-year total puts him at 106 blocks, already good for sixth in the career record book. His 216 rebounds are the eighth most by a sophomore in school history. In addition to the defensive prowess every cougar fan knew Casto possessed, the big man from Spokane chipped in 10.7 points per game this season, including scoring in double figures in eight of the Cougs' final nine games.
Moore, who signed on with the Cougars at the end of April, was a welcome addition to the WSU roster. Take a look at where he ranks on the WSU freshman class lists:
Points: 394 (3rd)
Scoring Average: 12.7 ppg (2nd)
Field Goals: 106 (6th)
Field Goal Attempts: 254 (4th)
3-Point Field Goals: 28 (t-8th)
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 87 (5th)
3-Point Field Goal Percentage: .322 (9th)
Free Throws: 154 (1st)
Free Throw Attempts: 194 (1st)
Free Throw Percentage: .794 (1st)
Assists: 131 (1st)
Assists Average: 4.23 (1st)
Steals: 42 (2nd)
Steals Average: 1.35 (4th)
Minutes: 1,007 (2nd)
Moore also ranks on the all-time single season list in a couple of spots. His 154 free throws are the sixth most in a season, and his 131 assists is the No. 10 mark in WSU history.
That is going to do it from the Crimson ZZU today, but just because the Cougar basketball season is over, don't think the updates are. Check back for more information on all of the happenings during the offseason.
Keep it crimson
Wednesday, March 10 (11:45 p.m.)
It was another close one for the Cougs and Ducks as Washington State fell in what could be its last game of the season, 82-80, in overtime to Oregon in the Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center in L.A.. It's been a fun season, watching the Cougs develop and different players step up at different times. Wednesday's first-round loss in the Pac-10 Tournament was no different for WSU who saw both sophomore Marcus Capers and freshman Brock Motum score career high points finishing with 16 and 14, respectively. Another bright spot was senior Nikola Koprivica, who is arguably one of the most improved players in the league this year, who after going scoreless in the first half, put up all 10 of his points in the second half, including the 3-pointer that gave the Cougs their lead late in the game. Sophomore sensation Klay Thompson returned to his old self as well toward the end of the season as he had yet another big game for the Cougs Wednesday. If you missed the game, you can catch up here at the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. It was nice to see the young sharp shooter back to himself at the end of the season. Thompson led the Cougs with 20 points, adding four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 43 minutes of action. All six of Thompson's field goals came from beyond the 3-point arc as he was 6-for-9 from three and 6-for-13 from the field. He notched his second-straight 20-plus point game and his 17th of the season. Thompson now has 1,023 points in just 64 games as a Cougar, ranking 29th in the WSU career record books for scoring. The 6-for-6 guard scored 11 points in the first half and nine in the second, but was scoreless in overtime.
Honorable Mention POG: Marcus Capers. Capers had a breakout game in what could be the final game of his sophomore season. The 6-foot-4 guard scored a career-high 16 points, converting eight of his career-high 14 field goal attempts. He added six rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot in 34 minutes of action. Four of Capers' eight field goals were dunks for the high flyer who grabbed five of his six boards on the offensive end. DeAngelo Casto. Casto came one rebound short of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Unfortunately Casto struggled at the free throw line, but blocked four shots and notched two steals on the defensive end. Casto currently ranks sixth in the WSU career record books with 106 career blocked shots while playing a career-high 40 minutes. He has scored in double figures in seven of the Cougs' last eight games. Brock Motum. The Aussie played just 16 minutes, but scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed a career-high five rebounds in that time. The 6-9 forward was 6-for-10 from the field and grabbed three of his boards on the offensive end. Nikola Koprivica. In what could have been his final game as a Coug, Koprivica stepped up in the second half when the Cougs needed it the most. Although he had a forgettable first-half, Koprivica proved that he's the lone upperclassman on the team as he scored all 10 of his points in the second half. He was 3-for-5 from the field and 2-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Serbian forward added two assists in 30 minutes.
Turning Point of the Game: Cougs Struggle Getting Shot Off. The Cougs exploded with a 14-4 run late in the second half to take their first lead since early in the first, a 69-68 advantage with 3:03 to go in regulation. With a two-point lead and eight seconds to go, it looked like WSU was ready to snap its two-game losing streak to the Ducks. However, a tip in with under a second to go by Oregon's E.J. Singler tied the game and sent it into overtime. Despite going down early in overtime, the Cougars took a 79-78 advantage with 1:34 to go. The Ducks took a one-point lead, but a free throw by Reggie Moore tied the game back up at 80 with 50 seconds to go. Tajuan Porter was fouled on the next Oregon possession and converted both free throws for a two-point Duck lead with 36 seconds left. With just one-tenth of a second separating the game and shot clock, the Cougs moved the ball down the court. Once across half court, WSU called a timeout with 16 seconds to go. The Cougs set up a final play, but when the ball went into play, Moore struggled finding an open Coug and dribbled at the top of the 3-point arc. With the clock winding down, Moore threw up a jumper from just inside the arc as time expired. There was no time for a second shot and the Cougs fell in another overtime heartbreaker to the Ducks this season.
Play of the Game: Cape Man Gets Up. As usual, our play of the game comes from high-flying Marcus Capers. Capers had four dunks in the game, grabbing five of his six rebounds on the offensive end for easy put backs. Capers' most impressive dunk came on his third of the game. As the Cougars started their comeback in the second half, Nikola Koprivica attempted a 3-pointer. The ball bounced off the rim and Capers came out of nowhere to slam the ball back down and cut the deficit to seven points with 6:32 to go in the game.
Stat of the Game: Free Throws Turn Costly. There are many notable stats from the game Wednesday, like the Cougs getting over the 80-point plateau, two Cougs putting up career high points or overtime losses to Oregon. However, the one that stands out the most is free throw shooting. The Cougs outshot the Ducks, 25-to-10 from the charity stripe, but only converted 12 of those 25. Oregon, on the other hand, made all 10 of its attempts. WSU's .480 free throw is its worst of the season, while Oregon becomes the second team this season to shoot 1.000 from the free throw line against Washington State. WSU missed all three of its free throw attempts in the final 1:19 and was just 2-for-5 in the overtime period.
As stated earlier, this could be the last game for the Cougs this season as a postseason decision has yet to be made. We want to thank all of you who have checked out the Crimson ZZU Post Game this season and encourage you to continue checking out the Crimson ZZU in the off season.
Keep it crimson,
March 7 (12:15 p.m.)
Welcome to the Crimson ZZU Post Game, the morning after edition. An atypical travel schedule led to the delay in this entry being posted. Apologies. So, let's get right to it. Here's everything you need to know about the Cougars' regular season finale.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. It may have been the last Pac-10 game played at McArthur Court, but Klay Thompson made his own mark on the regular season finale for both the Cougars and Ducks. Thompson eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau for his career on a 3-pointer with 1:51 remaining in the game. Klay did so in the 63rd game of his career, becoming the third-fastest player to reach 1,000 in school history. Only Cougar greats Steve Puidokas (52 games) and Jim McKean (57 games) accomplished the feat quicker. Thompson's final basket of the game gave him 1,003 points and moved him past Edgar Jeffries (1,002) for 30th on the WSU all-time scoring list. The sophomore scorer took 22 shots against Oregon, the most he has attempted in a Pac-10 game, including a career-high 14 attempts from 3-point range. His four makes from deep gave him 70 on the season, a sophomore class record. Klay is now just three points away from Vince Hanson's class record of 592 points. Going 4-of-4 from the free throw line Saturday, he has now made 130 free throws on the season, another sophomore record. Thompson also grabbed eight rebounds against the Ducks.
Honorable Mention POG: DeAngelo Casto. WSU got some help inside Thursday as Casto continued his late-season scoring surge. Casto posted 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. He also ripped down 10 rebounds, nine in the first half, for his seventh double-double of the season and his career. With the 17 points, DeAngelo has scored in double figures in seven of the Cougars' last eight games, and seen his season scoring average rise from 9.5 to 10.7 during that stretch. Casto did most of his damage in the first half. He finished the first 20 minutes with 11 points and nine boards. Nikola Koprivica. In the final regular season game of Nikola Koprivica's college career, he accomplished something few would have imagined at the start of the season. Koprivica scored 10 points on the night, giving him 266 on the season. That total surpasses the senior's 257 points in his first three seasons combined. Koprivica also notched his 12th double-figure scoring game of the season, he entered this year with four to his name. Nikola hauled in seven rebounds on the evening to give him 152 this season, compared to his 134 career boards entering the 2010 campaign. The native of Serbia finished the regular season by posting back-to-back double-figure scoring nights.
Turning Point of the Game: E.J. Erupts. After the Cougars and Ducks scrapped through a closely contested first half, Oregon prevailed with a 29-27 lead heading into the locker room. Out of the break, the Ducks took control. Oregon came out of the locker room and immediately began looking for freshman E.J. Singler. After just two points in the first half, Singler was an unlikely candidate for the Ducks to turn to, but he answered the call. Singler took the first three Oregon shots of the half, knocking down two of them, both from three-point range. An off-balance, driving, prayer of a layup was answered amid contact, and the freshman finished the three-point play. He converted two more free throws at the 11:55 mark to cap a 21-9 Duck run, giving himself 11 points during the stretch. The run put Oregon ahead by 14 points, and though the Cougars made a run at the end of the game, WSU would not get closer than seven. Oregon did not want to lose the final Pac-10 game to be played at legendary McArthur Court, and it was an Oregon native (South Medford) who responded with a career night. Singler's 15 total points matched a career high, and it was the first time in his career he made multiple 3-pointers in a game.
Stat of the Game: WSU Dials Long Distance. The old adage goes, "the only way to break a slump is to keep shooting." Try as they might, it didn't quite work for the Cougars Saturday against the Ducks. WSU hoisted a season-high 29 3-point attempts in trying to mount a comeback against Oregon. After shooting 10-for-46 (.217) from beyond the arc during the recent three-game home stand, the Cougars appeared to warm up during their game at Oregon State. WSU shot 6-of-14 (.429) from deep Thursday in Corvallis. With a recharged confidence, the Cougars came out firing against the Ducks. WSU attempted 12 triples in the first half, making just one. In the second half the Cougars were forced to shoot from the outside as they attempted to erase Oregon's 17-point lead. WSU connected on seven of their 17 long balls in the second half to raise the game total to 8-of-29. More than half of the Cougars' 56 field goal attempts were from 3-point range, a first this season.
The Cougars will get another crack at the Ducks Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the opening round game of the Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The game will be televised on FSN. Check in tomorrow for a look at how WSU has fared in the conference tournament, and some interesting trends.
Keep it crimson,
March 5 (2:30 a.m.)
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU, Cougar fans. It was a tough game for Washington State Thursday against Oregon State. The Beavers suffocated WSU with their 1-3-1 zone and created 15 turnovers in the first half. In the second half the Cougars moved the ball and found openings for shots and drives, but not even 40 points after the break could dig the Cougars out of the 18-point halftime hole. Check out the Crimson ZZU Post Game below for all the in-depth information you want.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. It was a slow start for Klay Thompson, but after making his only shot in the first half, Thompson exploded in the second half. Klay came out of the locker room firing and, for the first time since Feb. 13 at California, his sweet stroke was making every Beaver fan in Gill Coliseum nervous. With Thompson lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 16 points in the second half, WSU nearly erased an 18-point halftime deficit. The sophomore connected on 4-of-6 shots from behind the 3-point arc in the half, but it was an impressive driving, fade-away jumper with a minute to go that brought the Cougars within one at 53-52. Thompson finished the game with a team-high 18 points and also led the Cougars with eight rebounds and three blocks.
Honorable Mention POG: Nikola Koprivica. While the Cougars had a slow start, every little bit helps and Nikola Koprivica provided most of that little bit. In a 15-point first half for WSU, Koprivica was the only Cougar taking it to the hole against Oregon State's zone defense. Nikola led WSU with seven points in the half, and had two of the team's four field goals in the period. The senior finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Turning Point of the Game: Beaver Bounce. Reggie Moore, who finished 10-of-11 from the free throw line, converted two shots from the charity stripe to cut the Beavers' lead to one with 34 seconds to play. OSU got the ball into Jared Cunningham's hands as the Cougars were fouling to extend the game. Cunningham entered the game as one of just three Beavers shooting 75 percent or better from the foul line. The OSU freshman came up short on the front end of his one-and-one opportunity, but ball ricocheted hard off the front of the rim. Before any Cougar could react to the ball clanking off the iron, it tipped off Roeland Schaftenaar's fingernail and into the hands of Seth Tarver behind the 3-point arc. Tarver was fouled, and connected on two free throws to stretch the lead back to three points.
Play of the Game: Thompson Tries Again. Leading by eight with just under four minutes to play, OSU worked the shot clock down before Joe Burton got an inside look. Burton's shot rolled out, and Klay Thompson pulled down the rebound. Thompson raced down the floor and found a lane to the rim. The seam closed quickly and he put up a wild layup attempt. After coming down on the other side of the rim, Klay knocked the rebound out to himself. He gathered the ball and himself in the right corner and pulled up for a 3-pointer. As Vince Grippi of the Spokesman-Review put it, it was the first 22-foot put-back he has ever seen. Thompson even took a second to marvel at the play after the game. "I can't believe I missed that layup, but wow that was nice, actually," he said with a rare smile.
Stat of the Game: Tale of Two Halves. Much of the 2010 WSU men's basketball season can be explained as the Cougars playing two different halves. The game at Oregon State, Thursday, may have been the most extreme case of two different Cougar teams taking the floor. In the first half WSU set season lows in points (15), field goals made (4) and field goals attempted (16). The Cougars only got 16 shot attempts in large part because 15 of their possessions before halftime ended in a turnover. The 15 points are tied for the fewest allowed by OSU in a half this season. Then the Cougars started playing the way they are capable. During the second half, in which it looked like WSU would surge past the Beavers, the Cougars scored 40 points on 11-of-24 shooting (45.8 percent), including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. The second-half barrage by the Cougars was nearly unthinkable against OSU. The 40 points by WSU after intermission are the most allowed by the Beavers in the second half in conference play.
The Cougars will be back in action Saturday in the regular season finale at Oregon. Be sure to stop by the Crimson ZZU for all the information from that game.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 27 (11:30 p.m.)
Welcome back Cougar fans!
There are a few constants in life. Death, taxes, and the Washington State men's basketball team treating its fans to a thriller on senior night. Early on it looked as if Nikola Koprivica's final regular season game at Friel Court would be more reminiscent of the last time WSU hosted the Huskies, rather than the last three senior nights. However, a second-half surge and stretches of extremely energetic defense allowed the Cougars to crawl all the way out of a 16-point hole and lead by as many as three. Timely scoring by Isaiah Thomas allowed the Huskies to ward off a final charge by the Cougs, and Washington held on for a 59-52 win.
Player of the Game: DeAngelo Casto. With the Cougars struggling against Washington's suffocating perimeter defense, DeAngelo Casto stepped up as the offensive force inside the Cougars needed. Casto tied a career-high with 19 points on the night. After leading the Cougars with six points at halftime, DeAngelo got WSU rolling in the second half getting three the hard way. From there, his teammates kept feeding the big man from Spokane. Casto hoisted a career-high 16 shots, connecting on eight of them (matching a career high). He converted all three of his free throw attempts, as well. Casto controlled Washington forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning in the second half, which allowed WSU to make a comeback, behind DeAngelo's scoring. Bryan-Amaning poured in 15 points in the first half, but was held to two after the break and finished with 17 for the game. Casto grabbed six rebounds and blocked a shot early on to give him at least one block in 27 of the Cougars' 28 games so far this season.
Honorable Mention POG: Marcus Capers. The offensive numbers were minimal, but Marcus Capers certainly left his mark on this game through his defense. Capers finished with four points on 1-of-5 shooting from the floor and 2-of-2 from the free throw stripe. His one field goal was an electric dunk that earned Marcus yet another Play of the Game (see below). Capers played 31 minutes and had a hand in guarding nearly every Husky on the floor. Holding Quincy Pondexter (entered averaging 20.3 ppg) to his second-lowest scoring output of the season, seven, was a team effort and Marcus played a huge role. Capers finished with a career-high five steals and swatted one shot while grabbing three boards. The sophomore also dished out an assist as he hit Reggie Moore for a fast break layup early in the second half. Nikola Koprivica. It was an emotional night for everyone at Friel Court tonight, especially the lone Cougar senior, Nikola Koprivica. In Koprivica's final regular season game in front of the home fans he drew the assignment of guarding Pondexter. As mentioned before, it was a team effort holding him to seven points, but Nikola had the one-on-one responsibilities when WSU played a man-to-man defense. Not only did Koprivica hold his own against the Husky leading scorer, but he grabbed a team-best eight rebounds in the process. On offense he provided the Cougars with a boost from behind the arc. A 3-pointer in each half gave Nikola half of the Cougars' total triples, and the six points pushed him over the 500-point plateau in his career at WSU. Koprivica, who also dished out three assists, started the night by thanking Cougar fans for all the help they have provided him. After being announced as a starter, Nikola showed the sell-out crowd a sign reading, "Thanks for letting me Serb you for four years."
Turning Point of the Game: Washington Gets IT Going. WSU opened the second half on a 21-6 run to take its first lead and put the Huskies on their heels. The Cougars finally broke through for a 42-41 lead with 11:03 to go, and extended it to 44-41 on a driving Xavier Thames layup with 7:47 left. Sixteen seconds later Isaiah Thomas buried a straight-away 3-pointer to tie the game. Thomas had been held to nine points up until that point, and Washington had been just 1-of-10 from behind the arc, but his bucket opened the flood gates. After DeAngelo Casto regained the lead for the Cougars on the ensuing possession, Scott Suggs hit his only shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the left wing. With 5:27 to go, Thomas buried another triple from deep in the right corner to stretch Washington's lead to 52-48. From there the Cougars could get no closer than two as the Huskies made the hustle plays to close out the game. The surge was led by Thomas, though, as he scored 13 of the Huskies' final 18 points to finish with a game-high 22 on the night.
Play of the Game: No-Look Nik. Washington looked to have a fast-break opportunity with 17:25 to go in the game as Matthew Bryan-Amaning pushed the ball ahead to Isaiah Thomas. Instead of Thomas having an easy lane to the hole, Klay Thompson met him outside the paint and tipped the shot high in the air. Thompson gathered the rebound and outlet it to a leaking Nikola Koprivica. The Cougars had a 3-on-2 break with DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers filling the lane for Koprivica. The senior got into the paint and drew the defense. Capers was now cutting along the baseline as Koprivica looked to Casto and rifled a pass the other way to Marcus. The high-rising sophomore elevated and finished with a two-handed flush.
Stat of the Game: Weighing the Percentages. During the first half, in which Washington looked like it was going to run away from the Cougars, it was not because WSU could not get the shots they wanted. WSU took eight more shots than the Huskies, but Washington's red-hot 64 percent field goal shooting in the half far outmatched the Cougars at 18 percent.WSU shot just 6-of-33 in the first 20 minutes of the contest, and an 11-3 advantage in free throw attempts is the only thing that kept the Huskies' 16-of-25 performance from creating more of a lopsided score. The 14-point deficit WSU faced at halftime seemed insurmountable for a team shooting so poorly, but finally the close looks began to fall and slowly WSU crept back into the game. Still unable to connect from outside the Cougars were not making up ground very quickly. The home team finished just 4-of-14 from beyond the arc, including 2-of-9 in the second half. After a hot start to the second period that brought the Cougars all the way back and even gave them a lead, WSU made just two of its last 11 field goal attempts as Washington made just enough shots for the victory. The Cougars finished the second half shooting 42.9 percent (12-for-28), giving them a 29.5 percent mark for the game. Washington cooled off in the second half to finish the game at 44.2 percent.
That is going to do it from the Crimson ZZU on this, the final home game of the 2009-2010 regular season. Don't think we are done with our coverage, though. The season continues as WSU travels to Oregon for the final weekend of Pac-10 play and looks to get in the best possible position for a run in the Pac-10 Tournament the following week in Los Angeles. Keep checking back for everything you want to know about the Cougars as they enter the stretch run of another exciting basketball season.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 25 (11 p.m.)
Just another day in the Pac-10, four games in the books today and the standings become even tighter. With eight teams separated by just three games, everybody is jockeying for position as the regular season comes to a close and the Pac-10 Tournament draws ever closer. The big games continue Saturday from L.A. to Pullman.
Most of the national attention will be focused in Berkeley where Cal and Arizona State will battle for a leg up in the conference title chase. The teams are tied in the loss column, but the Golden Bears own a half-game lead as they have played one more game. It is the other four league games that will have fans trying to sort out the mess in the middle of the standings. Cougar fans especially should take interest in the game at Stanford between the Cardinal and Arizona. Stanford currently sits a half a game ahead of WSU, while Arizona is just a game up on the Cougs.
After Oregon snapped a five-game skid with a win at USC earlier today, there is a three-way tie for third place as the Trojans, UCLA and Washington are all two games ahead of WSU at 8-7 in conference play.
USC, of course, will not be able to partake in the postseason this year as part of self-imposed sanctions stemming from the O.J. Mayo saga, but they can certainly play spoiler with remaining games against Oregon State and the Arizona schools. The Trojans can in turn help the Cougars as they try to pull away from the Beavers and run down the Wildcats. OSU is currently in a tie with WSU at 6-9, but the teams will see each other March 4 in Corvallis.
Speaking of the Trojans...
For those of you who picked up a copy of the last game program against UCLA and USC, you learned that WSU's postseason fate has historically hinged on a game against the Trojans. As promised, here is the article in its entirety.
WSU vs. USC
Since the Pacific-10 Conference was formed, Washington State University's postseason fate has hinged heavily on its matchups with USC. The first eight times the Cougars earned an invitation to play in the postseason since 1968, they chalked up a marquee win against the Trojans. Whether it was a win against a ranked opponent, halting a skid or starting a win streak, WSU always seems to be able to point to a game against USC as a reason for advancing to the NCAA Tournament or NIT.
In George Raveling's eighth season as head coach at WSU, the Cougars had been on the cusp of success. In 1977 and 1978, WSU finished in a tie for third in the Pacific-8 Conference. In 1979 he and his Cougars finished tied for fourth in the newly-expanded Pac-10. WSU was left on the outside of the postseason field the last two seasons in large part because of season sweeps by USC. The Cougars dropped the four games against the Trojans by a combined 12 points. Fortunes changed in the series for WSU in 1980, and by season's end Raveling had the Cougars in their first NCAA Tournament since 1941.
When USC came to Pullman for the first meeting, WSU was 5-2 in conference with a one-point loss at Arizona State to open the conference season, and a two-point loss at No. 4 Oregon State. The Cougars managed to regroup and defeat Oregon in Eugene before returning home to host the L.A. schools. WSU came out flat against the Trojans, and USC shot better than 57 percent on its way to a 39-34 halftime lead. In the second half Don Collins led a relentless Cougar charge. Collins scored 36 points in the game and pulled down 11 rebounds as he played all 40 minutes. WSU center Stuart House also played the entire game. While House was not as effective on the offensive end, shooting 6-of-17 to finish with 16 points, he did everything he could to disrupt USC's offense. House grabbed a game-high 13 boards and swatted a season-high eight shots. The Cougars ran away with a 43-18 advantage in the second half and finished with a 77-57 win.
The Cougars won five of their six games following the comeback win against USC, including the program's first victory against UCLA since 1966 and a convincing revenge win against No. 4 Oregon State, 69-51. The win against the Beavers vaulted WSU into the AP national rankings for the first time since 1950. The last time the Cougars earned such national recognition, they traveled to No. 7 UCLA for the Pacific Coast North-South Playoff. This time WSU carried the No. 20 ranking and again took the floor against the Bruins. This time WSU played the role of favorite as UCLA was unranked, but the result was no different as the Cougars failed to get their first road win in the series with UCLA.
All of a sudden what looked like a sure postseason berth was an 11-4 conference mark with three tough games looming. House led the Cougars in the next game at USC as they responded with another come-from-behind victory. House hit 12 of his 13 shots from the field as he torched the Trojans for 31 points. WSU shot 67 percent in the decisive second half and held on for a 69-67 win against USC.
The victory sparked the Cougars for a stretch run that lifted them into the NCAA Tournament. The Arizona schools came to town to finish the regular season, and WSU dispatched both of them. The Cougars used four double-figure scorers to settle the score with the No. 15 Sun Devils and earn a 71-58 victory after losing on a buzzer-beater in Tempe. Arizona tried to ruin WSU's senior night, but the Cougars outscored the Wildcats by 12 in the second half for a 74-71 win. Collins, one of seven Cougar seniors, capped one of the greatest seasons by a WSU player becoming the school's only Pac-10 Player of the Year and only Cougar selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
In George Raveling's final season WSU reeled off seven-straight wins to start the Pac-10 slate. The 15-2 overall record and 12-game win streak at the end of January earned the Cougars a No. 18 national ranking. Just as they had done in 1950 and 1980, though, WSU was forced to play its first game as a ranked team at UCLA. The Bruins were No. 7 and also undefeated in league play. WSU used a 9-2 run at the end of regulation to force overtime, but UCLA prevailed 89-87 in the extra period and WSU was still winless on the road against the Bruins.
After giving UCLA everything it could handle, the Cougars lacked energy in the second game of the road trip against USC. After shooting just 32 percent in the first half, WSU only trailed by one, but both teams heated up after the intermission. The Trojans shot a blistering 63 percent in the second period and raced out to an 11-point lead. The Cougars were able to score eight-straight points and cut the deficit to three, but USC made its free throws down the stretch and preserved a 56-49 win.
The setbacks lingered as WSU split its next series at the Arizona schools, but won the next four leading up to the L.A. schools' return visits to Pullman. Craig Ehlo and the Cougars came out seeking revenge against the Trojans as they ran out to a 45-32 lead at halftime. Ehlo had 10 points and four assists and zero turnovers at the break. In the second half, WSU maintained a comfortable lead until USC called a timeout with 8:14 to play. During the next 4:18, the Trojans used eight points from Cedrick Bailey to build a 16-4 run and draw within one point, 69-68, with just under four minutes to play. The Cougars used a pair of three-point plays in the next minute to regain control and hold on for an 83-80 win.
The victory set the stage for a pivotal matchup with conference-leading UCLA. Bryan Pollard's buzzer-beating tip in gave WSU a 70-68 victory and sealed a perfect 14-0 record at Friel Court. The Bruins dropped another game the following weekend to give the Cougars a chance at sharing the conference crown, but WSU could not capitalize. A second-half surge was not enough for the Cougars to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit at Washington as the Cougars fell 76-75 and finished 14-4 in Pac-10 play, all alone in second place for the first time since the conference expanded to 10 teams. The 14 league wins has not been matched since.
After running off 12 wins to start the season, Kelvin Sampson and the Cougars ran into its toughest test of the season against No. 19 Alabama in the championship game of the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. WSU dropped the hard-fought game 71-68. Despite the loss, the season looked promising for the senior-laden team.
Two weeks off before the Cougars took the floor next in Seattle for the Pac-10 opener against Washington led to sloppy play and a heartbreaking 78-73 overtime loss. The setback against the Huskies sent WSU into a mini tailspin with home losses to the Arizona schools.
The Cougars finally stopped their four-game slide with a string of four wins against the Oregon schools and the Bay Area schools. Next up was a trip to Los Angeles where No. 16 USC and No. 4 UCLA awaited. The Trojans and Bruins were too much for WSU and the losses led to another four-game losing streak. WSU used an 87-84 overtime win against Oregon State to get back on track. The winning continued with a home game against Oregon and a visit to California, but Stanford stood tall at home and halted WSU's streak. The Cougars returned home for the final three games of the regular season against the top two teams in the league (UCLA and USC) and archrival Washington.
The No. 9 Bruins squeaked out an 89-85 victory to drop the Cougars to 7-9 in conference and placed them on the NIT bubble. Sampson would also need to guide his team to a major upset against No. 8 USC to have a chance at school's the first .500 Pac-10 record since reaching the 1983 NCAA Tournament. No matter his motivation, Sampson had the Cougars ready to play when they hit the floor against the Trojans. In the first four minutes of the game WSU jumped out to a 12-2 lead and kept the pressure on for a 34-20 lead with five minutes to play in the first half. USC was able to piece together a 16-7 run in the final 4:52 and the Cougar lead was 41-36 at halftime.
Early in the second half the Trojans closed the gap to three twice, but Bennie Seltzer hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to give the Cougars a 48-40 lead and found Terrence Lewis for another triple just 30 seconds later, and all of a sudden the Cougars were back up by 11. Eventual Pac-10 Player of the Year Harold Miner and fellow first team selection Duane Cooper did not let USC go away. The Trojans battled back to tie the game at 61 with 6:45 remaining, but Seltzer's fifth 3-pointer of the day gave WSU the lead for good as they made enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for a crucial 82-68 win. Seltzer, a junior, came off the bench to score 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. He also had nine assists and grabbed five rebounds. His efforts against USC as well as against UCLA two nights earlier earned him Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. WSU went on to get revenge on the Huskies with a 75-57 win and earned a berth in the NIT.
After a successful 10-2 start to the season, the Cougars went on the road to No. 24 California and Stanford to open the Pac-10 schedule. They returned home 0-2 in league play with the pleasure of hosting No. 5 UCLA. For the 10th season in a row, WSU played the Bruins to single digits, but dropped to 3-11 in such games with an 81-79 loss. USC came to Friel Court Jan. 15 with a perfect 3-0 mark in conference play. The teams traded baskets and turnovers for the first eight minutes of the game, and WSU took the lead at 14-12 on a Donminic Ellison jumper just before the media timeout. After a minute and a half of scoreless basketball, Ellison knocked down two free throws and WSU was off and running. His four points were the start of a 25-6 Cougar run that broke the game wide open. WSU and the Trojans netted seven points apiece during the final 2:20 and the Cougars took a 44-25 lead into the halftime break.
During the first 10 minutes of the second half, USC trimmed the deficit to 11, but behind a balanced scoring attack the Cougars responded with a 12-0 run. An Ellison 3-point jumper put the game on ice with 6:17 to go as WSU led by 26. The Cougars did not let up, though, and continued on to their biggest margin of victory against USC in the series history. Fred Ferguson led the way for WSU with 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field in just 27 minutes of action.
The win sparked a four-game win streak for the Cougars and they won five of six before dropping the return game at USC, 70-64. WSU finished the conference season 10-8 and were rewarded with the school's first NCAA Tournament berth in more than a decade.
The nonconference season was a roller coaster ride for the Cougars in head coach Kevin Eastman's first season. Glimpses of promise could be seen in the sporadic games the team played under control in the high-octane offense, but rarely were those rays of hope strung together. That is, until WSU opened the Pac-10 season by hosting No. 17 California and No. 23 Stanford.
An 83-71 victory against the Golden Bears and a 77-63 win over the Cardinal gave WSU its first 2-0 start in conference play since 1987. It was the program's first time beating ranked opponents in back-to-back games since defeating No. 15 Washington Jan. 19 & 20, 1951. It was WSU's first time beating two different ranked opponents in back-to-back games.
The wins sent WSU to Los Angeles with high hopes and a date with the Trojans before meeting No. 6 UCLA. The Cougars played a very flat first half, shooting just 38.5 percent on their way to a 39-27 deficit. Mark Hendrickson and WSU rallied to close to within one point at 47-46, but Lorenzo Orr scored 11 points in the final six minutes to lead USC's final push. Hendrickson finished with a then-career-high 26 points but he and the Cougars could not overcome the Trojans' late run as the home team pulled out an 85-76 win.
Perhaps what changed the season, though, was Donminic Ellison missing curfew after the game. Eastman sent Ellison and Tavares Mack home before the game with the Bruins for breaking staying out too late. That meant sophomore Isaac Fontaine, already a starter, was looked at to fill the offensive void night in and night out. Even though WSU fell to UCLA, the new-look Cougar team returned home to start a four-game win streak in which Fontaine averaged 18 points. Road losses to No. 12 Arizona and No. 16 Arizona State dropped WSU to 5-4 in conference play, but USC was up next and the Cougars had revenge on the mind.
WSU started the game with an 18-4 run with all five starters scoring. The Cougars distanced themselves with easy baskets thanks to five steals in the first six minutes. USC did not go away though, and by the end of the half WSU led by just eight, 35-27. The Cougars poured it on in the second half, shooting better than 72 percent from the field (21-of-29).WSU cruised to a 20-point win, 84-64. Fontaine led all scorers with 20 points, and three other Cougars joined him in double figures. Ellison, the only Cougar starter not in double-figure scoring, dished out 13 assists. The baker's dozen was just two shy of his school record he set earlier in the season.
The Cougars went on to finish 10-8 in the Pac-10 and receive an invitation to the NIT. Fontaine guided WSU to two wins in a single postseason tournament for the first time since advancing to the 1941 National Championship game. The sophomore torched Texas Tech for 32 points in the first round, and scored 23 against Illinois State to lead the Cougars to another win and a berth in the quarterfinals.
The Cougars entered their second season under Kevin Eastman poised to make a splash on the national scene. WSU returned all five starters from the 1995 team that advanced to the NIT quarterfinals. The team was cruising along into late December with a 5-1 record, the only setback being a two-point loss at Syracuse, when disaster struck. Senior forward Mark Hendrickson broke his shooting hand in a Dec. 27 matchup with San Jose State. He would miss the next six games, including the first game against USC, Jan. 6 in Pullman.
The Cougars struggled to start the game and a 8-0 USC run was capped by two free throws after Eastman was whistled for a technical foul. From there WSU regained its composure, and though the Trojan lead reached 11, the Cougars were getting scoring from everyone. A 9-0 WSU run brought it back to a two-point game and the teams traded scores for the final three minutes of the half as USC took a 39-37 lead into the break.
In the second half WSU appeared to be getting comfortable without Hendrickson's presence in the middle, but something was still missing. Though the Cougars were scoring, they could not keep USC off the offensive glass without the leading rebounder in the Pac-10. The Trojans grabbed 11 offensive rebounds in the second half and never let WSU get out of reach.
WSU earned its biggest lead of the game with a minute to play when Shamon Antrum scored a fast break layup to make it 79-75. The Trojans answered with a 3-pointer and a steal and score to take the lead back, 80-79, with 14 seconds remaining. Cougar point guard Donminic Ellison drove into the lane and drew a foul with eight seconds left. He connected on both free throw attempts and WSU had the lead again. On the Trojans' final possession, WSU refused to give up a good look, but Brandon Martin let fly his only 3-point attempt of the game and it found the bottom of the net with four-tenths of a second left to give USC an 83-81 victory.
By the time WSU traveled to Los Angeles for the game at USC, Hendrickson had returned and the Cougars had turned their season around. A five-game win streak in mid-February, including a win at No. 24 Stanford, gave the Cougars new life for a postseason berth. With an 8-8 record heading into the final weekend, they could ill afford to be swept in Southern California.
The Cougars played a solid game from the opening tip as they clearly knew what the contest meant in terms of their postseason hopes. Antrum buried a 3-pointer for WSU a minute into the game and the Cougars never looked back. WSU led from wire to wire as the lead reached as many as 13 in each half. In the end it was a 69-62 victory for the Cougars, and they earned their first win at the Sports Arena since 1986.
Every run USC made at the Cougar lead was answered by Isaac Fontaine. Despite being in foul trouble most of the game, which limited him to 27 minutes, Fontaine led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Hendrickson proved what a difference he makes with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Picked to finish last in the Pac-10 in 2007, WSU and first-year head coach Tony Bennett marched to a 7-0 record before faltering at Utah. The Cougars returned to Friel Court for a date with No. 9 Gonzaga. WSU announced its arrival on the national scene with a 77-67 victory against the rival Bulldogs. Three wins to round out the nonconference slate sent the Cougars to Los Angeles with an 11-1 record.
First up was No. 1 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The Cougars' upset bid fell short, 55-52, but they still had people believing 2007 could be different. Moral victories do not earn teams postseason bids, though, and a win at USC would give the Cougars more wins on the season than all of 2006.
A slow first half in which WSU shot just 32 percent left USC with a 25-21 lead. The Trojans stretched their lead to 38-27 early in the second half before Derrick Low kick started the Cougars. A Low 3-pointer began a 31-17 WSU run to end the game. Despite the strong effort from Low, who finished with a team-high 13 points, it was a Kyle Weaver layup with four seconds left that finally gave WSU a lead at 56-55. Robbie Cowgill added two free throws with less than a second remaining to give the game its final score of 58-55, and give WSU its first conference win.
By the time USC and WSU met again on senior day in Pullman, the Cougars had already secured one of the best seasons in school history. A season sweep against the Trojans would give WSU a 13-5 record in the conference play and a second-place finish in the Pac-10 for just the second time in school history. USC was in the midst of a strong season as well, climbing to No. 23 in the polls by the time they arrived in Pullman. A win for USC would put the Cougars and Trojans in a tie for second.
The adrenaline was flowing to start the game and by halftime the score was uncharacteristically high. USC led 40-35, despite each team hitting just one shot from beyond the arc. The scoring slowed in the second half, but the Cougars rode Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie to a three-point lead in the closing seconds. Then Lodrick Stewart hit USC's only 3-pointer of the period from well beyond the line with five seconds left to send the game into overtime, tied at 64. Both teams appeared to have left everything they had in regulation. The Cougars led 70-68, again with precious seconds remaining. Again it was Stewart who looked for a shot from 3-point land. This time he was fouled with 2.1 seconds to go, but was only able to connect on two of the shots from the charity stripe.
The game reached a second overtime and the teams were rejuvenated. The teams traded one-point leads until finally Derrick Low extended a WSU advantage to three at 81-78 with just under one minute to go in the period. Despite a five-point lead with 28 seconds left, WSU did not secure the win until a desperation heave from the Trojans fell short at the buzzer. The 88-86 double-overtime thriller capped an improbable run through the Pac-10 for WSU which locked up second place in the league with the win.
Baynes and Rochestie came off the bench to lead the Cougars in scoring with 25 and 21 points, respectively. The game-high 25 from Baynes was a career-high as he connected on all 10 of his attempts from the floor.
Tony Bennett's second season started out even better than the first. A 12-0 nonconference mark was bolstered by a thrilling 56-52 win in Seattle against the Huskies. WSU took the perfect record and school-best No. 4 national ranking to Los Angeles. Saturday would bring a much-anticipated game with No. 5 UCLA, but first the Cougars had to get past the Trojans.
In the first meeting with USC, the Cougars were lifted to victory by a welcome surprise. Daven Harmeling came off the bench to break his season-long slump. Harmeling made nearly as many 3-pointers against the Trojans (5) as he had in the first 13 games of the season (7). He sparked the Cougars in the first half with 14 of the team's 27 points. The regular contributors picked it up for the Cougars in the second half as they poured in 46 points in the period and ran away from the Trojans. Harmleing finished with 19 points as he led a quartet of Cougars in double figures. The WSU defense allowed just four USC players to score as the Cougars ran away for a 73-58 win and kept their perfect record intact.
When USC came to Pullman the Cougars were riding a different streak, one unfamiliar to a Tony Bennett-coached team. For the first time in Bennett's tenure WSU had lost consecutive games, and it was a three-game slide at that, dropping them to 5-5 in conference play. Led by a stellar all-around performance from Kyle Weaver, the Cougars came out determined not to go winless during a four-game home stand. After falling behind 12-11, WSU got its final 18 points of the half from seven different players. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Harmeling started the run and made him to only player to score twice during the stretch as the balanced attack gave the Cougars a 29-19 halftime lead.
Weaver anchored the Cougars on both ends of the floor in the second half as the lead grew to as large as 27. WSU outscored USC 16-4 in the final 5:04 to rebound with a 74-50 win. Weaver finished with a game-high 17 points on 8-of-8 shooting. He added seven rebounds, five assists, four steals and a block, all team highs.
That's going to do it for the Crimson ZZU today. Thanks for coming by, and keep checking back for updates about Saturday's huge game and senior night against Washington.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 20 (6:45 p.m.)
For a while this game looked like a repeat of the last time USC came to town. Last season Two completely different teams on each bench, each with different coaches, combined to shoot 27-for-88 (30.6 percent) as the Cougars fell 46-44. The 90 combined points is an all-time low in the series, but that mark was in serious jeopardy for much of tonight's game. The Cougars used occasional free throws down the stretch to put it out of reach, though, and WSU held on for a 51-47 win. The victory moves the Cougs to 16-11 on the season and 6-9 in conference with a big game looming next Saturday against archrival Washington. For more on this one, check out the Crimson ZZU Post Game below.
Player of the Game: Abe Lodwick. Making his first start since Jan. 23 at UCLA, Abe Lodwick had arguably the biggest game of his career. Head coach Ken Bone said Lodwick got the nod in the starting lineup because the Cougars needed his toughness and energy against the grind-it-out Trojans. Abe brought it on both ends of the floor. In the first half he joined forces with DeAngelo Casto to keep the Pac-10's leading rebounder, Nikola Vucevic, to just one board. Lodwick's offense came alive in the second half. Early in the second half, offensive rebounds and hustle plays sparked a 9-0 Cougar run. The second bucket came when Abe missed a corner three but crashed for his own rebound. The initial shot bounced high off the rim back to him as he flew in. The redshirt-sophomore caught the ball and banked in his second look in one motion. USC answered with an 11-4 run and the lead was back to two. That's when Abe put the Cougars on his back. First he got to the free throw line and converted twice. On the next WSU trip the Bend, Ore. native pump faked from beyond the arc and zipped past a lunging Vucevic as he pulled up for a 16-foot jumper that found the bottom of the net. The Trojans did not go away, though and it was again a two-point game when WSU turned to Abe a final time. With the shot clock winding down, Lodwick got free in the corner. With a little more arc and a little more fade than his typical stroke, Abe buried the three-ball and the lead was five. The seven-point outburst gave him 11 on the night, the best scoring performance of Abe's career in a conference game. Abe's 20 minutes are also the most he has played in Pac-10 action. He also finished with four rebounds, an assist and a steal, all Pac-10 highs.
Honorable Mention POG: DeAngelo Casto. With little scoring from the usual suspects, DeAngelo Casto stepped up to guide WSU to a 23-19 halftime lead. Casto was a workhorse down low as he bodied up with Alex Stepheson and Vucevic. DeAngelo carved out space down low and his teammates rewarded him for it. He put up five shots in the first period, and connected on four of them. Casto led all scorers at the break with eight points. He finished the game with 11 points, giving him five-consecutive double-figure scoring games. DeAngelo grabbed seven rebounds and also came up with three big blocks.
Turning Point of the Game: Reggie's Bank Was Open. WSU looked to have the game under control up five with 3:30 to play, but USC kept fighting. For the next two minutes the Trojans kept WSU off the offensive glass and got a pair of baseline jumpers to trim the deficit to one, 45-44. On the next Cougar possession, they ran the clock down to less than a minute. As the shot clock ticked down, Reggie Moore controlled the ball out top. Moore let fly a 3-pointer from the left wing, and just as the shot clock struck zero, the ball bounced off the backboard and through the net. Out of a WSU timeout, USC rushed down the floor, and this time Dwight Lewis' baseline jumper was turned back by Klay Thompson who controlled the rebound, and with it, all but secured a Cougar victory.
Play of the Game: Moore for Marcus. Immediately after USC quieted the Friel Court crowd with a Nikola Vucevic dunk, Reggie Moore and Marcus Capers got them riled up again. Moore penetrated from the left wing and left a Trojan reaching for air. Help defense came and Reggie dumped the ball to Capers near the free throw line. Marcus found a seam and powered his way to the rim for a two-handed dunk.
Stat of the Game: Cougars Clean the Glass. USC came into the game today allowing the fewest rebounds in the Pac-10, and owning a +3.7 rebounding margin, second best in the conference. That didn't seem to matter to the Cougars who went out and made a statement against the Trojans, most notably on the glass. WSU finished with a 37-28 rebounding advantage, its greatest in Pac-10 play against a team not named Arizona. Even with both teams shooting below 40 percent, the Cougars held USC more than six rebounds below its season average. In the first half, WSU collected six offensive rebounds on 13 missed shots, and limited the Trojans to just three second-chance opportunities. WSU Head Coach Ken Bone addressed the impact of the Cougars' dominance on the boards. "To be able to control those guys on the boards was big, because they're huge," Bone said. "Those kids are extremely good in the paint, they're good rebounders, and I thought our guys did a good job screening out...I thought we matched their physicality."
Thanks for coming to the Crimson ZZU for your post game analysis. From here the Cougars enter a crucial three-game stretch to finish the season. Senior night against Washington will be followed by a trip to the Oregon schools to round out conference play heading into the Pac-10 Tournament. Be sure to stop by the blog for more on the team as it prepares for the Huskies.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 18 (10 p.m.)
Welcome back Cougar fans!
It was a rough game tonight in Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars fell to UCLA at home for 17th consecutive season, this time 71-51. We've got everything you want to know, and some things you don't, right here in the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Reggie Moore. Limited in the first half by foul trouble, Reggie Moore still turned in the best Cougar performance against UCLA. Moore led the way with 11 points, three assists and four steals. He was one off the pace with four rebounds. Reggie was the most disruptive force to a very smooth Bruin offense tonight, and really put the pressure on their zone defense with penetration. Moore attacked the gaps in the 2-3 and found himself at the foul line six times, converting five. His lone field goal of the first half came after he picked off an inbounds pass and raced to the other end of the floor for a dunk. The play looked headed for disaster when Moore lost his handle on the ball, but he was able to gather it in under the hoop and elevate for the flush from a standstill.
Honorable Mention POG: DeAngelo Casto. For much of the game DeAngelo Casto was lost amid UCLA's 2-3 zone defense that clogged the key and took away many of his favorite scoring lanes. Casto managed to carve out enough space for a team-high four field goals. He scored just three points in the first half, but got a pair of jump hooks to fall in the second half and finished strong at the rim, then completed the three-point play from the stripe for seven second-half points. The 10-point performance means Casto has scored in double figures in four-straight games after doing so in just two of the first 10 conference games. DeAngelo grabbed three rebounds, picked up two steals and had the only blocked shot of the game for WSU. Marcus Capers. The Cougars' best zone-buster, Marcus Capers, was called on again today to slash, cut and dive to try and find easy buckets for WSU. There weren't many to be had for any Cougar today, but Capers gave UCLA fits as he found openings in its zone defense. Coming off the bench and playing just 27 minutes after missing some practices this week when he returned to Florida due to a death in the family, Capers worked as hard as any Cougar tonight. He finished with six points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal. Marcus was 2-of-3 from the field, and 2-for-2 from the stripe.
Turning Point of the Game: UCLA Goes on a Roll. A Marcus Capers dunk (see below) with 7:30 remaining in the first half brought the Cougars within two at 26-24. Then UCLA heated up on offense and clamped down on defense. Michael Roll carried the Bruins to a 14-0 run from the 6:08 mark until the Cougars finally scored again two seconds before the halftime horn. Roll scored eight of the points as he knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, and also assisted on a pair of dunks. During the 4:49 stretch in which the Bruins scored the 14 points, UCLA scored on six of its eight possessions. On the other side of the floor they blocked one Cougar shot and nabbed four steals during the same time as WSU only attempted two shots. After the run UCLA carried a 40-26 lead into halftime, and the Cougars never got closer after the break.
Play of the Game: Capers Cleans Up. Xavier Thames drove into the lane trying to make something happen for the Cougars. As he rose up for a floater, Nikola Dragovic reached over to knock the ball out of his hands. Marcus Capers streaked in from the top of the key to scoop up the loose ball. With the Bruin defense scattered, Capers went strong to the hoop and threw down a monstrous two-handed jam.
Stat of the Game: Scoring from Everywhere. It was a tough shooting night for the Cougars, but everything seemed to fall for UCLA. In the first half, the Bruins' lowest shooting percentage came from the free throw line where they were just 3-of-7 (42.9 percent). In the second half they cooled a little, but still managed to shoot 65.9 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range. WSU, on the other hand, missed more shots beyond the arc than UCLA did from the field. The Cougars followed a 3-of-10 performance in the first half with a 0-for-9 effort after intermission. Shooting just 15.8 percent from the outside, the Cougars needed to pound the ball inside, but UCLA managed to outscore them there, too. The Bruins held a 38-20 advantage in the paint for the game. WSU did better UCLA in the free throw department as the Cougars shot 12-of-15 from the stripe, compared to the Bruins' 7-of-13 performance.
Thanks for stopping by the Crimson ZZU for everything you wanted to know about the Cougars' game against the Bruins. WSU will practice tomorrow in preparation for its game, Saturday, with USC. The Cougars eked out a 67-60 win at USC behind 21 points from Reggie Moore. Game time Saturday is set for 2 p.m., hope to see many of you there.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 17 (10 p.m.)
Just to prepare you, this might be the best blog post in the short history of the Crimson ZZU. Before we get into the really good stuff, here is something any Cougar fan will find interesting. For highlights of coach Bone on the call, and every other coach in the conference, click here. You can also find the full audio on that page.
Now for the surprise you have all been waiting for. Jessica caught up with Taylor Rochestie at today's practice. Rochestie is playing professionally in Germany, and is in Pullman for the week as his team has a few days off. He will be at Friel Court tomorrow as WSU takes on UCLA. Check out the video below to learn what the fomer Cougar point guard has been up to.
That is going to do it for today's post. Be sure to come back tomorrow for everything you want to know about the game against UCLA. Remember, tomorrow's game is on FSN at 5:30.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 16 (3:10 p.m.)
The Cougars are back on the practice floor this week as they prepare for UCLA and USC. The Bruins come to town first for a 5:30 matchup Thursday that will be nationally televised on FSN. These two games are the start of a crucial stretch run for the Cougars. WSU sits at 15-10 overall and 5-8 in Pac-10 play. With a three-game home stand and winnable games left to go, the Cougars can get on a roll heading into the unpredictable Pac-10 Tournament.
Before any the games tip off, though, we are going to bring you a lot of feature content here at the Crimson ZZU. Today will start with another "Who Knows" article from a current program. You will get a chance to learn about freshman guard Xavier Thames, and find out which of his teammates knows him best.
For everyone who picked up a copy of the game program when the Cougars hosted California and Stanford, now you get to know the rest of the story. If you did not get a chance to grab that program, find out everything you wanted to know about the one they call X. Who Knows...Xavier Thames?
That's going to do it for the Crimson ZZU today. You will want to be sure and come back tomorrow, though. A special guest will appear in the blog, and every Cougar fan will want to know what he or she has to say.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, Feb. 13 (9:30 p.m.)
The team is back safe and sound in Pullman. Saturday's game couldn't have been much more different than Thursday's, unfortunately it was the same outcome for the Cougs as they fell to California, 86-70, at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. Statistically the Cougs played an all-around solid game, outshooting, outrebounding and out-blocking the Golden Bears. It was a crucial 15-0 run at the end for Cal that put the Cougs' thoughts of upsetting the top team in the conference to rest. I'm sure many of you were able to catch the action either on Fox Sports Net or the radio, but for those of you who didn't and those of you who did as well, you can read all about it here at the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson It took a trip down to the Bay, but the sophomore from Ladera Ranch, Calif., found his stroke this weekend. Saturday was by far one of Thompson's best shooting nights of the season, as he had a confidence about the way he took each shot and drove to the rim when he couldn't find what he was looking for on the perimeter. Thompson finished with a game high 28 points as he was 10-for-18 from the field, including 5-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. The guard from Ladera Ranch, Calif. tied his personal career second-best for points in a Pac-10 game with his 28. His 28 points are his most in a regulation Pac-10 game. Thompson's five 3-pointers match his second-best 3-point total this season. Twenty-three of Thompson's 28 points Saturday came in the first half, marking a career-high for first-half points for the sophomore. His five treys in that period are also a first-half career high. Thompson led the team in scoring for the 18th time this season and the third time in four games. It's also just the third time in the last seven games Thompson has led the team in points. He also had a team-best seven rebounds, four of them on the offensive end. It marks the fifth time this season Thompson has led the Cougs on the boards.
Honorable Mention POG: DeAngelo Casto. The sophomore swatter had a solid game for the Cougs as well finishing with 13 points and five rebounds while tying his career high with five blocked shots. He was 6-for-9 from the field and converted his only free throw attempt to complete an old fashioned 3-point play. Casto scored nine of his 13 points in the second period and spread out his blocks, three in the first and two in the second. The Cougs were able to go down low to Casto when Thompson was having trouble getting open after his 23-point first half. Marcus Capers. The sophomore had a solid day on both ends of the court for the Cougs finishing with nine points, four rebounds and a season-high five assists. Capers also blocked a career-high four shots, three of them in the first half. The Winter Haven, Fla. native was 4-for-4 from the field and had one offensive board. Despite an early lapse, Capers played good defense on Cal's leading scorer, Jerome Randle throughout the game. Although the 5-foot-10 Randle did finish with 24 points, he had trouble scoring with 6-4 Capers in his face. Capers did face late foul trouble, forcing him to the bench when the Golden Bears went on their 15-0 run to end the game. Xavier Thames. The freshman point guard did the little things in the game. Although he just scored two points as he was 2-for-2 from the free throw line, Thames was there when his team needed him. He finished with a rebound, two assists and his first career blocked shot in 20 minutes of action. Thames had to pick up the defensive slack when Capers was on the bench in foul trouble, but did so with confidence in front of a crowd filled with his friends and family. `
Turning Point of the Game: No WSU points after the final media timeout The Cougars led by as many as 11 throughout the game, including an 11-point advantage at intermission, leading 45-34. At that point WSU was shooting .654 from the field, including .750 from beyond the 3-point arc. Cal opened the second half with an 8-0 run to cut WSU's lead to three points with 17:32 before a layup by Casto gave WSU its first field goal of the half and a five-point advantage with just about 17 minutes to go. From that point the lead slowly slipped away as the Golden Bears took their first lead of the game at 58-57 with 10:35 to go off a 3-pointer by Jerome Randle. The lead teetered back and forth from that point, with neither team taking more than a three point lead as the lead switched hands six times before the final media timeout with 3:43 to go in the game. At that timeout the Golden Bears led 71-70. The Cougs couldn't convert on their next possession, but also held the Golden Bears without a bucket on their next time down the court. Following the miss the Cougs started getting called for fouls, the WSU bench was given a technical, and Cal was scoring. The Golden Bears ended the game with a 15-0 run, 11 of the 15 points coming from the charity stripe. The Cougars' final field goal/points came at the 4:03 mark, while Cal got its last field goal at the minute mark.
Play of the Game: Klay's Blocks then Dunks California's Patrick Christopher went up for a 3-pointer at the top left of the 3-point arc with Klay Thompson guarding him. Thompson used his long arms to get up and block the 3-point shot. The shot was short and the ball bounced around in the middle of the key and it looked like a Golden Bear would come up with the ball. A pile ensued and suddenly Marcus Capers came out of the group with the ball. Capers had a breaking Thompson up ahead and Klay outran the two Cal defenders attempting to get back. Klay finished the play with a two-handed dunk from the right side of the rim and gave the Cougs a10-point, 42-32 advantage with 3:34 to go in the first half.
Stat of the Game: Block Party. The Cougs have been blocking shots all season, they came into today's game ranked third in the league and in the top 70 in the nation with 4.3 blocked shots a game. Earlier in the season (Jan. 16), the Cougs blocked 10 of the Stanford Cardinal's shots. Today the Cougs had a solid defensive effort and in the process tied the school record with 12 blocked shots. The mark ties the 2006-07 squad which blocked 12 shots against Stanford, Feb. 8, 2007. WSU had nine blocked shots in the first half alone, which is better than what it has done in 23 of its games this season. Four Cougs blocked at least one shot, led by DeAngelo Casto who tied his career high with five blocks, three of them in the first half. Casto also blocked five shots at USC Jan. 21 of this year. Marcus Capers also had a career high with four blocked shots. His previous high was two blocks. Klay Thompson blocked two shots on the day, including the block that led to his breakaway dunk and the play of the game mentioned above. Freshman guard Xavier Thames even got into the action as he recorded his first career block. California recorded just one block on the day.
That does it for today's edition of the Crimson ZZU Post Game. Mike and I will be back this week with various features on the Crimson ZZU. The Cougars return to Friel Court this week for three-straight home games beginning with the Bruins of UCLA. UCLA came away with the victory at Pauley Pavilion Jan 23, but WSU will be looking to avoid the sweep. On Saturday WSU will look for its second season sweep of the season as it hosts USC Feb. 20. Thanks for checking out the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Keep it crimson,
Thursday, Feb. 11 (10:30 p.m.)
Welcome to the Crimson ZZU Post Game. I hope many of you had the chance to listen to the game on the radio via Bud Nameck's call. The Cougs fell to the Cardinal tonight, 60-58, in a heartbreaker. The Cougs held a 15-point halftime lead, but couldn't hold on for the victory. Here you can catch up on the game at the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson The sophomore from Ladera Ranch, Calif. had one of his better shooting games as of late as he went 7-for-16 from the field for 19 points. He added four assists and two steals in 34 minutes of action. His three 3-pointers mark his most since he made three against the Cardinal in Pullman Jan. 16. Thompson was also 2-for-2 from the free throw line, converting two old fashioned 3-point plays. .
Honorable Mention POG: Michael Harthun. In what I believe was more than 14 minutes, Harthun had one of his better games of his career. The sophomore tied his career high with six points and surpassed his personal Pac-10 best of 11 minutes played which he did against Arizona State Feb. 4. Although his only other stat was a rebound, Harthun added a spark for the Cougs, even on the defensive end. At one point he accounted for four-straight WSU points which opened a 42-24 Cougar lead with 15:34 to go in the game.DeAngelo Casto. The sophomore had his second-consecutive double-figure scoring game putting up 15 points. It marked the first time in his career Casto has had back-to-back double-figure scoring games. The 6-foot-8 forward also had his second-straight double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds. He added three assists and a blocked shot in foul-troubled 27 minutes of action. Casto had nine of his points and seven of his rebounds in the first period in which he was 4-for-5 from the field. `
Turning Point of the Game: Stanford Takes the Lead. The Cougars had led by as many as 18 in the first period and started out strong in the second half, boasting another 18-point lead (42-24) at the 15-minute mark in the half. Stanford had led once at that point, 2-0 less than a minute and a half into the game. Stanford slowly cut away at the WSU lead and trailed by 11, 52-41 with 7:24 to go. At that point the Cardinal went on an 11-0 run to take their first lead since that 18:45 mark in the first half, leading by three at 55-52 with 2:04 to go. The Cougs' scoring drought lasted over five minutes until two free throws by Reggie Moore cut the lead back to one. Stanford scored on its next possession and the Cougs never took another lead as Stanford went on for the victory.
Play of the Game: Casto's Slams. Casto had six field goals in the game, but he started and ended the same way, with dunks. His first dunk of the game came off a fast break after he notched his first of three first-half steals. His final field goal came on a set play with the Cougs down two and 12 seconds to go. Casto got the ball inside and slammed it down for his second dunk of the game.
Stat of the Game: Free Points. For just the fifth time this season, the Cougars shot fewer free throws than their opponent, as they were outshot 22-10 at the charity stripe. Stanford converted 15 of its 22, (.682), while the Cougs made 7 of its 10 attempts (.700). The first half was much more even as the home team took six free throws, making just two, while the visitors made all four attempts. In the second half Stanford shot 16 compared to just six free throws by WSU. Stanford made 13 of those attempts (.813), while the Cougs made just three (.500).
The Cougs are in Berkeley tonight and will practice tomorrow in preparation for Saturday's game against league-leading Californa at Haas Pavilion. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Net. Be sure to tune again after Saturday's game for more of the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 6 (10 p.m.)
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU!
What a game! The Cougars took out all of their frustration of a three-game losing streak tonight on the visiting Arizona Wildcats in a 78-60 victory. Arizona, which came into this weekend with a four-game win streak, now returns to the desert with a 6-5 mark in Pac-10 play after dropping both games of the Washington road trip. The Cougars, on the other hand, climb right back into the thick of the conference race with their 15th victory of the season and now hold a 5-6 conference record. The 18-point margin is the most decisive victory for the Cougars in Pac-10 play and gives WSU a season sweep against Arizona for the first time since 2007 and just the fourth time in school history. For all the details check out the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: DeAngelo Casto. Right out of the gate DeAngelo Casto was on a mission as he matched up with one of the best big men in the Pac-10, Arizona's freshman phenom Derrick Williams. After winning the opening tip, Casto had two points and two rebounds before the Wildcats touched the ball as he crashed the offensive glass. He scored the next Cougar basket as well and for the first time since the game in Tucson, Casto was getting his hook shot to drop. The Cougar big man finished the first half as the only player in double figures with 10 points, ensuring his first double-digit game since the last meeting with the Wildcats (Jan. 8). DeAngelo led the Cougars to a six-point lead after the first 20 minutes as he also grabbed six boards and swatted two shots. Maybe most importantly, Williams was nearly a nonfactor in the half with five points and just two rebounds, including zero on the offensive end. Casto kept up the intensity in the second half with a steal, a block and a trip to the free throw line all in the first 1:11. While Arizona began to make a more concerted effort to get Williams in position score, Casto countered. Every time the Wildcats staged a comeback DeAngelo worked for position inside and either got a bucket or got to the foul line. He even provided icing on the cake when he hit a jumper from just inside the free throw line with 22 seconds left that gave WSU the final margin of 78-60, and gave him a career-high 19 points. He fell one rebound shy of a double-double as he grabbed nine boards for the second time against Arizona this season. The Spokane native also posted three blocks and a steal as he continues to have his biggest games against Arizona. Three of the five times Casto has scored in double-figures in a Pac-10 game have come against the Wildcats. As a freshman he had his best game Feb. 26 against Arizona in Pullman. He posted then-career-highs of 11 points and five made field goals, and his five assists from that contest remain a career best.
Honorable Mention POG: Brock Motum. Some have dubbed Brock Motum as the secret weapon for the Cougars this season. After tonight, Motum is anything but a secret. The freshman did a little bit of everything tonight in his career-high 17 minutes. He slipped to the hoop for easy buckets, including a jam that sent the student section into a frenzy; he spotted up for jumpers; he finished a strong drive through contact; and he calmly sank two important free throws. All of that led to Motum doubling his previous career high with 10 points. Perhaps none of it measured up to the energy he provided, though. The dunk got everyone fired up and gave the Cougars a lift heading into halftime. In the second half the Aussie was everywhere making plays and the WSU bench was leading the cheers for the touted freshman in his breakout game. It was just Motum's fifth appearance in a conference game, and his 17 minutes were more than his total from the previous four. Klay Thompson. Even though tonight was Klay Thompson's fifth-lowest scoring game of the season, it was the way Thompson let the game come to him and demanded the defense's attention that made his impact so strong. While his first four shots rimmed out, he found other ways to be productive as he picked up two early assists and drew so much help defense on one miss that James Watson was able to crash for a put-back look and get to the free throw line. Klay made a sweeping jump shot in the lane and added a fast break layup as he finished with four points in the first half on 2-of-8 shooting. He did have three of WSU's four first-half assists as he played 18 of the first 20 minutes and helped guide the Cougars to a six-point lead. In the second half Thompson got himself going with a layup that pushed the WSU lead to 11. At the ten-minute mark with WSU up eight, Klay ensured the Wildcats would not come back. First he found Brock Motum on a back door cut for a layup. On the next possession he buried a turnaround jumper from the elbow, and from there everyone could sense he was feeling it as he spotted up for a 3-pointer the next time down the floor. Thompson finished the game by going 3-for-4 from the foul line as he tallied 14 points. He also pulled in three rebounds, dished out four assists, blocked one shot and had a steal.
Turning Point of the Game: Starting Strong. Much has been made about the Cougars getting off to slow starts, to both the game and the second half. Tonight was different. With a six-point lead at the break, the Cougars came out in the second half as the aggressor. DeAngelo Casto, Marcus Capers and Nikola Koprivica each earned trips to the free throw line and the trio combined to convert 5-of-6 attempts. Klay Thompson started his strong second half by finishing a drive to the hoop with a layup. Less than two and a half minutes into the second half the Cougars were on a 7-0 run and had expanded their lead to 13. Though Arizona made two strong charges, cutting the lead once to five and once to six, WSU never looked back and kept their foot on the gas pedal as they ran out to an impressive 18-point victory, 78-60.
Play of the Game: Thunder From Down Under. As has happened the entire Pac-10 season, WSU's leading scorer Klay Thompson drew much of Arizona's defensive attention in this one. The Cougars made them pay with backdoor cuts and pick-and-rolls all night long. None of those plays were more exciting than Brock Motum's baseline dunk with a minute to play in the first half. Thompson got the ball on the left wing and drove to the middle. While he got shoulder to shoulder with his defender, two Wildcats crept up from under the basket to stop Klay's penetration. Motum slid into the gap created on the block and Thompson hit him in stride with a perfect bounce pass. Brock gathered the pass and rose up off with the ball cradled in his left hand. He threw down the tomahawk jam and shouted to the sky as the Cougar bench and the ZZU Cru erupted into celebration.
Stat of the Game: Four Reach 10. For the second-consecutive game four Cougars reached double figure points in a single game, marking just the second time WSU has done that this season and the first time since back-to-back games against Alaska-Anchorage and Nicholls State up in Anchorage. Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson were the only two Cougs to score in double figures against both Arizona State and Arizona as Thompson scored 20 and 14, respectively, and Moore scored 13 and 12, respectively. Nikola Koprivica (13 vs. ASU), DeAngelo Casto (19 vs. Arizona), Marcus Capers (13 vs. ASU) and Brock Motum (10 vs. Arizona) all reached double figures once in the past two games. Of those four, three of them were career highs as Casto, Capers and Motum all had personal best scoring performances. Arizona had just three players reach double figures in tonight's game after four Sun Devils had double-digits Thursday.
Thank you all for checking in with the Crimson ZZU. The Cougars will be back in action Thursday at 7 p.m. at Stanford. The game Saturday at California will be at 1 p.m. and can be seen on FOX Sports Net.
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 4 (12:30 a.m.)
Hello again Cougar fans!
It was an up-and-down game tonight as the Arizona State Sun Devils raced out to big leads, but the Cougars managed to reel them in and make the game interesting. In the end, ASU prevailed with an 81-70 victory at Friel Court as WSU dropped three-straight games for the first time this season. Check out all the details here in the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Marcus Capers. The Cougars got off to a strong start thanks to Marcus Capers and his activity against Arizona State's zone defense. Capers scored seven of WSU's first nine points, including two dunks as he carved out space in the middle of the zone. His other bucket came on a fast break layup after he poked the ball away from Trent Lockett in the backcourt. Unfortunately Marcus picked up three fouls in three seconds, his third coming with 7:28 left in the first half. The sophomore did not see the floor the rest of the half, but his seven minutes of action were extremely productive with seven points, four rebounds and two steals. He was able to stay on the floor in the second half, this time for 15 minutes, but was noticeably hindered by the foul trouble. Capers made a run early in the second half when he scored three-straight points, including another dunk to fire up the student section. Marcus finished the game with a career-high 13 points, tying a personal best with five field goals made. He also hauled in eight rebounds, including six of the Cougars' 13 offensive rebounds, and tied his career high with three steals.
Honorable Mention POG: Klay Thompson. It wasn't the greatest shooting night for Klay Thompson, but it was another 20-point outing. Thompson made one of his first eight shots before finishing 2-of-10 in the first half with six points. The shooting got a little better in the second half. It started with a dunk and then a long two, but Klay missed his sixth 3-pointer before nailing two straight to kick start a WSU run. The sophomore scoring leader was 4-of-10 after intermission, including 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, and made all four free throw attempts in the half to finish with 20 points. It is his 14th 20-point performance of the season. Thompson also had quite an impact on the defensive end with a career-best six steals. Nikola Koprivica. Koprivica extended WSU's longest active double-figure scoring streak to five games as he put up 13 points. The Serbian was colder from the field than usual, hitting 3-for-10, but made up for that with a perfect performance from the free throw line where he converted on 6-of-6. Koprivica added three assists and a steal in 31 minutes. He got just his second starting nod of the season and the 24th of his career. Reggie Moore. Although he didn't score in the first half, Moore put up points when it counted the most at the end of the game. Moore scored 11 of WSU's 13 points at one point (9:40-3:48 in the second). His third and fourth points during that time cut Arizona State's lead to four points at 57-53 with 8:35 to go. After the Sun Devils scored on the other end, Reggie hit another layup to bring the deficit back to four at 59-55 with 7:43 to go in the game. Moore went on to foul out with 3:37 to go and the Cougars trailing by 11, 71-60. The freshman from Seattle finished with 13 points, once assist and one steal in 35 minutes. More importantly, Moore had just one turnover while handling the point guard duties.
Turning Point of the Game: Derek's Dagger. The Cougars made multiple rallies once Arizona State took a 19-point lead early in the second half, but none came closer than the Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson-led surge as the game reached the 12-minute mark. WSU trailed by 14 after two Trent Lockett free throws, but just eight seconds later Thompson hit his second-consecutive 3-pointer after starting the game 0-for-6 from deep. WSU clamped down on defense and strung together six free throws on the offensive end. A pair of layups closed out the Cougars' 13-3 run and all of a sudden it was a four-point game. ASU stretched it back to six with 8:04 remaining. Moore once again took the ball to the hoop and drew contact. He was able to finish the layup through the foul to get WSU back within four. He missed the chance at the line to make it a one-possession game. After keeping pressure on the ball for 27 seconds, Derek Glasser got a high screen from Eric Boateng at the top of the key. Glasser pulled up from well beyond the arc and the ball bounced up off the iron, hit the backboard and rolled around the rim until it found the bottom of the net. It was the senior's third triple of the game, and he finished 3-of-3 on the night. His perfect performance comes on the heels of shooting 17 percent from downtown during the first half of the Pac-10 season. After Glasser gave the Sun Devil's a seven-point lead, the closest the Cougars would get was six.
Play of the Game: Marcus Mixes it Up. It was early in this one that Marcus Capers put his stamp on the game. Capers, as he seems to do every game, got the crowd going with a put-back dunk. After he failed to convert either of two free throw attempts on the Cougars' first possession, Marcus was not going to let another scoring opportunity pass him by. WSU came down the floor following a Ty Abbot missed layup, and Reggie Moore got a clean look at a 3-pointer from the right wing. Moore's attempt bounced high off the back of the rim, but there were two Cougars in the area for an offensive rebound. While DeAngelo Casto sat back and waited for the ball to come to him, Capers dashed through the lane and rose up above all of the anxious hands. Sticking one arm skyward, Marcus corralled the ball and flushed it through with authority for the first points of the game. Tip dunks have become a regular occurrence for the springy sophomore, but he added a little flavor to this one as he did everything with one hand.
Stat of the Game: 3-Point Shooting. The Cougars' shooting woes continued tonight as the team put up 18 shots from downtown but only connected on three, that's 16.7 percent for all you math majors out there. The team started by missing its first eight attempts before Nikola Koprivica made the lone three pointer of the first half. It was a similar story in the second half as the Cougars went 2-for-8, both coming from Klay Thompson. The 3-point percentage is tied for the second-lowest of the season, only behind the 15 percent shooting performance WSU put up in Tempe Jan 10. Tonight was, however, the worst percentage from behind the arc at home this season. Even though tonight's shooting may appear in some reoccurring nightmares, take some solace in the fact that Wazzu outscored the Sun Devils in the paint 36-26.
Thanks for stopping by the Crimson ZZU. The Cougars will get back to work tomorrow in preparation for the Saturday match-up with Arizona. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. as WSU will look for the season sweep against the Wildcats. Cougar fans coming to the game are encouraged to Gray Out Beasley. So come to the game, wear your gray and cheer on the cougs!
Keep it crimson,
Feb. 3 (6 p.m.)
Welcome back to the ZZU
It's been a busy day here at WSU, as it has at many campuses across the country. Today is, of course, signing day. While the Cougar basketball team wrapped up two recruits in the early signing period, the Cougar football team brought home quite the haul. For more on the 2010 football recruiting class, check out Signing Day Central.
Back to the hardwood. Today offered the Cougars their final full day to prepare for Arizona State as both teams head into the second half of the Pac-10 schedule. In the first meeting between the teams in Tempe, the Sun Devils gave the Cougar offense all sorts of trouble en route to a 71-46 win. ASU and its vaunted two-three match-up zone defense held WSU to season lows in field goals made (17), field goal percentage (.298), 3-pt field goal percentage (.154), assists (6), free throws made (10) and steals (2). The game in Tempe is the only game this season no Cougar reached double-figure scoring. Klay Thompson led WSU with nine points.
So how will the Cougars attack that defense this time? Head coach Ken Bone gave his take on it in his Tuesday-morning teleconference:
"They do a great job with their match-up and their rotations are really precise. They're quick; they get a hand up on shots. I think the key is going to be to keep the ball moving, keep ourselves moving and be patient for a good shot. If we can do those three things, I think we can give ourselves a chance to have some success. If you break down in one of those three areas, it's pretty hard to beat that matchup."
One place that ball is going to have to move to a lot is the hands of Thompson. The sophomore scorer struggled to find his stroke in the Cougars' last three games, all away from Friel Court. Klay was 4-of-19 from beyond the arc during the three-game swing, and 14-of-47 from the floor. That came on the heels of an 11-for-20, 27-point performance against Stanford in the Cougars' last home game. There is reason to believe he is turning the corner, though (aside from having already proven he is one of the top shooters in the country).
Last season Thompson experienced his best scoring game of the year against the Sun Devils and their zone defense. Klay torched ASU for 28 points, the most by a WSU freshman in a conference game, as he knocked down 8-of-10 shots from deep, including his first seven.
Cougar of the Week:
Reggie Moore took home Cougar of the Week honors for the week of Jan. 21-27. Moore averaged 22.5 ppg and 4.5 apg while shooting 8-of-14 from 3-point and 51.6 percent from the field as the Cougars split their trip to Los Angeles. Now for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3.
With the rivalry game this past week in Seattle, there was only one game on the Cougars' slate. Even though it turned into a 92-64 loss for WSU, there are a couple of players deserving of individual recognition. Your nominees are:
Nikola Koprivica: 13 points, 11 rebounds, first career double-double
Xavier Thames: 15 points (career high), 6-of-8 FG's, 2 steals
Reggie Moore: 13 points, 7-of-10 FTs
Keep the votes coming on the Facebook group or to email@example.com.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, Jan. 30 (7 p.m.)
Welcome to the Crimson ZZU Post Game. The team just got back to Pullman following the loss at Washington tonight. It was quite the tale of two halves as the Cougs held a four-point, 40-36, lead at halftime. WSU couldn't find the same offense in the second half, falling 92-64. I'm sure many of you were able to catch all the action either on the radio, the internet radio feed, or Fox Sports Net. Whether you caught it or not, you can get the complete recap here at the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Xavier Thames. It was a tough choice between the freshman guard and the senior forward, Nikola Koprivica, but we'll stick with the game's leading scorer in Thames. Getting just the third start of his young career, the Sacramento, Calif. native finished with 15 points, adding an assist, a rebound and two steals, along with just one turnover, in 26 minutes. Thames got the start when the team's leading scorer, Klay Thompson, was kept on the bench after showing up late for the team's bus the day before the game. Thames scored 11 points in the first half and was able to get four in the second, when as a team the Cougs only scored 24. His 15 points are a career high, besting his previous high of 11 done twice. X's 26 minutes also mark a career high, and his two steals were a WSU high and tied the game high. Thames was 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. Thames' 3-pointers were the first of the Pac-10 season for him and just the fifth and sixth of his career.
Honorable Mention POG: Nikola Koprivica. The 6-foot-6 forward/guard had arguable the best first half of his career. Getting his first start of the season and 23rd of his career, Koprivica scored 13 first half points. He finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, compiling his first career double-double. Koprivica was nearly perfect in the first half as he was 4-for-5 from the field, 3-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc and 2-for-3 from the free throw line. He finished the game with three assists and a blocked shot in 34 minutes...just one minute shy of his season-high of 35 which came in WSU's double overtime game against Oregon back on Dec. 31. `
Turning Point of the Game: The First Eight Minutes of the Second Half. The Cougars entered halftime with a hard-fought, four-point advantage at 40-36. WSU scored the first point of the second period, a free throw by Marcus Capers, but UW went on to score the next 15. The Cougars missed their first 13 field goal attempts in the second half, after shooting .444 percent in the first period. The lead slipped away quickly from the Cougs who couldn't stop the Huskies' fast break on defense and couldn't get the ball to go in the rim on offense. In the first half WSU allowed just 14 UW points in the paint, in the second Washington doubled with 28 in the half. Washington also got 14 fast break points in the second period after WSU allowed just two by the Huskies in the first. By the 12-minute mark in the game, the Cougars were trailing 58-45, having been outscored 22-5 in the first eight minutes.
Play of the Game: Moore Air. Directly after making a free throw to put the Cougs up by one at the 4:22 mark in the first half, Reggie Moore put pressure on the Washington inbounds. Moore came up with the ball and knowing he had no defenders in his way used his hops to get up above the rim and slam the ball down with one hand. Following the dunks, according to FSN color analyst Miles Simon, Moore "mean-mugged" the UW student section who had been on the Seattle-native's case the entire game.
Stat of the Game: A Tale of Two Halves. The turning point of the game touched on it a bit, but the two halves couldn't have gone any differently, especially for the Cougars. Although no nets were on fire in the first half, WSU shot .444 percent from the field (12-for-27), along with .600 from beyond the 3-point arc (6-for-10). WSU was also .714 from the free throw line, converting 10-for-14. Defensively, WSU allowed UW to shoot just .333 (12-for-36) along with .111 from beyond the 3-point arc (1-for-9). In the second half all that changed for both teams. The Cougs went on to shoot .229 from the field and were 0-for-10 from 3-point. WSU was also a mere .400 from the free throw line converting 8-of-20 attempts. The Dawgs on the other hand, shot .625 in the second and .571 from 3-point (20-for-32 and 4-for-7, respectively). The other big difference among halves came in rebounding. At intermission the two teams were tied with 22 rebounds apiece. UW outrebounded WSU, 30-16 in the final period, finishing with a 52-38 advantage on the boards.
Thanks for checking out the Crimson ZZU Post Game here on the official blog of WSU men's basketball. The Cougs will finally be back home this week hosting Arizona State (Feb. 4) and Arizona (Feb. 6). It should be a big week, as WSU will be holding a `Gray Out' in honor of Saturday's game. Be sure to check back this week for various features by Mike Walsh, along with a look at the crazy Pac-10.
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 26 (6:30 p.m.)
Hello again Cougar fans!
The team took today off as the players got to heal some aches and pains, and focus on classwork. Coach Bone and the Cougars will hit the practice floor again tomorrow as they continue to prepare for the road trip to Seattle. The Huskies play tonight at 7 against Seattle University, the game will be televised on FSN NW for any Cougar fans who want to get a last-minute scouting report on Washington.
Elsewhere in WSU basketball news, Cougar of the Week Voting for Jan. 21-27 is now open via e-mail. Here are the nominees:
The Cougars went on the road last weekend and came back with a split against USC and UCLA. Big games from the usual suspects powered a comeback win against the Trojans, but who put together consecutive performances? Let every Cougar fan know what you think by placing your vote for Cougar of the Week.
Reggie Moore: 22.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, 8-of-14 3-pt FG, 51.6% FG
Nikola Koprivica: 12 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 55.5% 3-pt FG
Klay Thompson: 16.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 1.5 spg
Cast your vote on the Crimson ZZU Facebook group, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check back with us tomorrow for more on the series with archrival Washington.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, Jan. 23 (7 p.m.)
Welcome to the Crimson ZZU Post Game. We're currently on the plane on our way back to Pullman, so I know this isn't as prompt getting up on the web. It wasn't the best day for the Cougs as they fell at UCLA, 74-62. Freshman Reggie Moore once again had a stellar game as he compiled 24 points for WSU. For the complete rundown on Saturday's game at Pauley Pavilion, check out the rest of the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Reggie Moore. For the second-straight game we're going with the freshman from Seattle. Moore scored a game-high 24 points, including WSU's first 12 points of the game. The point guard was 9-for-17 from the field, including 6-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc. His six 3-pointers tie him for third in the WSU single game record books for 3-pointers by a freshman. He added three assists and three rebounds in 37 minutes. His nine field goals mark a career high, as do his 17 shot attempts, along with his six 3-pointers. Moore was off to such a hot start that he was tipping his own misses back in, which he did for his ninth and 10th points of the game. The one thing missing was a trip to the line, as Moore didn't attempt a free throw in a game for the first time in his career. Moore has now led the team in scoring in five of the last seven games and scored 20-plus points in four of WSU's last six games.
Honorable Mention POG: Nikola Koprivica. Although it wasn't his best game, Koprivica gave Moore some assistance out there on the court. The senior forward finished with 11 points and six rebounds in 32 minutes of action. Marcus Capers. As usual his numbers don't jump out, but Capers played solid on the defensive end for the Cougs who held the UCLA starting guards to just 20 combined points. Capers finished with four rebounds, two on the offensive end, five points and two assists in 25 minutes. He once again did what he does best, dunk WSU missed shots. Both of his field goals came off of his teammates' missed shots. `
Turning Point of the Game: Bruins' Second Half Run. Early in the second half (just under 18 minutes to go), Moore hit a 3-pointer to pull the Cougs within two points, 32-30. The Cougs forced a turnover by Tyler Honeycutt on the next Bruin possession and looked to take their first lead of the game as Nikola Koprivica spotted up for a 3-pointer. Koprivica missed and his Serbian counterpart, Nikola Dragovic got a layup on the other end as the UCLA lead became four. WSU missed its next six field goals and got three points off 3-for-4 free throw shooting by Koprivica. The Bruins took advantage, making five of their next six field goal attempts for a 16-3 run and a 48-33 advantage with 11:14 to go in the game. The 15-point lead marked UCLA's largest of the game. The Cougs couldn't comeback from the deficit, falling by 12.
Play of the Game: Marcus Does His Thing.. It's become the play of nearly every game, Marcus Capers gets a tip back dunk. This one occurred just at the six-minute mark of the first half. Xavier Thames spotted up for a 3-pointer at the top of the 3-point arc and missed, as the ball bounced off the front of the rim. Capers sailed in untouched from the free throw line, jumped mid-key and slammed the ball back in at the front of the rim for the put-back dunks.
Stat of the Game: The Serbian Face-Off. This is a little bit of a fun note, rather than a stat, but I know I was looking forward to the matchup between the two Serbian Nikolas in today's game, Koprivica and Dragovic. In the past the two played different positions, but with Koprivica's move to the four spot, we were bound to see the two go up against each other. In the past UCLA's Dragovic was notorious for big games against the Cougs. In his two games versus Washington State in the regular season last year, Dragovic put up 20 and 23 points respectively, as he was 15-for-24 from the field, including 11-for-18 from beyond the 3-point arc. Dragovic got off to a slow start in today's game with just two points, a rebound and two turnovers at halftime. Koprivica won the first-half battle with five points, three rebounds and an assist in 15 minutes. In the end Dragovic finished with 18 points off of 3-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc. He was 3-for-3 from the free throw line and had two assists and steal and two turnovers. Koprivica had one of the better games for the Cougs with 11 points, six rebounds and an assist.
The Cougs will return to the court this coming week in preparation for Washington Saturday. WSU will conclude its first go-around of Pac-10 play in Seattle against the Huskies. Thanks for checking out the Crimson ZZU postgame once again here on the official blog of the men's basketball team. Be sure to check back this week for various features by Mike Walsh.
Keep it crimson,
Thursday, Jan. 21 (11:35 p.m.)
Happy Cougar Victory! Welcome to the Crimson ZZU Post Game. I apologize for the delay in getting this up. It was an exciting game and there's lots to talk about down here in L.A. The Cougs were able to come back from a halftime deficit for the victory for just the second time this season. Not only that, but this time the deficit was 10 points at USC, rather than two to Nicholls State up in Alaska. The Cougs got themselves together in the second half and had big games from the usual suspects as of late, Klay Thompson, Reggie Moore and Nikola Koprivica. For more on this game, read on at the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Reggie Moore. The freshman point guard continues to prove himself as a clutch player and that's exactly what he did tonight at the Galen Center. Although he's been a little turnover prone in Pac-10 play, the rest of Moore's stat line was pretty solid. The Seattle native finished with a game high 21 points, adding six assists, four rebounds and a steal in 35 minutes of action. He scored 10 points in the first half and 11 in the second 20 minutes. Moore teamed up with Klay to account for 21 of WSU's 24 first-half points. Reggie scored when he needed to and found his teammates when he needed to. When the Cougs went up by one after a Koprivica 3-pointer, it was Moore who stole the ball on the next USC possession and it was Moore who found a wide open Marcus Capers who put WSU up by three, 56-53, with 3:50 to go in the game. When USC pulled back within one point on its next possession, it was Moore who took control and pulled up for a jumper, extending the Cougar lead back to three points with 3:17 to go. The Cougars added on to their lead and took the come-from-behind victory.
Honorable Mention POG: Klay Thompson. It was a happy homecoming for the Ladera Ranch guard as Thompson scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds in 37 minutes of action. As mentioned earlier, Thompson combined with Moore for 21 of WSU's 24 first-half points as he had 11 of them. Thompson's 11 points were 11 of the Cougars' first 15 points. Not only did he score 11 of the first 15 points, but he also scored the final four WSU points which sealed the victory for the Cougs. Nikola Koprivica. After a slow start, the Serbian senior came alive in the second half. Koprivica was 0-for-1 from the field with two turnovers and three rebounds in 12 minutes of the first period. In the second the 6-foot-6 guard/forward scored 13 points on 3-for-3 shooting (all from 3-point range) with two more rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes. He finished with 13 points and five rebounds in all. Nik's 3-pointers came at the very right times, including the 12:40 mark pulling the Cougs within four, the 8:10 mark to pull WSU back within four once again (48-44) and finally with 4:15 to go which put WSU up for good at 54-53. Others who could be included are Marcus Capers, who's solid defense helped hold USC leading scorer Dwight Lewis to 13 points and Charlie Enquist who's charge just under three minutes to go couldn't have come at a better time. Then there's DeAngelo Casto, who didn't have one of his better games, but blocked a career high five shots.
Turning Point of the Game: Koprivica in the Clutch. The Cougars kept charging along in the second half, cutting into the 10-point lead that the Trojans held at halftime. A 10-0 run in the middle of the second half pulled the Cougars within four points. The Trojans kept answering though, not letting the visitors from the Palouse to take a lead. That all changed with just over four miutes to go in the game. After Reggie Moore's jumper pulled the Cougs within two points at 53-51, WSU forced USC's Nikola Vucevic to turn the ball over on offense. USC called a timeout and the Cougars got the ball with 4:30 to go. Koprivica spotted u from the left corner and nailed a 3-pointer to give the Cougs their first lead since the second half, 54-53, with 4:15 to go. Moore registered a steal on the next Trojan possession and WSU never looked back as it went on for the vicory.
Play of the Game: Charlie in Charge. It couldn't have come at a better time and it couldn't have been executed more perfectly. Unfortunately it's not something shows up in the box score, but Enquist may have had the most important play of the game. Right after a jumper by Reggie Moore put the Cougs up 58-55, USC's star of the night, Marcus Johnson drove the lane on offense, getting by his defender. There was Enquist set up in front of the left block to take the charge. The foul was his fourth and Johnson ended up fouling out with 31 seconds to go. Moore hit two free throws on WSU's next possession as the Cougs took a five-point lead with 2:22 left in the game.
Stat of the Game: A Tale of Different Halves. What a difference the second half made for the Cougars and Trojans. In the first period the Cougs shot just .333 (8-for-24) from the field compared to nearly .420 (12-for-31) by the Trojans. At the half USC had grabbed 21 rebounds, eight on the offensive end, compared to just 15 from WSU. USC also had 18 points in the paint, eight points off turnover and seven bench points, compared to 10, two and three from WSU, respectively. Wazzu changed all of thattin the second period, as it finished the game tied in the rebound category with 35 apiece. The Cougs finished shooting .449 (22-for-49) from the field after hitting 14-of-25 (.560) in the second, compared to USC's .373 (22-for-59) final shooting clip. The Cougs also caught up, scoring 18 points in the pain, 13 points off turnovers and 14 bench points in the second period of play.
That does it for tonight. Be sure to check out the blog frequently for various entertaining features by Mike Walsh. The Cougs will look for just their second sweep of the L.A. schools as they face UCLA Saturday, Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. The game can be heard called by Bud Nameck on the radio, as well as seen nationally on Fox Sports Net. Thanks for reading.
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 21 (6:30 p.m.)
Happy game day Cougar fans!
With less than an hour left for voting, Xavier Thames still holds the lead in the first edition of the Cougar of the Week. So who is going to step up this weekend? Who is going to lead the Cougars as they try to pick up a sweep in L.A. for the first time since 2004? Tune in to the Cougar Radio Network at 7:30 and let Bud Nameck describe all the action from USC, then watch the Cougars Saturday at 1 p.m. take on UCLA on FSN.
Before WSU hits the court, though, take a look at how other Cougar teams have done on this date.
This Date in Cougar Basketball History: Jan. 21
The 21st of January is a date that has warranted more failure than success for the Cougars, especially on the road. The last time WSU won on this date away from Friel Court was 1976 at Idaho. That is the only Jan. 21 road win for the Cougars in the last 80 years. WSU is 3-10 all-time on the road on this date, with one victory coming in 1927 at Montana, and the first in 1905 at Whitman.
Overall, the Cougars check in with a 12-16 record on the date, as they have won nine of the 15 games played at home. The last time a WSU team played on this date was 2006, when Dick Bennett dropped his final game at Oregon State, 59-50. The last Cougar win Jan. 21 came in 1995, in a thrilling 77-75 home win against the Beavers. WSU is currently on a three-game slide in games played on today's date.
Much like the last date we chronicled (Jan. 19th), WSU has played the majority of its Jan. 21 games against the Oregon schools. Of the 28 games on the date, the Cougars have seen the Ducks or Beavers 15 times. WSU holds a 4-3 record against Oregon and a 3-5 record against Oregon State.
Despite the less-than-stellar record, there is one monumental accomplishment to happen on this date. In 1966, head coach Marv Harshman picked up the pace a little bit and altered WSU basketball. In the season opener his squad became the first Cougar team to eclipse the 100-point plateau in a 106-78 victory against Loyola Marymount. Later that season, WSU repeated the feat in a 101-86 win across town at Idaho. When the Vandals made a return visit to Pullman later that season, on Jan. 21, the Cougars brought out even more firepower. Harshman's group unloaded on Idaho to the tune of 115 points. WSU went on to a 115-91 victory, and established the school record for most points scored in a game. The 1966 squad went on to average 77.7 points per game, at the time a school record. That total has only been surpassed five times since. This year's Cougar team is right on par with that number, as they enter tonight's game at 78.1 points per game.
The single-game scoring record of 115 was tied the following year as Harshman and the Cougars defeated Montana State 115-79 in the second game of the season. The record stood for nearly a quarter-century, until Kelvin Sampson's 1991 team beat Seattle 121-82. Later that season, the Cougars defeated Prairie View A&M 131-89. The following year, Sampson's team posted 119 on Alcorn State. The 131 points remains the school record, and the 1966 total of 115 sits in fourth place. However, both of the games in the 1991 season were played in Bohler Gym, so 115 points is the second-most scored at Friel Court.
That will do it for the pregame. Hope everyone can find a way to enjoy tonight's game. Anybody who wants to cast a vote for Cougar of the Week for last weekend's games may do so until tip-off by sending an e-mail to email@example.com, or by joining the discussion in the Crimson ZZU Facebook Group. Go Cougs!
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 20 (11 p.m.)
Hello again Cougar fans
It's a travel day for the men today. The team took off a little after 1 p.m. for Los Angeles. The Cougars will take on the USC Trojans tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Galen Center. That game will not be televised, but Bud Nameck's call can be found on the Cougar Sports Radio Network, and at wsucougars.com.
Before we get to the matchup with the Trojans, we're giving you a chance to learn a little more about sophomore guard Marcus Capers. Also, find out how well a few of Capers' teammates know him with the "Who Knows..." feature from the game program on sale during the Oregon and Oregon State games. Who Knows...Marcus Capers?
Tracking the Trojans
USC headed into the season as the biggest question mark in the Pac-10. A new head coach (Kevin O'Neill) and only nine players returning with any game experience at USC to go along with looming eligibility issues spelled a grab bag of results to begin the season. Wins against UC Riverside and Coppin State were paired with losses to Loyola Marymount and Nebraska ended a November full of unanswered questions. The Trojans kicked off December with road matchups against No. 2 Texas and No. 23 Georgia Tech. USC returned home after 2-4 after tough losses. A pair of games against Big Sky opponents (Sacramento State and Idaho State) got them back on track, and senior point guard became eligible just in time for the Dec. 19 matchup with No. 9 Tennessee. Gerrity, a transfer who has played at Pepperdine and Charlotte, stepped in to the starting role and produced right away. His 12 points and 10 assists against the Volunteers led the Trojans to a 77-55 blowout win.
USC rode the former Wave to five more victories to run their streak to eight. The final two wins came in the first weekend of Pac-10 play as the Trojans swept the visiting Arizona schools. Then, the season took an interesting turn. USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett announced Jan. 3 self-imposed sanctions against the men's basketball program. The penalties include loss of scholarships, loss of recruiting days, vacation of all wins in the 2007-08 regular season and most importantly, a ban on post-season competition following this season. For a team with a three seniors in its starting lineup, many wondered, what is left to play for? The Trojans came out flat in their first conference road trip, allowing Stanford to shoot 45.8 percent and California to shoot 46.8 percent from the floor in getting swept by the Bay-Area schools.
Just when it appeared the Trojans might fold and mail it in the rest of the season, a rivalry game at Pauley Pavilion against UCLA reignited them. Senior mainstay Dwight Lewis torched the Bruins for 24 points, and sophomore sensation Nikola Vucevic added 19 as USC rolled to its biggest victory at UCLA, 67-46.
The Trojans win games with gritty defense, and efficient, balanced offense. USC is 9-0 when holding opponents below 40 percent from the field. The Trojans are 5-0 when shooting better than 50 percent, and 6-2 when they feature three players scoring in double figures. USC is 10-1 when shooting a better percentage than its opponent. USC's most glaring weakness is beyond the arc. USC is dead last in the conference in 3-pointers made. The Trojans have only made 55 on the season (3.2 per game) Washington and Oregon State are tied for eighth at 81 (4.8 per game). They narrowly edge out the Huskies for the second-worst 3-point percentage in the Pac-10 (30.7 percent and 30.5 percent, respectively). Only twice this season have the Trojans shot more 3-pointers than their opponent.
The matchup tomorrow will be a battle of wills as WSU takes its 78.1 points per game average into the Galen Center, where the Trojans are allowing just 51 points per game. USC features a very short bench, just eight players have seen action in conference games, so the Cougars' aggressive style could test the Trojans' depth if any of their four players who average 30+ minutes per game get into foul trouble. While they succeed with a balanced scoring attack, it is always the same USC players. In Pac-10 play, USC is getting 50.8 of its 56.4 points per game from the starting five.
By the Numbers:
54.7 points per game. The Trojans are tied with Arizona State for the fewest points per game allowed in the country.
9.2 rebounds per game. USC sophomore forward Nikola Vucevic is leading the Pac-10 in rebounding with 9.2 boards per game.
30 percent. The Trojans hold opponents to a Pac-10-best 30 percent from beyond the arc.
30.1 rebounds allowed. Despite having the ninth-best shooting percentage in the conference USC gives up the fewest rebounds per game in the Pac-10 at 30.1.
74 free throw attempts. USC has attempted just 74 free throws in their five conference games. In six Pac-10 games, Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson have combined to shoot 89 free throws.
Tomorrow is the last day to cast a vote for the Cougar of the Week. Right now, Xavier Thames has a slim lead. Get those ballots in before tipoff, and enjoy the game.
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 19 (9 p.m.)
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU.
We have a lot of things to get to today. First and foremost is getting caugth up on bonus material from the last two game programs.
When the Cougars hosted Idaho, Air Force and Portland State, readers learned a little about sophomore guard Michael Harthun and found out which of his WSU teammates know him the best. Get the rest of that feature right now. Who Knows...Michael Harthun?
During WSU's first conference home stand, everyone who picked up a game program discovered some of the quirks of sophomore guard Marcus Capers. Look for the full version of that feature tomorrow at the Crimson ZZU.
January 19 is not as special to WSU as it is to say Notre Dame, which on this date in 1974 snapped UCLA's NCAA record 88-game winning streak. However the 19th is not as forgettable for Cougar fans as it is for residents of Maine, Indiana and Cleveland, Ohio who experienced record-low temperatures on today's date.
This Date in Cougars Basketball History: Jan. 19
The Cougars hold a 14-12 all-time record on Jan. 19, and more than half of those games have been played against either Oregon or Oregon State. The last time WSU won on Jan. 19, was a 1995 meeting with the No. 17 Ducks, 83-78 in Pullman.
The last time the Cougars took the floor on this date was 2006, and though it was a loss, the game against Oregon goes a long way toward telling the story of Dick Bennett's final season on the Palouse.
WSU opened its conference road schedule at archrival, and 10th-ranked Washington. The Cougars outworked the Huskies and earned a 78-71 victory, improving their Pac-10 record to 2-1. The upest was followed by a trip to Los Angeles where the Cougars dropped close games at No. 11 UCLA (63-61) and USC (71-66). WSU returned home for a weekend against the Oregon schools, but their fortunes remained the same.
Josh Akognon's 18 points and another 12 from Robbbie Cowgill was enough to lead the Cougars to a 50-46 lead with less than 30 seconds to play, and it appear... A pair of 3-pointers from Oregon's Malik Hairston in the final 12 seconds, including the game-winner with four-tenths of a second remaining, allowed the Ducks to escape 52-50, and handed WSU another close loss.
The Cougars went on to drop the next three games by ten points or less. They finally snapped the string of close losses with another win over the now-No. 16 Huskies, 77-64, in Pullman. In the final eight Pac-10 games, WSU tallied a 1-7 record with four single-digit losses. The Cougars finished last in the conference in 2006 with a 4-14 record. Progress was just around the corner, though.
Ten losses by 10 points or less in conference play, coupled with the two wins against Washington gave Cougar fans reason for hope in the coming season. That optimism turned into a second-place conference finish, and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Tony Bennett's first season at the helm.
Thanks for checking in with the Crimson ZZU. The team leaves tomorrow for this weekend's games with USC and UCLA. Be sure to come back tomorrow for more on the upcoming opponents.
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 18 (10 p.m.)
Hello again Cougar fans!
The voting has begun for Cougar of the Week for the games of Jan. 14 and 16. Reggie Moore has the early lead, but now those of you who have not participated in the Facebook discussion may submit your vote via e-mail. Here is the ballot:
A home split against the Bay-Area schools leaves the Cougars at 3-3 and only one game out of first place in the Pac-10. A handful of iimpressive individual performances led the way, and now it is time for you to decide the best of the weekend.
Send your vote for the Cougar of the Week to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Klay Thompson: 22.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4 blks, 6-6 FT
Marcus Capers: 9.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 8-13 FG, 35 mpg, 1 ferocious block
Xavier Thames: 8 ppg, 7-10 FG, 4 rebs and 5 ast vs Stanford (career-highs)
Nikola Koprivica: 12.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 5-10 3-pt fg
Reggie Moore: 17 ppg, 5.5 apg, 16-18 FT
In addition to the Cougar of the Week voting, we have a feature story today. We will dip into the archives to bring memorable pieces of Cougar basketball history into the limelight. Today, with a road trip to the L.A. schools approaching, we take a look at the matchup between the Cougars and the No. 6 Bruins March 7, 1983.
1983: Cougars Host No. 6 UCLA
Washington State University and UCLA have been playing against each other in men's basketball since 1936. When George Raveling became the WSU head coach in 1972, only two Cougar coaches had wins over the Bruins, Marv Harshman had two and legendary coach Jack Friel won the first three meetings between the two schools but was 0-for-9 in the final 20 seasons of his career.
In his first 10 seasons, Raveling matched Harshman with a win in 1980 and in 1982 he got the school's first win against a ranked UCLA team as the Cougars knocked off the No. 16 Bruins 57-51 in a triple overtime thriller. Perhaps just as impressive as the two victories is that seven of the losses Raveling suffered to the Bruins were decided by less than 10 points.
His 11th season brought more close games with the Bruins. In the first meeting, WSU made a furious late rally to send the game to overtime, but UCLA connected on its free throws in the extra session to send the Cougars home with an 87-89 loss. After dropping two of the next three games, Raveling shook up the rotation and inserted redshirt sophomore Bryan Pollard into the starting five. The Cougars reeled off five-straight wins and put themselves in prime position to make the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four seasons when the No. 6 Bruins came to town, March 7, 1983.
The teams traded baskets for much of the first half until UCLA went on a 9-0 run to take a 30-21 lead. The resilient Cougars did not allow the Bruins to get out of reach though and an Aaron Haskins jumper with six seconds left in the half got the Cougars within seven, 38-31, at the break.
The game was close for the Cougs despite Pollard, who had been such a sparkplug, shooting just 1-for-7 from the field and pulling in two rebounds. On the other hand, UCLA's leading scorer, Rod Foster, had been held to just four points.
The second half started much like the first, with the teams trading baskets. After they each hit one shot, the Cougars tried to make a run, but Foster caught fire for the Bruins. He scored 16-straight UCLA points while the Cougars got baskets from five different players including a steal and breakaway lay-in by Craig Ehlo to tie the game at 56 with 7:34 remaining. Pollard, who already had nine points in the half, got a tip-in a minute later to give the Cougars their first lead since 15-13.
The game reached the three-minute mark and the Cougars led 64-62, then it became the Pollard and Foster show. First the Bruins tied the game on a Foster jumper, but the Cougs answered back as Pollard drove the lane for a dunk. After a UCLA miss, Ehlo found Pollard for another jam to extend the WSU lead with 1:39 to go. Ten seconds later Foster drained a jumper from the left corner. After the teams traded possessions, but no points, Foster hit another jumper in the left corner to tie the game at 68. The Cougars ran the clock down before calling a timeout with five seconds left.
Out of the timeout, WSU inbounded the ball and Chris Winkler, who played 40 minutes, got a clean look at the basket but his jumper caromed off. Meanwhile, all the Bruin defenders were chasing the ball in a frenzy. When the rebound went to the weak side, they had nobody to crash the glass and the opportunistic Pollard tipped the ball in as the buzzer sounded.
The big win propelled the Cougars into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed in the West Region. The Cougs improved on their last tournament appearance in 1980 by winning the first round game, this time against Weber State. The second-round game brought the Cougars face-to-face with the No. 1 seeded Virginia Cavaliers and three-time National Player of the Year Ralph Sampson. The 7-foot-4 Sampson was too much for WSU as he led his team to a 54-49 win. It turned out to be the final game at WSU for coach Raveling, as he moved on to the University of Iowa. No Cougar coach since has enjoyed the same success against UCLA as Raveling did as WSU has gone 6-46 in the 50 meetings since he left.
Even Tony Bennett, who joined Raveling as the only coaches to guide the Cougars to multiple NCAA Tournaments, only bested the Bruins one time. That unforgettable victory came last season when Tony matched his father Dick's feat of beating UCLA on the road. The Cougars' all-time record at UCLA now stands at 2-50.
That does it for this MLK Day. More news tomorrow!
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 17 (2 p.m.)
Happy Sunday Cougar fans
With anoter weekend of Pac-10 play behind us and still no clarity to the conference standings, we turn our attention to the Cougars. Another new feature of the blog is Cougar of the Week voting. If you're a member of the Crimson ZZU's Facebook group you are already ahead of the curve. If not, head over to everyone's favorite social networking site and join the discussion. The ballot will be posted on the blog tomorrow for our readers not on Facebook.
Look for another feature here tomorrow as well.
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 16 (7 p.m.)
Good afternoon Cougar fans!
It was another game that felt like three or four different contests in one. Each team made runs, each team's go-to guy made plays, and each team had mental lapses. There was no doubting the effort in this afternoon's game for either Washington State or Stanford, but in the end it was the Cougars making more plays to hold on for a 77-73 victory. For more on the indivdual players and plays that led WSU to victory, here is the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. It wasn't Klay Thompson's best 40 minutes of basketball, but it was Thompson's best shooting performance since November. And the Pac-10's leading scorer came through in a game the Cougars needed. He made 10 of his irst 15 shots and supplied the Cougars a 16-point lead wtih 12 minutes to go. Klay added another bucket and two free throws to finish with 27 points. Most of Thompson's damage was done in the first half. He scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-6 from downtown. After Stanford took a 10-2 lead just over three minutes into the game, Klay put the Cougars on his back as WSU took control of the game. Thompson led an 18-6 WSU run with 13 points of his own. With 1:09 remaining before halftime he scored his final points of the period and stretched the WSU lead to 21. The Cougars took a 20-point lead into the locker room. In the second period the Cardinal made a furious run at the Cougar lead, but Klay kept them at bay. When the triples stopped falling he took it to the hole and earned two free throws and a floater in the lane to maintain the Cougar lead. It is the first time Klay hit the 20-point mark since the double-overtime thriller against Oregon to open conference play.
Honorable Mention POG: Marcus Capers. Everywhere you looked today Marcus Capers was making plays. He kicked off the game with a pull-up jumper on the baseline to get the COugars on the board. Then the Cardinal reeled off 10-straight points before the Cougars buckled down on defense. Capers picked up a loose ball on one end and raced to the bucket for a dunk to ignite the crowd. At the end of the first half he stepped to the free throw line and knocked down two free throws to give the Cougars a 46-25 lead. Stanford got one point back before the break. In the second half Marcus asserted himself on defense. Just when it looked like the Cardinal were poised to ruin the Cougars' day Marcus halted their momentum. Stanford capitalized on two quick turnovers and scored another easy bucket to cut the lead to 14 points in less than two minutes, forcing Ken Bone to call timeout. Immediately out of the huddle, the Cougars turned it over again. This time Marcus beat Jarrett Mann back in transition and rose up for an unblieveable block that deflated the Cardinal for the time being. The sophomore from Florida sparked the Cougars twice more with dunks in the second half, both on assists from Xavier. Marcus grabbed six rebounds in addition to his 10 points. It was the sixth double-figure scoring game of Capers' career, all coming this season. He is averaging 8.4 points in his last five games. Xavier Thames. With Reggie Moore not having his best game, Xavier Thames stepped up and gave the Cougars a floor general. The smooth freshman contributed in a big way off the bench again. Playing 23 minutes, the most playing time Thames has seen in a win, he handled the point guard position to the tune of a career-high five assists. Xavier scored when he was called upon, too. He finished with six points, and once again his two field goals came via the mid-range jumpshot we are coming so accustom to seeing out of him. On defense he wreaked havoc on the Cardinal. X pulled in a career-best four rebounds, all defensive. He also picked up the Cougars' only two steals of the game. Thames did enough to get the attention of coach Bone, "X (Xavier Thames) did a good job, had four rebounds, five assists, no turnovers. He was good. He didn't score a lot of points, but he had a huge impact on the outcome of the game." Charlie Enquist. Getting the most playing time in a Pac-10 game of his career, Charlie Enquist made each of his 13 minutes count. Enquist hustled on both ends of the floor and was a menace to Stanford's inside game. All four of his points came on put-back layups, and they are the first points he has scored in a conference game in his career. Charlie also grabbed two defensive boards. What made him a fast fan favorite, though, were his season-high two blocks. Enquist's first swat came near the end of the first half as he sent a Gabriel Harris layup into the row of seats behind the WSU bench.
Turning Point of the Game: Reggie at the Right Time. Reggie Moore's first 25 minutes of the game were a bit of a struggle. Although he did have six assists in that time, he was also 1-for-5 from the field with four turnovers. However, Reggie came alive when he needed to, the final minute of his 26 minutes of playing time. As Stanford fought back into the game, the Cougs got the ball in Reggie's hands. With 48 seconds left and WSU leading by four, 70-66, Moore hit his first free throw of the game. He missed his next free throw, but that would be his only miss from the line on the day. Each WSU possession after that, Moore got the ball, got fouled and got to the line. He made six-straight free throws and finished 7-for-8 from the charity stripe, all of them in the final 48 seconds of the game. Those free throws turned out huge for the Cougs who hung on for the four-point victory.
Play of the Game: Marcus With a "Mann's" Block. With only two minutes gone in the second half, the Cougars looked sloppy and Stanford had trimmed the margin to 14. Out of a WSU timeout the Cougars turned the ball over for the third-straight possession. Instead of jogging back on defense and surrendering another fast break bucket, Marcus Capers gave WSU a jolt of life. Stanford's Jarrett Mann got the steal on WSU's end of the floor and darted toward the other hoop for what appeared to be an easy two points. Instead, Capers ran back on defense and tracked him down. As Mann attacked the rim he saw Capers streaking down the floor. Mann altered his shot from a dunk to high arcing layup to avoid the defense. Marcus had other ideas as he leaped and met the ball at its peak. With his elbow above the rim Capers swatted the ball out of the air and kept it in bounds for Charlie Enquist to scoop up the loose ball and start the Cougar break.
Stat of the Game: Rejected. In a close game, every play is scrutinized and disected. The hustle plays are the ones that win games more often than not. Today WSU gave enough extra effort to come away with the victory. Nowhere did that ring more true than in the blocks column of the box score. The Cougars came into today's game averaging a shade over four blocks per game. They walked off Friel Court after swatting a season-high 10 shots. DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson each turned away three Cardinal attempts. Charlie Enquist came into the game with one block on the season and left as the "Edmonds Eraser" with his two huge blocks. Marcus Capers added a high-flying swat that you just read about as tonight's Play of the Game, and Abe Lodwick sent a Landry Fields shot back to the floor.
Thanks for stopping by the Crimson ZZU for an in-depth analysis of today's game. With the win the Cougars and their 3-3 conference mark sit in a fourth-place tie. Don't forget to e-mail any suggestions for the blog to email@example.com and to join the Crimson ZZU Facebook group so you can get all your WSU men's basketball news on your news feed.
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 16 (Noon)
A Closer Look at the Cardinal
Stanford comes to the Palouse for the first meeting between the Cougars and Cardinal this season. Stanford brings with it an 8-8 record, including 2-2 in conference play. The Cardinal feature two of the top scoring threats in the conference. Landry Fields is second in the Pac-10 at 21.8 points per game (behind only Klay Thompson) and sophomore Jeremy Green checks in at sixth with 16.9 points per outing.
Fields, a senior, is in a very similar situation to Thompson. Stanford lost three starters from 2009 and features a starting five this year with four sophomores. After taking a backseat in the offense last season, Fields is the on-floor leader for the Cardinal this season. Vince Grippi compares the roles of Fields and Thompson in the Spokesman-Review.
The Cardinal and Cougars have three common opponents on their early-season schedule. Both squads handled Portland, and both teams suffered setbacks against California. Stanford dropped its season-opener on the road at San Diego 77-64. Fifteen days later, Thompson single-handedly crushed the Toreros. Klay's 43 points let the Cougars cruise to a 93-56 victory in the championship game at the Great Alaska Shootout.
After losing to California to open the Pac-10 slate, Stanford rebounded with a home sweep of the Los Angeles schools. In their first conference road game the Cardinal were handled by Washington's physical guards. Quincy Pondexter shot 12-of-16 from the field and was a workhorse on the glass on his way to a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds (seven offensive). Isaiah Thomas scored 15 points and dished out seven assists. Abdul Gaddy added 10 points, and Scott Suggs chipped in 12 off the bench.
The big games from Pondexter and Thomas should come as no surprise as Stanford has struggled with bigger perimeter players and quick point guards thus far in conference play. Theo Robertson, Patrick Christopher and Omondi Amoke combined for 29 of California's points, while Jerome Randle paced the Golden Bears with 24. Against USC, Alex Stepheson and Dwight Lewis scored 35 of the Trojans' 53 points. Even in what was probably Stanford's best game of the season, a 70-59 win against UCLA, Nikola Dragovic (13 points) and Malcom Lee (11) kept the Bruins close. If history can tell us anything for tonight, it is to expect big games from Klay Thompson, Reggie Moore, Marcus Capers and Nikola Koprivica.
The Cardinal have certainly been hampered by the loss of junior center Josh Owens to an undisclosed medical condition, but the interior defense has been able to hold opposing starting centers to four points per game in Pac-10 play. If the Cougars can manage to get the two Cardinal forwards (Andrew Zimmerman and Jack Trotter) in foul trouble it could also create favorable matchups as Stanford offers little back-line help off the bench. Not an impossible task as WSU leads the conference in free throw attempts.
With a .500 record, and many up-and-down performances, let's see where the Cardinal sit statistically speaking.
By the Numbers
51.7% of Stanford's field goal attempts by Landry Fields and Jeremy Green.
7 players averaging more than 10 minutes per game.
0 road wins. The Cardinal are 0-5 on the road this season.
72.2 points allowed per game (worst in the Pac-10).
47.2 percent for opponents. The Cardinal is 10th in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense.
35.2 rebounds allowed per game. Stanford also ranks last in the conference in rebounding defense.
7.2 rebounds per game. The Cardinal's two starting big men combine to grab 7.2 boards per game. DeAngelo Casto averages 7.2 rebounds per game.
That's going to wrap up our preview. Enjoy the game everybody, and go Cougs!
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 15, 2010
Welcome back Cougar fans!
Hopefully everyone has had a chance to digest last night's up-and-down battle with California. The team is currently at Beasley preparing for tomorrow's matinee with Stanford. Meanwhile, at the Crimson ZZU we are expanding our content. Not only will we be bringing you more frequent updates with analysis of upcoming opponents and a look back and Cougar basketball history, but you can now follow the blog on Facebook. Search Crimson ZZU on Facebook to join our group and get the latest Cougar basketball information on your news feed.
We get the new era started with a little history lesson. Aside from today being the one-year anniversary of the heroics of Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger performing the "Miracle on the Hudson," there have been a number of heroic achievements by WSU basketball players.
This Date in Cougar Basketball History: January 15th
WSU is 18-13 all-time on Jan. 15, including an overtime thriller last season at Oregon State. The win 61-57 win in Corvallis last year stopped marked the first Cougar win on Jan. 15 since picking up another W at OSU in 1998.
In the Game last season, Aron Baynes muscled his way to double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. It marked the fourth game of Baynes' career that he reached double figures in scoring and rebounding, but was just the first of six he would record last season.
The Aussie's performance is the latest in a long line of impressive all-around games on Jan. 15 by WSU men's basketball players. Baynes earned the seventh double-double on this date in Cougar history, two of which came in the same game.
In 1983 Steve Harriel helped the Cougars to an 86-64 victory against Arizona in Pullman. Harriel's 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Wildcats was one of 14 WSU double-doubles that season as the Cougars reeled off 23 wins, including 14 in the Pac-10 for a program-best second-place finish since the conference expanded in 1978-79 (the 2006-07 Cougars also finished second).
In the Cougars' first meeting with Oregon State in 1976, Ron Davis and All-American Steve Puidokas went toe-to-toe with the Beavers' Lonnie Shelton in the paint. Davis poured in 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the eighth double-double of his career, while Puidokas added 22 points and also hauled in a dozen boards. The dual double-doubles were not enough to overcome Shelton and the No. 17 Beavers at the time, as OSU's center put up 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds on the way to an 82-73 victory. The feat for the two Cougar big men became even more impressive after OSU was forced to forfeit the game when the NCAA ruled Shelton ineligible because he signed a professional contract to play for the Spirits of Saint Louis of the American Basketball Association.
During the mid-1960s Cougar fans could practically circle Jan. 15 on their calendars for a big individual performance. Al Thompson started the string in 1963 with an 11-point, 10-rebound effort at Idaho. After not playing a Jan. 15 game in 1964, Ted Werner torched Oregon in 1965 for 18 points and 18 rebounds in leading WSU to a 75-68 victory. The game started a four-game streak of double-doubles for Werner. He repeated the four-peat later in the season as well. The following year Jim McKean, another WSU legend, led the Cougars against the Ducks on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 36th birthday. McKean tallied 15 points and 11 rebounds, but Oregon sent WSU home with a 66-58 loss.
That is all for tonight. Check back in the morning for more information on Stanford.
Keep it crimson,
Jan. 14 (11 p.m.)
Good evening Coug fans!
Another night, another tough game in the Pac-10. This time it was the California Golden Bears that came to Pullman and tested the young Cougars. WSU ran out of time in the back-and-forth contest and fell 93-88.
An unbelievable start for California put WSU in a 20-point hole before the first media timeout. Before everyone settled into their seats at Friel Court, Jerome Randle (a popular preseason pick for Pac-10 Player of the Year) had eight points, seven assists and two rebounds to get the Golden Bears off on a 28-8 run.
The run was fueled by a lightning-quick transition game and outstanding shooting. California shot 11-of-13 from the field, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in it's opening spurt.
WSU did not back down, though. The Cougars fought back behind gritty play from Marcus Capers and Reggie Moore. Nikola Koprivica also imposed some senior leadership on the game with a handful of hustle plays.
Every Cougar run that closed the gap and put California on its heels was followed by a stretch of uninspired and nervous basketball. Every time the Golden Bears looked to be in trouble, Randle or Patrick Christopher pulled up for what looked to be an ill-advised jumper and burried it. It was just that day for the Cougars, they could not find enough breaks to get control of the game.
Despite the outcome, there were a number of impressive individual performances for the Cougars. Find out more about all of them, right here, in the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Reggie Moore. With every game Reggie Moore plays, the freshman point guard is growing into his role. Tonight was no different. In Moore's third-consecutive game against a well-respected senior point guard, he put together perhaps the best game of his career. If nothing else, it was his most assertive game, against arguably the most aggressive guard in the conference, Randle. Reggie finished with a career-high 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. He also made nine of his 10 free throw attempts. The Seattle native dished out five assists to just two turnovers, and scraped together two steals on the defensive end. Not only did he set a personal best for scoring, but his points came in crucial situations. During the 16-4 Cougar run after California's hot start, Reggie accounted for seven points, including a 3-pointer to cap the run. Moore also banged home a triple at the end of the first half that brought the COugars within four at the break. In the final ten minutes, Reggie penetrated relentlessly and earned 12 points and four assists. He was 8-of-8 from the stripe during the final stretch as well.
Honorable Mention POG: Klay Thompson. It was one of the tougher shooting games of Klay Thompson's young career, but he came out in the second half with a different mindset. While Thompson's shots were not falling from 3-point land, he slashed and cut his way to 18 points, 13 after halftime. Klay also ripped down six rebounds and swatted one Golden Bear shot. Xavier Thames. Every time Xavier Thames steps on the floor his confidence grows and grows. The dynamic he provides helps the Cougars keep teams off balance as well. Thames put his sweet mid-range jumper on display tonight to to the tune of 10 points on a career-high five field goals. The freshman's ability to put the floor on the deck and knock down a 12- to 18-foot jumpshot is an incredible compliment to the driving ability of Reggie and Marcus and Klay's 3-point stroke. It is cliche to call it a lost art, but the way defenses play off the mid-range game it is easy to see how valuable that shot is to a player's arsenal. Xavier drained three buckets tonight from that distance. He also added an acrobatic layup in the first half and battled for a putback in the second half. Nikola Koprivica. In the first half Nikola Koprivica gave the Cougars a shot of life with a put-back basket that started a 16-4 WSU run in response to California's incredible start. Later in the half Koprivica pulled down another offensive rebound and got the ball out to Thames for a layup. Nik also cut to the hoop and got a nice pass from DeAngelo Casto for an easy bucket with less than two minutes to play in the opening period. After earning his points in the first half, the senior was rewarded with a few open looks. He hit three triples in the second half to keep the Cougars close, including his final points with 1:33 to play that trimmed the Golden Bear lead to seven. Koprivica finished with 15 points and fought for eight rebounds. The team's lone senior is now averaging 8.8 points and six rebounds per game in conference play.
Turning Point of the Game: Cougars Can't Cash In. Just when it looked like the Cougars were out of the game, they kept clawing right back into it. With 34 seconds left in the game, the Cougs had cut California's lead to just six points after a layup by DeAngelo Casto. WSU put on a full-court press and forced D.J. Seeley to throw the ball out of bounds while trying to get the ball in play. No time went off the clock and the Cougs had the chance to cut into the six-point lead. Prior to getting the ball in bounds Xavier Thames was fouled and went to the free throw line to shoot one-and-one. Thames missed the front end of the one-and-one, but the ball went out of bounds off a Cal player, giving WSU the ball back with 32 seconds to go. The ball ended up in Reggie Moore's hands at the 3-point line, but the bucket didn't fall, as WSU missed its chance to cut the lead to three with 27 seconds to go. Casto got his hands on the rebound, but Cal's Seeley forced the jump ball, giving the ball back to Cal. Jamal Boykin made one of two free throws on the next possession, as WSU trailed by seven. The Cougs pulled within five points with 17 seconds to, but the Golden Bears converted their final four free throws and came away with the five-point victory.
Play of the Game: Capers Climbs the Ladder. With the end of the first half nearing an end, California had just ended the Cougars' 16-4 run that brought them within eight points. After a dry spell for both teams Klay Thompson got open on the left wing for a clean 3-point look. With the Golden Bear defense scattered to pick up the shooter, Marcus Capers dashed down the middle of the lane looking to clean up any potential miss. Sure enough, Klay's jumper bounced high and soft off the rim and Capers timed his leap perfectly to grab the board and throw it down in one motion. The tip-dunk brought Friel Court to its feet and re-energized the team.
Stat of the Game: Running Bears. Washington State has had trouble turning the ball over lately, especially in Pac-10 play. Tonight it cost the Cougs 23 points, as Cal finished with 23 points off turnovers. California turned the ball over 12 times, just two fewer than WSU's 14, but the Cougs came away with just 13 points off turnovers. This was due largely in part to Cal's execution of the break. The Golden Bears finished with 29 fast break points, compared to just 10 by the Cougars. California head coach Mike Montgomery was proud of the job done on the break by his team, stating after the game, "We shot well early; we caught them off guard on the break and got off to a quick lead."
That will do it from the Crimson ZZU tonight. Thanks to everyone for reading, and keep those suggestions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org. Another big game coming up Saturday as Stanford comes to town, hope to see everyone at the game as it will not be televised. Tip is at 2 p.m., let's get a bigger attendance than we saw today. Go Cougs!
Keep it crimson,
Sunday, Jan. 10 (5 p.m. MST)
Many of you may have caught the game on Fox Sports Net today as the Cougars fell in a tough one at Arizona State this afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. The final score was 71-46 in favor of the Sun Devils, as WSU suffered its worst loss since falling at Oregon 67-37, Feb. 18, 2006. For the complete run down from the game, check out this edition of the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: None. We're going to go without a player of the game for the first time here at the Crimson ZZU Post Game. It's hard to find that one person that played solid consistently throughout the game. There were however strong moments from a few players and others stepped up, as all 13 player played early in the game for the Cougs.
Honorable Mention POG: John Allen. A walk-on, Allen made his first appearance at the 10:30 mark in the second half. Just over 30 seconds later, Allen had his first two points of the game. The redshirt freshman finished with four points and a rebound in four minutes. He was 2-for-2 from the field in that time. The four points marked a career high for the guard who made his first career appearance in a Pac-10 game.
Turning Point of the Game: Arizona State's early 16-0 run. The Cougs did have a few opportunities to get back into the game following the run, but ASU's 16-0 run that gave it a 17-7 advantage with 11:05 to go in the first half seemed to be too much for WSU to overcome. After ASU scored the first point of the game, WSU went on a 7-0 run to take an early 7-1 lead with 16:53 to go in the half. Arizona State called a timeout after Xavier Thames' layup put the Cougs up 7-1. Following the timeout Klay Thompson picked up his first foul, sending Trent Lockett to the line for two. Lockett hit both shots. The Cougs turned the ball over on their next possession and Derek Glasser couldn't take advantage of a steal by Ruslan Pateev as he missed a 3-pointer. WSU got the rebound, but turned the ball on the next two possession as ASU pulled within two points, 7-5. On ASU's next possession, Thompson picked up his second foul, a key play in the game for the Cougs. With Thompson on the bench, the options were limited for head coach Ken Bone. Bone disciplined four players for being late to various team things this weekend, as DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers didn't start and James Watson didn't see action until the second half. The Sun Devils continued to build their lead as they capped their 16-0 run at 17-7 with 11:05 to go. Arizona State led by as many as 15 with 6:40 to go in the first period.
Play of the Game: Marcus's tip dunk. In the middle of the first half, DeAngelo Casto missed a layup from the left block. ASU's Jamelle McMillan missed his blockout on Marcus Capers who came from the center of the key as the ball bounced off the front of the rim. Capers jumped from near the center of the key and slammed the ball down with both hands, shaking the rim and entire basketball hoop.
Stat of the Game: Field goal percentage. The Cougars shot just .298 (17-for-57) from the field, their worst field goal percentage of the season and the first time they've shot under .300 since shooting .275 (14-for-51) in a loss to USC last season (Jan. 24, 2009). Today's game marked just the second time this season the Cougs shot less than .400 from the field. Arizona State shot .508 (30-for-58) from the field. All four of WSU's losses this season have come when its opponent shot better than .450 from the field.
That does it for today's Crimson ZZU Post Game. Be sure to come out and support the Cougs this weekend as they host California Thursday at 7 p.m. and Stanford Saturday at 2 p.m., both games at Beasley Coliseum.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, Jan. 8 (11:30 p.m. MST)
The Cougars made it two in a row tonight as they defeated the Wildcats of Arizona 78-76 in dramatic fashion Friday at the McKale Center. The finish seemed a bit like Déjà vu as DeAngelo Casto hit the game-winning layup with 0.1 second left in the game. This time things went in favor of the Cougs, and they celebrated--after the final buzzer. There were several heroes on the night, including Casto along with Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson. To get the full scoop on the game, read on here on the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Reggie Moore. Although it was DeAngelo Casto who scored the game-winning bucket for the Cougs with 0.1 second remaining, it was Moore who dished the ball off to the big man. Moore played an aggressive game offensively for the Cougs, picking up the scoring when he needed to. He finished with a career-high 20 points, adding three assists and a steal. The freshman point guard had trouble holding on to the ball a bit in the game, but finished 5-for-10 from the field and 10-for-14 from the free throw line. Moore also had two 3-point plays, the old fashioned kind, both of them occurring in the second half. He scored 13 of his 20 points in the final half.
Honorable Mention POG: DeAngelo Casto. For the second time in three games, the sophomore center scored a bucket to put the Cougs up by two in the final second of the game. This time, the layup came with 0.1 second to go and there was no technical foul to allow Arizona to tie up the game. Casto was one rebound shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine boards. Six of Casto's rebounds came on the offensive end. Casto was also instrumental in getting Arizona center Derrick Williams fouled out of the game with 6:34 to go. In all, Casto drew two charges and added a blocked shot on the defensive end. Klay Thompson. The 6-foot-6 guard was another aggressive player on offense for the Cougs. Thompson finished with 19 points and eight boards. He added four assists and had half of the Cougars' four 3-pointers, finishing 2-for-4 from 3-point range. Thompson could have had more on the offensive end, but had at least four shots go in-and-out.
Turning Point of the Game:The final nine seconds of the game. There were several potential turning points throughout the game, however, once again, the game was decided in the final seconds. Arizona got the ball back with 27 seconds trailing by two points. As chaos occurred in the paint, Solomon Hill tipped the ball in for UA to tie the game at 76 with nine seconds to go. Reggie Moore took the ball down the court as the Cougs set up a play. With the seconds winding down, Moore drove the lane and dished off to Casto waiting under the right side of the hoop. Just like last Thursday against Oregon, Casto put in a layup to give the Cougs a two-point lead with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. As the ball went in, a quick roar exploded from the bench, as the coaches and players quickly got their composure to ensure that no technical foul would occur. A last second heave by Arizona was too late and the Cougs got their victory.
Play of the Game: Watson's dunk. Early in the second half Arizona's lead tilted between two and six points. As WSU trailed by two, with just under 17 minutes remaining in the game, Marcus Capers drove the right side of the lane and went up for a layup. The ball bounced off the rim and James Watson lept from the middle of the key and slammed in the rebound. It was the only dunk of the game for WSU and pulled it within two at 42-40 with 16:32 to go.
Stat of the Game: Free throw shooting. For the 12th time in WSU's 15 games, the Cougars attempted more free throws than their opponent. WSU shot 25 free throws, while Arizona shot 24. The Cougars shot .720 from the charity stripe (18-for-25), while the Wildcats shot .708 (17-for-24). WSU has shot more free throws than its opponent in the last eight games and has attempted 10 or more free throws than its opponent in eight games this year.
That does it for tonight's Crimson ZZU Post Game. Sunday's game at Arizona State will tip off at 11:30 a.m. PST (12:30 p.m. here in Arizona) and can be seen nationally on FSN. I hope you call can catch the game.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 (8:30 p.m.)
Hello again Cougar fans!
Well if this weekend is any indication of what the conference schedule will bring, WSU fans are in for a wild and exciting ride. After Thursday's heart-wrenching 91-89 double-overtime loss to Oregon, the Cougars responded against Oregon State with relentless defense and aggressive offense. The Beavers played a solid game, too, and were able to limit Klay Thompson, the nation's leading scorer entering today, to very few good looks and just seven points. Enough Cougars stepped up on both ends of the floor to pick up their teammate and prevailed with a 65-60 victory. Find out who made the plays right here at the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Reggie Moore. On a day when Oregon State made the Cougars fight for everything they got, Reggie Moore fought the hardest. Moore willed his way to a full stat sheet, including a career-high 19 points. The scoring did not come easy for the freshman as he had to battle against a stifling Beaver zone defense. Reggie found enough daylight on the perimeter to knock down a career-best three shots from beyond the arc. He battled inside for a pair of tough buckets in the paint, and added a breakaway dunk and layup. Even the free throws were anything but gimmies tonight as Moore, an 84 percent free throw shooter on the season, converted just two of his seven attempts. But he hit a big one to make it a three-point game with 13 seconds to go. It was about more than just offense, though, as Moore led a Cougar defense that harassed the Beavers into 15 turnovers and 36.5 percent shooting for the game, including 25.9 percent in the first half. He had three steals and took a pivotal charge against Calvin Haynes with 17 seconds to play. Reggie also assisted on Klay Thompson's lone 3-pointer of the night.
Honorable Mention POG: James Watson. In the first half James Watson provided a much-needed lift to the Cougar offense. With the OSU zone extending against all of the WSU shooters and making it tough to get a post entry, the Cougs turned to an up-tempo attack. The combination of Marcus Capers and Watson running the floor got the Beavers on their heels. Even though James did not finish any of the plays when he got out ahead of the defense, the redshirt freshman did knock down three of the four free throws he earned from his effort. He also hustled down the floor and found space along the left baseline for a 17-foot jumper to give him five crucial points in the first half. In the second half Watson continued to produce with an assist and a put-back layup to give him a career-high seven points. Marcus Capers. Once again Marcus Capers came up with a stand-out game on the defensive end for the Cougars. But today WSU needed somebody else to step up on offense, and Marcus answered the call. Capers scored four points in the first half and assisted on a pair of Reggie Moore buckets, but it was obvious he was trying to be assertive and penetrate against the OSU zone. In the second half it worked a little better with more ball movement from the Cougars. Marcus was able to catch the ball in the corner and attack the basket before the Beavers could recover. The aggressive play led to a pair of dunks for the sophomore, including his 10th and final points that gave the Cougars a four-point lead with 7:47 remaining and put a jolt into the Friel Court crowd. Capers also grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds, including seven in the first half, to post his first-career double-double. He also added a block to his line tonight.
Turning point of the game: Reggie's charge. WSU turned the ball over with a two-point, 62-60 lead, giving OSU the ball with 43 seconds to go. After passing half court, OSU called a timeout to get set. The Beavers came out on the court and got the ball in the night's leading scorer, Calving Haynes' hands. Haynes drove the lane and Moore stepped in from the weak side, drawing the charge and the Beaver turnover. Here's the play in Moore's words:
"As probably the best player on the team, you know he's (Haynes) going to take that shot, he's going to be real aggressive, so you have to keep that in mind. I was on the weak side and I think he had a step on DeAngelo. You have to make those sacrifices for your team if you want to be a great team."
When asked if he got there in time, Moore responded:
"The ref said I got there, so I got there."
Play of the Game: Moore Elevation. After a 7-3 OSU run brought the Beavers within one point, neither team could find the bottom of the net. Both teams bogged down in their halfcourt offenses and were scoreless for nearly two and a half minutes. Instead, freshman Reggie Moore turned defense into offense. Beaver center Roeland Schaftenaar controlled the ball at the elbow and squared up against the WSU zone defense. Moore dropped down to poke the ball away from behind. Marcus Capers controlled it while Reggie leaked into the Cougar frontcourt. Capers led Moore with a beautiful outlet pass, and Reggie gathered himself before rising up for a monster, two-hand flush.
Stat of the Game: Free Throw Shooting. In what was a well-played game for the Cougars, there was one glaring sore spot. WSU shot 16-of-29 from the free throw line tonight. Despite holding Oregon State to 19-of-52 shooting from the floor, the Cougars and their 51.2 percent shooting clip had to claw their way to victory as missed free throws kept the Beavers alive. Meanwhile, OSU took full advantage of its opportunities at the charity stripe, converting all 15 attempts. The last time a WSU opponent was perfect from the line was Jan. 8, 2009, when California only took four free throws. It was an all around poor performance for WSU, as six Cougars went to the line and Xavier Thames (4-for-4) was the only one without a miss. Reggie Moore, who finished 2-of-7 from the stripe, compared his performance to a notoriously bad free throw shooter, "I was shooting like Shaq today at the free throw line."
The Cougs did make enough to seal the 65-60 victory tonight, and move to 1-1 in Pac-10 play.
Thanks for stopping by the Crimson ZZU, the Cougars will travel to Arizona and Arizona State next weekend for a Friday/Sunday road trip. Be sure to come back here for all the WSU men's basketball information. If you would like to see more in this blog, e-mail suggestions to email@example.com.
Keep it crimson,
Thursday, Dec. 31 (8 p.m.)
I hope you all had or are having great holidays. It was a tough one for the Cougs tonight, in one of the most exciting Pac-10 openers I've seen. In the end the Cougs fell to Oregon, 91-89 in double overtime. It's a heartbreaker, but you can read about some of the information here on the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. It's hard to pick just one, but Thompson led the Cougs in scoring once again, as he has all season long. He finished with 33 points and was 19-for-21 from the free throw line. His only misses were his first and last free throw as he converted on 19-straight. His 19 free throws fell just four short of the WSU record. He added four assists and one steal in 49 minutes of action.
Honorable Mention POG: DeAngelo Casto. The sophomore had a tough time down low with 6-foot-10 Michael Dunigan, but was able to put together the fourth double-double of the season and his career with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He added two blocks in 37 minutes of action. Nikola Koprivica. Koprivica strung together his third-straight double-figure game with 11 points, adding nine rebounds in 35 minutes. He didn't have any turnovers and has had just one turnover in the last five games. Reggie Moore. Although in foul trouble, Moore came through in the end finishing with 10 points, three assists and two steals in 33 minutes. Xavier Thames. The backup point guard saw extra action with Moore in foul trouble. He got the Cougs going early and finished with 11 points in 21 minutes. Thames was 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Marcus Capers. Capers put in another solid defensive effort in 43 minutes of action. Offensively he finished with four points on 2-for-2 from the field and two assists.
Turning Point of the Game:The final eight seconds of the second overtime. Since the game was decided in the final 0.5 seconds, that had to be the turning point. After the Cougs missed a jumper on their end, the Ducks got the ball with little time left. They broke WSU's full court pressure and Malcolm Armstead was able to convert a layup as he was fouled. The Cougs had 0.3 seconds to try a shot in double overtime, but couldn't get the ball in bounds as the Ducks held on for the win.
Play of the Game: Casto's layup. It was a play that appeared to have won the game for the Cougs in the first overtime. The Cougars got the ball with eight seconds to go. Thompson drove to the rim and found an open DeAngelo Casto down low. With the help of a few pump fakes, Casto put the ball up and in with less than a second to go. Unfortunately, a technical was called on the WSU bench and Oregon tied the game with free throws with 0.3 seconds to go.
Stat of the Game: Technical fouls. It's not necessarily a stat, but after the game the lead official, Mike Littlewood gave the media a reason for the WSU technical at the end of the first overtime and also the reason Oregon was not giving a technical for the same behavior. Here's the explanation:
"We have a technical foul for bench personnel running onto the court during a live ball, without being beckoned onto the court," said Mike Littlewood, the lead official. Rule 6, Section 1, article 4B
The ball shall become live when... B. on a throw-in the ball is at the disposal of the thrower in and the official begins the throw-in count
"As soon as he grabs the ball, the ball is live."
Rule 10, Class B technical foul
N. A team member entering the playing court without reporting to the official scorers or a substitute entering the playing court without being beckoned by an official.
"They had bench personnel coming on the court during a live ball."
The second overtime, the ball was dead due to the foul.
Well that does it for this Post Game. I know it's not as fun as past ones, but the game was a little hard to deal with. The Cougs will be back on the court for practice tomorrow and look to bounce back against Oregon State on Saturday. Have a safe and happy New Year!
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, Dec. 22 (11 p.m.)
It was another packed house for the Cougs Tuesday as they took on LSU in front of 15,341 fans at Seattle's KeyArena Tuesday evening. The crowd got a holiday season treat as the Cougs pulled out a 72-70 victory over the Tigers in overtime. Only nine players played for the Cougs but they put in solid minutes in a balanced attack. For the whole scoop on the game, read below on the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson. It's hard to choose between the two sophomores, so we're giving it to both Casto and Thompson tonight. Casto had the game-tying layup with seven seconds left in regulation with an assist from Reggie Moore. On LSU's next possession, Casto's hustle came up huge as he forced a Bo Spencer turnover and dove on the floor to grab the ball. The forward/center finished with 13 points and eight boards, adding two blocks and that overtime-securing steal in 31 minutes of action. Thompson did what he does best, come up big in big games. When LSU got close in the middle of the second half, it was Thompson who scored nine-straight points, including the 100th 3-pointer of his career, keeping the Cougs on top. He finished with 26 points, paced by 10-for-12 shooting from the free throw line. He added six rebounds, two assists and a steal in 44 minutes.
Honorable Mention POG: Reggie Moore. The Seattle native returned home with a point to make and he did it. The point guard finished with 12 points, four assists and two steals. He was 4-for-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. Moore showed his stamina as his first complete game came in overtime as he clocked all 45 minutes. Nikola Koprivica. Although his shooting wasn't as hot as on Saturday, the senior had a solid game with his second-consecutive double figure scoring game. The Serbian finished with 11 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in a season-high 32 minutes. Koprivica also was 6-for-7 from the free throw line, tying his season high for free throws made. Marcus Capers. The sophomore also was solid, especially on the defensive end. He finished with eight points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Turning Point of the Game: The final seven seconds of regulation. LSU and WSU went back-and-forth at the end of regulation. With 45 seconds on the clock in the second half, Bo Spencer hit a jumper to give the Tigers a 62-60 lead. LSU had a chance to seal the game at the free throw line, but Chris Bass missed two attempts. The Cougars got the ball with 20 seconds to go and got the ball in Reggie Moore's hands. Moore dished the ball to Casto who put up a layup to tie the game. As LSU looked for the win with seven seconds to go, Casto forced a turnover and called a timeout with 0.4 seconds to go, forcing overtime.
Play of the Game: Klay hits 100. It took a little while for Klay to heat up, but in the second half he did with 16 points. In the second half at the 11:36 mark, Klay hit his first three of the game from the right wing, notching his 100th career 3-pointer, thanks to a pass from Moore. He now has 101 career three points which ranks 16th in the WSU career record books.
Stat of the Game: Free Throws. Washington State shot a season high 40 free throws, besting its previous high of 38 at Alaska Anchorage. WSU shot 77.5 percent from the charity stripe, going 31-for-40. Marcus Capers was perfect from the line as he went 4-for-4. LSU shot just two fewer free throws than Kansas State, who shot a season-high 29 free throws Dec. 5.
That does it for today. We'll take a few days off, along with the team, for the holidays, but we'll be back. The Cougars returns to action Dec. 31 as they open Pac-10 play against the Ducks of Oregon at 3:30 p.m.
Keep it crimson,
Dec. 21 (5 p.m.)
After the Cougars' impressive win Saturday night against Portland State in Kennewick, yesterday the team made it out to Seattle. Once everybody was settled into the hotel, the guys got together for lunch before practice. The Cougars got into the gym at Seattle Pacific University to run through sets on offense and defense. It was mostly a slow-down day with a lot of teaching, but by the end the Cougs were running full court and implementing their game plan. After the basketball was over, team trainer Nick Gallotto did his best strength coach impression and led the players through a workout.
When the team got back to the hotel, it was almost dinner time. Dinner got out around 7:30, and the guys had the rest of the night to do as they wish: except Klay and Abe. Jessica took them to the local FOX studio for an appearance on KCPQ's "Q It Up Sports ." Fellow Cougar Nikola Koprivica was honored on the show as its "Sub of the Week" for his career-high 23-point performance off the bench against the Vikings. Seahawks running back Justin Forsett was also on the program that aired live and again during the 10 o'clock hour on channel 13 in Seattle.
There was more down time this morning, and most of the players wandered Seattle to find food and do some last-minute Christmas shopping. The team reconvened at 2 for a bus ride to KeyArena. Before practice got under way, there was a short media session for local reporters to talk with coaches and players. Once all the questions were answered, the Cougars watched film, and then hit the floor.
It was a more intense day of practice as the coaching staff put a lot of emphasis on playing hard and competing. The guys first got after it with some half-court 3-on-3 work, then carried it over to the 5-on-5 games. The Cougar were constantly flying around and battling on both sides of the ball. There is certainly no concern of a holiday layoff for this team.
For anybody that wants to come see for yourself, tickets are still available for tomorrow's Cougar Hardwood Classic. WSU takes on the LSU Tigers at 7 p.m. at KeyArena. If you cannot make it to Seattle, the game will be televised live on CBS College Sports, and as always you can hear Bud Nameck call the game on the Cougar Sports Radio Network.
No matter how you enjoy the game, be sure to come back to the Crimson ZZU for the Post Game.
Keep it Crimson,
Dec. 19, 2009 (8 p.m.)
It was a full house this afternoon at the Toyota Center in Kennewick as the Cougars took on the Portland State Vikings in the Tri-Cities Cougar Classic. Washington State put on a show for the sell-out crowd. WSU shot the lights out and pressured the Vikings into an array of poor shots en route to a 93-69 victory. For more on the ins and outs of the game, here is your Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Nikola Koprivica. As Jessica Schmick predicted before the game, Nikola Koprivica had the game of his life. Koprivica wasn't just good, he was perfect. The Cougars' lone senior made all six of his field goal attempts, including a career-best five from 3-point land. Nik also went 6-of-6 from the free throw line to finish with a career-high 23 points, tying him for game-high honors. The Serbian gave WSU the lead for good at 27-24 with 4:15 left in the first half on his first 3-pointer. In the second half he strung together four more triples as he accounted for 12 of WSU's points during a 20-9 run that put the game out of reach. Koprivica clutched up in the final two and a half minutes to sink four free throws and reach the 20-point plateau for the first time in his career.
Honorable Mention POG: Klay Thompson. The only surprise here is that Klay Thompson merely tied for the game high in points. As he has done every game this season, Thompson led the Cougars (along with Nikola Koprivica) with 23 points. Klay was content distributing the ball at the beginning of the game while the Viking defense honed in on him. He racked up three assists before he put the ball through the net. Once he started to get good looks, though, there was no stopping him. Thompson finished 8-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from downtown. In addition to his set shots, Klay flashed an aggressive side to his game and did a brilliant job of attacking the rim, especially in transition. He has now scored at least 20 points in nine of the Cougars' 11 games. Reggie Moore. It was another successful night for Reggie Moore as the freshman continues to impress as the starting point guard. Even though Moore only scored four points, all in the first half, the Cougar offense would have been stuck in the mud without him. Reggie ran the break to perfection and made every right read against the over-aggressive Portland State defense. He dished out a career-high 12 assists and committed no turnovers. This, of course, coming on the heels of his 10-assist performance against Air Force in which he recorded his first double-double. DeAngelo Casto. With a major emphasis all week on defense, DeAngelo Casto took the game plan to heart. Casto played inspired on both ends of the floor, but gave the Cougars a major boost on defense in the early going. The WSU big man swatted three shots in the first seven minutes of the game. DeAngelo was also a monster on the boards, collecting a dozen rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Casto also scored nine points, including a pair of electrifying dunks in the first half. Abe Lodwick. Ken Bone and the rest of the Cougar coaching staff got significant contributions out of everybody they played at the power forward position, including Abe Lodwick, It was a career-night for Lodwick, who continued his hot shooting and turned it into a career-high 13 points, the first time he has reached double figures. The redshirt-sophomore finished 5-of-6 from the floor (setting a career best for makes, and tying a season high for attempts) including a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. The trio of triples is a career high. Lodwick also did his part to limit the Vikings' looks as he grabbed eight rebounds, seven on the defensive end.
Turning Point of the Game: Klay Enters the Kiln. For the first 16 minutes of the game Klay Thompson was held scoreless. Once Thompson got a runner in the lane to fall with 3:34 to go before halftime, he was anything but quiet. On the Cougars' next possession, Reggie Moore kicked the ball out to Thompson on the right wing for a clean look from 3-point territory and Klay nailed it. After a conventional three-point play by Portland State's Phil Nelson brought the game within three again, The Cougars panicked a little on the offensive end. Moore tried to sneak into the lane, but the ball was batted away from him. As the ball rolled out toward center court the teams frantically raced after it. DeAngelo Casto and a Viking dove to the floor. Casto emerged with the ball and flung a pass to Reggie from his back. The defense swarmed to the left wing where Moore stood with the ball. Meanwhile Klay drifted to the right wing and Moore fired a skip pass to him. Thompson set his feet and drilled another 3-pointer right in front of the PSU bench. The 35-29 lead was all WSU needed as it built its cushion to 11 before halftime, and ran away with the game in the second half.
Play of the Game: Klay Makes it Happen. The Vikings did a good job of keeping the ball out of Klay Thompson's hands for the first three minutes. As a result the Cougars remained without a field goal. WSU pushed the ball and quickly got into its halfcourt offense. Thompson curled off a screen at the left elbow. As two Portland State defenders jumped to the ball, DeAngelo Casto rolled off his screen. Klay used the eyes in the back of his head to spot Casto and flipped the ball over his shoulder. Casto hauled in the pass and skied toward the rim for a tomahawk jam.
Stat of the Game: Spreading the Wealth. The Cougars played a complete team game today. In the first half 10 players saw the floor, and nine of them scored on 17-of-26 shooting (65.4%). Many of the open looks were a result of terrific ball movement. WSU dished out 14 assists in the half, six coming from Reggie Moore. The distribution didn't stop at half time as Moore had six more assists after intermission for a career-high 12. The Cougars racked up 25 helpers as a team for a season high. All the unselfishness led to a school record 81.3 percent 3-point performance. Eighty-one-point-three. The Cougars were 13-of-16 from deep tonight. Not to be lost was the season-high 63.5 percent from the floor on 33-of-52 shooting.
That is going to do it from inside the Toyota Center. Thanks for checking in with the Crimson ZZU. We venture to Seattle in the morning to prepare for the Cougar Hardwood Classic Tuesday against LSU. Hopefully the Cougars can carry over one of the most impressive performances of the season to the annual game at KeyArena. Be sure to come back for updates on the trip.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, Dec. 12 (5 p.m.)
Good Evening Cougs!
Washington State hosted a `home' game up in Spokane at the Spokane Arena today as the Cougars took on the Falcons of Air Force. WSU held off a determined Air Force team in the end to hang on for the 75-68 victory. The game wasn't on television, so you had to be in the stands to see the action, but you can catch the dish on the game here at the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Reggie Moore. The 6-foot-1 freshman notched the first double-double of his career with 16 points and a career-high 10 assists. Moore's points came quietly, and in the second half, as he put up 14 of his 16 points in the final period. Moore also accounted for seven of WSU's 10 second-half assists (10 of its 16 total assists). Moore's 10 assists are the second most by a WSU freshman in a single game behind Bennie Seltzer who dished out 13 assists at UCLA, March 1, 1990. The Seattle native was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line, which is the third-best free throw percentage by a freshman (Ricky Brown and Marcus Moore both went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe). Moore was 4-for-6 from the field and added two boards in 28 minutes.
Honorable Mention POG: Marcus Capers. Capers finished 5-for-6 from the field for a career-high 12 points in 20 minutes of action. It was hard for him to miss as three of his field goals were dunks, two of them off offensive rebounds. The 6-3 sophomore added four rebounds as he reached double figures in scoring for the fourth time in his career and this season.
Nikola Koprivica. The 6-foot-6 guard-forward combo, came two points shy of a double-double of his own as he grabbed a career high 11 rebounds. Koprivica added eight points, an assist and a blocked shot (the fourth of his career), without committing a turnover in 20 minutes.
Klay Thompson. Although he struggled from the field early, Thompson scored when the Cougs needed it...and kept shooting. He finished with 19 points and eight boards, adding an assist and two of WSU's four steals. He has led the team in scoring in all 10 games this season and has scored in double figures in every game and 17 of the 20 halves.
Charlie Enquist. The 6-10 Enquist played a career-high 23 minutes, going 2-for-2 from the field and making his only free throw attempt, completing an old-fashioned 3-point play. Enquist finished with five points, four rebounds and an assist.
Michael Harthun. Harthun also played career high minutes, notching 22. He went 3-for-5 from the field for six points, adding one rebound, two assists and a steal.
Turning Point of the Game: WSU's 9-0 run early in the second half. The Cougs went into intermission with a seven-point, 31-24 lead. Air Force scored first in the second half, but WSU quickly went on a 9-0 run, as all nine points came from Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson (including back-to-back 3-pointers). The 9-0 run gave WSU it's largest lead of the game at 40-26 and the cushion it needed when Air Force put together its late-game comeback.
Play of the Game: Big man to big man: There were three dunks from Marcus Capers to choose from, but we're going to go with a little sharing of the ball between Charlie Enquist and Brock Motum. With 3:41 to go in the first half, Xavier Thames pushed the ball down the court looking for a fast break opportunity. Thames drove to the top of the key then passed off to Enquist in the middle of the key. Enquist spotted an open Motum down by the right side of the hoop and threw a pass to him. Motum acknowledged the pass and flung the ball up behind his shoulder for a tap-in layup. It was a head's up play for all three involved.
Stat of the Game: Contribution from other players. We're used to Klay Thompson, DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore putting up big numbers game after game. But today, WSU got major contributions from others, including a career high from starter Marcus Capers. Although Capers put up big numbers, two of WSU's starters played less than 20 minutes, while three guys came off the bench to play 20 or more minutes apiece. The bench accounted for a third of WSU's points (25-of-75). The Cougar bench also accounted for half of the team's 36 rebounds (18-of-36). Nikola Koprivica (eight points, 11 rebounds), Michael Harthun (six points, two assists) and Charlie Enquist (five points, four rebounds) contributed the most off the bench, while Xavier Thames added two points in 12 minutes and Brock Motum notched four minutes and a steal in 14 minutes of action.
Thanks for checking out another Crimson ZZU Post Game here on the men's basketball blog. The team will take it easy this week as it prepares for finals, but will continue with its `home away from home' games as it hosts Portland State in Kennewick, Wash., Saturday, Dec. 19 at 4:30 p.m. Be sure to check back at the Crimson ZZU for updates. For those of you who've picked up programs the last two games, you can see the rest of `Who Knows...Michael Harthun?' as we pitted Klay Thompson, John Allen and Xavier Thames against each other to see who knew their teammate best. Klay's on track for his second-straight win, so we'll see here on the Crimson ZZU in the coming week to see if he pulled it out.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, Dec. 9 (11:45 p.m.)
It was a good day to be a Coug on the Palouse (and throughout the world), as Washington State defeated its border rival, Idaho, 76-64, tonight on the hardwood. Klay Thompson had another solid night for the Cougs, as did fellow sophomore DeAngelo Casto. For those of you who weren't able to catch the game on FSN NW or Bud Nameck's call on the radio, or if you just want to read more about the exciting win, this Crimson ZZU Post Game has everything you need to get caught up on the Cougs.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. Picking up right where he left off in his last game at Friel Court, Klay Thompson scored six of the Cougars' first eight points as he made his first three shots. Thompson dazzled the Friel Court crowd for the first time since Nov. 19 when he dropped a then-career-high 37 points on IPFW. The sophomore from Ladera Ranch, Calif., didn't quite turn in that type of performance against the Vandals, but he did hit the 20-point plateau for the eighth time this season and turned in an all-around game. Thompson finished with 25 points and just missed a double-double with a season-high nine rebounds. The nation's second-leading scorer contributed in every facet of the game. He had an offensive rebound, three assists, a steal and a giant block in the second half as he pinned the ball on the backboard when Idaho thought it had a fast-break bucket In addition to doing everything in the stat sheet, Klay scored in every way possible. It started with a reverse layup, a turnaround jumper and a floater in the lane. He added a Play of the Game nominee with a breakaway dunk, and three free throws at the end of the first half to give him 15 points at the break. When Thompson and the Cougars came out of the locker room, the only thing Klay had not done was score from beyond the arc. Ten seconds into the half he took care of that. Another triple a little more than a minute later gave Thompson 21 for the game and stretched WSU's lead to 16. Klay rounded out his scoring for the night with a pair of free throws with 1:04 left give him 25 points on the night and double-figure scoring in 16 of the 18 halves this season.
Honorable Mention POG: DeAngelo Casto. It was a sneaky night for DeAngelo Casto. He made his presence known on the defensive end with four emphatic blocks, but he was quietly productive on offense as well. Casto finished second on the team in scoring tonight with 13 points, including 5of-8 from the free throw line. DeAngelo's four blocks ties a career high, previously set in his collegiate debut. He also tied a career high with 14 rebounds. Five of his boards came on the offensive end, and the big man turned right around and cashed those in for five points of his own. He did most of his damage on the defensive glass where he grabbed nine rebounds to secure his third double-double of the season. Reggie Moore. Another night, another double-figure scoring effort for Reggie Moore. Moore connected on 6-of-7 free throws en route to 12 points. The freshman continues to prove why he earned the starting job at the point guard position as this marks his eighth game with at least ten points. In his one "off" night against IPFW, Moore tallied nine points. For the sixth time this season, the Seattle product led the Cougars in assists. He dished out four helpers against the Vandals.
Turning Point of the Game: Cougars Open Second Half Hot. It took until the first play of the second half, but the Cougars got Klay Thompson free outside the 3-point line. Klay ran off a baseline screen, got his feet set on the right wing and dialed up a triple. The swish of that net got everybody going. The crowd went wild, Thompson had found his stroke and it was the beginning of a 14-0 run for the Cougars that put the game out of reach. DeAngelo Casto put back his own miss on one end and drew a charge on defense. On their ensuing possession, the Cougars ran the same baseline play for Thompson on the left side and Klay produced the same result. After another Idaho turnover, WSU worked the ball around their offense until Abe Lodwick was open in the right corner for three. The 11-point burst in less than two minutes caused Vandal coach Don Verlin to call timeout, The pause in the action didn't slow down the Cougars' attack, though. Thompson found Lodwick for another 3-pointer, this time in the opposite corner right in front of the WSU bench. Lodwick's second bomb capped a 14-0 WSU run and extended the lead to 22. On a side note, it appears Lodwick may have found his shot on The Last Frontier. The sweet-stroking lefty is 6-for-10 from distance since breaking through with a pair of 3-pointers at Alaska Anchorage. The Bend, Ore., native added another triple in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout, and splashed home another at Gonzaga. He was feeling it again tonight as he finished 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
Play of the Game: Out and Running. With six and a half minutes remaining in the first half and the Cougars holding onto a two-point lead, WSU ramped up the defensive pressure and turned it into easy points. Idaho's Mac Hopson rose up from the top of the key for a jumper, but Klay Thompson fiercely contested. The shot clanked off the rim and the ball bounced freely around the floor until Reggie Moore scooped it up. Moore leaped into the air to see over the defenders and spotted Thompson leaking out ahead of the pack. He triggered a pass towards the basket and Klay tracked it down for a two handed flush.
Stat of the Game: Inside-outside. Washington State used different methods in each half to get its 76 points and the `W'. In the first period, WSU had to make up for its poor 3-point shooting (1-for-8), so it turned inside the key, in the paint. Of the Cougars' 36 first half points, 22 of them came in the paint. WSU nearly outscored Idaho in the paint alone in the first half as UI went into intermission with 28 total points, while WSU had 22 points inside the key. With their strong inside game in the opening period, the Cougars found themselves open beyond the 3-point arc in the second half, converting 5-of-10. The five 3-pointers in the second half and six total 3-pointers came from just three guys, Klay Thompson, Nikola Koprivica and Abe Lodwick, each with two apiece. Koprivica was the only one to hit from beyond the arc in the first period.
That does it for tonight's Crimson ZZU Post Game. For those of you in the Spokane, Tri-Cities and Seattle areas, we hope to see you out cheering on the Cougs in the next two weeks. We'll be back Saturday following WSU's game against Air Force in Spokane. Tip for that game is set for 1 p.m.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, Dec. 5 (10:05 p.m.)
Well, it was a tough one for the Cougs in Manhattan as they fell to Kansas State, 86-69, tonight. Unfortunately for WSU, K-State was in control the entire 40 minutes. The team is currently on its way back to Pullman on our flight, and I will try and get you all the information you need here on the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. It's a little difficult picking a player of the game, since no one really had a stellar game, but we're going with Klay mainly because he was 11-for-11 from the free throw line and was able to get to the charity stripe to get the Cougs on the board. The 6-foot-6 guard struggled, turning the ball over nine times, including the first three times he had the ball. He finished with a team high 22 points and was 5-for-15 from the field. He added six rebounds, an assist and two steals.
Honorable Mention POG: Reggie Moore. Moore tried to get the offense going and was the only other Coug in double figures with 16 points. He got the majority of his points from the charity stripe as well, finishing 12-for-15 from the free throw line. He was also 2-for-5 from the field and had a game-high six assists to go along with two steals. James Watson. Watson added a bit of a spark off the bench for the Cougs. Although he played just 12 minutes, he had a career-high six points, adding three rebounds and a blocked shot.
Turning point of the Game: `Cats open with 19-4 run. Washington State had a hard time overcoming an early 15-point deficit following K-State's opening 19-4 run up to the 12:18 mark in the first half. Included in part of the run was WSU's nearly eight minute field goal drought as they didn't make a field goal from 15:52 until the 8:12 mark when Klay Thompson hit his first field of the game.
Play of the Game: Klay dunks a 3-point play. After a scoreless minute in the game, Klay Thompson appeared as if was ready to take over the game with 14:38 to go in the game and his team down 59-39. Thompson drove to the basket and slammed the ball in. As he went up he was hit by Jamar Samuels and earned a trip to the free throw line where he converted the shot and completed the old fashion 3-point play. The three points cut the KSU deficit to 17.
Stat of the Game: Turnovers. Washington State committed a season-high 25 turnovers, which led to 39 Kansas State points. WSU's 25 turnovers are the most by a Cougar team since turning the ball over 26 times against Wyoming, Nov. 30, 2005. Five of the Cougs' 25 turnovers occurred in the first five minutes of the game in which KSU jumped out to a 9-4 lead. Kansas State also had trouble holding onto the ball, but its 17 turnovers only led to 17 Cougar points.
Thanks for checking in at the Crimson ZZU Post Game. The team made it back to Pullman safely and will take a much needed day off Sunday before hosting Idaho, Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m.
Keep it crimson,
Dec. 3 (2:30 a.m.)
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU!
What a game! The young and relentless Cougars used a balanced attack to go into The Kennel and nearly come away with a win. Obviously when victory is so close you can nearly taste it, there is a sense of disappointment, but that was quite a performance for a Cougar group many were skeptical about. Nine different Cougs scored tonight, seven of them chipping in at least five points, and four going for double figures. Once again the Cougars were led by Klay Thompson who finished the game with 15, but the story was how well WSU played when Gonzaga kept the ball out of Thompson's hands. In the end the total team effort was not enough to overcome two monster performances for Gonzaga. Senior Matt Bouldin and freshman Elias Harris exploded for career-highs of 28 and 24 points, respectively. The Cougar defense shut down the rest of the Bulldogs, who were widely considered a deeper team. The other eight Zags to see the floor tonight combined to shoot 7-for-21 from the floor and score 22 points, including ten from backup power forward Kelly Olynyk. As for the Cougar highlights, as always, you've come to the right place. Here's the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Xavier Thames. Before the game's first media timeout WSU starting point guard Reggie Moore was saddled with two fouls. Head coach Ken Bone was forced to go to the bench, for a long time. Moore did not return for nearly 13 minutes. With Reggie not on the floor, and a towering Gonzaga front line the burden would fall on Klay Thompson more than ever, right? Thompson shot 3-for-9 in the first half and failed to score in double figures for the first time in any half this season. So how did the Cougars mount a 12-point lead at the break? Freshman Xavier Thames played a huge role. Immediately after entering the game for Moore, Thames picked up an assist finding Nikola Koprivica on a nice transition bounce pass for a layup. On the next possession Xavier lined up a 3-pointer and buried it. After hauling in a couple of rebounds, the Sacramento, Calif. native connected on another deep ball to give the Cougars a nine point lead in the midst of a 12-0 run. Two free throws gave him eight points, tying his career high, in the first half. He was not called on as much after halftime, but his effort in the first half showed why Bone gave him the start last week against Alaska Anchorage. There was virtually no drop off. Thames hit double figures for the first time in his career with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the game to finish 3-for-3 from behind the arc. He posted career marks in points (11), 3-pointers made (3) and attempted (3), free throws made (2), and rebounds (3).
Honorable Mention POG: Nikola Koprivica. In his final regular season matchup with Gonzaga, Nikola Koprivica did not go down without a fight. Koprivica played a season-high 25 minutes, and played mostly down low against the bigger Gonzaga frontcourt. The senior asserted himself heavily in the first half. He racked up six points and three assists before the break. His effort in the early part of the game and continued defensive pressure earned him 17 minutes in the second half. The Serbian finished with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, and grabbed four rebounds. He also dished out a season-high four assists, half of WSU's total helpers for the game. DeAngelo Casto. Going back home to play is never easy. Between distractions and the added pressure of playing in front of friends, it can be nerve-wracking. It was especially tough for DeAngelo Casto to return to Spokane at Gonzaga. Casto walked into McCarthey Athletic Center a marked man, even by his hometown crowd. To make it a more difficult task, Casto was matched up against seven-footer Robert Sacre. The 6-8 Casto more than held his own, especially in the first half. After Sacre scored the first two Gonzaga baskets of the game, DeAngelo began to get under his skin and even drew an offensive foul. After the first two scores, the Bulldog center was 0-for-2 with zero defensive rebounds and four turnovers in the first half. Meanwhile, Casto was putting together a nice game of his own. While he struggled from the field, the sophomore stayed after it and went into halftime with eight points and seven rebounds, four on the offensive end. DeAngelo also swatted away two shots and amassed three steals in the first 20 minutes. Perhaps most impressively, he went into the locker room with no fouls. It was a quieter second half for Casto who made the only shot he attempted in the half. He did grab three more rebounds to garner his second-career double-double at 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Cougar big man rejected another shot to tie his season-high of three, and the three steals ties a career-high. His six offensive rebounds is a career-best as well.
Turning point of the Game: Casto's Third Whistle. With 10:41 to play, DeAngelo Casto picked up his third personal foul. After the Cougars' next possession that saw Reggie Moore push the lead to 12 on a jumper, Casto was taken out of the game. Though he hardly had time to catch his breath, It was enough time for Gonzaga to trim the lead to four. When Casto returned less than two minutes later, a 10-2 Gonzaga run had decimated the lead WSU built the entire first half. A pair of Matt Bouldin triples and four free throws from Bulldog big men sandwiched two Klay Thompson free throws to provide the scoring. DeAngelo's time on the bench was also the start of a 10-minute stretch in which the Cougars made just one field goal.
Play of the Game: Marcus Takes the Easy Two. Nikola Koprivica got his hands on a Robert Sacre pass about midway through the first half, and Klay Thompson picked it up along the sideline. Koprivica streaked down the left wing and got ahead of the defense. Thompson lobbed a pass up ahead to him and Nik came down with it. Without skipping a beat, the senior fired it ahead to Marcus Capers. With every Gonzaga player in his dust, Capers grabbed the ball and rose up to throw down a monster two-handed dunk. The slam quieted the Kennel Club and gave the Cougars a 14-9 lead, forcing Mark Few and the Gonzaga bench to call timeout.
Stat of the Game: Finding the Touch Just in Time. After a spirited first-half performance in which the Cougars held Gonzaga to under 35 percent from the field on 8-of-23 shooting, the Bulldogs scorched the nets in the second half. Gonzaga's 62.5 percent second-half shooting display is the best the Zags have shot in any second half this season. It is also the highest field goal percentage allowed in any half by WSU this season. The 15-for-24 demonstration brought Gonzaga's field goal percentage for the game up to 48.9, the highest the Cougars have allowed this season. Part of that was a 7-for-16 night from downtown (43.8 percent), thanks solely to Matt Bouldin. Of Bouldin's cateer-high 28 points, 21 came from behind the arc as he was the only Bulldog to connect on a 3-pointer. The rest of the team combined to shoot 0-for-4.
Thanks for checking in, once again. Be sure to come back to the Crimson ZZU to follow the Cougars on the road as they travel to Kansas State this weekend for the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. The game is Saturday at 6 p.m. (PST) on ESPNU.
Keep it crimson,
Happy Game Day!
It's a big day for the Cougs as they take on the Zags tonight at the Kennel in Spokane. Before the two teams take the floor, I wanted to get a blog entry in to thank everyone who made our trip up to Anchorage for the Great Alaska Shootout a good one.
The first thanks goes to Jim and Bobbi Olson, our host family for the entire trip. What they did for us can't be explained in just one paragraph. They did everything, from give us food and location tips, to helping pickup team meals, to doing the leg work for numerous things, and the list goes on-and-on. The trip would not have been anywhere near the success it was without them.
Another thanks goes to Roy Neese, the Alaska chapter president for the WSU Alumni Association. He was helpful with many things, among them, organizing our trip to the Alaska Zoo. Former president Claire Frederic and her husband Kevin also contributed a lot to the week.
Our host high school, West Anchorage High School was amazing throughout the week as well, as we held practices, shootarounds and film sessions there. So, thanks to David Williamson and the staff there.
Henry Pennington of The Magic Bus company served as our bus driver the entire week and got us where we needed to go, even when there was a lot of snow on the roads. Tanguy Libbrecht and the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel staff for very hospitable as well.
UAA was a wonderful host, as ticket manager Mary Beth Wooden was very helpful. Also, when it came to everything sports information, Nate Sagan was an incredible help.
Also, a special thanks to all the WSU alums that were up there cheering the team on. There were alums that drove down from Fairbanks, flew up from Seattle, and one even flew in from Hawaii. Pretty cool.
Thanks again to all of you who made the trip what it was. I hope we didn't leave anyone out, there were so many people that did so many things.
Be sure to check out some more photos at the top of this entry, some of them supplied by Roy Neese and the WSU alums.
Keep it crimson,
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU. IT's been an exciting day here in Anchorage, as the Cougars captured the Great Alaska Shootout Championship. There's a lot to talk about, so let's get to the Crimson ZZU Post Game here on the men's basketball blog.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. It would be impossible to go with anyone other than the sophomore guard from Ladera Ranch, Calif. Thompson's mere 12 points in the first half ended up looking small compared to the 31 points he put up in the second. Thompson finished with 43 points on 16-for-24 shooting from the field, including 8-for-13 from beyond the 3-point arc. He added four assists and five rebounds in 35 minutes of action. This is the kind of night Klay was having...each time he got the ball and was semi-open, I could hear the San Diego coaches sigh and let out their frustration from center court. Here's a little breakdown on how huge Thompson's night was. His 43 points marked a career high for Klay and is his second 30-plus point game of his career and the season. It ties him with Guy Williams (Jan. 3, 1983 vs. Idaho State) for the third best single-game scoring performance in school history and he is the first 40-point scorer since Marcus Moore put up 42 against Gonzaga, Dec. 7, 2002. His 43 points also marked a single-game Great Alaska Shootout and championship game record, as the previous high was 41 points by Glenn Robinson of Purdue against Portland in the championship game, Nov. 27, 1993. His eight 3-pointers tied the Shootout record of St. Mary's Eric Schraeder, who set that mark in a first-round, overtime loss to Iowa State in 1998. On the week, Klay scored 89 points in the tournament, which ties him with Casey Green of Southwestern Louisiana for second most points scored in a single Great Alaska Shootout. He has now reached double figures in all 12 halves this season and scored 20-plus points in all six games. Coming into the game, Klay was ranked seventh in the country in scoring average with 25.4 points per game. He is now averaging 28.3 points per game. Klay had stretches where he was the only one scoring in the game, including 11-straight Cougar points that gave WSU a 58-46 advantage with 12:07 to go in the game.
Honorable Mention POG: Reggie Moore. Although he played just 27 minutes, a low number for him, Moore finished with 16 points, five assists and a career-high six steals. He was 5-for-6 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. He was also 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Moore's two 3-pointers at the end of the first half gave WSU a seven-point, 39-32, cushion, and the momentum, heading into halftime.
Xavier Thames. Thames was one of the reasons the Cougs pulled ahead in the first half when they did. He finished with a career-high eight points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field. He added a career-high five assists in just 15 minutes of action. Thames scored six of his eight points in the first period, including back-to-back buckets which extended WSU's lead to 14 points, 25-11, with 9:36 to go in the half.
Play of the Game: Capers' put-back dunk. Klay Thompson drove baseline just under the 16 minute mark in the second half. He attempted a floater that bounced around the rim. With the ball going off on the left side of the rim, Marcus Capers came from the weak side and slammed the ball back down without missing a beat.
Stat of the Game: Sharing the wealth. The Cougars combined for 24 assists on the night, the most since dishing out 27 assists against UC Riverside, Nov. 19, 2005 in Pullman. Ten of the 13 players to see the court recorded an assists, including five from both Reggie Moore and Xavier Thames and four from Klay Thompson. Abe Lodwick, Nikola Koprivica and Charlie Enquist also notched multiple assists with two apiece. WSU made 35 baskets, as just 11 of the shots weren't assisted on. San Diego had just 10 assists, but made just 20 shots.
That does it for tonight. We leave Anchorage tomorrow morning and arrive back in Pullman in the late afternoon. The team will have a lot to prepare for as it will take on Gonzaga up at the Kennel Wednesday, Dec. 2. Keep checking back for more updates and photos from the Great Alaska Shootout.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, Nov. 27 (10:30 p.m.)
Welcome back to Anchorage for the Crimson ZZU Post Game following WSU's 78-69 victory over Nicholls State. WSU improved to 5-0 with the win, while Nicholls State is still winless at 0-7. Super sophomores Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto once again had big nights for the Cougs. The Cougars move on to the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout, taking on San Diego Saturday at 7 p.m. local time, 8 p.m. PST. To read all about the game, check it out here.
Player of the Game: DeAngelo Casto. Although Klay Thompson was named the Carrs/Safeway Player of the Game, the Crimson ZZU Post Game is naming DeAngelo its player of the game. Casto had the first double-double of his career, as he tied his career high with 18 points and grabbed a career high 14 boards. He was instrumental in the Cougars getting back into the game, as he had three-straight unanswered buckets to give WSU a 37-36 lead at the 16:30 mark. The lead was the Cougars' first since they led 9-7 with 13:59 to go in the first half. Twelve of his 18 points came in the final period, as did nine of his rebounds. DeAngelo shot .800 from the field, finishing 8-for-10. He added a blocked shot and a steal in 33 minutes.
Honorable Mention POG: Klay Thompson. Thompson continued his streak of 20-plus games as he put up 21, adding a career high six assists. He added two blocked shots and two steals, while shooting .500 from the field (7-for-14). Klay has scored in double figures in all 10 halves this season, as he had 10 in the first and 11 in the second. Nikola Koprivica. The Serbian proved a spark for the Cougs off the bench, right when they needed it in the second half. He finished with nine points, tying his season high, while adding three assists. He was 1-for-2 from beyond the 3-point arc and has made a 3-pointer in every game this season. Nikola dished the ball to DeAngelo on his shot that gave the Cougars the 37-36 lead. After that he accounted for five of the next seven Cougar points, two free throws and a 3-pointer after a three by Reggie Moore. That momentum belonged to the Cougs at that point as they held a five-point, 45-40 lead with just under 14 minutes to play.
Turning Point of the Game: Casto's six-straight points. We keep coming back to it, but the momentum swinger in Friday's game came at the hands of Casto, with a little help from Thompson and Koprivica. Just when it looked like things were going WSU's way and it pulled within three points, 31-34, Nicholls State's Maurice Foster hit a jumper to extend the lead back to five with just under 19 minutes to go. With some overplaying by the defense, Koprivica was able to dish off to Casto for a layup under the hoop. On the next Cougar possession, Thompson found Casto underneath for two more. After shutting down the Colonels one more time down the court, Koprivica found Casto for a third-straight time and layup to give WSU its first lead since the first half at 37-36 with 16:44 to go. WSU trailed just once more before taking the lead for good.
Play of the Game: Klay's dunk amidst nine-straight points. In the second half, Klay Thompson had a string where he scored nine straight Cougar points. It started with WSU leading by three at 45-42, before he lined up at the left side of the arc and stepped right in front of the arc, with his foot just inside the line, and nailed the jumper. Right after that, Thompson, being overplayed, saw a baseline opening. He took the ball to the rim and slammed it in to assure a bucket. The lone dunk of the game brought the crowd of right around 5,000 to its feet. He followed with a 3-pointer and two free throws. By the end of Thompson's attack, the Cougars led by 10 points, 52-42, with 12:15 to go.
Stat of the Game: Field goal percentage. Once again, the Cougars shot well from the field, as they shot over .500 from the field for the second-straight game. The Cougars shot a season-high .591 from the field, while tying a half-high with .630 (17-for-27) shooting in the second period. WSU finished 26-for-44 from the field while seven of the nine players that attempted a shot finished shooting over .500 from the field. All five starters (Casto, Capers, Thompson, Moore and Lodwick) shot .500 or better, including Casto who was 8-for-10 for .800 and 3-for-4 Moore (.750).
That does it for the post game. If you haven't checked out the Anchorage photos, be sure to do that in the post below. I'll be back following Saturday's game with San Diego.
Keep it crimson,
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. The team's still up here in Anchorage, and it's beginning to feel like we've been here more than five days. Everyone's gotten into a bit of a routine and the sites and roads around our hotel, the arena and West Anchorage High School are becoming very familiar. It's been snowing all day here and it's created a beautiful backdrop!
Tuesday the Cougs opened up play in the Great Alaska Shootout facing tournament host Alaska-Anchorage. WSU came out on top, 87-68, as Klay Thompson was named the Carrs/Safeway Player of the Game with his 25 point, seven rebound performance. For more about the game, check out the Crimson ZZU Post Game below.
Following practice we returned to the hotel where we had an hour and a half of free time before heading to Thanksgiving lunch. I spent my time calling some family back home and finishing up some work (since we do have a pretty busy game schedule once we return to Pullman as well).
At 1 p.m. we all met in the lobby where we were broken into groups of 2-4 and met up with our assigned host families. I was teamed with Marcus Capers and Xavier Thames and we had wonderful hosts in the Vogt family. We were greeted by Mrs. Vogt and taken to their home about seven minutes from the hotel. We arrived to a wonderful smell of turkey and all the other Thanksgiving fixings, that Mr. Vogt had been working all week on.
We had time before lunch to get to snack on halibut and salmon dips and get to know the host family and their friends that were joining us for Thanksgiving. Among the group were two volleyball players from the Alaska Anchorage team. Marcus took his turn at the piano sitting in the living room, before Mrs. Vogt played a few tunes, including some Christmas songs, for us all.
The dinner consisted of the traditional turkey, along with stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots and the list goes on and on...To conclude the wonderful lunch, we were treated to cookies, pie, lemon bars and brownies. The Vogts were even kind enough to send home a goody bag full of treats for the guys. I'm still not sure if Marcus and X told their teammates about that.
The jam packed day continued as we took off at 4:30 p.m. to watch the Nicholls State vs. Alaska Anchorage game. Our group made it back just in time and raced to the bus. Following the game we went as a team to TGI Fridays for a group dinner where we were able to watch some other games, including the UCLA-Portland contest.
We got back to the hotel around 8:30 p.m. and had some free time before lights out at 11 p.m.
This morning we went out for breakfast, to a local spot, the Snow City Café. The scene was picturesque as the snow fell in heavy lumps today and we were able to look out through the all glass windows. The food was great as well, ranging in salmon, crab cakes and reindeer sausage.
Following breakfast we bussed straight to West Anchorage High School for practice. As the team got off the bus it got a few surprise snowballs from the coaches waiting in the bushes with plenty of ammunition. The players got their revenge as they staked out waiting for the coaches following practice.
Following an hour or so at the high school, the team went and took some shots at Sullivan Arena. We just got back from there and have some down time until tonight's game at 5 p.m. local time. Be sure to check out all the photos in the gallery above, we have photos from Thanksgiving, the snow ball fight and some of the arena. I'll be back following the game with the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, Nov. 25 (11:45 p.m. AST)
I'm here in Anchorage, Alaska following the Cougars' 87-68 victory over Alaska Anchorage in the opening game of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, Klay Thompson, remained hot tonight as he notched his fourth 20-plus point performance in as many games this season. For all the insider information, keep reading this Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. This one was actually chosen by the tournament committee, as Klay was named the official Carrs/Safeway Player of the Game following the contest. As mentioned earlier, Klay kept his streak of 20-plus point games alive, notching his fourth in as many contests this season. Thompson led the team in three categories with 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He added two steals and a blocked shot in 38 minutes and was 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. In the first half alone, Thompson compiled 11 points, as he has scored in double figures in all eight halves of action this season. Klay continued his tendency of hitting big shots at big moments as he put the exclamation on a 16-2 run with a three pointer followed by two free throws on the next possession late in the second half. Thompson shot .500 from the field (9-for-18) as the Cougs finished shooting .509 from the field (27-for-53). The fourth-leading scorer in the country and top scorer in the Pac-10, Klay is now averaging 26.5 points per game.
Honorable Mention POG: Reggie Moore. Moore came off the bench for the Cougars to score a career high 17 points. He tied Klay for the assists lead, dishing out four, while adding a game-high three steals. Moore found his way to the free throw line, going 7-for-8 from the charity stripe. Reggie added four rebounds in 32 minutes. Moore made his mark early, scoring seven of WSU's first 14 points. Charlie Enquist. Part of Charlie's impact on the game came on the defensive end as he contributed a career-high 16 minutes containing 6-9, 265 center Malcolm Campbell. Campbell finished with seven points on 2-for-6 shooting from the field, while Enquist made his only field goal attempt for two points. He added four rebounds. Marcus Capers. Although he spent the majority of the game in foul trouble, Capers tied his career with 10 points. He also played a season-high 22 minutes and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field. Marcus attempted a season high six free throws, converting on four of the attempts. He added three rebounds and two assists and had the Cougars' lone dunks, coming off the bench for WSU.
Turning Point of the Game: A mid-half 9-0 run gives the Cougs a cushion. Although the Seawolves did pull within eight points in the final six minutes, the Cougars' 9-0 run in less than two minutes (14:20-12:35) in the second half gave WSU the cushion it needed to soften the blow of UAA. Thompson started the run with a jumper to give WSU a 49-39 lead. Moore rebounded a miss by Malcolm Campbell on the next UAA possession and pushed it ahead to John Allen who dished off to Nikola Koprivica for the layup. Enquist got a rebound on the Seawolves' next possession and Thompson put up a long 3-pointer from the top right of the arc for the 56-39 advantage. Moore capped the run off with a layup from a defensive rebound and assist from Allen as the Cougars suddenly led 58-39 with 12:35 to go in the game.
Play of the Game: Capers assures buckets by dunking. At the 5:29 mark in the first half, Marcus Capers had yet to make a field goal. After Klay Thompson got a defensive rebound, the ball was pushed ahead to Capers. Capers drove to the hoop and slammed down a dunk, bringing the crowd of 5,849 to its feet. Early in the second half, Capers once again got the dish from Thompson and slammed it from the right side of the hoop. The crowd, most of which cheering for the Seawolves, once again gasped with excitement.
Stat of the Game: Second half shooting percentage. Although they shot a respectable .423 from the field in the first half, the Cougars poured it on in the second half, shooting a season second half high .593 from the field in the final period. WSU was 16-for-27 in the half, Four Cougars were perfect from the field in the second half, as DeAngelo Casto and Marcus Capers were 2-for-2 and Charlie Enquist and Brock Motum made their only attempts, respectively.
That does it for tonight. Be sure to check back tomorrow for another blog update from Abe Lodwick. The team takes tomorrow off from competition, but will be back at practice followed by Thanksgiving lunch with various host families. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Keep it crimson,
Good Evening Cougs!
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU. The team arrived in Anchorage, Alaska last night and this week we'll have a guest blogger fill you all in on the trip. Redshirt Sophomore Abe Lodwick will be checking in daily from up North, beginning with his first entry today.
Here's a rundown on the trip so far.
The trip started off with practice early in the morning (in Pullman), after that we bussed up to Spokane where we flew from Spokane to Seattle, then Seattle to Anchorage. In Seattle we met up at the gate with the Oklahoma and Houston basketball teams, who were also flying to the tournament, and flew to Anchorage with them. We got in around 6:30 p.m. and were greeted by some of the locals and Coug fans and the team liaisons, Jim and Bobbi Olson. After a day of travel the first thing I wanted was some food, but first we had to get a team work out in, so we went to the hotel and lifted as a team. Afterward we had a meal as a team. That's pretty much the end of day one.
We woke up at 7:30 a.m., had breakfast, followed by an early hour long practice at Sullivan Arena where we'll play the tournament. Then we bussed to Anchorage's West High School to continue practice and watch film. To get the gym we pretty much had to walk through the school during lunch, I forgot how small high schoolers are-or how big we really are. We had practice there, so people watched.
We came back to the hotel and went to the mall so we could have lunch. Then we got on the bus and went to the Alaska Zoo and saw a bunch of cool animals, like polar bears, coyotes, wolves, moose and tigers. Our tour guide, Stephanie (Hartman), is a WSU alum, so I think she was excited to have us and it was nice to meet another Coug up here. The coolest part at the zoo was at the beginning with the polar bears because we got to go behind the scenes where they fed them, where most people don't get to go, and see how big they really are. It was also really cool to see our tour guide feed the wolves and get the coyotes to howl.
After the zoo we came back to the hotel where we got reorganized and went to the University of Alaska Anchorage campus where we had a Player Huddle, which consisted of all the teams participating in the tournament having dinner together, then had some tournament officials talk to us about the tournament. We went to the planetarium and were shown an interesting video about space that was pretty cool. We also watched a video about the state of Alaska and I learned a lot of things I didn't know before, like all the natural resources Alaska provides. It made me think maybe someday I will come back to Alaska on a vacation, I didn't think that before. That concluded the second day.
Tomorrow is our first game. I'm going to try and go to bed early tonight to be ready for our game against tournament host Alaksa Anchorage, I'm sure they're excited as well. It will be fun to finally be on the road and see what our team is made of.
Saturday, Nov. 21 (6:35 p.m.)
I hope you all are having a great weekend. The team is preparing to leave for Anchorage, Alaska late Monday Morning. They took Friday off before hitting the court earlier today.
For all of you who have picked up the first men's basketball program of the season, we have something for you on the Crimson ZZU today. The program, which was sold during the first three home games, consisted of a new segment called `Who Knows...?'. This issue included `Who Knows...DeAngelo?'. What we did was ask DeAngelo 10 questions about himself. Then we asked three of his teammates what they thought DeAngelo would answer to the same 10 questions. Five of the questions appeared in the program. For the complete 10 questions asked to DeAngelo, Abe Lodwick, Klay Thompson and Steven Bjornstad, along with the answer to who knows him DeAngelo the best, click HERE.
That's it for what we have now. Check back for updates as I head with the team to Anchorage for the Great Alaska Shootout.
Keep it crimson,
Nov. 19, 2009
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU!
We're here in the press room at Beasley for the last time this month. The Cougars wrapped up the early-season homestand with an impressive 89-70 win against IPFW. The game was not as close as the score made it look, either, thanks in large part to Klay Thompson. WSU picked up a career-high scoring night from one of the most prolific scorers the school has seen. For all the insider information, keep reading the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. This game absolutely belonged to Klay Thompson. For anybody that missed this one, Thompson put on one of the most impressive individual performances in Cougar basketball history. After Reggie Moore got the Cougars on the board first, Thompson scored nine-consecutive WSU points, making his first five shots. Then he just kept pouring it on. Klay made turnaround jumpers in the paint, spot-up shots in each corner, set shots from behind the 3-point line, and even tossed in a dunk after picking up a steal. And that was all in the first half. Thompson finished with 22 points before the break, including a 3-pointer to push the lead to 13 with six seconds to go. We are still reviewing records, but dating back to the 2000-01 season, no Cougar has scored that many points in a first half. He made it look easy too. Thompson finished the first 20 minutes shooting 10-of-12 from the field, including 2-of-2 from behind the arc. Believe it or not, he got off to a faster start in the second half. Thompson scored a layup 44 seconds after intermission. His next bucket started a 14-4 WSU run that put the game out of reach. The run included eight points and a block from Klay. A jumper here, a layup there, and another made free throw later Klay had 37 points on an incredible 15-for-20 shooting. It is the most points scored by a Cougar since Derrick Low scored 37 Jan. 27, 2007, against Oregon. It is the most points scored in a regulation game since J Locklier dropped 42 March 2, 2002, against Centenary.
Honorable Mention POG: Xavier Thames. The Cougars got a spark off the bench tonight from Xavier Thames on both ends of the floor. Thames hit the first 3-pointer of his career with a minute to go in the first half and stop a 7-0 IPFW run. The freshman from Sacramento, Calif. finished with seven points, tying a career high. Thames also set up Klay Thompson and James Watson for layups that turned into three-point plays. On the defensive side, Xavier led the way with two steals. Charlie Enquist. With the Cougars getting outworked in the paint in the early going, head coach Ken Bone called on Charlie Enquist to supply some fire down low. Enquist responded with a highly productive four minutes. The redshirt-sophomore center grabbed three rebounds and added two points. He also assisted on a Klay Thompson 3-pointer that pushed the Cougar lead to 27-11. Apart from the individual numbers, WSU enjoyed a 9-2 scoring advantage while Charlie was on the floor. The Edmonds, Wash. native saw 11 more minutes after intermission. Enquist pulled down two more rebounds to give him a team-leading five boards. It is the first time in his career he has led the Cougars in rebounding. Charlie also finished with four points, an assist, a block and a steal.
Turning Point of the Game: Good Defense Leads to Easy Offense. The Mastodons were doing just enough to hang around early in the second half, but a little Cougar defense changed the complexion of the game. On a rare Klay Thompson miss, IPFW was looking to push the tempo and get an easy look. Instead, Reggie Moore jumped in front of an outlet pass. As the Mastodons retreated on defense, Moore attacked the rim and finished with a nifty reverse layup. Again IPFW looked to get the ball up the floor quickly. They tried to drop a slip pass into the lane, but Abe Lodwick was there to grab his first steal of the season. The aggressive approach from the Cougars led to the Mastodons noticeably playing on their heels, for the next two minutes. In that time WSU took control of the game with a 12-2 run.
Play of the Game: Klay Does it All. It looked like IPFW was going to have an easy bucket as Deilvez Yearby leaked out ahead of the pack. Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto turned to pick him up as he tore down the left sideline with the ball, ready to put the Friel Court faithful back in its seats. Yearby took off from outside the lane for a monster dunk, but Thompson came racing from the middle of the floor to block his attempt. Nikola Koprivica collected the rebound off the backboard and rifled an outlet pass ahead to Reggie Moore. With nothing but the basket in front of him, Moore drove into the lane and rose up for a monster two-handed dunk.
Stat of the Game: Spreading the Wealth. Despite the Cougars only getting double-figure scoring from Klay Thompson and his monster night, there were contributions all over the box score. Let's take you through the numbers: 15 players saw the floor; 12 players scored; 10 Cougars grabbed a rebound; Nine players got to the free throw line; the 15 WSU assists came from eight different players; and seven players spotted up from 3-point range. While nobody (except Klay) posted big individual numbers, the result was the most complete game of the season for the Cougars. WSU set season highs in field goals (32), field goal percentage (54.2), 3-point field goals (7), and free throw percentage (85.7).
Thanks for checking in with the Crimson ZZU, be sure to stay tuned for information on the Great Alaska Shootout next week. Also, tomorrow the Crimson ZZU will be roll out the final five questions from the "Who Knows...DeAngelo" section. For those of you who picked up a program at any of the first three games, come back to see if Klay Thompson held onto his lead.
Keep it crimson,
Nov. 16, 2009
Hello again Cougar fans!
Well that was certainly one of the more exciting November games at Friel Court, nonetheless, the Cougars improved to 36-0 on their current home floor in the month with a 67-61victory against in-state rival Eastern Washington. Hopefully a lot of you got to tune into this one as it was the first televised game of the season for the Cougs. Whether you did or not, you've come to the right place to recap it all and get inside the box score. It's the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Honorable Mention POG: Reggie Moore. With the Cougars struggling in the early going, freshman Reggie Moore kept them in the game. Moore ended a three-minute scoreless stretch early in the first half with his first career 3-pointer. Reggie played with high energy on both ends of the floor, and was able to get to the hoop for a handful of layup attempts. He also went to the line four times and sank all of them. Moore led the Cougars into the break with 11 points and two assists. He continued his solid play in the second half, even if it didn't translate into stats in the box score. He got into the paint a number of times, finishing one layup and dropping a pass off to DeAngelo Casto for a dunk. Reggie capped his 15-point game with a pair of free throws to ice the game with 16 seconds remaining. More than anything, the youngster from Seattle proved he can be counted on as a leader for this WSU team. Moore took charge not only with his play early on, but brought the team together every chance he got. DeAngelo Casto. It was another big-effort night from DeAngelo Casto in the middle for the Cougars. Casto hoisted a career-high 15 shots on his way to 16 points. He also grabbed five rebounds and battled all night on defense against the bigger, more experienced Brandon Moore from Eastern. Casto finished with a pair of blocks and one steal to go along with his big offensive numbers.
Turning Point of the Game: Shooter's touch. After a slow start, the Cougars fought their way back into the game, but couldn't find a way to get over the hump. That is, until Klay Thompson broke through from the field. Thompson began the game 0-for-6, all from inside the 3-point line. When he finally stepped out beyond the arc the Cougars were off and running. Thompson took a pass on the right wing, jabbed, pump faked, then let fly a triple that came up short initially. With a friendly hop off the rim it fell through the net to tie the game at 25 with 1:30 remaining in the first half. The Eagles missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity on the other end and redshirt-freshman James Watson ripped down the first rebound of his career. Reggie Moore pushed the ball up the floor as Thompson curled around a screen at the mid-post. Moore looked him off then came back as Thompson set his feet in virtually the same spot. This time Klay erased any drama and gave WSU its first lead without drawing iron. Those two triples weren't the only big outside shots from Thompson tonight. Though the Cougars never relinquished the lead Klay's six-straight points gave them, the Eagles cut it to one with just over a minute to go in the game. That's when Thompson buried his third and final 3-pointer of the game from NBA range on the left wing. The dagger gave WSU a four-point lead with 44 seconds to play and Eastern could not score again.
Play of the Game: Rise Up. With the Cougars trying to find a play that would really solidify their newfound momentum, Klay Thompson found one. Thompson brought the ball into the frontcourt and ran off an Abe Lodwick screen at the top of the key. With the Eagles switching, Thompson backed off and looked to take 6-8, 260-pound Mark Dunn off the dribble. Klay gave Dunn a hesitation move at the top of the key and drove to his right. Thompson was met in the middle of the lane by Eastern's imposing center Brandon Moore. Instead of lofting a floater from six feet, Klay took another dribble, rose up and flushed it on Moore's head. For anybody that remembers Klay's dunk against Stanford last season, think that but in a half-court set, and against all 6-9, 250 pounds of Brandon Moore.
If that wasn't a good enough description, just watch it for yourself. Thanks to cleencoug for the quick YouTube post.
Stat of the Game: Making the Most of Your Possessions. This game was obviously very evenly played, highlighted by the field goal numbers. Each team shot 21-of-50 from the floor tonight. Every time WSU went on a run either to get closer in the first half, or stretch the lead in the second, it was answered by an Eagle three. Eastern made as many 3-pointers as the Cougs attempted. EWU was 9-of-21 from behind the arc, while WSU was an efficient 5-of-9. The Cougars with their bigger, more attack-oriented guards got to the line more, but failed to capitalize on that advantage for much of the game. WSU took 32 free throws, compared to EWU's 13. The Cougars were 20-for-32 from the charity stripe, but converted on 7-of-8 in the final 4:51 to seal the win.
Thanks for checking in with the Crimson ZZU. The guys will be back on the floor tomorrow as they begin preparing for Thursday's matchup with IPFW at Friel Court. Be sure to come back for a recap. Also, for those of you who picked up a game program at either of the first two games, you may have noticed in the "Who Knows..." section there will be more information available right here. That feature will be available Friday. If you have no idea what I'm talking about but want to know more about your favorite Cougar players, be sure to get to Thursday's game and get your program.
Keep it crimson,
Nov. 14, 2009
Happy new basketball season Cougar fans!
The Washington State University men's basketball team just wrapped up its season-opening victory against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils 94-66 at Friel Court. Coming to you from the hulls Beasley Coliseum, this is the Crimson ZZU Post Game. Head coach Ken Bone introduced his style of play to 9,188 Cougar fans tonight, and the result was the most points scored since 2003. Even though the inside game has been pointed to as a weakness of this Cougar team, many of the big men started their seasons extremely well, evidenced by three of them collecting Honorable Mention POG honors. With that, here is everything you want to know about tonight's game.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. After leading the Cougars in scoring 11 times as a freshman, Klay Thompson got his sophomore season off to a fast start with a game-high 20 tonight. Thompson dropped in a 3-pointer on the Cougars' second possession to give WSU its first points and first lead of the new season. The scoring did not stop for Thompson or the rest of the Cougars. Klay knocked down another long-range bomb with 13 minutes to go in the first half, and just when Mississippi Valley State looked like they were going to make a run, Klay turned up the intensity. With just under three minutes to go the Delta Devils pulled within nine, but Thompson drove the ball to the rack and finished with a layup on the other end. Moments later, Klay once again went into the middle of the lane and drew a foul. Like he did so many times last season, Thompson sank both of his free throws and the Cougars had the largest lead of the game to that point at 15. In the second half Klay remained aggressive. Even when he actually missed a free throw, (just the fourth in his career) he grabbed the offensive rebound. Thompson finished 8-of-9 from the stripe and his presence in the lane opened up easy baskets for his teammates. He assisted on a layup and a dunk in the second half. Klay made an impact in a number of areas tonight. In addition to his fourth career 20-point game, he grabbed five boards, came away with two steals and dished out five assists.
Honorable Mention POG: Abe Lodwick. Getting the first start of his career, Abe Lodwick came away with five career highs in 16 minutes of work. The most impressive number was his game-high nine rebounds. The redshirt-sophomore was a force on the boards tonight, ripping down six offensive rebounds. The Bend, Ore., native also earned career bests in points (4-tied), assists (2-tied), and free throw makes (2) and attempts (2). His feistiness on the interior proved why coach Ken Bone started Lodwick at power forward. DeAngelo Casto. It was a big night for the big man in the middle. DeAngelo Casto posted a career-high 18 points in a very efficient performance. Casto was 6-of-9 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. While the box score says he did not have a huge impact on the giant rebounding night for the Cougars, DeAngelo did have four offensive rebounds and did his job blocking off the Delta Devils, holding them to just 25 boards. The sophomore also helped out on defense with three blocked shots, including a pogo stick-like performance with two blocks in a four-second span late in the second half. Charlie Enquist. One of the unsung leaders of this Cougar team, Charlie Enquist played a career-high 15 minutes tonight, and set or tied five other career marks. Enquist grabbed five rebounds, including four on the defensive end. The redshirt-sophomore was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line on his way to six points, all career-high numbers. He also got one of the biggest roars from the crowd and the bench with his two-handed jam on the only field goal he attempted.
Turning Point of the Game: Turning Defense into Offense. This one came real early. After a miss on the first possession of the game, WSU hustled back to stop a Mississippi Valley State fast break. The Delta Devils got a good look, but DeAngelo Casto skied for a huge block, swatting Jason Holmes' shot off the backboard and sending the Friel Court crowd to its feet. Reggie Moore grabbed the ball and pushed it up the floor along the right sideline. As he moved into the frontcourt, Klay Thompson trailed on the left wing. Moore dove into the lane and kicked it to Thompson behind the arc. Klay buried his first look from downtown of the season and got the season going. The Cougars ran out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back.
Stat of the Game: Beasts on the Boards. With so many eye-popping stats to choose from tonight, this may have been the toughest stat of the night yet. The Cougars featured four players in double-figure scoring on their way to 94 points, the most since hanging 98 on Washington in 2003. WSU shot 80 percent from the charity stripe, connecting on 28-of-35 attempts. None of those numbers compare, though, to the rebounding prowess the Cougars demonstrated tonight. What many think of as an undersized Cougar squad dominated the glass tonight, especially the offensive end. In the first half alone, WSU grabbed 13 offensive rebounds. That is the most since hauling in 15 offensive boards Jan. 31, 2003 against Washington. The Cougars came back in the second half and did not let up. They grabbed 11 more after intermission for 24 on the night. That too is the most since also posting 24 offensive rebounds in the same game against the Huskies. Abe Lodwick led the way, providing six second chances and DeAngelo Casto added four of his own. The Cougars capitalized on all the extra possessions to the tune of 24 second-chance points. It was not just a one-sided affair, though. WSU secured 26 rebounds on defense to give it 50 for the game. It is the first time a Cougar team cracked the half-century mark in rebounding since grabbing 53 in last year's season opener, also against Mississippi Valley State. Five of Marcus Caper's seven rebounds came on the defensive end. WSU's 50 rebounds doubled the Delta Devils' total of 25.
The Cougars are back in action at 7 p.m. Monday against intrastate rival Eastern Washington at Friel Court. The game will be televised on FSN Northwest for anybody that cannot make it, especially for the dads who will just be leaving Pullman. This weekend is Dad's Weekend here at WSU, and there should be a large crowd on hand tomorrow to see the Cougar football team pick up where the basketball team left off. That game will also be available on FSN Northwest for anybody that can't make it over the snowy pass. That is going to do it for the Crimson ZZU Post Game.
Keep it crimson,
Nov. 12, 2009
Good morning Cougar fans!
Not a lot going on here the last couple of days. The Cougs took Tuesday off following their exhibition win. The guys started back up Wednesday morning. Taking full advantage of the Veterans Day Holiday, coach Bone ran the guys through a three-hour midday practice. All of this, of course, leading up to the season opener at 7 p.m. Friday against Mississippi Valley State at Friel Court.
Until then, we have a few things to quench your Cougar thirst.
It's tough to find a new angle for a feature story on a senior. Leave that to Vince Grippi of the Spokesman Review. Grippi wrote a wonderful piece chronicling Nikola Koprivica's unique and bumpy road to Pullman. Read the online version HERE.
From the player who has been a Cougar the longest to the guy who finally made it official. Ephrata High School senior Patrick Simon gave the earliest verbal commitment in WSU history when he was just 14. Wednesday, nearly four years later, his name is on the dotted line and the coaches can actually talk about him. Ken Bone isn't just talking, he's glowing.
"We're excited about the signing of Patrick Simon," Bone said. "He's a very skilled player who has good length to him and is an outstanding shooting with great range. I'm sure the Washington State Cougar fans are excited to see that he's finally going to be ending up here at WSU."
That's it for the morning. The Cougars will be back on the floor for practice this afternoon as the season draws closer every second. Be sure to keep it at the Crimson ZZU for everything WSU basketball.
Keep it crimson,
Nov. 9, 2009
Hello again Coug fans!
We come to you tonight after an impressive 73-51 Cougar victory against Lewis-Clark State College. It is the Cougars' only exhibition game this season before Friday's regular season opener at 7 p.m. against Mississippi Valley State at Friel Court. Before Friday comes, though, we have important business to get to. With the new season comes the reinstatement of the Crimson ZZU Post Game. Without further delay, here are all of the highlights of tonight's game.
Player of the Game: DeAngelo Casto. For the second-consecutive season, Casto dominated the exhibition game. Starting at center for the undersized Cougars, the 6-foot-8 Casto had the task of matching up with Lewis-Clark State's seven-foot senior James Craft. Casto was more than up to the challenge. His monster night started on the defensive end when he took a charge on Craft just a minute and a half into the game. It was the first of four fouls Craft would commit. Casto started his scoring by trailing on a fast break and putting back a Reggie Moore miss. Casto was fouled on the basket and completed the three-point play. His next bucket came on a beautifully designed alley-oop jam coming out of a timeout. DeAngelo finished with seven points in the first half, but more impressively hauled in eight rebounds. The second half brought more of the same from the Spokane, Wash. native. He added another seven points, two of which coming on a monster dunk that was one of the plays of the game. With three more rebounds, two on the offensive end, Casto secured a double-double and finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He also answered the bell against the bigger Craft, committing just one foul and blocking three shots in 24 minutes of work. Casto filled up every column of the stat sheet as he added a steal and two assists to his line.
Honorable Mention POG: Klay Thompson. Something we have grown accustom to seeing, Thompson led the way for the Cougars tonight with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting. What was unfamiliar was the area he got his looks. Sure he finished a perfect 4-of-4 beyond the arc and put on the typical Thompson shooting clinic, but he was also attacking. Klay took the ball to the rim four times out of the half-court set. Though he only finished twice, the newfound element of his already solid game is exciting. Michael Harthun. The sophomore from Medford, Ore. was red hot against the Warriors. Just more than a minute after entering the game as the sixth man, Harthun buried a deep two from the left wing with a hand in his face. After a three-point attempt rattled out, Harthun went back to work in the 18-to-19-foot range, and didn't miss the rest of the night. Clearly a benefactor of the up-tempo game, Harthun knocked down two open looks in transition in the first half. Reggie Moore. Getting the start in his first collegiate contest (unofficial of course), the freshman from Seattle settled in nicely at point guard and provided a trio of highlight-reel plays. In the second half Moore wowed the crowd with a pair of electrifying dunks. More importantly, he wowed the coaching staff with four assists and zero turnovers. He finished with six points and a game-high eight assists. In fact, he had more assists than LCSC combined. Reggie also grabbed four rebounds and tallied a game-high three steals.
Turning Point of the Game: Thompson Takes Control. With less than a minute remaining in the first half and the Cougar lead down to 13, Klay Thompson took the game into his own hands. Thompson slashed through the lane and scored on a layup with 49 seconds left on the clock. After running some clock, LCSC took a timeout with 32 seconds left in the half to talk about its final possession. Instead, freshman Xavier Thames forced the Warriors into an over and back and gave the Cougars the ball with a chance to end the half. Thompson milked the clock in the front court before dishing it to Thames on the left wing with 10 seconds to go. Klay cut through the middle and found a hole in the left corner. Xavier got it back to him and Klay continued his hot shooting from behind the arc, leading WSU into the break with his third triple. The 18-point halftime lead gave the Cougars the cushion and momentum they needed.
Stat of the Game: Filling It Up. The Cougars can credit much of the 22-point margin of victory to their efficient shooting night. WSU connected on 30-of-54 from the field for a 55.6 percent clip. The Warriors, despite taking eight more shots than the Cougars, made just 16. The 16-for-62 performance equates to 25.8 from the floor. The Cougars more than doubling LCSC in shooting percentage is directly correlated to WSU scoring nearly twice as many points in the paint (40) than the Warriors (22). Even with a size advantage, LCSC was unable to get the ball inside and settled for a lot of jump shots. The Warriors didn't fare so well from the outside, going 0-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half, and finishing 4-of-19 from deep.
Play of the Game: Moore Flair. With so much exciting basketball tonight it is impossible to single out one play for our nightly distinction. There is, however, a series of plays that stands out vividly. Three and a half minutes into the second period Reggie Moore brought the Friel Court crowd to its feet twice. As LCSC's Terrell Wallace drove to the lane, Abe Lodwick reached in and poked the ball away. Klay Thompson picked it up and fired the ball down court to a streaking Moore. He caught the ball in stride and elevated for a thunderous dunk. On the following LCSC possession, the Warriors turned the ball over again and the Cougars again rifled the ball ahead to Moore. This time he wasn't alone, though. As he picked up his dribble, an LCSC defender cut off his path to the rim. Moore hung in the air and lobbed the ball to DeAngelo Casto trailing on the right wing. Casto flew in and stuffed a two-handed jam to send the crowd into a frenzy.
That will do it for us here at the Crimson ZZU. If you were among the 3,476 in attendance tonight let us know if we missed something, and if you weren't but want something else included, let us know too. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep it crimson,
Nov. 5, 2009
Welcome back to the Crimson ZZU. As the team is nearly three weeks into practices, the Cougars are finally gearing up for a game. Monday's matchup with Lewis-Clark State may just be an exhibition, but you better believe the guys are excited to get on the Friel Court floor in front of the Cougar faithful.
In other basketball news, we've got some exciting photo galleries to share with you.
The men's team hosted a free kids' clinic Saturday in Bohler Gym. Nearly 130 kindergarten through sixth graders took part in the hour and 15 minute clinic. The event began with an introduction by first-year head coach Ken Bone and featured four stations for the eight groups of approximately 15 kids. The groups worked on ball handling, passing, shooting and defense, all taught by current WSU men's basketball student-athletes. Check out the day's action HERE.
Last week Jessica traveled to Pac-10 Media Day with Coach Bone and Nikola Koprivica. The Cougs were picked to finish eighth, but overall the trip was successful. Coach Bone attended a coaches' meeting, along with numerous interviews. He also participated in a press conference-like portion. You can check out his quotes from that HERE. Nikola also had a lot of media obligations and got to interact with other players, such as Washington's Quincy Pondexter. You can check a few photos of Coach Bone with his former boss Lorenzo Romar and some of Nikola, HERE. A special thanks to UW's men's basketball SID, Brian Tom for some of the photos.
In case you missed it, Klay Thompson was mentioned in Jay Bilas' blog last week on ESPN.com as one of 10 players in the country that doesn't get enough attention. The story is an ESPN Insider story, but can be read HERE.
That does it for now. We will be back on a more consistent basis as action gets on its way next week.
Keep it crimson,
Michael Walsh and Jessica Schmick
Good Evening Cougars!
We're back here at the Crimson ZZU with an update from the first week or so of practice. The Cougs spent the first week practicing in the practice gym in PEB, right next to Bohler Gym. On Friday the team headed to Walla Walla for a team retreat full of practice and team bonding. We will have a photo gallery from the retreat here later this week. Today was the first practice in Beasley for many of the team members (all six newcomers) and Coach Bone. It was definitely a different feel from last week's practices in PEB, but they will be there all week to get a feel for the arena.
Wednesday Coach Bone, Nikola Koprivica and I will head to L.A. for Thursday's Pac-10 Media Day. Be sure to check out all our coverage from that as well and see where the Cougs get picked in the preseason media poll.
Some sad news today, former Cougar Aaron Haskins passed away Oct. 25 at the age of 49. Haskins, a pastor in the Seattle area, played for the Cougars from 1979-83, starting nine games in his senior season as he made his second NCAA Tournament appearance. For more about Haskins, click HERE
That is all we have for today.
Keep it crimson,
The team had Monday off after hitting the court for nearly three hours of practice Sunday. Not much news to report today, but the `mayhem' continues as we have another photo gallery for you from Midnight Mayhem Friday. These photos were taken by Jacque Garza, who shot a lot of the games last season for us as well. To view the gallery click the link above.
Also, be sure to check out Michael Harris's photos that he has up on his website from Midnight Mayhem. Those photos on palousephoto.net can be found on the link above.
We'll be back as the week progresses with more men's basketball updates.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, Oct. 17 (1:45 p.m.)
Last night following their first official practice, the men teamed up with the WSU women's team for Midnight Mayhem. If you missed any of the excitement, you can read about it HERE. Also, new photos are up from the night's events, that can be seen HERE. or by accessing the link above.
Earlier in the week, Jeff Goodman from foxsports.com released a story on the 50 best shooters in the country. Sophomore Klay Thompson made the list at No. 17 as Goodman said "He shot 41 percent from long distance (68-of-165) and also made 90 percent of his free throws. That number rose to 48 percent from deep in Pac-10 games. Thompson was also 16-of-31 and was the top shooter for the U.S. at the U19 World Championships this past summer."
He was one of just four Pac-10 players to make the list, being joined by Cal's Jerome Randle, Arizona State's Rihards Kuksiks and UCLA's Michael Roll. For the complete list, click HERE.
That does it for today, but we'll be back with more updates throughout the season.
Keep it crimson,
Hello Coug fans!
Fall workouts are kicking into top gear as everyone is anxiously awaiting the first day of practice. In preparation for the first practice on Oct. 16, the team is spending a lot of time in the weight room and on the court. One place the Cougars are not training? The hill. With the departure of coach Bennett, came the end of the dreaded preseason workout on the biggest hill in Pullman.
On the floor, the team is able to get together twice a week to work on offensive and defensive drills as a group. The rest of the week is conditioning and individual shooting drills. The Cougars are putting in a lot of time with Associate Director of Physical Development Dave Lang in the weight room. Six hours per week, Lang puts the guys through weight-lifting routines, agility drills and other workouts to not only build strength and prepare them for the grind of a Pac-10 season, but also prevent injury.
With the first official practice just two weeks away, we thought we would give everyone a preview of this season's WSU men's basketball team. Here is a gallery with the pictures each player picked for his page in the media guide, as well as a quick synopsis of what they will bring to the team this season. Click here to get your sneak peek at the squad.
Keep it Crimson,
Monday, Sept. 7 (10 p.m.)
Hello again Coug fans!
Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Tough loss for the football team Saturday, but certainly reason to be optimistic going into the game this weekend in Seattle. For those of you who still can't get enough Cougar sports, here is some exciting fresh content from the men's basketball program. As Jessica said, I was at the media guide/poster photo shoot, and as promised, here are some behind the scenes shots. Following the photo shoot, the team particpated in a commercial shoot for the Cougar Hardwood Classic in its locker room in Bohler Gym. Some of those photos have been added as well.
Hope you enjoy getting a glimpse at the team off the court.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, Sept. 4 (2:45 p.m.)
It's been awhile since the last entry, but we're back today with a brief entry amidst all the excitement of college football returning to the Palouse this weekend. Tomorrow the Cougs take on Stanford at Martin Stadium for both teams' 2009 season openers at 3 p.m. For all of you in Pullman tonight, one of the men's basketball managers, Neil Stover, will be walking around the RV lots raffling off an autographed basketball for Managers vs. Cancer. Be sure to be on the lookout for Neil. You can learn more about Managers vs. Cancer at www.managersvscancer.org.
The basketball team has been participating in workouts in the weight room and pool and individual workouts in the gym. Tonight the team will have its photo shoot for the media guide and poster. Mike will be there taking some photos from behind the scenes that we will be posting on the blog next week.
Enjoy your football weekend!
Keep it crimson,
It's an exciting time with football getting into full swing on the Palouse, but we have a few things for you Cougar hoops fans today. First off, Coach Bone threw out the first pitch at the Mariners' game last night at Safeco Field. Coach Bone looked to be a good luck charm for the M's as they defeated the White Sox, 6-4. The Mariners were kind enough to send over some photos from the big pitch, which can be seen in the photo gallery at the top of the entry.
Aron Baynes and the Australian national team wrapped up the Super 4 in South America this past weekend, taking second in the tournament. The Boomers fell to Brazil in the final game in Rio de Janeiro, 95-67. Prior to that, Australia defeated basketball-power Argentina in double overtime on Friday. For more information on Australia's tour through South American, visit the official site of Basketball Australia HERE. The Boomers take off five days before resuming training prior to a series with New Zealand beginning Sunday, Aug. 23. Photos of Aron Baynes with the Boomers are also available in the photo gallery at the top of the entry.
That does it for today.
Keep it crimson,
Monday, Aug. 10 (5:20 p.m.)
Some basketball/baseball news for everyone today. Coach Bone will be throwing out the first pitch tonight at the Mariners' game as they host the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field. The game is set to start at 7:10 p.m. I will have photos from the event for the blog later this week. If you're planning on attending the game, or in the Seattle area, you can catch Coach Bone there tonight.
If you frequent the ESPN.com college basketball page, there's a photo of Klay Thompson on the front today. Andy Katz wrote has an article about Klay Thompson and Ralph Sampson III of Minnesota following in their fathers' footsteps. You can access that article HERE.
That does it for today.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, July 29 (5:10 p.m.)
Good Evening Cougs!
The Australian National team, featuring former Coug Aron Baynes, is currently in South America preparing for a tournament. The Basketball Australia website has detailed coverage including videos and blogs on their official site HERE. I've embedded the latest video on this blog page. Also, I received a few photos from the team's media relations manager. One of Baynes is on this page.
That does it for now.
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, July 28 (6:30 p.m.)
Just an update on incoming freshman Brock Motum. Basketball Australia reported yesterday that Motum tore his calf while trying out for the Boomers. Good news today, it was just strain of the calf and Motum rested three days and is getting back to normal. I was told by Basketball Australia's Media Relations Coordinator that if the tournament was a week later, Motum would have still been able to play.
Monday, July 27 (3:40 p.m.)
Just a little bit of news today from Basketball Australia. Former Coug Aron Baynes has made the Boomers team, which is the Australian National team. The Boomers will compete in the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship against New Zealand, tipping off on August 23 in Sydney, where World Championship seeding is on the line. Baynes is one of five athletes to make his Boomers debut. For more on the team, visit www.basketball.net/au.
That does it for now. We'll be back throughout the summer as news pops up.
Keep it crimson,
Monday, July 20 (10:15 a.m.)
On Friday the Thunder fell to the Chicago Bulls, 80-74. Weaver scored five points adding four rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. James Harden, who didn't play against the Spurs, led the team with 20 points. The Thunder put up just 54 points in their final game, a 73-54 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Weaver played 16 minutes, grabbed two rebounds and dished out an assist. Harden led the team in scoring once again with 11 points.
In the Thunders' five games, Weaver averaged 7.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocked shots in 28.4 minutes per game. For complete coverage of the NBA Summer League action, visit www.nba.com/summerleague2009.
That does it for Summer League recaps and the Crimson ZZU for now.
Keep it crimson,
Thursday, July 16 (5:10 p.m.)
More from the 2009 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev. The Los Angeles Lakers, featuring former Cougs Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes, concluded 2009 Summer League action, falling to the Houston Rockets, 92-77, Thursday. The Lakers finished 3-2, while the Rockets improved to 5-0 in the summer league. Rochestie got the start for the Lakers, putting up four points on 2-for-4 from the field while adding a rebound, assist and steal in 18 minutes. Baynes got on the boards as well, scoring six points while adding two rebounds and a blocked shot in 12 minutes of action. The team's leading scorer in summer league, Adam Morrison, didn't play. Chinemelu Elonu led the Lakers with 16 points, while Ben McCauley had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Former Arizona Wildcat Chase Budinger led the Rockets with 25 points, while Joey Dorsey had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 20 rebounds. Lakers-Rockets Boxscore
Rochestie, a 6-1 guard, averaged 5.8 points, 2.0 assists and 1.3 rebounds in L.A.'s five summer league games. Baynes , a 6-10 center, averaged 2.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.6 blocked shots a game.
Kyle Weaver and the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the San Antonio Spurts at 5:30 p.m. today. For complete coverage of the NBA Summer League action, visit www.nba.com/summerleague2009.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, July 15 (10:25 a.m.)
Welcome back to another 2009 NBA Summer League update here at the Crimson ZZU. Last night all three former Cougs participating in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev., met up as the Los Angeles Lakers, featuring Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes faced Kyle Weaver and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although the Thunder led deep into the fourth quarter, the Lakers outscored the Thunder, 23-12, in the final period for a 74-68 victory. Los Angeles improved to 3-1 in summer league play, while Oklahoma City dropped to 0-2.
Two Cougars were in the starting lineup as Baynes and Weaver each got the starting nod for their respective teams. Weaver played nearly 37 minutes, scoring 10 points while grabbing a game-high eight rebounds and dishing out three assists. The 6-6 guard added two steals and three blocked shots. Baynes, a 6-10 center, finished with four rebounds and a steal in nearly 15 minutes of action. Coming off the bench for the Lakers, Rochestie, scored five points, making his only 3-point attempt. The 6-1 point guard added a rebound and a steal. Former Arizona State guard James Harden led the Thunder with 23 points, while former Gonzaga guard Adam Morrison led the Lakers with 17 points. Lakers-Thunder Boxscore
Both the Thunder and the Lakers take today off, but return to action Thursday. The Lakers take on the Houston Rockets at 3 p.m. PDT Thursday, while the Thunder face the San Antonio Spurs, 5:30 p.m. PDT.
I'll leave you with one more article on ESPN.com from Andy Katz's blog about the Cougars playing internationally this summer. Four Cougars gain experience internationally
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, July 14 (10:30 a.m.)
Another NBA Summer League update for everyone. Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes, playing with the Los Angeles Lakers (2-1) in Las Vegas, fell to the L.A. Clippers (1-0), 93-82, Monday evening. Rochestie scored one point off a free throw and added three assists and a steal in 18 minutes of action. Baynes had the team's lone blocked shot and grabbed a rebound in just over eight minutes for the Lakers. Former Gonzaga star, Adam Morrison, led the team with 20 points. The No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, Blake Griffin, put up a double-double for the Clippers with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds. He was 11-for-15 from the field, making his only 3-point attempt. Rochestie and Baynes take on their former teammate, Kyle Weaver, as the Lakers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (0-1), today, at 5:30 p.m. PDT. Lakers-Clippers Boxscore
Keep it crimson,
Monday, July 13 (10:25 a.m.)
The Oklahoma City Thunder, fresh off of the Orlando Summer League, opened up the Las Vegas Summer League Sunday with an 86-57 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Former Coug Kyle Weaver played just over 18 minutes for the Thunder, scoring 11 points with three rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot. The 6-6 guard was 4-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Thunder return to action Tuesday, July 14 against Rochestie, Baynes and the Lakers at 5:30 p.m. PDT. Thunder-Grizzlies Boxscore
1. Q: How would you compare playing in the World University Games to playing in the NCAA Tournament?
A: They're kind of similar because you lose and you're out of championship contention, especially when you get to the quarterfinals. It's intense and everybody wants to win, it's like the gold medal. The only difference I would say is that this is the national team, so you kind of play for your country, you want to give more and represent your country well. I also love playing in the NCAA Tournament because it's a great deal and a great opportunity.
2. Q: How does an experience like this make you better for the Cougars next year?
A: I would say I got more experience, I worked out with really good players, older guys than me, guys that are playing on the best teams in the Euro League. I saw I can play with them, I can be good, so I'm pretty happy about that. I think I'm getting more and more used to a faster paced style of play that Coach Bone likes, so I think that's going to help for next year.
3. Q: What would you say is the biggest difference between playing international ball and college ball?
A: I'd say over here international ball is a much faster game than in the U.S. because there's a 24 second shot clock and in college it's 35, so it's much faster. Over here people don't play so much for defense, they play more for offense and attractive moves.
4. Q: You're used to playing so far away from home at WSU, what was it like playing so close to home?
A: It was a weird experience because I never played in front of such a big home crowd, I was like, `this is amazing'. I' played in front of a lot of people in the U.S., but over here playing in front of 22,000 people that you almost know...it was really, really great and I'm really happy that we took gold and showed those people that we appreciated their help and them being our fans. My family was there in the first row, cheering. They were the best fans I've ever had. Let me tell you this, all my family had Washington State gear on with my name, they had my jersey and all of that, so they were there promoting WSU too.
5. Q: What are your plans for the rest of your summer?
A: I think I'm going to go on a little vacation, just kind of get some rest. Then I'm going to work out really hard and get started getting prepared for the new season.
Keep it crimson,
Saturday, July 11 (11:45 a.m.)
NBA Summer League Update
Recently graduated Cougs Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes opened up 2009 NBA Summer League play Friday evening in Las Vegas, Nev. Both are playing for the 2009 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. The team came out on top, 85-84, against the Toronto Raptors. Rochestie was the team's fourth-leading scorer as he went 4-for-4 from the field for eight points in 20 minutes of action. He added a rebound, two assists and a steal. Baynes grabbed three rebounds and dished out an assist in eight minutes of action. He was 0-for-4 from the field. For more on the game, see the recap HERE.The two will battle the Cleveland Cavaliers, today at 3 p.m. PDT.
There are more updates on the current Cougs playing internationally this summer on the men's basketball page of wsucougars.com. Klay Thompson and USA will battle for the gold medal Sunday in the U19 World Championship and Nikola Koprivica takes his shot at a gold medal as Serbia faces Russia in the championship game of the World University Games in about 25 minutes. Brock Motum and Australia will look for bronze at the U19 World Championship, also on Sunday.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, July 10 (4:05 p.m.)
I hope you have all been following the U19 World Championship and the World University Games, along with the performances of the Cougars involved with them. Klay Thompson and incoming Coug Brock Motum are just one win apiece away from meeting in the championship game. The U.S. faces Croatia, whose only loss was to Australia, while the Aussies take on Greece, who fell to the Americans. In the World University Games, Nikola Koprivica and Serbia are in the championship game where they'll face Russia Saturday. You can follow all the international action on the WSU MBB page of wsucougars.com HERE. As many of you have heard, DeAngelo Casto is no longer playing in Auckland in the World University Games after suffering a tear of the right meniscus. He will be reevaluated by WSU team doctors next week and the next steps will be determined at that time.
Former Cougars Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie are in Las Vegas for the 2009 NBA Summer League where both are playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. The team opens up play in about an hour against the Toronto Raptors, at 5 p.m. tonight. To get all the information on the summer league, you can access the home page at nba.com/summerleague2009. Kyle Weaver will also be participating in the league in Las Vegas with his team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder is finishing up play in the Orlando Pro Summer League, where the team finished 3-2. Following the third game, a 94-82 victory over Boston, the Thunder's website had this to say about Weaver: "Kyle Weaver continued to show he's a multidimensional player. He played point guard, shooting guard and small forward during his rookie year. Against the Celtics he played both off the ball and at the point. He was also aggressive with the ball in his hands, driving hard through the lane on several 1-on-1 situations, when he either finished or drew a foul." More on the Thunder's performance at the Orlando Summer League can be found HERE.
That does it for now. We will be back with updates from international play and Summer League action.
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, July 7 (5:30 p.m.)
I got a note from the media relations contact at USA Basketball regarding the quarterfinals, semifinals and championships game television coverage at the U19 World Championship. He was told by the FIBA TV representative that there will be production of the four quarterfinal games, two semifinal games and the bronze medal and gold medal games. However, as FIBA was unable to secure a broadcast partner in the U.S. for the championships, it is planned that all of the above U.S. games (if they continue to win and move on) will be streamed and available live on www.fibatv.com. There is a small fee to view the games.
The FIBA website has a few photos of some of the WSU players on the website. A few photos of Brock Motum can be seen HERE, HERE and HERE. I was also able to find one of DeAngelo Casto HERE. I couldn't find any photos of Klay Thompson as of yet.
Also, former Coug Kyle Weaver opened up the Orlando Summer League against the Magic last night. The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Orlando Magic, 88-77, while Weaver had three points, an assist and two rebounds. You can view the boxscore HERE. Fellow former Pac-10 players Russell Westbrook (UCLA) and James Harden (Arizona State) led the team with 22 and 17 points, respectively.
That does it for today. Brock Motum and Australia play at 10 p.m. tonight, while Casto, Thompson and the USA play at 12:30 a.m. Australia takes on Croatia in a battle of undefeateds.
Keep it crimson,
Sunday, July 5 (7:50 p.m.)
Just a quick update on the U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Brock Motum and the Australian squad will take the court against Kazakhstan Monday at 5 p.m. NZDT (Sunday night at 10 p.m. PDT). DeAngelo Casto, Klay Thompson and USA take on Greece at 7:30 p.m. Monday NZDT (Monday morning at 12:30 a.m. PDT). Look for a complete recap of both games Monday morning at wsucougars.com.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, July 3 (10:45 a.m.)
Before DeAngelo, Klay and Brock hit the court today at the U19 World Championship, we'll conclude with the Q&A's with the 2009-10 men's basketball staff! First off, be sure to check out the recap from Nikola's game against Greece in the World University Games HERE. With a new men's basketball staff on campus, the Crimson ZZU is running a week-long feature of Q&As with the coordinator of basketball operations (Tim Marrion), director of basketball operations (Jared Barrett) and three assistant coaches (Curtis Allen, Jeff Hironaka and Ben Johnson). Monday we featured Tim Marrion, Tuesday Jared Barrett, Wednesday Curtis Allen, Thursday Jeff Hironaka and today we conclude the week with Ben Johnson.
Ben Johnson enters his sixth season as an assistant coach, recruiter and on the floor coach at Washington State University in 2009-10 and his first under head coach Ken Bone. In his first five seasons, Johnson helped lead the Cougars to three-consecutive postseason appearances (two NCAA, one NIT), the second such occurrence in school history. Johnson joined the WSU coaching staff in 2004 under then-head coach Dick Bennett. He coached under the elder Bennett for two seasons before Tony Bennett took over prior to the 2006-07 season. Johnson was a teammate of Tony Bennett's at Wisconsin-Green Bay for four seasons (1989-92). While at UW-Green Bay, Johnson, a two-year captain, helped lead the Phoenix to one NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances. During his collegiate career, Johnson was coached by Dick Bennett. Johnson, a native of Stevens Point, Wis., is married to Nicky, a former WNBL player in Townsville, Australia. They have a daughter, Samira, born in January 2009.
1. Q: What made you decide to stay at WSU?
A: I think it was two things. One, I really believe in the players that we have in this program and I really believe that they're the kind of character people that we've recruited here before. I just believe that they will continue on with what started, they are those types of kids. And secondly I chose to stay here after Coach Bone was hired and I had the opportunity to meet with him. I was just thoroughly impressed with him as a person. Those two reasons are why I'm still here.
2. Q: What are the biggest changes Cougar fans will see in the team from the former coaching staff to the new coaching staff?
A: I don't think you're going to see a drastic change, to be honest with you. I think you're going to see a team that will continue to play together and have some of the same values. I think offensively you may see us play a little quicker in transition. Defensively I think you may see maybe more multiple defenses, meaning a mixture of some man and zone defenses.
3. Q: What made you decide to become a coach?
A: I think like most people when I was in college, I was a little uncertain about what I wanted to do. But I had a great experience coaching in Australia, just starting with really young kids and doing weekend clinics with them and that led me to my next thing and then that told me that I was meant to be a coach. So, my experience in Australia coaching at the junior level and teaching Saturday morning basketball put the thought in my head that I was meant to do this.
4. Q: What do you look for in young men/players that you try to recruit to Washington State?
A: I think I look for someone who's got great work ethic, good character as a person; someone who does things passionately. Then I think there's obviously a skill component, an athletic and skill component that they have to have.
5. Q: What is your favorite thing about being a coach?
A: Working with the kids.
A: I know we lost a lot of experience. But my expectations are that we're good, or as I like to say, sneaky good. I Hope that as a new coaching staff we can coach these guys up and play better basketball than maybe we think or other people think we can play.
7. Q: What was it like being a student-athlete yourself and how does that carry over to being a coach?
A: I just think the best thing about that is that when relating or talking to these young people, you just draw on your own experiences, what it was like for you as a student-athlete just in terms of balancing the schedule and the work and time demands.
8. Q: Is there a player on the team whose style reflects yours when you played?
A: I guess maybe, I was pretty much a blue collar player. Probably a player for the past, Caleb Forrest, you know, get the most out of your abilities, and maybe a DeAngelo Casto. I'm far less athletic than DeAngelo is, I was not a tremendous athlete, but I think I played the game with passion and high energy and he certainly plays that way.
9. Q: What do you enjoy doing in your down time, if any?
A: I just enjoy spending time with my family, my wife and my daughter. Whether we have a barbeque or a cookout or just go for a walk. Just simple things, nothing big. Pullman's a place where you make your own fun.
10. Q: Do you have a favorite city to travel to for games/go recruiting?
A: I like traveling to L.A. I don't know if I could live there, but I really enjoying visiting L.A. I like recruiting in L.A. because there's just so much talent there that you see a lot and it's a different style of basketball, it's very entertaining. So I enjoy that, I enjoy my recruiting trips to L.A.
Be sure to check back at wsucougars.com for more on the U19 World Championship in New Zealand and the World University Games in Serbia.
Keep it crimson,
Thursday, July 2 (4:25 p.m.)
Wow, there's a lot going on today, especially for a college basketball program in the middle of the summer. I'm starting to feel like I'm filling up the media's inboxes and hogging the front page of wsucougars.com. First off, if you didn't hear, Steven Bjornstad was signed to a Financial Aid Agreement today and will play basketball here at WSU beginning in the fall. Bjornstad originally signed with Nevada but was granted his release from the program in the spring. To read the release and hear what Coach Bone has to say about the young man, click HERE.
Nikola Koprivica's Serbian team defeated Greece today in the World University Games in Belgrade Serbia, where the team is playing just about five miles from Nikola's house. I'm having trouble finding stats for the game or an actual final score, but according to Nikola's teammates the score was 81-50 and Nikola had six points in 15 minutes. Hopefully I will have more on that game later today on wsucougars.com. I do have a few quotes from Nikola on the team's performance, his performance and the upcoming game with Australia.
Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto are in the middle of their game against France at the U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. Yesterday USA defeated Iran, 106-55. To read more about the game, you can go HERE. At halftime the score of today's game was 35-20, as DeAngelo had four points and Klay had two.
Incoming freshman Brock Motum had a strong performance for the Australian U19 team in Auckland yesterday. The 6-foot-9 forward scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Australia defeated Canada, 88-77. To read more about it, click HERE. Brock's team takes the court again tonight at 10 p.m. PDT against Spain.
The NBA Summer League rosters have been announced throughout the week. Both Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie will be playing for the 2009 NBA Champion Lakers. I had the chance to speak with Taylor today, you can read what he had to say about it HERE. The duo will start practices Monday in L.A. Kyle Weaver will also be playing in the Summer League for his team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now we'll continue with day four of the Q&A's with the 2009-10 men's basketball staff! With a new men's basketball staff on campus, the Crimson ZZU is running a week-long feature of Q&As with the coordinator of basketball operations (Tim Marrion), director of basketball operations (Jared Barrett) and three assistant coaches (Curtis Allen, Jeff Hironaka and Ben Johnson). Monday we featured Tim Marrion, Tuesday Jared Barrett, Wednesday Curtis Allen and today we have assistant coach Jeff Hironaka.
Jeff Hironaka enters his first season with the Washington State University men's basketball team in 2009-10, joining head coach Ken Bone's first staff. No stranger to Bone's coaching philosophy, Hironaka spent the last seven years as the head coach at Seattle Pacific University after taking the reins from Bone prior to the 2002-03 season. During seven seasons in the head coaching post at SPU, Hironaka compiled a 134-67 record and directed the Falcons into each of the last five NCAA Division II Tournaments. A native of Weiser, Idaho, Hironaka lettered in basketball three seasons at Eastern Oregon, where he obtained his degree in secondary education in 1980.
1. Q: Having known Coach Bone for many years, what about his coaching philosophy do you think makes him a good coach?
A: His ability to utilize players' strengths both offensively and defensively. He gets the maximum out of them, particularly offensively he's able to put them in situations where they have lots of opportunities to score. His teams peak at the right time. They normally are peaking in February, March, which is when we want to be peaking, so he's been good at that.
2. Q: What made you decide to go from the head coach at Seattle Pacific to an assistant coach at Washington State?
A: It's hard to go backwards and be an assistant coach. But, since I worked with Coach Bone and philosophically we're very similar in what we believe in, it makes it an easier transition to go back to being an assistant coach. Obviously the opportunity to work in the Pac-10 and see if we can compete against the Montgomerys (Mike Montgomery at California), Howlands (Ben Howland at UCLA), and all the top coaches and programs in the Pac-10 is kind of a challenge I want to see if we can do.
3. Q: What do you like best about Pullman?
A: Pullman's a small town. I'm originally a small town kid, so Pullman's very similar to how I grew up. Everybody's friendly, everybody knows each other. There's not traffic, there's a lot of positives about it. The negatives are the same things, everybody knows you, so particularly here, if we're not winning games, they're going to know us. If you're winning games they're going to know you, so it's a double-edge sword. It's a nice community, everybody's friendly and that's kind of what you like. It's not the big city where half the people you don't know.
4. Q: What has the transition from the city to a small town been?
A: Even though I lived in Seattle I hardly ever went downtown. I stayed in my little section of town. I went to the same grocery store, I didn't do anything differently than I'm doing here.
A: I think it's important, obviously. That's the strength of Coach Bone and myself, we're Northwest guys, or Seattle guys. I think we've developed enough ties there to hopefully get three or four kids to come from the west side to the east side. Gonzaga's been able to do it and I think we need to be able to do the same. We need to see if we can steal a few from the Huskies.
6. Q: What made you decide to get into coaching?
A: That's all I've known, other than farming, basketball is all I've ever known. It was actually my love for the game as a youngster that got me going. When I got to college I wasn't good enough. When you're not good enough, you kind of look at other alternatives to see if you want to stay in the game. If you couldn't play anymore, obviously coaching was the next best options, so that was the option I chose.
7. Q: What do you like best about being a coach?
A: You're going to laugh, but I like the stress. I like the stress of having to know that we've got to win and we've got to do well and the kids have got to play well. For whatever reason, it's stupid, but I like the stress of the challenge of being successful.
8. Q: What are your initial thoughts on the team for next year?
A: Next year's team is young and inexperienced. They're going to have to mature quickly for us to have success. They're going to have to buy into what Coach Bone wants and they're going to really have to come together as a group because we're going to have our ups and downs because of lack of experience. But the pieces are there to be successful.
9. Q: What do you look for in a student-athlete when recruiting?
A: Myself personally I think character is huge. My philosophy at SPU was `I don't need the best players, I need the best team.' So to have the best team you need those guys that are high character that are willing to do what the coaching staff wants, willing to sacrifice parts of their game to make the team successful. That's hard to tell when you're watching them play because you're watching talent. But I do think talent is important, but it's not the most important component. I think having the best team is picking the right kids that will blend well together and not argue and be upset about playing time. That's kind of what you look for, those guys that are unselfish and high in character and integrity and have great values.
10. Q: Do you have a favorite city to go travel to play/recruit?
A: That we will travel to, probably Pauley Pavilion because of the mystic of Coach Wooden and having met him and talked to him and knowing the success he's had. I've tried to model myself after some of the things he told me were important. It will be fun to be in Pauley Pavilion for the first time as a coach, to go up against UCLA in Pauley Pavilion.
Tomorrow we'll have more from international basketball action, along with the final Q&A of the series, featuring assistant coach Ben Johnson.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, July 1 (3:55 p.m.)
FIBA U19 World Championship Update - USA leads, 55-27 at halftime. DeAngelo Casto (wearing No. 13) is second on the team with eight points on 4-for-5 shooting. He added two rebounds and no turnovers in 9:52 of action in the first half. Klay Thompson (wearing No. 8) had three points, two rebounds and two assists (both to Casto) in the first half. He played a team second-most, 11:53. Both Cougars started the game, as Casto won the opening tip. LIVE STATS
Wednesday, July 1 (1:05 p.m.)
A few things to talk about before we move onto our Q&A with assistant coach Curtis Allen. Luke Winn from Sports Illustrated has an in depth conversation with Klay Thompson on SI.com. Also, WSU graduate Taylor Rochestie was named to the first annual All-Undrafted honorable mention team by All-undrafted.com and Steve Lavin, former UCLA head coach and current ABC/ESPN college basketball analyst, who led the selection process. The team features the best seniors in college basketball who were not drafted in Thursday's NBA Draft. Both stories can be read by clicking the links above.
Speaking of Rochestie, the NBA Summer League is set to kick of July 10 in Las Vegas. The rosters haven't been set yet, but rumor has it that at least two Cougs from the class of 2009 will be playing. We'll keep you updated here at the Crimson ZZU.
Now we'll continue with day three of the Q&A's with the 2009-10 men's basketball staff! With a new men's basketball staff on campus, the Crimson ZZU is running a week-long feature of Q&As with the coordinator of basketball operations (Tim Marrion), director of basketball operations (Jared Barrett) and three assistant coaches (Curtis Allen, Jeff Hironaka and Ben Johnson). Monday we featured Tim Marrion, Tuesday Jared Barrett, and today we continue with assistant coach Curtis Allen.
No stranger to Coach Bone's coaching philosophy, Curtis Allen comes to WSU after serving as an assistant coach under Bone at Portland State the last four season. Prior to that, Bone served as an assistant coach during Allen's final two seasons as a member of the University of Washington basketball team. A native of Tacoma, Wash., Allen received a degree in general studies from UW in 2005. He and his wife Alissa have a son, Trey, born December of 2008.
1. Q: What made you want to follow Coach Bone to Washington State?
A: He's been successful everywhere he's been. He's a great coach and I've been lucky to coach with him the last four years, I've learned so much. I'm pretty sure that he'll be successful here as well.
2. Q: As a Husky, what is it like to become a Cougar?
A: It's been great. I've been taking some heat from some people, but it's been good. A lot of my old teammates at UW, they've been cool and have been giving me a hard time. But it's been good, my family likes it...There's no purple in my house.
3. Q: What is your favorite thing about WSU so far?
A: The community, the campus, everybody's been really nice and friendly. And the campus is just beautiful. I think this is an ideal place for a college kid to go to school.
4. Q: How is your family adjusting to the move?
A: Good, everybody's been so welcoming and friendly. My wife might struggle with the shopping a little bit, but it's been good for her. She likes it, it's slow paced and we have a young son and it's a great place to raise a kid and have a family. It's been good.
A: I get to work with 18-22 year olds on a daily basis and kind of help them on and off the court and in life, just kind of help turn boys into young men. So that's the fun part for me, just being able to be around the guys.
6. Q: What kind of players do you try to recruit to Washington State?
A: Guys with good character and good academics and guys that can hoop. That combination is what we like. Tony (Bennett) did a great job of bringing in good quality people and that makes it a lot of fun to do your job.
7. Q: How important are your ties to Western Washington going to be in recruiting here at WSU?
A: Huge. I think it's huge. Coach Bone's been over there forever, (assistant coach Jeff) Hironaka's been over there forever, I've been there most of my life, so we know a lot of people on the west side and hopefully that can help get us a couple of players. It's already helped with Reggie Moore, a kid from Rainier Beach, who's going to be a real good player for us. We'll be hitting the west side hard.
8. Q: Having seen the guys play a limited amount of time in the spring, what are your initial thoughts on the team?
A: I think we're young, but talented. I think we have a chance to be sneaky good, surprise some people and I think we have a chance to compete in the Pac-10, definitely.
9. Q: What was your favorite part about being a student-athlete yourself?
A: The camaraderie with your teammates and just developing relationships with them. Then just competing at the highest level, the conditioning, just everything that goes along with the ups and downs of a season with your teammates. That's what made it fun for me.
10. Q: Being so young, did you ever think you'd be where you are right now at this age?
A: I guess I never really thought about it. I was extremely lucky at age 23 when Coach Bone brought me down to Portland State, I was coaching guys that were 24 and 25. I was fortunate and I was lucky that Coach Bone threw me right into the fire. I was recruiting, I was scouting, I was doing everything that all the other guys were doing. That definitely helped me out early on. He didn't try to really baby me or anything like that. I think that's really helped me, and like I said, Coach Bone's a great coach and I got on with the right guy. Hopefully we can continue winning.
Klay, DeAngelo and Brock will each be hitting the hardwood tonight for the U19 World Championship in New Zealand. Nikola's Serbian World University Games team takes on Greece, Thursday at 11 a.m. PDT. We will have updates here after the games completions. Check back tomorrow for a Q&A with assistant coach Jeff Hironaka as well.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, July 1 (12:25 p.m.)
Here are a few more links for you all. Here are two stories written by Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News from the USA U19 Trials in Colorado Springs a few weeks ago. The FIRST ONE talks about Klay's play at the tryouts, while the SECOND ONE talks about the Cougs getting two guys on the team.
Also, if anyone's interested, FIBA.com offers live stats for all the U19 World Championship games. The official website and live stats can be found HERE.
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, June 30 (1:47 p.m.)
Welcome to day two of the Q&A's with the 2009-10 men's basketball staff! With a new men's basketball staff on campus, the Crimson ZZU is running a week-long feature of Q&As with the coordinator of basketball operations (Tim Marrion), director of basketball operations (Jared Barrett) and three assistant coaches (Curtis Allen, Jeff Hironaka and Ben Johnson). Yesterday we featured Tim Marrion and today we continue with Jared Barrett.
Jared Barrett brings eight years of experience as an NCAA Division I assistant coach to WSU as he enters his first season as director of basketball operations for the Cougars. Barrett spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Utah Valley and the previous six at Sacramento State serving in the same capacity. A native of Rexburg, Idaho, Barrett earned his bachelor's degree in physical education and health from Eastern Oregon in 1998, where he played basketball. Barrett and his wife, Aimee, have four children, Jordan, Ashley, Brady and Caeden.
1. Q: What made you decide to move from an assistant coaching position at Utah Valley to the director of basketball operations at WSU?
A: The opportunity to be in the Pac-10, definitely. Plus, I've known coach Bone for awhile because we both coached in the Big Sky and I know he's a really good coach and he's a successful coach. I like the way his teams play. I thought it would be a good opportunity to be able to learn a different style, a different type of play from Coach Bone.
2. Q: What is it about Coach Bone's coaching style that you think has made him a successful coach?
A: I think wherever he's been he's been able to adapt his style a little bit with different circumstances and different players he's able to recruit. I know when he was at Seattle Pacific they played a different style than his teams at Portland State. When he was at the University of Washington they got up and down and were quick and he did a lot of those similar things at Portland State. When I was at Sacramento State, we were similar in the fact that we liked to get up and down, pressure defense, in your face defense, convert turnovers, things like that; which is what I saw him do at Portland State.
3. Q: What made you want to get into basketball coaching?
A: Two things. First, I always wanted to have something to do with basketball. From the time I was a kid I hoped that in my career I'd be able to do something with basketball. The other thing is that I knew I wanted to work with kids. I didn't know what level or what age group, but I knew I wanted to be a mentor to kids.
A: Working with the players, definitely; the relationships you build with the players and the influence you're able to have on them. Interacting with them on a day-to-day basis, to me is a blast.
5. Q: What was it like being a student-athlete yourself and how does that carry over to being a coach?
A: People have asked me, `What's better, being a player or being a coach?' And just recently somebody asked me that and I hadn't thought about it for awhile. The best way I can probably answer that is if you asked me when I was a player, I would definitely say being a player. If you ask me when I'm a coach, it's definitely being a coach, especially when I'm coaching my kids. I'd much rather coach my kids and watch them play than play myself.
6. Q: What was it like convincing your family to move to Pullman?
A: Everybody individually in my family was different. As a whole, it was tough because I have kids that are going to be in high school and that are in high school so they didn't want to move. It took a little bit of time for them to come around to the idea of moving out here and not just moving away from their home and their friends, but moving to a smaller community. But they're looking forward to being a part of the Pac-10 and coming to the games and all our other sports too.
7. Q: What do you like best about Pullman so far?
A: Everybody here has been great, not just here on campus, but everywhere around town. Probably the best thing so far is coming to work every day because I work with an awesome group of guys.
8. Q: What is your initial impression of Washington State University?
A: Beautiful campus. I haven't been around it a lot on foot or in different buildings, but just driving around campus. It's a small, tight community atmosphere. Everybody here in Pullman is a Cougar fan, so that part of it has been really, really neat.
9. Q: If you weren't coaching basketball, what would you do?
A: Teach. I don't know if I would teach without coaching. Right after I got my degree in college, I went back for another year and got my teaching credential. So if I wasn't coaching college basketball, I would be teaching and coaching high school basketball. If I wasn't doing this right now, I'd probably be back in Utah coaching with my brother and running the boys' side of the basketball program he runs, while he runs the girls'.
10. Q: What is your favorite city to travel to for games/recruiting?
A: My favorite city that I've been to for the Final Four was New Orleans and second would be Indianapolis. New Orleans is number one because of the atmosphere that was there and the great food, I loved the food there. For recruiting and traveling, probably Southern California. It's probably my most hated as well, but there's so much to do down there. I love the beach, I love the water.
Tomorrow we'll continue the week of Q&A's with assistant coach Curtis Allen. Also look for updates on the U19 World Championship as DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson kick off action with the U.S. at 3 p.m. and Brock Motum takes the court with his Australian squad at 10 p.m. PDT Wednesday.
Keep it crimson,
Monday, June 29 (4:05 p.m.)
Here's what Nikola had to say: "It's a pretty good feeling. It's not like last year when I played with guys my age, these guys are older than me. It's a big challenge for me especially coming back after the season and these guys were playing here, plus the coach is new and he didn't know me like he knew other guys. It's a huge challenge I took and I'm happy about it. I think I've done great and have given the best of myself and I'm making good progress."
It's officially summer and the weather on the Palouse has caught up to the time of year. We have a few things to talk about this week between international play and the new coaching staff. First off, DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson are now in Auckland, New Zealand, preparing for the U19 World Championship beginning July 2. USA Basketball has a photo gallery with all the team members on its website, which you can access HERE.There's also a recap from the team's scrimmage with Croatia on Sunday, June 28, which can be read HERE.
Also hard at work in preparation for the U19 World Championship is Brock Motum with his Australian squad. The Emus finished off the Four Nations Tournament which featured Australia, France, Greece and Spain Sunday. The Australians went 3-0 in the event as Motum was named to the tournament's All-Star Five and was the Four Nations Tournament Most Valuable Player. The 6-9 forward led his team with 20 points in its 85-83 win over France Friday, June 26. He followed that up with a double-double, 23 points and 10 rebounds in Australia's 96-74 defeat of Greece Saturday. In the final game of the tournament, Motum put up 18 points to lead the Emus in scoring for the third-consecutive game and added seven rebounds as Australia defeated Spain, 74-70. For more on the Australian U19 team and Brock Motum's performance this past weekend, visit the official site HERE.
Casto and Thompson's USA squad will open up the World Championship against Iran in Group B action, Thursday, July 2 at 10 a.m. NZDT, which in Pullman will be Wednesday, July 1 at 3 p.m. PDT. Motum and Australia take on Canada in Group C, Thursday July 2 at 5 p.m. NZDT (Wednesday, July 1 at 10 p.m. PDT). For a complete schedule of games, click HERE.
With a new men's basketball staff on campus, the Crimson ZZU is running a week-long feature of Q&As with the coordinator of basketball operations (Tim Marrion), director of basketball operations (Jared Barrett) and three assistant coaches (Curtis Allen, Jeff Hironaka and Ben Johnson). Today the Q&A with Tim Marrion kicks off the week-long series.
No stranger to the area, Tim Marrion returns to Pullman as the coordinator of basketball operations after graduating from Washington State in 2006. While with the Cougars, Marrion served as a student manager for three seasons and majored in sport management. He spent the last three seasons as a member of the San Jose State men's basketball staff, serving as an administrative assistant in 2006-07, assistant coach 2007-08 and director of basketball operations in 2008-09. At age 22 at the time of his appointment, he was believed to be the youngest full-time assistant coach in Division I men's basketball for 2007-08.
1. Q: What made you decide to return to Washington State?
A: It was a great opportunity for me professionally to work with Coach Bone and the staff he assembled here, especially working in the Pac-10. I guess it's always been a dream of mine to come back and work in the Pac-10 ever since I decided that I wanted to be a coach.
2. Q: How does it feel to be back working at your alma mater?
A: It's weird, I never thought I'd be back here, but it's exciting. People are welcoming me with open arms. It's exciting to be back here.
3. Q: What did you like best about WSU as a student?
A: As a student I liked the amount of school pride that everyone has. It definitely separates itself from other schools in how prideful and how much spirit the students, the university and the city have not only for the school but for athletics.
4. Q: What are the biggest changes you've noticed since you left WSU following graduation?
A: Everything's been upgraded around here. When I was here the foundation was kind of being set for the success that Coach Tony had once I had graduated. Even though I didn't get to be there and experience the success, just being here with new offices and upgraded facilities is nice. There's a great amount of enthusiasm and support for men's basketball, that, I don't know if it was there before, but it's obviously very present now.
A: It helped out immensely. It was my first job out of college and although I didn't have much experience in coaching before that, I was fortunate to work under a head coach who kind of let me get my hands dirty and get to learn a lot on my own and through trial and error.
6. Q: What do you like best about working with a men's basketball program?
A: Basketball is a sport I'm very passionate about. People always say, `Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life.' This is one of those jobs where I look forward to coming to work. My day-to-day stuff is fun, it's what I enjoy doing and I'm very fortunate to be able to make a living doing that.
7. Q: What is the toughest part about working in college athletics?
A: For me personally, I guess, as a young coach, it's tough to gain credibility from the players because I'm a young guy just like they are.
8. Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: In 10 years I hope to either be a successful full-time assistant coach or a successful full-time head coach somewhere, being happy, making money, winning games.
9. Q: What is your favorite city to go on basketball road trips?
A: It would have to be going to Hawaii. They're in the WAC, so we played them once a year. There's nothing like calling someone here on the main land and saying, "Hey, I'm in Hawaii, what are you up to?"
10. Q:If you didn't work in basketball, what would you want to do?
A: I'd probably be a teacher. I think that's something that's always intrigued me too. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with basketball, being a coach, finding something you're passionate for.
That does it for today.
Keep it crimson,
**ESPN's Andy Katz's latest blog entry has a nice article on Klay, DeAngelo and the future of WSU Hoops. It can be checked out HERE.**
The USA U19 World Championship team roster was announced today and both DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson made the cut. Twelve young men were chosen from the group of 17 that were invited to the trials.
Washington State was one of two schools to have multiple student-athletes make the squad as it was joined by Butler. Working in pairs seems to be a theme for the Cougars when representing the U.S. in basketball competition, two years ago Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver were teammates on the 2007 USA Pan American Team.
Also competing in the U19 World Championships will be incoming freshman Brock Motum, playing for his native Australia. To read more on wsucougars.com on Casto and Thompson making the team, click HERE. USA Basketball sent some nice photos of the two as well that are included in the story and this post. USA Basketball also has a nice Q&A with the players that made the team, including Casto and Thompson. You can check that out HERE.
I had a chance to speak with DeAngelo and Klay briefly after the announcement as both were resting in preparation of training camp which begins tomorrow. Here are a few more question and answers with the two.
How does it feel to make the team?
"It feels great. It's an honor especially playing at a national level against high level competition."
What were the trials like?
"We mostly just scrimmaged the whole time for three days, that's pretty much it. It was good competition."
"It's great. It's a great opportunity for us and I think it will be great for our program."
What does it mean to you to make the team?
"It means everything. It was kind of emotional for me, a little hard for me a little bit too. Having been through so much, I got to a spot where basketball has been my outlet. So it means the world to make the team and it's an honor to be able to put that jersey on with USA on your chest.
"I've always said it's not really about me, it's what's around me. So I feel like as a USA basketball player on the team, that's really what the team motto is. It's not about you, it's about what's on your chest, it's about representing your country. It's an honor."
What were the trials like?
"The competition first of all was tremendous. There's no guy that didn't make it that couldn't be on the team. As far as what we did, we played a lot. We played a lot of basketball against each other."
How do you feel about having Klay on the team with you?
"I feel great. I know it's going to be awesome with him down there. It's just going to help our chemistry and hopefully we can translate that over to playing at WSU. I think it will be a great experience for both of us and I think we'll learn a lot and bring it back to our team."
That does it for now. Once the U19 World Championships kick off July 2 we'll have plenty of updates here at the Crimson ZZU. In the coming weeks we'll also have Q&As with five of the new basketball staff members.
Keep it crimson,
Monday, June 15 (4:45 p.m.)
About half of the returning men's basketball players are back on campus for summer school right now, having come back just over a week ago. Still not a lot going on here on campus, but the summer camps start this weekend with the Advanced Camp being held June 20-21 and the Day Camp June 22-24. Two members of the Cougar team not in Pullman, DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson, kick off the trials for the 2009 Men's U19 World Championship Team tomorrow. The trials run June 16-18 with the finalists being announced June 18. Casto and Thompson are competing for an opportunity to face incoming freshman teammate Brock Motum, who already made the Australian team. Before the duo left for Colorado Springs, they answered some questions for the Crimson ZZU.
What was your initial reaction to the invitation?
"Excitement and I was really happy with myself, just knowing that all the hard work paid off this year. This opportunity is really special and I want to make the most of it, I'm really thankful."
What would it mean to you to represent your country on the international level?
"Well I mean it would be a great honor and the opportunity of a lifetime, especially playing against some of the best competition around the world in our age group. It would be something really special."
Do you have any expectations or hopes for the trials?
"I definitely hope that I will make it and if I just play hard, that's all I can ask for. I'm expecting to make it and it would be unfortunate if I didn't. I just don't want to let that opportunity go to waste."
How do you think this experience will help you develop at WSU?
"It will definitely make me better playing against some of the top competition in the country in my age group. And then playing some of the better players from other countries in the world and just learning from them, that's all I can ask."
What was your initial reaction to the invitation?
"Super excited. I couldn't believe it at first. I knew Klay got his really early and I thought it was like, you know, the kind of thing that they sent out all at the same time. But when I got mine, I was just really happy and excited. Just felt like an honor to be able to even try to make the team."
What would it mean to you to represent your country on the international level?
"It would mean the world to me. I've felt like I've kind of been an underdog or overlooked in my years growing up playing basketball. So for them to recognize me to come play for my country, is a huge honor and makes me feel really good. Not to say I'm going to make the team, but it's an honor to at least go over there and try to make the team and represent our country."
Do you have any expectations or hopes for the trials?
"My expectation is to give it my all. I really truly expect to make the team. I guess I'm hoping that I make the team. This is something I really, really, really want. I just really hope that I make the cut and am able to travel to New Zealand and compete for the USA."
How do you think this experience will help you develop at WSU?
"It will definitely help me develop because I'll see the talent and I will go up against guys who obviously have been recognized for being at the top of their leagues or divisions as young males growing up too, so I'm going to be thankful to see that and compete against that. Ultimately, it's knowing what you have to do to become the best and what you have to do to take it to the next level. Once you see something like that, what Coach Bennett and all of them used to tell me, `You can't teach experience.' So, getting that experience and seeing those types of players and going up against them will be good for me."
What will it be like having Klay there, playing with him but also competing against him for a spot?
"We'll talk to each other and try to get us both through so we can both play. Ultimately it will help us both on the court for next year. I really hope that we both make it and we both get to compete over in New Zealand and that way when we come back we kind of have a little bit of an edge on our opponents just because we've been playing all summer and we've built that connection. I think it will be really important for our teammates for Klay and I to get closer and to learn more about each other. That's never a bad thing."
That does it for now. In the next few weeks we'll have Q&As with the three assistant coaches, director of operations and coordinator of operations.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, May 29 (4 p.m.)
I'm sure many of you are very excited about what's been going on with baseball the past couple of weeks. Today was a tough loss against Arkansas, but the Cougs will be back on the diamond Saturday at 11 a.m. PT. If you haven't already, you can check out Craig Lawson's baseball blog HERE.
The Athletes In Action tour with current Coug Abe Lodwick and former Coug Robbie Cowgill wrapped up this week. You can still check out the blog that was kept while the team was in Poland and Germany HERE. There are a lot of photo galleries and some entertaining videos. Newly posted today was a photo gallery of the team's bike tour through Germany.
Before Abe and Robbie left, I had the chance to talk to them about the tour. Here's a little Q&A with Abe Lodwick.
1. Question: How do you think the trip will help you basketball-wise?
Answer: It will give me a chance to play against some talent oversees. I don't know how level the play will be, but it will be fun to go play guys from different countries because I know the style of play will be different.
2. Q: How do you think it will help you grow in your faith?
A: I think this is the type of thing, being related to basketball, that will really kind of help me feel comfortable. And I think that will help me hopefully mature in it and really know how to talk to people about spiritual things in a comfortable way for me and them. So I think it will be a good tool for me to get used to communicate with people in that way.
3. Q: Having known Daven went on a tour to France and having Robbie go with you, will that help you out a little bit?
A: Yeah, for sure. I asked Daven kind of what to expect as far as the basketball side of things, how competitive it is, how the players are, the guys on the team. Obviously there are different teams, so the play will be different, but kind of helped me know what to expect. Also, what we'd be doing after games, in between games, stuff like that. With Rob going, that's good to have him there because he's just an easy guy to be around. He'll make things real low key and he always makes things fun.
4. Q: Have you been out of the country before? And are you excited for the trip?
A: I went to Victoria, Canada one time, but that's really close to Washington, so not really. I am really excited about being able to travel and see parts of the world that I've been wanting to see for awhile.
5. Q: What are the rest of your plans for the summer?
A: After I get back, I will come back to Bend for about a week. The trip will be over May 28, then summer school starts June 8, so I'll be in Bend until about June 6. Then I'll do summer school till late July, be there working out with the team, then probably go back to Bend for a week or two in August, then come back and get ready for the school year in August.
If you haven't seen already, both DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson have been chosen to attend the USA U19 Team Trials which take place June 16-18 in Colorado Springs, Colo. WSU is the only school to get multiple players invited to the trials. To read more about the trials and the other guys invited, click HERE.
That does it for this week at the Crimson ZZU. Next week I'll have Q&As with both DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson and their thoughts on the U19 trials.
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, May 19 (4:40 p.m.)
It's been a little slow here on the Palouse since graduation on May 9. The basketball student-athletes left campus for a bit before most of them return for the summer school session that starts in early June.
If anyone was able to get out to baseball on graduation day, you saw Taylor Rochestie throw out the first pitch prior to the game. A photo taken right after the first pitch is included in this blog post.
Camp registration is available online. The two camps are the Advanced Camp and the Day Camp. Advanced Camp runs from June 20-21, while the Day Camp takes place June 22-24. Advanced Camp is an overnight camp aimed at freshman-seniors in high school who are serious about basketball. The Day Camp runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily and is for boys ages 8-14 years old. For more information on the camps, click HERE. To register for camp, click HERE.
Finally, Coach Bone completed his staff last week, adding a director of basketball operations and coordinator of basketball operations. To read about Jared Barrett and Tim Marrion, click HERE. That does it for today.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, May 8 (8:40 a.m.)
Good Morning Cougs!
It's been awhile, and while there's still not a ton to talk about, I thought I'd check in with a few things this morning. Classes are winding down with graduation tomorrow here at WSU. I've run into a couple of players this week who are balancing getting in practice and study time this week over in the athletics buildings.
For all of you who are or will be in Pullman this weekend, there's a lot going on. Following the graduation ceremonies, the Cougar baseball team will take the field to open a three-game series with Oregon at 7 p.m. Saturday. Be sure to get there early, as Taylor Rochestie will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at approximately 6:54 p.m. as WSU honors one of its scholar-athletes on graduation day.
Coach Bone's kept busy in his first month on the job, when he's not getting recruits or building his coaching staff he's been on the media trail. ESPN.com is doing a two-month long series highlighting the new coaches in NCAA Division I men's basketball this season and Coach Bone appears as today's feature by Dana O'Neil. You can check out the article HERE. Andy Katz had an article on Tony Bennett and his coaching style a few days ago and that can be read HERE. Coach Bone also taped a segment with `Born in the USA' radio show in Melbourne, Australia yesterday. The interview will air on the Australian radio station Sunday and I will have the podcast for you on Monday.
That does it for now.
Keep it crimson,
Thursday, April 23 (4:40 p.m.)
Good Evening Cougars!
Coach Bone has nearly completed his staff with the hiring of his three assistants. Remaining from the WSU staff the past five years is Ben Johnson, you can read about his retention HERE. Also hired were former UW guard and PSU assistant Curtis Allen and the seven-year head coach of Seattle Pacific Jeff Hironaka. You can read about Allen HERE and Hironaka HERE.
The WSU College of Education has a wonderful article about Daven Harmeling online. You can read it HERE. The article discusses Daven's balance of basketball and school as he is about graduate in May with a double major.
That does it for today. We'll be back with more updates throughout the offseason at the Crimson ZZU.
Keep it crimson,
Monday, April 13 (5:05 p.m.)
Good Evening Cougs!
The action at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (P.I.T.) finished up this weekend, so we are back with the final roundup. We left off after Thursday's action. Friday (April 10), Taylor Rochestie's Norfolk Sports Club team took on the Portsmouth Sports Club for a chance to face Aron Baynes' K&D Round's Landscaping in the final of the consolation bracket.
After starting the first game, Rochestie did not get a starting nod in the second game, but played a team second-most 29 minutes, finishing with eighth points, three assists and two steals. The 6-1 guard was a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line as his team defeated PSC, 88-77.
The win setup a matchup between Rochestie and Baynes as the Norfolk Sports Club took on K&D Round's Landscaping Saturday. Both former Cougars sported No. 10 uniforms and started for their respective teams. Rochestie scored the first points of the game hitting both free throw attempts after being fouled by Baynes at the 18:56 mark. Rochestie's NSC team couldn't keep up with the hot shooting of former Rhode Island sharp-shooter Jimmy Baron who set a P.I.T. record going 9-for-15 from beyond the 3-point arc., as Baynes' squad came out on top, 92-70. The old record was six 3-pointers in a tournament game.
Rochestie finished with 12 points while dishing out eight assists and compiling three steals in a game-high 34 minutes of action. Baynes finished with eight points and a game-high 11 boards, six of them on the offensive end.
Overall Baynes and Rochestie tied with Saint Mary's Diamon Simpson for 45th in scoring in the tournament with 7.3 ppg. Baynes ranked tied for fourth in defensive rebounding (5.67 drpg), tied for fourth in offensive rebounding (4.33 orpg), fifth in rebounding (10.0 rpg), fifth in field goal percentage (.550; 11-for-20)and tied for ninth in blocked shots (1.33 bpg). Rochestie led the tournament field in free throw percentage (1.000; 4-for-4), tied for fourth in assists (5.00), tied for sixth in steals (2.00 spg), tied for 10th in assist/turnover ratio (2.50) and tied for 12th for minutes played (28.67 mpg).
After the two returned from Virginia, they commented on the experience.
"It was fun. You're playing against a lot of guys that you've seen on TV or watched their teams play either in the NCAA Tournament or NIT or just on TV," Rochestie said. "Guys from the ACC, the Big East, the Big Ten that you see play all the time. Just that alone was fun. Getting matched up with a lot of athletic guys and playing that run-and-gun system was fun. I'm used to walking the ball up the court, so having games go in the 80's and the 90's is something that I'm not used to. So, besides that, it was just a fun experience. To go across the country to play in a basketball tournament and just hang out and have fun with other basketball players is all you can ask for."
Baynes added, "It was fun, just a totally different style of basketball, got to run up and down the floor and it was a lot different to WSU's style. The last few years we've been walking it up, but I think that will change with the new coaching system. Out there in Virginia our team was a run-and-gun style team, very guard orientated, so I just had to focus on rebounding. It was a lot of fun out there. We played a different style of basketball and had fun."
When asked about playing against each other, here's what the two had to say.
"We had a lot of fun," Baynes said. "After playing together for the last three years, going into a game like that, everyone's competing their hardest. Taylor and I wanted to compete with each other and go at each other, but at the same time it was a lot of fun, just experiencing what it is, seeing Taylor come down with the ball in his hand and knowing what he can do. Having seen him make some big plays over the last few years, he was coming in and playing against me, so I was a little bit apprehensive about that, but I had a lot of fun. It was a blast out there, a good time."
"In a regular setting I would never want to go against Baynes," Rochestie added. "When you play against him you realize how much you enjoy having him on your team. In that tournament they don't call many fouls and he was just pushing people around, probably fouled me like five or six times. He's just a beast. That was probably my favorite game from when I was there, we were talking to each other the whole time, it was just a good experience."
When asked if Baynes fouled him hard on the called foul, Rochestie responded; "Oh of course, he always fouls hard. Baynes doesn't know how to do anything soft."
Baynes defended his play, stating; "I didn't foul him because it wasn't called...one was called, but that was the exception to the rule I guess. I can't say that I fouled him, there may have been some physical plays made, but there was no fouling that actually took place on a lot of those physical plays."
That does it for the P.I.T. We'll be back periodically for coaching staff, player and spring/summer workout updates.
Keep it crimson,
Thursday, April 9 (10:30 p.m.)
Welcome back Cougar fans!
With two days of the Portsmouth Invitational in the books, Aron Baynes has played two games and Taylor Rochestie has played one.
Baynes' K&D Round's Landscaping team lost their first game last night, but rebounded this afternoon for a victory in the consolation round. In the first game, the Cougar center started and led the team in rebounds with 11, while going 4-for-8 from the floor for eight points in a foul-riddled 21 minutes. In today's game, Baynes saw 20 minutes off the bench. His six points and eight boards helped his team to an exciting 70-68 victory over the Tidewater Sealants, led by UCLA's Alfred Aboya and Gonzaga's Micah Downs.
Taylor got his tournament underway earlier this evening and when he started at point guard for the Norfolk Sports Club. He played just 23 minutes, but led the team with four assits and chipped in two points. He also blocked a shot and picked up a steal. His team came up short, though, against a Jon Brockman-led Cherry, Bekaert & Holland squad. The former Washington star led the team with 24 points and 21 rebounds, 13 on the offensive end.
Rochestie and his team hits the floor agains tomorrow afternoon at 12:15 (3:15 local time) to take on the Portsmouth Sports Club.
Baynes is off until Saturday's consolation championship, where -with a win by the Norfolk Sports Club -he will meet Rochestie.
In other Cougar basketball news, Jessica and new head coach Ken Bone spent the day touring different media outlets in the Seattle area. So, Cougar fans on the West side, be sure to keep an eye and ear out for interviews and news from Coach Bone's visit. We will be back tomorrow with another P.I.T. update and pictures from the trip.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, April 8 (5 p.m.)
Good evening Cougar fans!
The postseason accolades and recognitions keep piling up for the Cougar seniors. Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes have been invited to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. The annual tournament takes place in Portsmouth, Va., at Churchland High School.
The P.I.T. is in its 57th year of inviting 64 top collegiate seniors from across the country to compete in a four-day, 12-game tournament. Baynes and Rochestie join Pac-10 foes Jon Brockman (Washington), Alfred Aboya (UCLA) and Lawrence Hill (Stanford). Rochestie and Hill are on the same team. Former Cougar Josh Akognon, who recently finished his playing career at Cal State Fullerton, is also in the tournament.
Baynes' K&D Rounds Landscaping team is playing its first round game right now. Taylor and his Norfolk Sports Club team opens tomorrow evening at 4 p.m. PDT (7 p.m. local time). The two Cougs are on opposite sides of the bracket so they would not meet until Saturday.
The P.I.T. has grown in the past half-century into a showcase of basketball talent. Players in this year's tournament are expected to play in front of nearly 200 scouts, general managers and representatives from the 30 NBA teams, in addition to scouts from a number of international leagues.
For any Coug fans in the area, the tournament costs $10 per evening session and daytime games are free.
Keep it crimson,
Tuesday, April 7 (4:30 p.m.)
Hello Coug Fans!
It's been a quick, exciting afternoon in Pullman. Ken Bone was officially introduced as the 17th head coach in WSU men's basketball history by Director of Athletics Jim Sterk at a press conference about three hours ago.
Sterk stepped to the podium in front of about 150 people and a live television audience on FSN, and voiced his excitement: "It's a great day to be on the Palouse and it's a great day to be a Cougar. We're here to introduce the next head basketball coach at Washington State University."
Sterk explained the search process and said the committee narrowed their list until they interviewed nine candidates. "At the conclusion of that process, all of us involved were determined that Ken was the best person to lead this program," Sterk said.
Bone made his first statements as head coach of the Cougars, and expressed the pride he has in taking over a program on the rise and with a great foundation of young players to work with. He is excited about the challenges he has ahead of him and looks forward to getting after it as soon as possible.
"I'm just so happy to be a part of Washington State basketball and cannot wait for about two hours from now to get on the court with these guys and start working with them," Bone said.
Bone also commented on how excited he and his family is to become a part of the Pullman community he has heard so much about: "We are very excited to get out there and find a home, and really plant ourselves here. I know this is a place I would love to be for as long as I can stay."
All of the players sat in the front row at the press conference, and commented on their new coach afterward, before getting ready for practice. Each player was excited while also relieved. The past seven days have been long and stressful, but there is a new energy within the team.
"I think now that we have him here, there is kind of a sense of calm here and guys can focus a little bit more on what we need to do, and that's get ready for next season," said Cougar guard Abe Lodwick.
You can read what Lodwick, Mike Harthun and DeAngelo Casto had to say by clicking HERE.
Be sure to stay tuned to the WSUCougars.com and the Crimson ZZU for all of the latest news about Ken Bone and the Washington State Univeristy men's basketball team.
Keep it crimson,
NOTE: TUESDAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE WAS STREAMED LIVE. TO ACCESS THE ARCHIVE BROADCAST CLICK HERE
Monday, April 6 (7 p.m.)
Good Evening Cougs!
It's only been a week since Coach Bennett left for Virginia and WSU announced its 17th head coach in school history today in Ken Bone. Bone comes to Washington State after four years at the helm at Portland State in which he posted a 77-49 record. To read more about the hiring click HERE.
Coach Bone will be introduced at a press conference Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. on WSU's campus. Good news for fans, the press conference will be streamed live for free at wsucougars.com and can also be seen on FSN Northwest. To access the press conference online, click HERE. Bone will be on campus tomorrow to meet with players, athletics staff members and for the press conference. We will try and update as much as we can as the opportunities arise tomorrow.
Keep it crimson,
Friday, April 3 (5:05 p.m.)
Today's entry will be a break from all the Cougar coaching talk as we focus on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Hershey's College All-Star Game, which Aron Baynes participated in this afternoon. The game took place at Ford Field as a part of the Final Four activities in Detroit, Mich.
Baynes started at forward for the Hershey's All-Stars who fell to the Reese's All-Stars, 105-100. Wearing white uniforms, Central Florida's Jermaine Taylor led the Hershey's All-Stars with 23 points in 27 minutes. Washington's Justin Dentmon added 22 points before fouling out in 25 minutes of action. Taylor was named the Hershey's team's most outstanding player. The Reese's All-Stars, wearing brown uniforms, were led by Boston College's Tyrese Rice with 24 points in 24 minutes as he was named the team's most outstanding player.
Baynes finished the day with nearly a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Baynes notched the best field goal percentage of the day going 4-for-6 from the field. Fellow Australian Luke Nevill of Utah joined Baynes in the starting lineup, scoring two points.
Former Cougar Josh Akognon (Cal State Fullerton) played against Baynes on the Reese's team, scoring five points in 16 minutes. Also on the Reese's team were familiar foes in Gonzaga's Josh Heytvelt (17 points and 11 rebounds) and UCLA's Alfred Aboya (seven points and five rebounds).
Heytvelt was key down the stretch as he hit a 3-pointer with 46.3 second to go and his team trailing 98-96, which gave the Reese's All-Stars the lead for good. Earlier in the second half the Hershey's All-Stars used a 16-0 run to take a two-point lead.
Baynes was definitely the most encouraging of the players in the game, standing up to cheer and celebrating after each positive play for the Hershey's team. To see a box score from the game, click HERE.
That does it for tonight. I will continue to keep everyone posted as soon as a basketball coach is hired.
Keep it crimson,
Wednesday, April 1 (1:45 p.m.)
Well, it's been a very eventful (and snowy) week for Washington State basketball and I apologize for not blogging sooner. As everyone is well aware Tony Bennett announced Monday that he was leaving WSU to take the head coaching position at the University of Virginia. Today the school introduced him in a press conference that was shown live on its website. UVa also has a Q&A with Coach Bennett up on their website, you can check it out HERE.
Now obviously the athletics department is moving forward in its search for a new coach. The coach will be the 17th head coach in WSU men's basketball history. There is a lot of speculation going on regarding who the Cougars will get. Monday evening WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk spoke on a teleconference about Bennett's departure and the coaching search. You can access some of what he had to say HERE.
That's all I have for today. Obviously I can't comment on rumors or speculation, but as soon as we hire a new coach we will have information at wsucougars.com.
Keep it crimson,