Zags paying attention to Portland before SMU
It's an interesting week for the Zags, who face a key conference game and a monster non-conference contest.
They're saying all the right things about focusing on Portland on Thursday before shifting gears for SMU on Saturday in Dallas, the latter contest a huge opportunity to spruce up the Zags' at-large candidacy but only if they take care of business in the Rose City.
Here's my weekly Gonzaga notebook. Topics include this week's games, coach Mark Few stressing to his players to make simple/ straight-forward plays instead of flashy/tricky ones, and how Portland is home base for several Zags.
One other note: Nigel Williams-Goss is sporting a walking boot on his left foot after having a procedure to clean up his ankle. He's sitting out this season after transferring from Washington and will be eligible next season.
This is the time of winter with no content, though no one realized it the past couple years
A GRIP ON SPORTS • There is this dead space in the sports calendar. It’s the time between the end of the NFL season and the beginning of spring training. It’s also a space we really didn’t notice the past couple years. Read on.
It's official. Marshawn Lynch will supply no more football memories
A GRIP ON SPORTS • So long Marshawn Lynch. Thanks for the memories. Read on.
Bill Pierce's almanac: Tripleheaders at Boone Street Barn
In 1954, Spokane was very proud of its new sporting arena, the Spokane Coliseum.
Spokane high school basketball teams had played in a number of venues through the years, including Gonzaga University and the Spokane Armory. It was said you might be able to shoehorn 2,000 people into the Armory.The new arena could seat three times as many people.
The Spokane City League was going to play its entire season in the Coliseum, featuring triple headers. Central Valley had rejoined the league after a five year absence, making the format possible.
The opening night for league play was Jan. 7, 1955. The first game was scheduled for 6:30 pm. The evening got underway with Miss Spokane, Diane Rumburg, tossing up the ball for Rogers and North Central. Rogers edged NC, 54-50 in overtime. Darrell Stone had 17 for the winners. Perry Jordan scored 20 for NC in the loss.
The second contest, between Gonzaga Prep and Lewis and Clark, wasn’t as close. Squinty Hunter and his LC team had not taken advantage of the chance given the schools to work out in the arena the previous day, which probably contributed to its cold shooting as the Tigers lost 52-36. Norm Trauba had 16 for the Bullpups.
The late contest saw Miss Spokane Valley, Kay Johnson, toss the jump ball for rivals Central Valley and West Valley. It was another barn burner, with Jud Heathcote’s Eagles winning the second overtime game of the night, 53-50. John Maras had 16 for West Valley, Merle Martinson 20 for CV.
The night was a huge success with more than 6,000 attending the games. It was the first of what was to become a regular feature of Spokane high school basketball. For years to come, triple headers allowed a fan a unique chance to spend evenings watching every league game, one after the other.
The Coliseum is long gone, replaced by the Spokane Arena, and there are no longer triple headers as the games have returned to school gyms. But many older fans fondly remember the long evenings of basketball at the old Boone Street Barn.
The Broncos' win was full of storylines, but was it exciting?
A GRIP ON SPORTS • So what do you want to read about this morning? The Denver defense and if it is “one of the best of all-time?” Or Cam Newton’s press conference. Or Peyton Manning’s last hurrah? Or Marshawn Lynch’s symbolic-as-heck tweet? All of the above? OK, read on.
Day after Pepperdine
Back with my day-after Pepperdine post. The Zags held off the Waves 69-66 to remain a half-game up (tied in the loss column) with Saint Mary’s atop the WCC standings. Here’s my game story.
Read on for more.
This Super Bowl Sunday just doesn't seem the same
A GRIP ON SPORTS • It’s Super Bowl Sunday. Though it just doesn’t feel the same as the past couple years, does it? Read on.
Morning links: Hawkinson-less WSU loses to ASU
You have Super Bowl plans, so let's get right to the links.
From Washington State's 67-55 loss to Arizona State we have our game story, the box score and postgame video of Ernie Kent and a couple players. Doug Haller has a story from the ASU side.
Elsewhere in the conference, Washington packed its home arena but the Huskies couldn't pull the upset against Arizona. … California ended its skid with an easy win over its rival. … Gary Payton II led Oregon State to a close home win over Colorado.
GU men's basketball: Bulldogs at Waves
WCC Men's Basketball
Gonzaga Bulldogs (18-5, 10-2)
at Pepperdine Waves (14-9, 7-5)
Saturday, Feb. 6, 9 p.m. | Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu, Calif.
Watch: TV: ESPN2, Online: WatchESPN.com
Outlook: Zags looking for another consistent effort Pepperdine was 9-0 at home before falling to Portland 73-70 on Thursday. The Waves were 0 of 6 at the free-throw line in the final two minutes and 17 of 37 overall. Senior forwards Jett Raines and Stacy Davis combined for 54 points on 20-of-35 shooting. The rest of the Waves generated 16 points on 5-of-32 shooting. The Waves had won seven of eight before dropping their last two. - Jim Meehan
Also: MBB Wraps SoCal Trip at Pepperdine - gozags.com
Follow GU reporter Jim Meehan on Twitter during the game @SRJimM.
Charles Callison and Valentine Izundu after ASU
(3-point defense lacking in the first half?)
Yeah, we just let them get loose and get open. We didn't have good defensive position, or a hand up on them.
(Did this feel like a big game?)
Yeah, it was a very big game that we should have got. Somehow we couldn't get it done today.
(Feel Josh Hawkinson's absence?)
Well, I don’t' want to use that as an excuse because we've got guys who can step up and take his place. And we just didn't get it done. But having Josh gone does affect the team, but it's not an excuse for the loss today.
(Adjust season goals after the losing streak?)
We got eight games left. Our goal right now is just to get a win, and get one at a time, and go from there.
(How can this team be mentally tougher during other teams' runs?)
We've just got to be motivated and have an edge and just fight. Just keep fighting, even if it's not going for the offense. We've just still got to keep fighting and keep going.
(What do you mean by keep fighting?)
Just battling on the defensive end. Getting rebounds and not letting them get the defensive rebounds and putbacks. Not getting down on ourselves when we turn the ball over or miss a shot. We've just got to keep battling with them and stay at the same level as them, or even higher than them.
(The longer it goes on, is it harder to dig yourself out of this hole?)
Yeah, I would say that because it's building up and piling on top of us and getting harder and harder for us. Because teams from here on out are going to be tough and we play two tough away games, Colorado and Utah. That's going to be tough for us.
(How exhausting is this losing streak?)
It's very exhausting, very. It's very stressful but we've just got to stay mentally strong and keep fighting and keep going.
(Nice to get back out on the court?)
Yeah, it was hard watching when I was hurt. But it was good to get back in the game.
(Feel good to block shot after not getting a call?)
Oh yeah, it was good to start blocking shots again. Been doing it in practice.