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Cougars go into Seattle and defeat Washington

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The Cougs continued their unforeseen road success Saturday, with a victory at Washington.

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Coug fans, and welcome to a post many, if not all of us never would have anticipated this season. If you foresaw a morning-after post following a WSU victory in Hec-Ed, raise your hand. Anybody who raised their hand is probably lying. In order to beat the Huskies, the Cougs needed very good performances from more than just DaVonte Lacy and Josh Hawkinson, the two guys who have stood out this season. They got just that.

With Lacy and Hawkinson struggling in the first half, Que Johnson and Brett Boese caught fire from three-point range. Boese even hit a step-back bomb off the dribble, which he isn't exactly known for. Outside shooting kept WSU in the game in the first half, and many of those shots were set up by Ike "Waterbug" Iroegbu. Many of the WSU players, wary of shot blocker extraordinaire Robert Upshaw, approached the key as if it were full of Bouncing Bettys and Panji Traps. Not Iroegbu, who darted into the key, along the baseline and around the perimeter, finding open guys and finishing a couple times himself. He even drilled a three, which hasn't been his forte this season.

This earned the Cougs a 37-37 tie at halftime, and gave us fans a good dose of confidence. After halftime, Lacy and Hawk returned to their normal selves and Iroegbu kept up his tempo, as did the entire team. They also went inside a little more, as Hawkinson was able to draw Upshaw from the basket by hitting a couple jumpers. WSU built a couple modest leads, and withstood more than one Nigel Williams-Goss-led rally. Hawk converted a critical three point play, and Lacy was nails at the foul line. That was probably the most impressive aspect of the victory. The Cougars never flinched, absorbed everything UW threw at them and stayed strong down the stretch.

It really is fun to watch a team get up and down the floor, taking good shots regardless of the time remaining on the shot clock. It's also refreshing to see them execute well-designed plays, which is something we haven't seen in a long, long time. To wit, from the Withers article:

Like most of the rest of the day, the play of the game unfolded perfectly for WSU. The Cougars were holding a 71-70 lead with possession under their basket and 46 seconds remaining. Knowing the Huskies’ penchant for switching screens, WSU plotted during a timeout to turn that against them.

Josh Hawkinson, the 6-foot-10 sophomore from Shorewood High, went to screen on the perimeter and then "slipped" it, feigning a hard pick and darting for the basket. Iroegbu hit him in stride, and Mike Anderson fouled him, resulting in a three-point play that kept the Huskies at bay.

I have no idea what Ernie Kent is doing with these guys, but it is damn impressive, and win-or-lose, the Cougars should be a fun team to watch during conference play. WSU played to its strengths and overcame a canyon-wide size disadvantage. Is there any way we can get a rematch with Idaho? Oh, and if anyone in the Seattle area knows a tattoo artist who specializes in basketball coaches' faces, please contact Michael Preston. Go Cougs.

Basketball

Ike Iroegbu paces Cougars in victory over Huskies - Spokesman.com - Jan. 10, 2015
Washington State ran past and shot over Washington’s shot blockers, simply avoiding the biggest advantage the Huskies had to beat their instate rivals, 80-77, and send nearly all of the 7,595 fans home unhappy.

Washington State looks confident in road victory over UW | Cougar Basketball | The Seattle Times
Lacy had 25 points, but just as big a pest for the Huskies was sophomore guard Ike Iroegbu, who jammed his foot to the accelerator and produced 13 points, five assists and four rebounds.

WSU shoots down Washington, 80-77 | Huskies | The Seattle Times
First-year WSU coach Ernie Kent, who spent 13 years at Oregon, credited Iroegbu for establishing a fast pace that negated UW’s size advantage. "That’s as fast as any Oregon team I’ve had," Kent said. "That’s a tremendous offensive effort to get up and down like that and only have 10 turnovers in the game."

SEATTLE: Romar takes blame as Huskies lose fourth in a row | University of Washington | The News Tribune
When 7-foot center Jordan Railey left the game because of foul trouble, the Cougars replaced him with Boese, who started the second half and played 31 minutes. WSU’s four-shooter look confounded the Huskies in transition, and even led Romar to shift to a zone defense for a time.

Highlights: MBB vs. UW - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Happy Highlights!

Cougars Host Stanford Sunday In Cougs Have Heart Game - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
WSU is hosting its eighth annual Cougs Have Heart game to help support and raise awareness in the fight against heart disease. Head Coach June Daugherty, a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest in 2007, has been one of the nation’s most visible spokespeople for heart health awareness since returning to the coaching sidelines.

Mike Leach

Mike Leach on Overtime discusses Washington State football
"Well we did a lot of good things. We’re a team of freshman and sophomores. I think we have to get older and we have some redshirts I think are going to have an impact that about the middle season, were better than some of the starters. But they had already redshirted, halfway through redshirts..."

Tennis

Cougars Have Strong Second Day in Maui - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The Washington State tennis team continued play at the 2015 Maui invitational by taking six of seven singles matches against host Hawaii Pacific and all six matches against Gonzaga.

Beer

Drunkspin's Best Beers of 2014
I've had exactly one of these beers (Bell's Two-Hearted). Time to get to work.

Non-Sports

The Tragedy of the American Military - The Atlantic
This is an outstanding read.