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Cougar Basketball falls to UTEP

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Things aren’t getting better!

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

El Paso. The Washington State Cougar men’s basketball team spent a month there one night. Despite the fact that WSU was favored, and despite the fact that UTEP recently lost six straight games, and despite the fact that UTEP coach and Tony Bennett’s best pal Tim Floyd abruptly quit following a loss to Lamar (!!!), the UTEP Miners beat WSU anyway.

While the game was largely a back-and-forth affair, WSU managed to open up a 39-31 lead with less than four minutes left in the half, after Viont’e Daniels hit a three-pointer. That would be as big as WSU’s lead would get, and UTEP finished the half by closing the gap to 42-39.

The second half was even tighter, as neither team opened a three-score lead. A Milan Acquaah jumper got WSU even at 55 with under 12 minutes left, but that’s as close as the Cougars would get. UTEP scored nine of the next 12 points, and though the Cougs would get back to within a point with 3:43 left, they couldn’t get over the hump.

Though myriad factors often decide games, free throws were at the top of the list Saturday night. WSU shot 7-10 from the line, while UTEP hit 21 of 22, including six in a row in the final 22 seconds. UTEP was also much more careful with the ball. WSU turned it over a dozen times, while the Miners only had six giveaways.

Viont’e Daniels led WSU in scoring with 18 points, all of them coming from behind the three-point arc. Robert Franks also pitched in 14 points and nine rebounds. On the other end of the spectrum was Malachi Flynn who, much like the team, seems to have misplaced whatever he found in Southern California. Flynn shot just 1-8 from the field, and had twice as many turnovers as assists. Yuck.

The further we get from that weekend in Fullerton, my sense is the more bizarre it’s going to seem. If I were to compare WSU’s three-game run through the bracket in that tournament, I’d liken it to Iowa beating Ohio State by 31 points, a result that gets more and more stupefying as the weeks go by.

Basketball

Washington State stumbles at UTEP, losing 76-69 to bring skid to three games | The Spokesman-Review
A trip to western Texas both started and ended ominiously for the Washington State basketball team.

WSUCougars.com | Washington State University Athletics
Keith Frazier had 21 points and eight rebounds and UTEP won for the second time in three games since the sudden retirement of coach Tim Floyd, beating Washington State 76-69 on Saturday night.

Football

The Cougars took to the practice field Saturday, this time with head coach Mike Leach in attendance. Poor weather in Pullman prevented Leach from being at the first bowl practice on Friday. Leach addressed his speculation of his dalliance with Tennessee thusly, per Theo Lawson:

“You just ignore them, just ignore them,” he said. “Just do your job and focus on your job.”

Yeah, coach, I get that you have to talk around the fact that you agreed to leave WSU for Tennessee, but saying “just ignore them” is kinda funny since, you know, your actions spurred the speculation in the first place. I’m really glad you’re still here though, now please convince your team to show up in San Diego this time.

Washington State’s Mike Leach mum on status of WR Isaiah Johnson-Mack following Saturday’s practice | The Spokesman-Review
A roundabout recruiting trip finally brought Mike Leach back to Pullman just a shade after 3 a.m. on Saturday and no more than eight hours later, the Washington State coach was blowing a whistle and orchestrating the Cougars’ second bowl practice at Martin Stadium.

Saturday Night Five: Heisman ballot, Oregon taps Cristobal, Coach of the Year and more The voting isn’t quite one-coach, one-vote. Instead, each coach (or interim head coach) submits two names: His first pick and his second pick.

Ranking all 39 college football bowl games: From Boca Raton to Sugar Bowl - CBSSports.com
Somewhat conflicting styles of play here!

How Good Is Your Game? Ranking The Bowl Matchups: Bowls 11-20 | College Football News
Maybe, just maybe, Washington State won’t lay an egg like it did in last year’s Holiday Bowl when a depleted Minnesota team tried harder in a 17-12 win.

2017 CollegeFootballNews.com All-America Team: Defense | College Football News
Whether a too-tough end, or a too-quick tackle, he overcame his tweeter 6-2, 252-pound size by always working, coming up with 43 tackles with 9.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Ballast Point Victory at Sea will always be one of my favorite beers. So imagine my excitement when they produced a version aged in High West bourbon and rye whiskey barrels. The result was sensational. Cool caps too!

Can A South Korean Craft Beer Crack The U.S. Market? Investors Are Betting $4.6M On 'Yes'
Sticking to a simple menu of pizza and beer, The Booth launched in 2013 as a bar in an alleyway and is now one of the most visible craft brewers in South Korea.

Non-Sports

No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic - The Atlantic
As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn't save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction.