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Cougar Basketball backslides into postseason

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No oases were found in the desert

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning from the wilds of western Illinois, where it’s an hour later than it was an hour ago. Your Washington State Cougars suffered yet another road sweep in the desert this weekend, culminating with an odd defeat to the Arizona State Sun Devils. With the loss, WSU finished the 2019-2020 season at 6-12 in the conference, good for 11th-place.

Once again missing forward Jeff Pollard, WSU hung tough for much of the first half, jumping out to a 12-4 lead and staying ahead for the first eight minutes. ASU pulled ahead and gradually extended the lead over the half’s final 12 minutes. A CJ Elleby jumper pulled WSU within four points at 28-24, but ASU used the half’s last four minutes to go on a 12-5 run, heading to the locker room with a 40-29 lead.

ASU gradually extended its lead in the second half, and an Alonzo Verge Jr. jumper put the Devils up 61-44 with just over 10 minutes remaining. It may have looked like WSU was cooked, but they fought back. Over the next seven minutes, the Cougs caught fire and outscored ASU 21-4, tying the game on a Tony Miller layup. When Verge hit a three-pointer, WSU answered with a Jervae Robinson three to tie it at 68. Could this really be happening?!

Nope.

Down 70-68 with two minutes left, WSU had possibly the most frustrating possession of its season. Volodymyr Markovetskyy rebounded an Isaac Bonton miss, but the Cougs couldn’t capitalize as Jervae Robinson missed a three-pointer. Bonton got the rebound, but Elleby missed another long jumper. Then Tony Miller got the rebound and got the ball back to Bonton...who missed a three. Not to worry! Tony Miller got a rebound and got fouled!

Miller promptly missed the front end of his 1-and-1. So if you’re keeping track, in a tight game’s final minutes, WSU had FIVE chances on one possession to tie or take the lead. They failed. From there, ASU would score 13 of the game’s final 19 points, closing out an 83-74 WSU defeat.

Tony Miller was a bright spot for WSU, scoring 21 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Bonton was WSU’s second leading scorer with 17, but he took 25 (wait, did I read that right? Yup) goddamn shots to get there. 25 shots! Elleby struggled mightily on the road once again, scoring just six points on 2-19 shooting. In other words, the two guys WSU relies on most went a combined 7-44. Not good Bob! That WSU was anywhere close to competitive given that stat line is pretty incredible.

Markovetskyy was another bright spot, going 5-5 from the floor, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes. Hopefully he keeps developing.

So now the Cougs head to Las Vegas and the conference tournament, where they haven’t won since, well, let’s just say they haven’t exactly been very successful over the years, including the salad days of 2007 and 2008. Kyle Smith and his team will face the 6th-seeded Colorado Buffaloes on Wednesday at 8:30pm.

Basketball

Arizona State holds off Washington State rally for 83-74 win | The Spokesman-Review
Alonzo Verge scored 20 points, Remy Martin added 18 and Arizona State held off Washington State’s late rally for an 83-74 victory on Saturday.

No. 11 Washington State to open Pac-12 Tournament against No. 6 Colorado | The Spokesman-Review
A narrow loss to Arizona State in Tempe on Saturday assured the Cougars would claim the No. 11 seed at the conference tournament and Oregon’s win over Stanford sent Colorado to the No. 6 seed.

Block Strikes Out 10 as Cougars Pull Away Late - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State recorded its third straight win over the Purple Eagles after Jack Smith and Kyle Manzardo each collected four hits and scored three times.

Baseball

Cougs win again! Can we just keep playing Niagara?

Block Strikes Out 10 as Cougars Pull Away Late - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State recorded its third straight win over the Purple Eagles after Jack Smith and Kyle Manzardo each collected four hits and scored three times.

Football

Nick Rolovich went on Mitch Levy’s podcast this week. His portion starts just after the 38:00 mark.

Latest Episodes - Mitch Unfiltered
Nick Rolovich | WSU football head coach

This Week in Parenting

Since this seemingly endless road trip isn’t over, I’m relying on Mrs. Kendall’s dispatches from the front lines.

One thing that seems to have changed since I was in school is the adoration for Dr. Seuss. I didn’t even know who he was until my mid-20s (possibly joking), but now the guy gets his own week in some places! The boys’ school is no different, and each day brought a different theme. Tuesday was funny hat day. The 11 year-old finally got a chance to wear the Soviet-era army helmet he got in Prague, while the 8 year-old preferred to take his first shot at honorary membership in Dayton’s Red Scare.

Same DNA.

I asked the 8 year-old if his classmates liked his hat, and instead he regaled me with a bizarre story about how his hat ended up in the dumpster because he was standing in front of it when someone else was throwing a bag in and the bag hit him in the head knocking off the hat and sending it into the trash. I told him there was no chance that was true, and pressed him to give the actual story of how his hat ended up in the dumpster, but he held firm. This only ends in a water boarding.

On Friday, it was time to dress as your favorite superhero and sources confirm we have completely lost control of our son.

As Mrs. Kendall and I like to say (I wish I remembered where we heard it), we are saving for the older boy’s college fund and the younger boy’s bail money.

Tales From the Road

One of the efforts I make to keep my sanity amid overseas flights and interminable meetings is to get regular exercise. Like most other things, it has its ups and downs. In the former category is the jogging path I happened upon last Tuesday. I was staying at a base near the Potomac, and the path led right along the river’s edge. It was so gorgeous that I had to stop and take a photo, which does not come close to doing justice to the scenery.

Not only does the path lead you right along the water, you have a great view of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument. Additionally, Reagan National Airport is just across the river, so the #AvGeek in me greatly enjoyed watching the planes come and go. It’s also interesting to watch those planes fly approaches from the north, because if you’ve ever flown in there, you know it gets pretty sporty due to the required maneuvers to avoid protected airspace around the critical sites.

Not pictured: The withering southerly wind I had to fight on the second half of the run. Regardless, it was probably the coolest jogging path I’ve ever seen.

Later in the week, we took the act indoors, and here came the “downs” half of the segment.

Gym guy is still among the worst “guys” out there.

Finally, I continue to be baffled at the inability of some adults to properly board a commercial aircraft. I was in my seat Saturday afternoon when a young lady walked by and, after a few moments of hesitation, asked the flight attendant where she was supposed to sit. She was in Row 1. I’d think that would be the easiest of all rows to discern, but maybe that’s just me.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: Met a friend of mine in downtown DC at a place called ChurchKey (h/t to CougCenter beer oracle Craig Powers for the recommendation). Among the selections I imbibed was Washington’s own Fremont Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb. It was one of the best beers I’ve had in months.

Why America’s Craft Beer Trading Market Is Moving to Facebook - Eater
Breweries are limiting in-person, to-go purchases of their rarest beers and labeling bottles "not for resale." That’s not stopping online resellers.

Non-Sports

The Great Buenos Aires Bank Heist | GQ
An all-star crew got rich pulling off the perfect caper. But no one expected what happened next.