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Cougars lose a game, and their leader

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It was a lose-lose situation Saturday night

Isaac Bonton had a rough evening on Saturday.
Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Greetings. First, the good news. The Washington State Cougars get a chance to shake a tough loss from their system in under two days. More good news: they will try to get back to their winning ways against the Pac-12’s last place team in the Washington Huskies. One final piece of good news: Noah Williams is due for a great game, isn’t he? Sure hope so! Williams struggled mightily during WSU’s 76-65 loss to USC, going 2-13 from the field, on the heels of a tough game against UCLA where he logged only 13 minutes before fouling out.

In fairness to Noah, nearly everybody struggled against USC, except freshman Dishon Jackson. Jackson had his best game of the season against some of the stiffest competition in future lottery pick Evan Mobley, scoring 18 points on 8-12 shooting. Watching Jackson gradually assert himself as the season progresses has been quite enjoyable, and I think by next season WSU will be a legitimate force down low, with Dishon and Efe patrolling the lane.

So why do we really need Williams and Jackson to take it to Washington once again? Well, the answer lies in the waning minutes of Saturday’s loss to USC, during which Isaac Bonton’s ankles took such a beating that he needed assistance to get off the court. Normally, it wouldn’t be a huge deal because he’d have nearly a week to rest and rehab. This year? Nope. As we mentioned above, the Cougars play a mere 45+ hours after they walked off the court against USC. That small amount of time between games does not bode well for Bonton to get back in the lineup.

Fortunately, the Cougars are amid what may be the softest two-game stretch in their conference schedule, facing Washington and the 11th-place California Golden Bears this week before bubble(ish) Stanford comes to town next weekend. Given that WSU’s margin for error always seems to be razor thin (regardless of the sport), Kyle Smith will really need to work his magic if Bonton misses any time. Even if he’s out there, it seems quite likely that Bonton won’t be at full strength.

A quick look at the standings shows WSU alone in 9th place, a game-and-a-half back of both the Oregon State Beavers and Utah Utes. If WSU can win these next two (like they should) and get a little help, they could find themselves in the middle of the standings for the stretch run. I mentioned before that Cal is sitting in 11th at 3-13. The next team up in the standings is (highly disappointing) Arizona State, whose record is, uh, 3-6? I thought 2020 was supposed to be over.

One final piece of bad news: The Cougars were not able to maintain their Top 100 ranking inside Ken Pomeroy’s computer, falling to 101 after Saturday’s games finished. Despite that, it is time to put the Liberty Flames on notice! We’re only 0.10 points behind y’all and we are not gonna stop until we get back to our rightful place just behind Colgate! As always, Go Cougs.

Basketball

Cold outside shooting dooms Washington State in 76-65 loss to No. 20 USC | The Spokesman-Review
Seldom this season has Washington State been a team to live and die by the 3-pointer. Even then, it buried the Cougars Saturday night in a rematch with the best team in the conference.

Two years of Israeli military experience has helped guard Shir Levy lead Washington State by example | The Spokesman-Review
Washington State coach Kamie Ethridge demands punctuality, accountability, sharpness, mental fortitude and pedal-to-the-floor effort. Junior guard Shir Levy faced stiffer stipulations in the Israeli army.

Volleyball

SWEEP! The Cougar volleyball team broomed aside the Colorado Buffaloes, and now sits alone in second place. Next up is a match with Stanford, who is in.../checks notes for a third time, 12th place? Stanford is at the tail end of an Olympic sport? How is this possible? Ok so they’ve only played three times, but they lost every one! I sit here gobsmacked.

Buffs Swept Out of Bohler Gym - Washington State University Athletics
The WSU offensive attack was on point throughout the match, most notably in set number two where the Cougars hit .600 overall as as team.

Football

Pac-12 football early look: Quarterback rankings for the 2021 season (the backups matter, too) | The Spokesman-Review
In his first season, de Laura showed promise but also flaws. If nothing else, daily competition from a former SEC starter will accelerate his progress.

This Week in Parenting

Another week, another missed assignment for the 12 year-old. The further we get into this, the more fantastical the explanations become. This time it was, “I turned it in but then the teacher switched layouts for us to choose (it’s a Yearbook class) and I had to do a second one because another kid never did his.” I have to commend him for twisting himself into a bonafide logic pretzel with that one.

Also this week, it was time once again to remind them that they should probably do something nice for their mom. You’ll be stunned to learn that they needed some prodding.

You’ll notice the cricket-filled gap between my first and second message.

On Saturday evening I asked what the actual plan was. As expected, the response was a series of “uhhh”s and “ummm”s. At approximately 1 a.m., they scrambled to put something together, which turned into...

I can’t decide if they’re trolling me with their use of “your” but given the fact that they live their lives in 60-second segments, I gave them a C+/B-. Mom was apparently happy or it probably would’ve been a C-. But hey, at least they turned the assignment in almost on time.

Non-Sports

The Epic Hunt for Rwandan Genocide Suspect Félicien Kabuga | GQ
He was one of Africa’s richest moguls and helped unleash the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Then Félicien Kabuga vanished and stayed hidden for more than two decades—until recently, when the United Nations’ war crimes detectives picked up his trail and began to close in.

San Diego man reunited with wallet lost in Antarctica 53 years ago - The San Diego Union-Tribune
Navy meteorologist Paul Grisham, 91, spent a year monitoring weather conditions on the frigid continent he calls 'The Ice'.