Washington State Men’s Basketball Coming Back To Seattle

Ernie Kent bringing the 9th Cougar Hardwood Classic back to KeyArena

PULLMAN, WASH. – After a one year hiatus, new men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent and Washington State University men’s basketball have agreed to play the University of Hawaii in the 9th Cougar Hardwood Classic on Saturday December 13th in Seattle’s KeyArena.

The Cougars are beginning the Ernie Kent era, as the veteran head coach took the reins of the team March 31, 2014, becoming the school’s 18th head coach. The team also features three returning starters in seniors DaVonté Lacy, Dexter Kernich-Drew and Jordan Railey. Lacy is on pace to become the Cougars’ all-time career 3-point leader, needing just 61 3’s this season to match Klay Thompson’s record of 242 which he accomplished in three seasons from 2009-11.

Coach Kent explains “Each year the Cougar Hardwood Classic provides an excellent opportunity to take our program to Seattle where there are so many great Coug fans ready to come out and support us. We are excited to have the chance to continue to grow the event as we battle an outstanding Hawaii team this year. It should make for a great basketball game for all the fans.”

Hawaii’s head coach Gib Arnold is bringing a team that last season enjoyed its best season (20-11) in a decade, notching its first 20-win campaign since the 2003-04 campaign. The Rainbow Warriors entertained fans with an offense that averaged more points (80.0 ppg) than any UH team in the last forty years, which included reaching the century mark in two contests.

Two starters return from last year’s squad, including junior forward Isaac Fotu. The 2014 All-Big West first- team selection and NABC All-District honoree averaged 14.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg for the Rainbow Warriors and was among the national leaders in field goal percentage (.584). Fotu is a member of the New Zealand national team and believed to be one of the youngest members ever on the “Tall Blacks” national squad after he being called up to the senior squad at the age of 17.

This year marks the seventh all-time meeting between WSU and Hawaii, as the two teams last met Dec. 29, 1991 at the Rainbow Classic at Honolulu. The Cougars hold a 5-1 advantage in the series with the Warriors and have won the last four matchups. WSU’s only defeat in the series came Dec. 9, 1953, at Pullman, a 47-45 setback.

Washington State is 8-0 all time in Cougar Harwood Classics games. Their last appearance in 2012 included the Cougars defeating Buffalo 65-54. WSU also has wins versus LSU, Utah, San Diego State Pepperdine, The Citadel, Montana State, and Portland in the other seven Cougar Hardwood Classic games.

Tickets for the Cougar Hardwood Classic will go on sale Friday, September 5th at all Ticketmaster outlets, including www.ticketmaster.com. For ticket pricing information on the game, please visit www.cougarsinseattle.com

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/CougarHardwoodClassic 

K-State Outlast No. 21 Gonzaga, 72-62


At the media timeout with 7:51 remaining and his team leading No. 21 Gonzaga by two, Kansas State coach Bruce Weber challenged his players.

Weber told them the Bulldogs had put up nearly 30 points in the second half.

“They had been scoring a little too easy,” Weber said. “I told our guys we needed to get stops right then. They were at 52. And they stayed at 52 for a long time.”

Indeed, Gonzaga scored only two points in the next seven minutes after that timeout, keying Kansas State’s 72-62 upset victory.

Thomas Gipson scored eight of his 14 points for K-State (8-3) during that seven-minute stretch.Marcus Foster also finished with 14 while Wesley Iwundu had 13 and Shane Southwell added 11.

Kevin Pangos led Gonzaga (10-2) with 14 points while reserve Drew Barham had 13 points.David Stockton and Przemek Karnowski each scored 10.

The Bulldogs entered the game averaging 87.5 points and had not scored fewer than 68 this season.

“We just missed a lot of wide open shots,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “That and not getting to the free throw line were huge for us.”

Kansas State was 19 of 25 from the foul line while the Bulldogs were 7 of 15.

Gonzaga played the second half without second-leading scorer Sam Dower, who took a hard fall late in the first half and did not return.

“He was in a lot of pain in his lower back,” Few said. “(The doctors) were so concerned, they took him for an X-ray.”

Southwell kept his team’s momentum going right after halftime, scoring five straight to give the Wildcats a 33-24 lead with 18:46 to play.

Then Foster, a freshman among the top 10 scorers in the Big 12, had his stretch, going on a personal 7-3 run with a 3-pointer, a layup and monster slam over Stockton.

The Wildcats led 40-32 and the crowd was buzzing.

“Marcus is so athletic,” said Southwell, who made the pass to Foster on the play for one of his six assists. “As soon as he got it and could get up, I knew it was over for Stockton.”

But the Bulldogs answered as Gary Bell’s 3-pointer capped a 7-0 run that pulled the Bulldogs within 40-39 with 14:48 to play.

After that, the teams exchanged the lead eight times in six minutes.

“The tempo had been at their tempo, but we were able to finally get it up and down a little and get back in the game,” Few said. “We were in position. But then they made all the plays from that moment forward.”

Gipson was the key. Twice then 6-foot-7 Gipson posted up the tiring Karnowski, a 7-footer forced into extended minutes by Dower’s injury, for baskets.

The second one gave Kansas State a 60-54 lead with 3:39 remaining. Karnowski entered the game averaging 23 minutes but played 30 Saturday, 17 of them in the second half.

“He was definitely tired,” Few said.

Gipson’s putback with 1:59 to play pushed the lead to eight, and the Wildcats could milk out a victory from there.

“I just wanted to be active — ball screen, roll and get posted up down low,” Gipson said. “I knew I could get offensive rebounds or easy hook shots.”

Gonzaga, among the top 20 nationally in scoring, had real difficulties finding its offense in the first half.

The Bulldogs had just 19 points in the game’s first 17 minutes and trailed by five.

But Kyle Dranginis followed a driving layup with a 3-pointer, making the score 24-24 with 1:49 remaining in the half.

Kansas State scored the half’s final five points on a 3 by Nigel Johnson and a layup by Nino Williams for a 29-24 lead. Gonzaga had not scored fewer than 31 points in a first half this season.


Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

Zags Hold Off Jags When Bell Tolls, 68-59

BIS-Logo-2013 Zona (State Farm)

Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few tried – without much success – to convince anyone who would listen that South Alabama wasn’t a pushover.

Few tried to impart to his team that the Jaguars were a solid rebounding team. He didn’t seem to have much luck there either.

The 20th-ranked Bulldogs jumped in front 22-3, giving the false impression that a rout was imminent. South Alabama, riding a career-high 35 points from senior forward Augustine Rubit, pushed Gonzaga to the finish line, forcing the Bulldogs to dig out a 68-59 victory Saturday in the Battle in Seattle.

The Bulldogs improved to 10-1 in front of a KeyArena crowd of 9,140, the lowest attendance of the 11 Battles in Seattle. GU typically brings in a high-profile opponent for the Seattle game but it had its hands full with South Alabama. It took a 20-point night from Gary Bell Jr. and a boost off the bench from Kyle Dranginis, who finished with nine points, four rebounds and two steals, to subdue the Jaguars (5-5).

Sam Dower Jr. had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Przemek Karnowski chipped in nine points and eight boards, but the guards – Bell, Dranginis, Kevin Pangos had nine of his 10 points in the second half and David Stockton added eight points and four steals – orchestrated Gonzaga’s sixth consecutive win. Pangos hasn’t been able to practice after spraining his right big toe about 10 days ago.

“I tried to tell people that I thought they were pretty good, you were the guys that didn’t think they were any good,” Few said. “They were outstanding rebounders. I tried to talk about that all week and we tried to practice against it all week and they exploited us mightily in that regard … We faced two very good rebounders (Rubit and Mychal Ammons) and got it handed to us.”

But, Few added, “We won. As long as you’re keeping score, that’s a good thing.”

Gonzaga dominated the first 10 minutes, bolting in front by 19 on the strength of 11 second-chance points. The Bulldogs’ early rebounding dominance didn’t hold up and they finished with 11 second-chance points.

“We just gave up boxing out or pursuing balls,” Dower said. “A lot of balls went off our hands. We have to learn how to pursue balls and secure them. When we rebound, we normally win games.”

Gonzaga’s offense slid off course with some questionable shot selection and several unforced turnovers. The nation’s top 3-point shooting team finished just 2 of 14 (14.3 percent) beyond the arc.

An 11-2 closing kick, punctuated by a Dranginis floater just before the buzzer, gave GU a 41-25 halftime lead. Bell had 14 of his 20 point in the first half.

“My family comes out,” said Bell, who estimated 20 friends and relatives were in attendance. “They usually never get to watch me play in person, like my grandma, so it’s nice to have them at the game.”

Karnowski scored on Gonzaga’s opening possession of the second half but the Zags had just one point in the next five minutes. Rubit, who had 23 second-half points, brought the Jaguars within nine and the margin pretty much stayed between 8 and 12 the rest of the way.

“We were just playing our basketball, being confident, moving the ball, setting ball screens,” Dower said of the first 10 minutes. “Then we started to shy away from that and they ended up making us pay for it. We were shooting too early in the shot clock or shooting shots we don’t normally take. They ended up getting closer and closer.”

Dranginis picked off an inbounds pass and went for a layup and Bell added a nice move in the lane to keep the Jaguars at arm’s length.

Bell and Pangos both hit a pair of free throws in the final 80 seconds.

Mizzou Topples Hawaii In Kansas City, 92-80

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Junior Jabari Brown tallies a new-season high 23 points in the Tigers 92-80 win

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Mizzou Men’s Basketball faced its toughest competition of the season yet, but proved victorious, defeating Hawaii 92-80 Saturday evening at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Both teams battled hard throughout the game, showcased by 11 lead changes and four ties. This game marks the first time the Tigers have played at the Sprint Center since they claimed the Big 12 tournament title in 2012.

Jabari Brown led the Tigers in total scoring throughout the night. The junior scored 23 points in the win. Saturday’s game was the sixth time Brown has scored over 20 points in his career. He also matched his career high in points for the third time. Jordan Clarkson was behind Brown with 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Earnest Ross contributed 12 points and matched his career high in assists with five. The big three of Brown, Clarkson and Ross scored a combined 48 of the team’s 92 points.

Both the Tigers and the Rainbow Warriors struggled with turnovers and fouls at the start of the game. Junior Jordan Clarkson, who set a career high in points scored with 31 in Missouri’s last contest, got into foul trouble early, allowing other Tigers to step up in his absence. Throughout the first half, the Tigers had balanced scoring as nine of 10 Tigers who played contributed points. Brown led the team in first half scoring as he posted 13 points, including a buzzer-beater layup to end the half. As a team, the Tigers shot 58-percent from the field, but were unable to shut down Hawaii’s offense as the Rainbow Warriors closed out the half with a 16-5 run to lead the Tigers 46-45 at the break.

Mizzou came out strong to start the second half by forcing turnovers and hitting key shots in the paint, but couldn’t shake Hawaii until the six-minute mark when they took a 10-point lead. After sitting out the majority of the first half due to foul trouble, Clarkson lit up the scoreboard for the Tigers. The San Antonio native scored 11 points in the second half to spur the Tigers to victory. The Tiger defense also took charge in the second half, forcing Hawaii to take poor shots from beyond the arc. Mizzou maintained their lead through the final minutes of play, hitting free throws to solidify their double-digit lead over Hawaii.

Other notable performances from the Tigers include freshman Wes Clark, who set a new career high in assists with five, as well as freshman Shane Rector scoring his first points in a Tiger uniform. As a team, the Tigers scored 56 points in the paint, with 28 points coming off the bench.

The Tigers return to action Nov. 23, against Gardner-Webb. The game is slated for a 2:30 p.m. CT start and is part of the opening rounds of the 2013 Las Vegas Invitational. For more information on Mizzou Basketball, follow mutigers.com and @MizzouHoops.


KANSAS CITY – Idol Sports today announced that Xbox will sponsor the Missouri Maneater student section when the Tigers men’s basketball team takes on Hawai’i at the Sprint Center on Nov. 16.

As part of the sponsorship all student section ticketholders will be eligible for several in-game promotions, including Xbox games for every three-point basket made by Missouri during the game, 12-month Xbox Live subscriptions valued at $59.99, and three lucky students will be selected to attempt a half-court shot to win an Xbox One console before it’s available to the public on Nov. 22.

Game tickets start at just $16 and are available for purchase at the Sprint Center box office, AXS.com, and the game’s official website, MizzouInKC.com.

The game will be the first meeting between the two teams since 1995, with Missouri leading the all-time series 4-1, and marks the first game for the Tigers at the Sprint Center since leaving the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference. Hawai’i has never played at the Sprint Center.

Xbox One, Microsoft’s new all-in-one entertainment system, transforms entertainment by combining the best games, the most dynamic multiplayer and service, and exclusive content, all within one system that’s built for the future.


Media Contact:
 Justin Kanton,
Idol Sports & Entertainment 
(480) 635-8720 

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