Cougs ready for Monson-led Long Beach State

Both teams were eyeing NCAAs, but now hope to make best of spot in NIT

PULLMAN – By early February, Washington State had already garnered a grip of losses

Dan Monson will return to the Palouse tonight, this time as coach of Long Beach State. The Moscow High and University of Idaho graduate will lead his 49ers against the Cougars.

that had pundits uttering a certain tournament’s acronym that – at the time – might as well have been an expletive.

A tournament Long Beach State was just a game away from eluding.

Second-seeded WSU begins the National Invition Tournament tonight at 7 at Beasley Coliseum against No. 7 seed LBSU, which fell painfully short of punching its ticket to the NCAA tournament.

The 49ers, the regular-season champions of the Big West Conference, saw their Big Dance aspirations snuffed out Saturday in a 64-56 upset loss to UC-Santa Barbara in the conference tournament title game.

An 11-game winning streak was halted by UCSB, which fell to LBSU (22-11) twice before the postseason.

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