Cougs have a point to make

Having advanced to the NIT Final Four in New York, WSU wants to prove it would have been a worthy NCAA choice

NEW YORK — When Marcus Capers was woken by the shrill noise of his alarm clock on Saturday morning, he wasn’t dreading the subsequent hour or two.

Capers and his Washington State cohorts had to leave Pullman around 7 a.m. to catch a flight out of Lewiston. Their excursion to Madison Square Garden for today’s National Invitation Tournament semifinal had begun.

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Wazzu vs. WSU linkage

Before you tune into tonight’s 4 p.m. NIT semifinal round between Washington State and Wichita State (ESPN2), be sure to give these stories a read.

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A boost from Brock

Brock Motum, a reserve forward, averaged 15 points and four rebounds in WSU's NIT win over Oklahoma State and Northwestern. AP

Effective play from Australian Brock Motum has has helped Cougars crack NIT Final Four

PULLMAN — Brock Motum’s plans for rubbernecking the Big Apple preceded Washington State’s recent berth in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament.

Even if the Cougars weren’t able to dispatch Northwestern in overtime on Wednesday night, the 6-foot-10 sophomore was going to visit the mecca of American metropolises regardless.

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Commentary: Cougs not doing things the easy way

PULLMAN – As if the last three months weren’t enough for Washington State hoops purists to dust off the Pepto Bismol nestled in the corner of their medicine cabinets.

The first swigs of the pink bismuth would have commenced in January when the Cougs’ erraticism surfaced. By Valentine’s Day the bottle was likely polished.

When the Pac-10 tournament came around, stomachs developed an immunity for the mercurial play.

But, no, the stress-inducing Jekyll-and-Hyde efforts that included wins over NCAA tournament clubs Washington, Gonzaga and USC and losses to the likes of lowly Arizona State and Stanford weren’t enough.

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Bound for Big Apple

Northwestern guard Michael Thompson drives under Washington State guard Faisal Aden AP.

WSU has to work OT, but beats Northwestern for spot in NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden

PULLMAN – In the final moments of regulation and throughout overtime, there were a series a gasps by Washington State’s contingent.

The first one signaled their disappointment. The last was followed by jubilation.

Luka Marcotulio’s 3-point attempt at end of overtime was off the mark, and WSU survived Northwestern 69-66 in an NIT quarterfinal on Wednesday night at Beasley Coliseum.

The Cougars punched their ticket to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four next week, where they will face Wichita State on Tuesday. Alabama takes on Colorado in the other semifinal.

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Moos: Casto will play tonight

PULLMAN — DeAngelo Casto’s suspension has been lifted just hours before tonight’s 8 p.m. National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal tip with Northwestern, Washington State athletic director Bill Moos announced.

The 6-foot-8 junior from Spokane was originally suspended for the forthcoming game after an interaction with Pullman Police at his off-campus apartment the night of WSU’s second-round win over Oklahoma State. This eventually led to a misdemeanor citation of marijuana possession of less than 40 grams.

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Hardships for Cougs, Northwestern

Northwestern's John Shurna (left) and Luka Mirkovic (right) could give WSU trouble inside in Casto's absence. AP

Casto suspended for WSU; Northwestern making last-minute trip to Palouse for NIT tilt

PULLMAN – Members of the Northwestern men’s basketball program didn’t learn their opponent – or destination – until after midnight on Tuesday morning.

They left their suburban Chicago campus for the Palouse early Tuesday knowing there would be less than 48 hours of formulation between travel and a quarterfinal NIT tilt at Washington State tonight.

Advantage: Cougars.

On the flip side, WSU didn’t expect to be without its primary inside figure a win away from punching its ticket to Madison Square Garden.

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