Blazers lose another home game; Willie Watch is a waiting game
A look at some news from Saturday and general local sports items:
Without injured big man Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans still were able to whip the Trail Blazers at Moda Center.
DeMarcus Cousins' 38 points led the Pels to a 123-116 win. New Orleans took control with a 23-8 spurt to open the second half.
Portland dropped its second home game in a row, and the Pelicans snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Blazers fall to 7-6 at Moda this season, 13-10 overall. They're tied with Minnesota for fifth in the NBA Western Conference, one game ahead of Utah and New Orleans (both 12-11). Ninth-place Oklahoma City is 9-12, three games behind Portland.
• The Willie Taggart Watch produced no news regarding the future place of employment for the Oregon coach. Nor did it generate any new statements from Taggart, who guided the Ducks through their second bowl-game practice on Saturday. Nor was there word on whether Florida State wants him as its new coach.
• If it's the 29th annual Cactus Bowl for the University of Oregon football team when pairings are announced on Sunday …
Kickoff is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26, at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks in downtown Phoenix. The pregame party at the stadium starts at 3:30 p.m.
Cactus Bowl tickets are listed at $35-$45 upper section, $65 and $85 for the lower section, and $105 and $140 for club seats.
Pac-12 teams have played in the Cactus Bowl (previously known as the Copper, Insight.com or Buffalo Wild Wings) 12 times and are 7-5, with Arizona State losing to West Virginia in 2016 and Washington falling to Oklahoma State in 2015.
The Ducks have never been in the Cactus Bowl. Oregon State lost to Pittsburgh in 2002, but beat Notre Dame in 2004.
The name Cactus Bowl has been in place since 2015.
Two other bowl games — the Heart of Dallas and Quick Lane (in Detroit) — will be played the same day.
• If it's the Las Vegas Bowl for the Ducks, kickoff is 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The pregame Fan Fest is from 9 a.m.-noon. Tickets are listed at $35, $65, $75 and $110 — plus 9 percent Nevada tax.
The Vegas Bowl is one of six to be played on that day — the first day of the college football postseason.
It's been around since 1992. Oregon beat Air Force in 1997 and lost to BYU in 2006. Pac-12 teams are 10-8. Utah won the game in 2014 and 2015. Last year, San Diego State beat Houston.
• Or, if it's somehow the Sun Bowl on Friday, Dec. 29, at El Paso, Texas, kickoff is noon PT, and tickets at Sun Bowl Stadium go from $22 in the end zone to $62 for premium and $652 for the Captain's Club.
The Ducks are 3-1 all-time in the Sun Bowl. Their last appearance was in 2007, when they beat South Florida, 56-21.
• New UCLA coach Chip Kelly reportedly will hire a couple of his former assistants at Oregon: Cal defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro (who would be the Bruins' defensive coordinator) and Don Pellum (linebackers).
• Stanford's Brennan Scarlett, a former Central Catholic High star who has overcome injuries to become a key weapon, ran for one touchdown and 21 yards on seven carries in Friday night's Pac-12 title game loss, 31-28, to USC.
That gives the 6-1, 210-pound junior running back 385 yards on 86 carries (4.5 average) this season. Scarlett also has four receptions for 89 yards. He has eight rushing TDs rushing. He also has returned 34 kickoffs for a 26.0-yard average.
Stanford is being projected to play in the Alamo Bowl at San Antonio, against Oklahoma State, or the Holiday Bowl versus Northwestern at San Diego, California. Both are Thursday, Dec. 28.
• Idaho played its final game as an FBS team on Saturday. The Vandals won 24-10 at Georgia State to finish 2017 with a 4-8 record, 3-5 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Next year, Idaho will be the 13th football member of the FCS Big Sky, which is so large that some teams go a few years without meeting each other.
The Vandals in essence are replacing North Dakota, which will play the next two years as an independent before moving to the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2020.
Coach Paul Petrino's Vandals won nine games last year and beat Colorado State in a bowl, so they can be competitive in the Big Sky, even with the drop of 20-some scholarships that will come with the move down in classification.
• Speaking of Big Sky football, visiting Weber State knocked off Southern Utah 30-13 on Saturday in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
The Wildcats are the only Big Sky team left in the final eight. Weber State pays top-seeded James Madison at 7 p.m. Friday.
Southern Utah had beaten Weber State 32-16 during the regular season.
The other Big Sky playoff team this year, Northern Arizona, lost in the first round, 41-10 to San Diego.
Caroline Inglis, a former Pac-12 champion at Oregon, is in a three-way tie for 15th after 72 holes of the 90-hole LPGA Qualifying School at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Inglis shot a par 72 on Saturday and is 2-under for the tournament.
The top 20 finishers will get full LPGA status for 2018. Those who finish 21-45, including ties, will have conditional LPGA status.
Former Portland State golfer Britney Yada is one of eight golfers tied for 49th at 2-over par.
SUNDAY'S BEST BETS
• The Portland Winterhawks (20-4-0-1, 41 points) play the Saskatoon Blades (10-14-2-1, 23) at Moda Center at 5 p.m. Sunday.
It's KPTV Les Schwab Toy Drive night. Bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to local children. Or buy new toys on site for donation.
The Hawks are coming off a seven-round shootout loss at Lethbridge that snapped their 10-game winning streak.
Saskatoon lost at Everett on Saturday night, 3-0.
• The Seattle Seahawks face the team with the NFL's best record, the Philadelphia Eagles, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle is 7-4 and one game behind the first-place Los Angeles Rams (8-3) in the NFC West. The Rams play at Arizona at 1:25 p.m. PT Sunday.
Philadelphia is 10-1 and is going for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Also in the NFC, Minnesota is 9-2, and New Orleans and Carolina are 8-3 going into their 1:25 p.m. PT Sunday clash at New Orleans.