Before we can get into the games. I’m so glad that this nonsense of not having games televised will be over soon. While I hate some of the early game times, the fact that neither of WSU’s games were on this weekend was annoying. For me as a reporter, I would like to be able to DVR the games at least for work purposes to see how Washington’s opponents for the weekend are playing.
For me as a fan, I want the opportunity to watch games. I may not want to see all of them. But I like to know that I have the choice. And because I watched guys like DaVonte Lacy (more on him below) and Reggie Moore and Mychal Ladd in high school, I like to follow them in college.
Obviously the Pac-12 is to blame in a lot of this. This current TV deal is a joke of epic proportions. But lets not kid ourselves. ROOT like newspapers and other media outlets is operating on a lower budget and we are seeing the effects of it.
Now let’s get to the games.
Raise your hand if you thought this might happen? Well, Lorenzo Romar said the other day that Washington State is capable of beating anybody and the Cougs proved him correct on Saturday, stunning conference leading Cal, 77-75.
With scored tied at 74, DaVonte Lacy, who hails from here in Tacoma, buried a 3-pointer with 18.3 seconds remaining to help seal the win.
Lacy, who was only recruited by Washington State in the Pac-12, approaches every game with a chip on his shoulder.
“After every game,” Lacy said, “I hope every coach says, ‘I wish I recruited him.’ ”
The California Bears became the latest team to pay for overlooking Lacy when the freshman guard from Curtis High School in University Place drained a winning 3-pointer with 18.3 seconds to play in a 77-75 thriller Saturday afternoon at Beasley Coliseum.
“That was the biggest (shot) I’ve ever hit because it was at this level,” Lacy said.
And it sealed an incredible three-day turnaround, one that saw the Cougars (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12) salvage their season after losing three consecutive games on the road.
The process may be what pleased Bone the most. WSU trailed by 13 in the second half against Stanford. Cal (16-5, 6-2) led by seven midway through the second half on Saturday. But on both occasions timely stops and clutch shooting – the Cougars made 13 of 23 shots after halftime – allowed WSU to rally.
Lodwick made four 3-pointers, all at crucial junctures.
Lacy finished with 14 points. Motum scored 15 and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“Some teams are front-runners,” Motum said. “Some teams, when the adversity strikes, everyone comes together. I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job of that.”
Cal coach Mike Montgomery wasn’t too content with his club’s effort on the other end of the floor.
“Defensively we weren’t very good,” Montgomery said. “(Washington State guard Faisal) Aden obviously is confident right now, but of the nine shots he (made), seven were layups. That was disappointing. No excuse for that.
“We got a little stagnant there on offense. We had our chances. Nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Here’s some highlight since the game wasn’t televised.
So who else leads the Pac-12 conference? That’s right, the Oregon Ducks. Surprised? Maybe a little after Washington carved them up at Alaska Airlines Arena. But Dana Altman is a very good coach, and his team seems to be building better chemistry and understanding his system more as the season goes on.
Oregon was down 13 points at halftime, but used some full-court pressure, some better shooting to storm back and some stern words from Altman at halftime
“That first half, we set basketball back about 10 years,” UO coach Dana Altman said. “Fortunately, that second half was very good.”
So what changed?
Altman talked about an “emotional” halftime after an opening 20 minutes in which the Ducks shot 22.6 percent from the field, were outrebounded 26 to 16 and didn’t look inclined to do much to stop the Bruins, who were 17-of-33 from the field at that point. Had the Bruins not missed seven of their eight free throws in the first half, it might well have been over.
“This game is played with passion and energy, and we didn’t have it,” Altman said.
His solution was to put the Ducks into full-court pressure. It helped, as did Tony Woods blocking two shots in UCLA’s first three possessions and Sim hitting a pair of three-pointers in the first two minutes of the second half, one of them turning into a four-point play when he was fouled.
“I wasn’t really hunting ’em, but after that ‘and-one,’ I knew if I got the next open look, I was definitely going to take it,” Sim said. “Any time I get an open three, I’m going to shoot it with confidence.”
Columnist George Schroeder believes the Ducks are showing people they can be contenders. From his column.
Big picture, Oregon is capable of long offensive droughts and alarming defensive lapses. As poorly as the Ducks played in the first half, UCLA probably should have completed a road blowout.
But it turns out the Ducks are also capable of overcoming those deficiencies, and of playing very good basketball. In the second half they outscored the Bruins by 20 points.
They’re confident, and poised, and they’re getting better. If Altman is right, they’re just scratching the surface of what is possible.
Matt Knight Arena filled up with 10,830 fans Saturday afternoon, many of them there to honor the football team’s Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. But that crowd got a good show the second half, as the Ducks fought back, taking their first lead on a Singler putback with 7:47 to play. With that bucket, Oregon led 52-50. They wouldn’t trail the rest of the way.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” Altman said. “The students really got into it once we gave them something to cheer about.”
Head coach Ben Howland said bluntly his team “needs to be mentally tougher.”
Howland pointed out seven times how well the Bruins played in the first half. As for the entire game, he said, “we need to be mentally tougher.”
The Ducks (15-5, 6-3) made only seven of 31 shots in the first half, but scored 51 points in the second half. E.J. Singler scored a career-high 26 points, 23 in the second half.
It made for a bookend to a trip that began with a loss to Oregon State on Thursday. It was only the sixth time that UCLA has been 0-for-Oregon in the last 48 seasons and the first since 2003-04, Howland’s first season.
The bright side? Howland is in good company. He and John Wooden are the only UCLA coaches to be swept in Oregon twice. The brighter side? UCLA doesn’t have to travel to Oregon next season.
Peter Yoon of ESPNLA shot this video of Howland’s press conference and filed this story.
The Buffaloes continued to keep pace in the Pac-12 by beating Arizona at home in front of a sold out crowd. It looks as though no team will enjoy playing at the Coors Event Center this year. The adjustment to playing at altitude is something that may take time to figure out. But really what makes it tough is that Colorado is really solid. I think they have a good mixture of players and they are one of the tougher teams in he conference.
A capacity crowd of 11,056 packed the Coors Events Center.
And none of them stormed the court after Colorado’s dramatic 64-63 victory on Saturday over tradition-rich Arizona.
The Buffs and their fans expect to beat good teams at home now.
Even on an afternoon when Tad Boyle’s best player didn’t score and his team shot poorly from the field, missed 10 free throws, and was out-rebounded by nine.
Defense wins championships. Or in this case keeps CU in the wide open Pac-12 title chase.
“We made one extra play,” Boyle said. “I thought it was really appropriate for our team to win on the defensive end.”
The Buffs (13-6, 5-2) did a great job of retreating and defending after Carlon Brown missed a 3-pointer on their final possession. CU’s impressive last stand on defense led to Kevin Parrom air-balling the potential game-winner at the buzzer.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Brown said. “I just know this guy right here (Austin Dufault) grabbed me and said, ‘We won! We won!'”
Arizona was 3-of-20 from 3-point range in the loss. Maybe it was the altitude affecting their shots, or maybe it was just one of those night’s where they couldn’t hit. .
“I don’t know if the thin air made them go long or short,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “But, to me, open shots are the ones that we have to make.”
Center Jesse Perry also was not sure what to think.
“I don’t know if it was altitude; it just wasn’t falling,” Perry said. “That’s really what is was.”
Guards Nick Johnson (0-3) and Jordin Mayes (0-4) missed all their threes, Parrom and Brendon Lavender missed both threes they took, and Kyle Fogg went 2 for 7 from beyond the arc.
Overall, Fogg was 3 for 12 from the field. Although he was 8 of 9 from the free-throw line, the lone miss was a painful one – the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 1:01 that could have won the game.
“I’m not in a slump,” Fogg said. “I just missed a few shots I normally make.”
If you have sometime, definitely read this story on freshmen Angelo Chol – a one-time UW recruit – and his journey to college basketball. It was not an easy road for certain.
The Utah Utes have two wins in the Pac-12 which is two more than many people, myself included, thought they were capable of winning. And I’m always happy for my fellow Montana grad Bill Oram to write about a win after so many losses.
Saturday brought nothing the Huntsman Center hadn’t seen before: One team went long stretches without scoring and its center air-balled a hook shot, that team losing by more than 20 points and digging deeper to find a new rock bottom.
For once, it wasn’t the Utes.
Instead, Utah never trailed as it capped a week of turmoil with triumph, a 64-43 win over Arizona State in front of an announced crowd of 9,092.
“It feels good to be on the other end,” Utah guard Chris Hines said.
If there’s one thing the Utes know, it’s blowout losses; they’ve suffered no fewer than 11 of them. Throughout this rebuilding season the Utes (5-14, 2-5 Pac-12) have been considered the worst major-conference team in America. Against the Sun Devils, who were without leading scorer Trent Lockett due to injury, Utah unleashed months of unfulfilled potential.
The Utes clamped down on defense, opening the game 12-0 before Arizona State scored.
They started the second half on a 10-0 run as well. The Utes made 52.5 percent of their shots, and were 9-of-17 on 3-pointers.
Not bad for a team that dismissed its leading scorer, point guard Josh Watkins, for undisclosed violations of team rules.
Perhaps ASU’s junior wing Carrick Felix summed it up best in Doug Haller’s game story:
“If this is not (rock bottom), I don’t know what is,” junior wing Carrick Felix said.
You have to believe that Herb Sendek could be in some trouble at ASU. Not just because of the losses but the player defections and lack of depth in the program.
It’s now apparent that USC might not win a game either. They are down to about seven scholarship players, and they are beyond offensively challenged.
Oregon State wanted to shut down USC’s only playmaker Maurice Jones. And while Jones scored 13 points, he wasn’t really a factor.
Gary Payton was on hand to see the win, and said he thinks the team will win the Pac-12 tourney. You gotta love GP’s swagger
From John Hunt’s game story …
The Trojans, off to their worst start since 1989 when they started 0-12, did nothing to alter their reputation as an offensively challenged group.
USC, shooting below 40 percent on the season and in the nation’s bottom five in assists, went cold early. The Beavers took advantage of USC’s missed shots and turnovers in their early 13-0 run that gave them an 18-8 lead – one that never was seriously threatened.
The Beavers’ 1-3-1 zone press confounded the Trojans, too. Maurice Jones, the Trojans’ point guard and leading scorer, got USC’s first points, then didn’t score again until five minutes into the second half.
“It really got to them,” Cunningham said.
In six of the previous 11 games, USC had been held below 20 points in the first half. On Saturday night, the Trojans needed a three-pointer by Daniel Munoz with nine seconds left to break out of the teens.