Wait? Was that the Cougars out there on the floor?

My recap turned into a play-by-play at the end and many of you probably already saw the game for yourself... but that game inspired me to write, and you can just deal with that, or choose not to read it...

  • The Cougars shot like they have all season in the first half.  Taylor was throwing up some what-are-you-thinking shots and everybody elses shots seemed to be rimming out.
  • One of the refs had something against Nik.  The ref must not have been able to account for Nikola's unique driving methods.  We as Cougar fans have learned to hate and love and mostly hate when Nikola puts the ball to the floor.  However, in this game Nikola made two beautiful drives to the hoop.  One happened along the baseline and another occurred off of a pass-in drive inwhich Nikola started the top of the key.  In both instances, Nikola appeared to draw very little contact and he did not cause opposing players to fall to the ground.  Both shots were classic Koprivica and should have resulted in the four points that he earned.... yet... yet... the referees found fault with Koprivica.  TWICE.  And Tony Bennett and I are still waiting for an adequate explanation.
  • One other beef I had with the refs was their goal-tending calls.  Capers made an incredible block and from my vantage point the ball appeared to have never completely left the Stanford player's hand let alone make it to the top of its arc before being swatted away.  The refs apparently didn't agree.
  • Another goal-tending call was made on Aron.  He made a clean block in my opinion.  He tipped the ball against the glass, and then tipped it again against the rim.  I am not familiar with all the ways inwhich one can commit goal tending, perhaps one of those tips is a no-no in the books... maybe somebody else from our fan-base can give me a proper explanation on that...
  • The mood was not good at half-time and our fans were booing the refs very loudly as they left the court with security escorts...


  • Then, things started to change in the second half.
  • Tony finally figured out what many of us here at CougCenter have been saying all along.  Baynes is a good shot blocker.  Casto is a good shot blocker.  Together they are an impenetrable force down low!  Bennett started the second half with both Baynes and Casto in the lineup and in the waning minutes of the second half it was Baynes and Casto down low playing miraculous defense, stifling every drive to the paint when defense was needed most.
  • Not only were Baynes and Casto excellent on the defensive end.  They worked well on the offensive end as well.  I can't recall Baynes and Casto converting on two points from their combined penetration, perhaps once, but I do know that they were effective at making it to the line.  Casto still could use work on his free throw shooting, but we can't be too picky.  Also, the key was that they got both Paul and Owens (Stanford's main PFs other than Laurence Hill) in foul trouble.  The refs also had a love-affair with calling off-the-ball fouls on the big men from both teams as they were jockeying for position.  This caused Casto and Forrest to pick up some tacky fouls leaving them in some foul trouble.
  • Baynes only had one foul.  Partly because he has made a complete turn-around at not getting fouls this season and partly because he had relatively few playing minutes in the first half.  (I think Tony must have been under the opinion that Baynes was a speed liability with Stanford's small lineup)
  • One other thing happened in the second half.  The Cougar guards finally were successful at creating penetration off the dribble.  Thompson showed some excellent dribbling ability.  Rochestie seemed to have more control as well.  Both Rochestie and Thomson pushed the ball up the court on a few occasions and in the second half it payed off.  They made some legit transition baskets and really took advantage of a few turnovers.  One of those resulted in that monster dunk by Klay which basically brought the house down.  THAT WAS SO ****ING AMAZING!
  • Our offense was great in the second half.  Yes.  The offense is what got us back into the game, back from an eight point halftime deficit.  But it came down to the defense to win us this ball game.
  • Laurance Hill hit one of two free throws with 2:15 left in the game.  That gave Stanford a one point lead.
  • Our next possession ended at the hands of a missed 3-pointer by Abe Lodwick.  Abe had in fact came through in the clutch with a three earlier in the game, but it was not to be at that point in time.
  • The next possession for Stanford was nerve racking to say the least.
  • Stanford had the lead, so they were determined to waste their 30 seconds from the clock before shooting like any smart college basketball team would do in that situation.  The man they called on to make their key shot was Josh Owens, but he ran into the impenetrable wall of Baynes and Casto.  Owens missed one layup, but the Cougar defense was so wrapped up into preventing the basket that Stanford got another offensive rebound.
  • So naturally, Stanford wasted another 20 seconds off the clock before giving the ball to Owens again.   And what happend?  The same result.  No basket, but ANOTHER offensive rebound for the Cardinal.
  • At that point there was about a minute left and everybody was on their toes with an uneasy feeling that it was going to comedown to this final defensive stand.
  • One of the Stanford guards took the ball, waited in the back-court, and promptly called a timeout with 15 seconds on the shot clock and 40 seconds on the game clock.
  • One of Tony's assistants threw his clipboard down in discuss, and I laughed out loud.  What the heck did you expect them to do?  Obviously it was the right call for Stanford.
  • Stanford came out of the timeout and did not play to their strengths.  Instead they fell into our strengths.  Stanford is a perimeter shooting team now, right?  We had just stopped them on two drives to the cup.  However, Stanford did not change a thing.  Owens made his third shot attempt of the possession and missed yet again.  But this time Casto pulled down the rebound.
  • We dodged a bullet there, but we still had to convert on the other end.
  • I loved this call by Taylor or Tony or whoever decided to make the shot with 19 seconds left.  There was no guarantee that Taylor was going to make that shot.  Making the shot early takes away some of the pressure and Stanford is not expecting a shot.  They expect us to waste out the time.  But instead, put the game in the hands of the defense.  We have faith.
  • And the defense did prevail.  Anthony Goods thought he was the man to break the Casto and Baynes wall.  But he was wrong; his shot was off the mark, and Casto pulled down another rebound and cradled the ball to his chest as the crowd went crazy.
  • Casto was fouled.  He missed both shots.  No big deal.  There was 5 seconds left and the game had been won with defense.

P.S.  Congrats to Abe for finally making a clutch 3-pointer.  But we as the fans will always hold out for more.


This FanPost does not necessarily reflect the views of the site's writers or editors, who may not have verified its accuracy. It does, however, reflect the views of this particular fan, which is just as important as the views of our writers or editors.

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