This wasn't a basketball game, this was the Klay Thompson show.
Thompson went for a career high 37 points, on 15 of 20 shooting, as the Cougars ran away from the IPFW Mastodons in a high scoring affair.
The game was never really in doubt, so let's go through some bullet point style observations:
- Klay Thompson is good. No, really. He's good. At one point in the second half, Ken Bone ran out a lineup of Thompson, Thames, Harthun, Watson and Enquist. Four reserves and one Klay. It was like KB was saying, 'It doesn't really matter who I throw out there with him, as long as Klay is on the court'. And, frankly, tonight it didn't. The crazy thing is that you'd think a huge scoring night for Klay would involve a billion three pointers. It didn't. He only made 2 of 3 beyond the arc, and the rest of his scoring came from the foul line (5 points) or inside the three-point line. He even acted like a post on a couple of occasions. If Klay can develop into an inside/outside threat, this is just the beginning of his dominance.
- Before the game, Nuss sayeth: "The WSU big men: With a distinct size advantage (probably one of the two times we'll be able to say that this year), will the frontcourt begin to get sorted out?"
- After the game, we got our answer: No. In fact, even with that noticeable size advantage (again, one of the few times we'll see it this year), WSU only outrebounded the Mastodons 35-33. Even worse, they lost the battle on the offensive glass, 33.3% to 31%. That's bad. Sure, there were a few long rebounds off of long shots that just didn't go the Cougars' way. But the lack of intensity and fundamentals under the basket at times was extremely frustrating. The frontcourt picture is possibly even blurrier now than before: Enquist, Motum and Watson were all bounced around for several minutes and neither one distanced themselves from the other two. Motum had a particularly embarrassing moment when he unintentionally hit the deck trying to convert a fast break with Klay Thompson. One of the two should have had an easy dunk or lay-in. Instead the ball bounced harmlessly out of bounds off an IPFW player. Lodwick and Koprivica played well in stretches, but also happen to be our most undersized forwards. We'll need one of the upper 6-footers to step up.
- Xavier Thames is starting to make a name for himself in the backcourt. He played 20 minutes, as many as Marcus Capers, hit 3 of 4 shots and scored 7 points. More importantly, he looked comfortable doing it. We may not need to run Reggie Moore out there for 35+ minutes a night after all.
- WHY CAN'T ABE LODWICK MAKE A THREE POINTER IN A GAME??!?!?!? I really hope it's not as frustrating for him as it is for me to watch. There is no way he's this bad of a shooter. No way. Abe was 0 for 4 tonight from distance, but grabbed 3 boards and made his only attempt inside the arc.
- Good news: the Cougs were back to their old selves at the foul line, hitting 18 of 21. No Cougar starter missed a free throw attempt. Keep it up.
- Why the Cougs won: unlike the last two games, getting to the foul line wasn't a big key for WSU in this one. The Cougs (mainly Klay) simply shot the lights out (60.2 eFG%), and held on to the ball (13.2% turnover rate). If you do those things consistently well, you're going to beat a lot of teams.
On to the awards:
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. I'm starting to get concerned that no one else will win this award.
Unsung Hero: Xavier Thames. See above.
It was over when/Play of the Game: Deilvez Yearby air-mailed a one-handed dunk early in the second half, bouncing the ball off the backboard and into Nikola Koprivica's hands. Koprivica then passed the ball the length of the court to Reggie Moore, who was waiting on the other end to convert the dunk.
Stat of the Game: Klay Thompson. 37 points.