January 22nd: Down 53-50, Caleb Forrest makes a three-pointer to tie UCLA.
[NUSS: I was able to find some video to embed, but it's been a little janky, so if you have issues, you can still watch the video at ESPN here.]
I love Beasley Coliseum.
Yes, I know, it's a 70s relic, and for years was painted in a color more suitable for the Oregon State Beavers than the Washington State Cougars. Beasley is an architectural nuisance as well; a cookie-cutter arena that could've been designed by anyone who knows what a slightly-stretched out octagon looks like. Inside, it's concrete and plastic. There's no quirks, no nuances, just a business-like arena. It's essentially your 70-year old grandpa wearing the same suit he's had for thirty years and still thinking that it looks good.
Still, I love it. Because when Beasley gets rocking, there's no other place quite like it. I feel personally insulted that one of the key reasons (we assume) for Tony's departure is the shiny Golden Palace that is John Paul Jones arena. Oooooh. Shiny. Look at the brick. The white, spiky things. The state of the art bathrooms. I may just board a private jet for it right now.
I have a feeling that while Tony may not regret his decision next year to coach at Virginia, he'll have a moment where he questions if it was the right choice. And that moment will come when he steps on to the floor, hears the announcement of his name following the starting lineup, and realizes the ovation isn't nearly as loud.
Beasley, if nothing else, seats many. And it is loud. Really loud. Who knows if it's the acoustics, or the 5,000 students, or one of the more rabid alumni sections in the nation. But it's loud. And when Caleb Forrest hit a jumper to complete a torrid WSU comeback and tie UCLA at 53 points each, the roof was nearly blown off the place. Seriously - watch the video on the ESPN link. It was 10 times as loud in person, and just as incredible a moment.
Of course those paper cut-out trees certainly didn't hurt the atmosphere either.
There's nothing worse than being the favorite to win a game, getting out to a huge lead, and then have the underdog storm back and nearly crush your spirit before escaping with a win. As a part-time Gonzaga follower I know this feeling well. But when you're on the other side, erasing an insurmountable lead built by the mighty Bruins of UCLA, it feels pretty darn good. So what if we ended up losing. When Nikola Dragovic was hitting everything he attempted in the first half, it's not like anyone thought we were coming back anyway.
And a hat tip to cfred for pointing out, via ESPN's play-by-play, the greatest 1:36 of Caleb Forrest's basketball career:
6:49 53-47 Caleb Forrest Defensive Rebound.
6:32 53-47 Foul on Klay Thompson
6:12 Darren Collison missed Two Point Jumper. 53-47
6:12 53-47 Caleb Forrest Defensive Rebound.
5:42 53-49 Caleb Forrest made Two Point Jumper.
5:40 Foul on Nikola Dragovic 53-49
5:40 UCLA 30 Second Timeout.
5:40 53-50 Caleb Forrest made Free Throw.
5:29 Alfred Aboya missed Two Point Jumper. 53-50
5:29 53-50 Marcus Capers Defensive Rebound.
5:13 53-53 Caleb Forrest made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Taylor Rochestie.
So, for the second straight play, we raise a glass to Caleb Forrest.
Only in Beasley.