When the Cougs fell down by 20 early in this one -- 28-8 -- a lot of understandable frustration flowed on the game thread. I cautioned against giving up too early on this team, but I was curious to see what kind of fight they would show. Previous editions of the Cougs were disciplined enough to grind their way back into a game over the final 30 minutes.
Not these guys. They just explode on you -- so much so that they were able to close the gap to 41-37 at half.
And as they headed to the locker room, we all said we needed to start the half fast. And this is how it started.
Forced shot Klay.
Block Klay. (Nice play, but ...)
And with that, any chance the Cougs had to win this game evaporated. You might think it too early to pronounce a game over in the first minutes of the second half, but when the other team is being fueled by yet another diminutive guard having an out-of-body experience, you can't miss opportunities. The Bears gave us one; they weren't about to give us another.
I have some ideas on what, exactly, is wrong with Thompson, and I'll explore those this coming week. But the bottom line is that he's not doing much to help us win right now, other than draw attention on offense. If there's any positive to take away from tonight, it's that the offense overall performed very well, even without much of a contribution from him.
That's important, but it's only going to work for so long -- especially if he continues to shoot as poorly as he is right now. Besides, if you look at our offensive efficiencies over the past month, you could make a pretty convincing argument that it's not working, and that tonight was an anomaly.
And this doesn't even begin to speak to the defense. Cal is explosive, but c'mon ... giving up 93 points on approximately 74 possessions? That's 1.25 points per possession, easily the highest against us of any opponent this year. Completely inexcusable. This was a complete and total defensive fail.
I'm not sure any of us expected to win this game. However, on the heels of Sunday's mess, I really was hoping for signs that we're going to take another big step forward, as we have after every other low point this year. While I'm glad we fought back, I'm not sure that's what we got tonight when all was said and done.