Well, that was not a lot of fun.
To be honest, I actually wasn't nervous as the game was coming down. I really had just a fatalistic view about it -- either we were going to hold on, or we weren't, and I wasn't going to feel much differently about the outcome either way. Sure, you always want to win, but the bigger problem is that we nearly gave up a 20-point halftime lead. And whether we won or lost wasn't going to change my opinion of the game overall.
Think about it for a second: Is there a worse team in the country with a lead than WSU?
The Cougs had a big lead against Eastern Washington and allowed it to get uncomfortable. seven-point lead against LSU in overtime and nearly lost. They had a seven-point lead against Oregon in overtime and lost. They had a five-point lead late against OSU and nearly lost. They had a six-point lead late against Arizona and nearly lost.
This is seriously ridiculous, but I have no idea how you go about fixing it. Perhaps it's just a byproduct of youth, and we probably should just all be happy they've won all but one of these games (which, of course, we know they actually won). But it does give you serious heartburn in the process.
In my mind, what it ultimately comes down to is defense. You know why the Cougs of the past few years didn't have many of these comebacks against them? Because they could always lock down a team down the stretch. These guys get a lead, the other team dials up the intensity, and they can't figure out how to match it. I'm just not sure how you get these guys to get there.
It's also frustrating to see us light up Stanford for 46 points in the first half, but only score 31 in the second -- a figure inflated by late free throws. Klay Thompson was shooting lights out, Reggie more was making plays ... and then they more or less stopped after halftime. Klay makes three of his first four from 3, but misses his last five. Reggie has six assists and two turnovers at half, and finishes with six assists and four turnovers. In fact, the Cougs had 12 assists on their 15 first half field goals, but only three on their 11 second half field goals.
I'm glad we got a win, because that's important. But I'm growing a little tired of seeing the same issues we were dealing with back in November.