It was the best of WSU, it was the worst of WSU.
Granted, like some of our commenters pointed out, it wasn't exactly a tale of two halves. In the first half, WSU had many of the same deficiencies they had in the second: failure to win defensive rebounds, open threes given up with regularity, sloppy turnovers and messy transition defense. In that first half, Dan Monson's team couldn't buy a basket. In the second, It just so happens The Beach actually capitalized on the Cougars' weaknesses. That, and the Cougars came out of the gate in the second half ready to showcase said weaknesses.
I think tonight made it clear that these Cougars are a very bipolar squad, subject to moments of brilliance and moments of ineptitude. It explains all the ups and downs of the season so far. All the runs in games, positive and negative. I have no idea what to blame or how to fix it, but it is what it is. If the Cougs want to go to Madison Square Garden, they need to take lessons from tonight and apply them to becoming the kind of team they could be going forward.
The reality is we should be quite happy with an eleven point win in the opening round of the NIT against a Long Beach State team that by Kenpom ranking is considered better than Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona State. You can't take these things for granted.
It's hard to be a fan of WSU sometimes, but we have to stay positive. Monday could be the end, yes, but it could also be another step on the road to a NIT Championship. We just don't know.
Player of the Game: Klay Thompson. 25 and 7, 7 of 16 shooting.
Right Hand Man: DeAngelo Casto. 14 and 8, 6 of 11 shooting.
Unsung Hero: Faisal Aden. 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 4 of 7 from distance. Did you realize he was that efficient? Me neither. Hence, unsung hero.
Play of the Game: Well, it was going to be that Casto dunk, but that didn't go so well. The better choice is Reggie Moore's ridiculous three from the corner, where he shot faked a LBSU defender and beat the shot clock with less than perfect form.
It was over when... When Long Beach decided to wait 30 seconds to foul the Cougars on a late possession.