Look. Gonzaga's good. Really good.
I have hardly ever seen a team completely throw us off our game on both ends of the floor since the Bennetts arrived. This was the first time in years. Or at least that's what it felt like.
And it was only the second half, when you think about it. WSU played tight the entire first half, even controlling the tempo for much of it. But then everything fell to pieces. And I mean everything. I hate to bring this up in numbers, but Gonzaga went on a 36-7 run to start the second half.
I said the keys to this game were team defense and 3-point shooting. The defense was good in the first half; only nullified by a couple of undefendable shots by Steven Gray and Jeremy Pargo, among others. But it was a nightmare in the second half, from the lobs to Heytvelt, to the ball screens, to the boxing out, to the everything.
3-point shooting was beyond awful. 2 for 19? Every team that gets blown out by the Zags puts up a number like that, because that 2-3 zone dares you to shoot. And if you shoot and miss and miss and miss - you're pretty much done for.
Taylor will eventually get better. I'm starting to realize that maybe it's the guys on the floor that need to rally around Rochestie and make him better, not the other way around. Last year, he had Kyle Weaver and Derrick Low to cool things off with a bucket or two. Now he doesn't. He gets frustrated and starts jacking up bad shots instead of settling into the offense. But Gonzaga deserves credit here as well. They took away the extra pass underneath. They kept us from moving the ball effectively and they limited Baynes' touches. I don't know what to say, other than we were dominated.
I was going to say it was our worst half of basketball in two and a half years. But was it us, or the opponent? It was both. We beat ourselves in this one, and then Gonzaga beat us harder. At the end of the day I'm more angry with the fans that left early than the team itself. And I couldn't be more happy to be a Cougar and not one of the many Gonzaga fans (most of whom didn't even go to the University, mind you) who showed up and fluffed their feathers with a lopsided win.
Congratulations, GU. You have possibly three first-round NBA draft picks out on the floor and we can't match up with you. We get it. By the way - does this game remind you of anything?
It's ok. The sky isn't falling. We'll be back. Go Cougs.
Might as well make it award time. DeAngelo Casto gets player of the game with 10 points, 2 blocks and 3 offensive boards in only 15 minutes. You've got to at least feel better that the Zags didn't get this guy as well.
Play of the Game: I'm going with Taylor Rochestie's ridiculous little off-the-glass runner. I'm not going with one of the 268 shots that rimmed out tonight. We'll have to check that number later.
Edit (9:50) - Hey, it's a silver lining! We just dominated the #4 team in the country in free throw rate. Of course, most of that is from the first half, when we were actually playing well.