Some Bullet Points:
- Oregon isn't really that bad. Like Nuss alluded to earlier, WSU is an awful matchup for the Ducks. My, how times change. The U of O's once proud 13 game win streak over Wazzu has been shredded into a six game losing skid.
- Just playing this game hurts us. Tomorrow we face a rested UCLA team with revenge on their mind. A team that was probably planning on facing the Crimson and Gray anyway, instead of the ten-seed Green and Gold.
- Great news to see Stanford took care of OSU. Why? I don't really have a favorite among those teams, but Oregon State makes for a horrific matchup with Washington tomorrow. The Huskies absolutely mopped the floor with the Beavers on the offensive boards in their first two lopsided contests. A third OSU/UW game would've made me throw up in my mouth a little. Now, we have a team actually capable of beating the Huskies meeting up with them in the quarterfinals.
- Make no mistake - this is a big win for us. Why? Lose this game and there's a very good chance you can kiss the NIT goodbye in addition to the NCAA tournament. I know it's only a consolation prize, but I would still enjoy seeing another season added to Friel Court's NIT appearance banner. Much better than nothing.
- With Marcus Capers showing signs of life on offense, is there any reason left to keep sitting him behind Nikola Koprivica for that final starters' spot?
- Why on Earth was Ernie Kent concerned with the Cougs' perimeter game? Oregon got shredded tonight, and all the damage came from inside the half-circle. Baynes: 20. Forrest: 14. Casto: 10. Our frontcourt alone outscored the Ducks 44-40. Not only that, they made an absurd 17 of 20 shots from the floor (and ten of ten free throws!).
- Meanwhile, the Cougs won for the first time this year with Klay Thompson being held to less than ten. Not to mention Taylor Rochestie matching Koprivica's point total with four. The backcourt, normally essential to the Cougar offense, were role players tonight.
- However, Taylor Rochestie is still the motor that runs this team. Six assists, one turnover. Even two steals and four boards.
- This was the kind of game where a win doesn't seem that satisfying, but a loss would have hurt us like crazy. So enjoy the win. It's most likely the last time you'll see this year's Cougar team dismantle their opponent. Savor it.
Player of the Game: My personal pick for second-team All-Pac-10, Mr. Aron Baynes. 20 points on 7 of 8 shooting, 6 of 6 free throws, 8 boards and a block.
Play of the Game: Has to be the Forrest-to-Casto alley-oop. Who knew Caleb had the ability to make that pass cleanly? A close second has to be the Casto drive-and-dunk that really cemented the Cougs' dominance in the first period.
Unsung Hero: Definitely Caleb Forrest. The Fire doesn't have 10+ scoring games often, and he hit just about every mid-range jumper he put up. It's really hard to stop the WSU offense when you allow Caleb to shoot and he knocks 'em down anyway.
It was over when... The Baynes back-to-back dunks put the Cougars up 40-23. 16:44 remained, but this one was all but wrapped up. The Ducks are nothing if not the Fighting Tajuan Porters when they play us. With all due respect, Garrett Sim (a very nice player in his own right) would be sitting behind Mike Harthun on our bench.
Stat of the Game: Let's give it up for that frontcourt dominance. 17 of 20 from the field (85%) between Baynes, Casto and Forrest.