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Cougar Basketball rallies to defeat Santa Clara

It looked bleak for most of the game, but WSU never quit.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. In case you were lost in all of the Holiday Bowl boycott-but-wait-no-boycott insanity on Saturday, your WSU Cougar basketball team hosted the Santa Clara Broncos. While it wasn't exactly a clash of the titans, it turned out to be a pretty good game, capped by a highly improbable comeback that saw WSU erase an 11-point deficit over the last six minutes.

Before we get into the meat of this post, let's read five words from correspondent Peter Harriman, who covered the game for the Spokesman Review:

Basketball shouldn’t be this hard.

No, no it shouldn't.

When Santa Clara's Nate Kratch scored to make it 66-55, my guess is you'd have been hard pressed to find anyone who believed WSU would mount a rally to win the game. Well, rally they did. The comeback was more of a slow drip than a flood, as neither team scored for more than two minutes down the stretch (which will happen when neither team is very good). But When Josh Hawkinson converted a three-point play with just under four minutes to go, there was a glimmer of light.

Even though WSU wasn't lighting up the scoreboard to complete the comeback, they defended well enough to to hold Santa Clara at 66 points for what seemed like an eternity. While Hawkinson started the comeback in earnest, it was Charles Callison who got WSU over the top, as he hit a three to get WSU within one point. WSU then got yet another stop, and Callison scored again to put WSU ahead.

It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops for Callison, as he very nearly caused the comeback to unravel when he twice missed the front end of a one-and-one in the final 12 seconds. The Cougs were able to close it out, though, as they got one final stop at the end of the game with Callison getting a block to end it.

While we're all smart enough to recognize that a Pac-12 team shouldn't have this difficult a time with a bad WCC team, we also recognize that this is a pretty bad WSU basketball team. As such, a win, any win, should never be taken for granted. Oh, and if you're in to such things, WSU came into the game as the betting two points.

The Cougars will have a few days off before they face Sacramento State Wednesday evening. Good seats are still available.


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