If D.J. Rodman and Andrej Jakimovski were co-stars in a procedural cop series, what would the title be? Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Jaki and Rod
- D.J. and Drej
- San Juan to Skopje (yeah that’s lousy but I’m a sucker for geography)
Whatever you want to call the duo, it certainly came to the rescue on Saturday for the Washington State Cougars, who defeated Stanford by the thinnest of margins, 60-59. The Cougs have found all sorts of ways to lose to the Cardinal in Pullman over the years, and Saturday seemed ripe for yet another inexplicable defeat, seeing as how Stanford had yet to win a conference game and currently sits at 112th in Ken Pomeroys rankings.
But Jaki and Rod weren’t gonna let that happen, even though each of them nearly went from hero to scapegoat in the game’s final seconds. First, Jakimovski missed the front end of a one-and-one that could have put WSU up by three, then Rodman completely lost track of Brandon Angel, who ran right past DJ and came perilously close to tipping in a game-winner as time expired.
Before that, the duo ended up scoring 32 of the team’s 60 points. That’s more than half, for those of you who majored in History like I did. Among them were three shots, two from Jaki and one from Rodman, that were launched with under a second on the shot clock. As a team, WSU finished 10-27 from three-point range. D.J. and Drej? All they did was go 9-13, while the rest of the squad convert one (one!!!) for 14. The next-highest scorer was Mo Gueye, who had a rough afternoon, scoring seven points and collecting an inexplicably-bad one rebound in 25 minutes.
One more illustration of how big the duo’s performance was - In the game’s final 10 minutes, WSU made a paltry four field goals (good thing it was facing Stanford!). Here were those makes: Jakimovski three-pointer with 9:55 left, Jakimovski three pointer with 7:52 left, Rodman three-pointer with 3:01 left, Rodman three-pointer with 2:05 left. Turns out those were all rather important!
San Juan-to-Skopje arrived at its Saturday heroics via vastly different paths. Rodman has been consistently improving his scoring totals as the season has gone along, as his 15 points against Stanford marked the sixth consecutive game in which he’s scored in double figures. Prior to this current streak, Rodman reached double figures just twice in the season’s first 12 contests.
Jakimovski’s performance pretty much came out of nowhere. Before Saturday, his season high scoring output - once he returned from injury - was six points. In 2.5 seasons on the Palouse, Andrej has averaged just north of five points-per-game, and Saturday marked the second-highest output of his WSU career, behind a 19-point performance, which also came at home against Stanford. If WSU can get anything close to 10 points and four rebounds out of Jakimovski on a consistent basis, the team’s prospects will improve considerably.
Interestingly (to me, anyway), Saturday marked WSU’s first one-point victory in over six years, and was also the biggest comeback win (eight points) this season. (Info via game notes)
The path to .500 gets exceedingly tougher for WSU, however, as it heads to the mountains to take on Colorado and Utah next weekend. Off the top of my head, I think WSU is roughly 1-5,435 on that trip*.
After that, the Arizona schools visit, and then WSU heads to L.A. Yikes.
WSU’s first game in the mountains takes place Thursday evening in Salt Lake City, with a tip time of 6 p.m. PST.
Before that, please take a few minutes to relive Saturday’s win over Stanford. I had the game on “mute” because I was watching the Chargers-Jags game, which featured the corpses of Al Michaels and Tony Dungy in the booth, so I (fortunately) didn’t notice that Greg Heister was doing play-by-play. And I admire the toughness of analyst P.J. (no relation) Carlesimo, who appears to have inadvertently swallowed sulfuric acid Saturday morning.
The results have been just as promising for the Cougar women. With Charlisse Leger-Walker back in the lineup, WSU has two straight Pac-12 games, including a tough road test in Corvallis on Friday evening. The Cougs face another tough team on Sunday in the Oregon Ducks. The Oregon women sit in/near the Top 20 nationally, and have a 4-2 Pac-12 record. WSU hasn’t beaten Oregon since 2017, so hopefully that changes on Sunday.
You can (maybe?) see the game in Pac-12 Oregon at noon PST.
There are a few (kind of pointless but still interesting) season-ending rankings around the interwebs. College Football News ranked WSU a rather harsh - in my opinion - 76th out of 131, behind such teams as Eastern Michigan and Southern Miss, while CBS has the Cougs at a more reasonable #52.
CBS also handed out some first-year coaching grades, and Jake Dickert earned a B-, which seems appropriate since WSU was about as average as average can be, but did finish with more wins than losses. Among Power Five debut head men, Dickert beat out headline hires such as Billy Napier (C-), Mario Cristobal, Brent Venables and Brent Pry, who all received Fs. Not a good year for new guys named Brent!
This Week in Parenting
Mrs. Kendall was away for work most of the week, and her absence coincided with a three-day Florida panhandle cold snap. I mean, the low temperature almost got below freezing! For more than one consecutive night! In my experience, ladies tend to be notoriously chilly, while men prefer to exist in meat locker-like conditions, by-and-large. That’s why I figured it was perfectly fine to let the heat pump sit idle, even though our bedroom is, for some reason, the coldest room in the house.
So when I woke up Saturday, and Mrs. Kendall’s alarm clock thermometer read “59”, I had to smile. Still, I wasn’t about to turn on the heat since the sun was out. Plus, I wanted to see how long it took for someone to complain. The house thermostat was a few degrees warmer at 62, which was apparently the breaking point.
Dad, it’s freezing in here!
Put on a sweatshirt.
I don’t want to.
Well, I’m not turning the heat on, so toughen up.
I’m turning on the gas fireplace!
That gas fireplace sits inside the wall that separates the kitchen from the entry area in our house, and really cooks things up in its immediate vicinity. So of course the kid turned it on, then went to the other side of the house to play Xbox, where the gas fireplace has zero effect on the temperature.
I did activate the heat pump in the afternoon, prior to Mrs. Kendall’s arrival. I mean, I’m not a complete idiot.
Elsewhere, yours truly finally got to be an actual aircrew member this week, a mere six(ish) months after arriving at my new assignment. Since I’m in a new aircraft, I get a couple flights as a “student” before I start instructing. The first of those flights took place on Wednesday, and the 11 year-old asked about it when I got home.
How was your flight?
It wasn’t too bad
You’re the pilot, right? And you teach other pilots?”
No, bud. I’m the systems officer. I sit toward the back of the plane and I’ll be teaching other students to be systems officers.
Oh. I thought you were the pilot. Being the pilot is cooler.
I mean, there really isn’t a comeback for that.
I had to leave that morning at about 5:30, so he and his older brother had to get up and out the door on their own.
Why did you have to go in so early if you didn’t take off until 9:30?
I had to plan for the mission.
That isn’t exactly what I’d call a mission. You aren’t in an F-16.
You Suck If...
Speaking of cold weather, few things annoy me more than someone who, upon hearing about a cold temperature, immediately responds with, “Yeah, and it’s even colder with the wind chill!” We’ve known for years that wind chill is a complete scam, despite the fact that all those weather people use it because reasons. Anyone who thinks wind chill matters, except in extremely rare and specific circumstances, is a dupe. So if you’re one of those people who insists on chiming in with the wind chill every time someone mentions cold temperatures, you suck. Stop sucking.