Before WSU and Oregon tipped off Sunday night at least one writer questioned whether the outcome would be different from the 27-point thrashing the Cougars suffered in Pullman a few weeks ago.
After all, DaVonte Lacy was back from injury, and Oregon likely would be missing one of its key cogs in Damyean Dotson, who was arrested on Saturday for trying to enter a bar with a fake ID.
The game did, in fact, start much differently, as WSU raced out to a 31-24 halftime lead. Oregon was missing most of its close shots (4-of-13 on twos) while WSU was securing all those defensive rebounds (just one offensive rebound for the Ducks) and shooting reasonably well (52 eFG%).
Still, if you were following me on Twitter, you know that I was letting Ken Bone have it for his continued indefensible use of personnel. Much of it centered around Royce Woolridge and Ike Iroegbu. Tonight, Bone had an especially short leash for the freshman, at one point yanking him out of the game after a poor pass - his only turnover of the night, while Woolridge continued to play on, consequence free.
(Royce would finish the game with three points, three rebounds, three turnovers and zero assists in 32 minutes.)
One particularly head-scratching move involved replacing Iroegbu with Woolridge as WSU prepared to inbound the ball with 2.9 seconds left in the half from under Oregon's basket. Why in the world would you take the fastest guy on your roster off the floor in that situation?
Of course, if you were watching, you know Lacy got free for a pass with a full head of steam because of a breakdown by Oregon and was able to race for a contested five footer as time expired. Which earned me this admonishment from the Spokesman-Review's young beat writer:
@NussCoug Yes, that length of the floor 5-footer they got off was just horrible.— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) February 24, 2014
@NussCoug It just seems that this half and that play seem to be odd examples to make these points.— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) February 24, 2014
@JacobThorpeSR Says someone who's only been watching this team 1 yr to someone who's spilled 10s of thousands of words on him for 5.— Jeff Nusser (@NussCoug) February 24, 2014
In fact, I was so confident in how this was eventually going to go -- because, my God, how many times have we seen this before? -- here's what I wrote just a few minutes later:
You want to know how WSU is going to lose this game? Here's how it will happen.— Jeff Nusser (@NussCoug) February 24, 2014
Oregon is 4-of-13 on 2s. That will be closer to 8-of-13 in the second half. Oregon also will have about 5 offensive rebounds and 12 FT att.— Jeff Nusser (@NussCoug) February 24, 2014
Actual: 7-of-13 on twos, three offensive rebounds, 10 free throws.
I expect about 5 transition buckets. And I expect WSU to get outscored about 40-20 for Oregon to pick up a 64-51 win.— Jeff Nusser (@NussCoug) February 24, 2014
Actual: Oregon outscored WSU 43-22.
However, we could have just skipped that whole exercise and listened to Craig, who wrote this before the game even started:
But hey, did you know DaVonte Lacy has a career-high of 39, something he achieved only a short while ago? Did you also know that is more than 27 points? Simple math has WSU winning by 12 in that scenario, because that is always how basketball works, right? ...
How could we forget the home/away factor? It's been said that being at home can give a team a 3-point boost, meaning it also takes away that 3-point boost from the visiting team. So factoring that in, WSU would win by a much closer margin of six.
As it turned out, Lacy scored 19. That's 20 less than 39, meaning the six-point victory would turn into a 14-point loss.
WSU lost 67-53.