For the second day in a row, I’m doing a late-night/early-morning post, hoping it will pass as yesterday’s TITITALA! Anyway, I think this will be a pretty obvious post: Washington State 81 Gonzaga 59!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Another day, another marathon waiting in the rain and snow and cold to get in early to a Cougar sporting event. This time, I got up at 6:00 a.m. and set up camp. We got in early and got the second row behind the announcers. But nobody cared about getting on TV tonight – this was about redemption. After heartbreaking losses all weekend, we needed a win. Especially against the other big program in Eastern Washington. Regional rivals. We hung tough with #5 Kansas State five days ago, and this was a big game to see if we could actually measure up to the big boys. Granted, Gonzaga is not it’s usual self, but they are still a solid program. We had a +4 line going in, but that was a bit generous; personally, I thought Gonzaga and WSU matched up really well. Until tip-off, that is.
Despite a slow start on offense for both teams, Washington State was playing stifling defense all game, holding Gonzaga’s star scorer Steven Gray to 7 points on under 20% shooting. It really never was close. Three-pointer after three-pointer went through for the Cougs, and Klay Thompson (now ranked as the #4 shooting guard in the nation according to Rivals.com) just went off tonight. His final line: 24 points, 7 steals, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 block.
Let me take a second to go where many men have gone before. I want to step back and take a closer look at Klay’s amazing game. Obviously, the 24 points are impressive in themselves, as that total came in just over his team-leading season average. But, he was also 4-7 from beyond the arc, including two HUGE momentum-killing threes in the second half. The thing I was most impressed with was the defense though – seven steals is absolutely ridiculous, but what the box score doesn’t show is two things:
1) He was everywhere on defense tonight. He covered anybody and everybody, was hustling harder than anyone on the court, and got to the ball at least five more times than the stats actually registered. Basically he was just a huge spark on both sides of the floor.
2) Remember those momentum-killing threes I mentioned? He swatted away a lay-in by Gonzaga on a huge block, came down the floor, passed the ball off, got it back and hit a perfect three-pointer right in the defender’s eye. Not only that, but he ran back down the court with arms raised, yelling…dare I say it: Klay Thompson was showing emotion on the court. That pumped up the crowd more than anything.
Anyway, an overall amazing game for the Cougars. And it was really worth every second I stood in that freezing cold line. We should be getting a few votes for the Top 25, although I don’t know if we’ll actually sneak in yet. With a 6-1 record and a quality win under our belts (the only loss being to Kansas State of course, who is a top-5 team and only beat us by five!), we may be on the cusp!
Anyway, I’m still on edge from the epicness of the game (although the Rockstar I drank might be adding to the jitters…) and really can’t even formulate anything more to say right now. All I can say is Go Cougs, and I’ll see y’all tomorrow!