With a relatively early game today, we can actually write a postgame post that will serve, in part, a role usually reserved for the morning after. Of course, we'll back with the links tomorrow, but tonight we have some thoughts and comments from the participants, so read on.
• We have a link to our story, but there were so many levels to this game we actually embrace the chance to add some more. ... Mike Montgomery told the California radio crew after the game he is about ready to jump off a bridge because of the officiating in this conference. He's right. Tonight was one of those nights when the three-man crew had troubles, missing easy calls – there was a stretch of almost 20 seconds in the first half in which Montgomery was trying to call a time out – and basically being inconsistent throughout. Montgomery's ire finally boiled over – or he decided a technical was needed to change momentum – with 13:11 left to play and the ensuing free throws gave WSU a 42-31 lead. As often happens after a T on a coach, his team responded – Harper Kamp hit two quick 10 footers, Jorge Gutierrez made his first shot of the night and Richard Solomon had back-to-back dunks – and the Bears rode the fire to a 60-57 lead. Funny, but there was an NCAA observer at the game, watching the officials for possible assignments. At halftime he wandered over and said he thought it was a great game. We then had a discussion, the upshot of which was he told me what a great job the crew was doing. We agreed to disagree. ... Trailing by three, the Bears had a shot, a good shot, to tie as Gutierrez got an open look from 25 feet off a ball screen by Kamp. We went into it some in the story, but we have some more comments. Walk-on freshman Jeff Powers, who started in Allen Crabbe's place, was heartbroken. But he was sure pleased Gutierrez got the shot. "He's got a set on him and he's going to make plays when we need them," Powers said. "That's exactly what we drew up. We executed the play perfectly, it just wasn't finished. ... Screen the ball, simple as that." ... "It felt good, man," Gutierrez said. "It felt like it was going in. But you know, it happens." ... "I thought it was good," Kamp said. "I wouldn’t rather have had anyone else take that shot. Jorge can make that shot, and he’s got the confidence to take it."... "I just didn't want to foul, because if he made it and I fouled, then they would have a chance to win," Motum said of his defense on the shot. "I would rather take the tie then give them a chance to win. I just made him shoot over a hand." ... Speaking of Gutierrez, WSU coach Ken Bone said: "He's at the free throw line with two and we thought 'should we freeze him?' and the response was 'your not going to freeze him.' He's a mentally tough kid. That's why he was able to have the first half he did (0-for-8) and come back in the second half." ... Bone was impressed by Powers' play as well. "He stepped out like he's been a starter for three years," Bone said. "He played confident and well." ... So did Brock Motum in his best game as a Cougar. "With Abe being in foul trouble tonight, he played more minutes and did a good job," Bone said. "It wasn't just his scoring. I thought he did a nice job defensively and really battled." The Bears are big if not tall inside, and Motum, a little undersized for a 5 in the Pac-10, held his own much of the night. And he also found holes in the Cal zone, getting free on the baseline for open looks inside. "I've got a good feel for the game," he said. "They look for me, I have my hands ready looking for the pass, and so you put two-and-two together and see what happens." It all added up to 19 tonight, as that's a career high. So were his nine free throws and his seven makes. ... DeAngelo Casto gutted out the final 5 minutes after rolling his ankle with 7:20 left on an offensive foul. He came back after being retaped and half his 14 points before fouling out with 1:30 left. "He's pretty good," Montgomery said. "He's improved each year. At first you would probably say he's a little raw, but now he's a polished player. If he can get the ball where he wants it, he's pretty good with the jump hook, the drop step. Obviously he can block shots, he got real good timing on blocked shots. That's something we miss. He was a factor, no question." He's also tough, something his teammates and Bone pointed out. So no one was surprised when he returned.
• That's all I've got for now. See you in the morning. Until then ...