COUGARS • UPDATED: 8 P.M.
Though we're en route to Seattle on our way home from Arizona, we wanted to get up a short post so you can comment. Read on.
• When Abe Lodwick's 23-footer hit the front rim and bounced off – less than an inch more and it would have dropped – Washington State had become the first Pac-10 team since Oregon on New Year's Day to lose to the Sun Devils. A lot of reasons behind it, of course, including some surprising ones. Who would have ever thought that without Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks, ASU would shoot better than 50 percent from the floor? Or WSU, with so much riding on the game, would not seem focused early on? Or that Klay Thompson, usually the first one in the gym, would lose his I-pod and then be late for the bus? Or that ASU would double DeAngelo Casto in the post early, forcing a series of momentum-sapping turnovers? Or that the Cougars would play with let-it-all-hang-out attitude after halftime and come all the way back, only to go stagnant again and lose? But all those things happened, along with a lot of missed free throws (we've seen that before), that helped the Sun Devils overcome their own shaky play down the stretch. … OK, I have to get back to the story now that I can use my computer. We'll be back in a couple hours with it.
• UPDATE: We arrived in Seattle and sent our game story to the office. It will be available here in a bit, but there is a story on the link if you want to read it. As for the game, I've never seen a more dejected looking team after a game and I've seen a few. Heck, I've been the reason for a few terrible losses. But this one hurt everyone involved. Yes, I could make some remark about the first half, but why? You have Thompson afterward so upset he came this close to tears during the post-game interview. There's no doubt these guys want to win, but they just haven't figured out how to bring it for 40 minutes every night and I'm not sure anyone connected to the program - including you guys - know why. It's a skill that just hasn't sunk in. … I will have some more quotes in tomorrow morning's post - I've got to save something - that were interesting, though hard to work into my story. I will say one thing, though. The Sun Devils played probably their best first half of the season, according to people who watch them a lot, and maybe no matter how well WSU had played, they still would have been behind. The margin though, which reached 16, now that was a product of ASU's good play and WSU's lack of same. … See you in the morning.