We need to get out of Haas Pavilion as the cleanup crew is breaking it down, but we have some notes and other items on the link, so read on.
• With the overtime killing our print deadline, we didn't get a chance to talk with Ken Bone after the game. We couldn't ask him about Klay Thompson's performance. We couldn't ask about Thompson not getting a shot in overtime. We couldn't ask about DeAngelo Casto not starting. We couldn't ask about the sluggish first half and a myriad of other details covered in our game story. We did get a chance to talk with Casto who had a doube-double with 11 boards and points. He marveled, as most everyone did, at Thompson's night. He also said the Cougars tried to get Thompson shots in overtime, but they couldn't. And, other than freshman Patrick Simon and a Casto putback, no one else could hit a shot. … The key to this game probably wasn't the end but the beginning. The Cougars started so slowly on the offensive end and struggled on the defensive side, which added up to a 10-point deficit. We'll try to get into what was going on there a little more in the morning, but we have to leave our seat here now. … We'll link the story here as soon as it shows up.
• Here's the story …
BERKELEY – Washington State needed a Pac-10 road win.
Klay Thompson did everything he could to steal them one.
The 6-foot-6 junior scored 36 points and assisted on 10 more, but it wasn't enough to lift the Cougars past the Cal Bears on Thursday night at Haas Pavilion.
Using a quick six points early in overtime and a career-high 30 points from freshman Allen Crabbe, the Bears survived with a 88-81 win.
It wasn't enough because, after pulling up and draining a 26-footer with 13.2 seconds left in regulation, tying to tie the game at 74 and then making a saving defensive play on the other end, Thompson didn't get a shot in the extra period.
“The game plan was to get Klay the ball,” said DeAngelo Casto of the overtime. “He was hot and he had carried the team to an overtime, so we tried to stay with what was working.”
But with Jorge Gutierrez and Brandon Smith fighting through screens and bodying him up after he got the ball, all Thompson could do in overtime was assist on a Patrick Simon 3-pointer that cut the Bear (9-7 overall, 2-2 in Pac-10 play) six-point lead – earned with the mini-run – to 82-79 with 1:57 left.
With the 6,903 in attendance groaning, the Cougars put together two stops, sandwiched around two Reggie Moore free throws – WSU was 12 of 13 from the line – and had one last chance to take a lead with a little more than a minute left.
But Gutierrez, the victim of Thompson's quick hands at the end of regulation that forced a fumble and a well-off-the-mark wild shot, came up with the big play.
He stripped Thompson near the top of the key, forced a turnover and earned free throws on the other end. He made both and that was that.
“We tried to box-and-one on Klay and they ended up standing around a little bit,” said Cal coach Mike Montgomery. “He had to be getting tired; he was running everywhere to get shots.”
“I made some mental mistakes at the end,” said Thompson, who played 38 minutes despite foul trouble. “That was a tough one to handle.”
It may not have been if WSU (12-5, 2-3) had started faster.
And, for the third time this year, the Cougars started without their 6-foot-8 center, Casto. But he wasn't missed as WSU jumped to 5-0 and 7-2 leads.
However, the Cougars were playing a step slow and Cal, led by Crabbe, who would finish 10 of 15 from the floor, 4 of 6 from long range, finally started to take advantage.
“Allen isn't going to (score 30) every night,” Montgomery said, but if you don't guard him he is capable of making shots.”
With Faisal Aden on him, Crabbe did just that early on, hitting four consecutive 3-pointers as Cal pulled away.
Ten consecutive points that stretched into a 23-9 run boosted the Bears to a 34-20 lead with 5:22 to the half. Only Thompson, who had 13 at intermission, kept WSU within 10 at intermission.
“It's weird, because sometimes you just start off slow,” Casto said of the sluggish first 20 minutes.
But they didn't start the second half that way.
After Markhuri Sanders-Frison, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds, scored to make the lead 12 (44-32), WSU rode Thompson and Moore back, finally tying the game at 66 on a Marcus Capers put-back dunk with 7:09 left.
From there, the teams traded baskets until Thompson hit a 22-footer with 3:50 remaining, putting WSU up 71-70, the Cougars' first lead since early in the game.
But, just like last season here, WSU went into a scoring drought down the stretch. Unlike that game, however, the Bears didn't pull away, mixing turnovers with missed shots to keep the Cougars close.
When Harper Kamp, who finished with 18 points, made two free throws with 20.5 seconds left, it was 74-71 and Cal looked as if it would win its Pac-10 home opener.
Then Thompson got behind a Brock Motum screen and sent the game to overtime.
“The biggest problem we had tonight was starting flat,” said Casto, who had a double-double with 11 points and rebounds.
And now they have another one.
“We've got to bounce back Saturday,” Thompson said of the game at Stanford, which upset Washington on Thursday and is 3-1 in Pac-10 play. “It's a must win if we want to stay in contention for the NCAA tournament.”
• We'll be back in the morning with our usual post. Until then …