Washington State had its chances last night. More than one down the stretch and more than one in overtime. But a couple of missed layups, a couple rebounds it wasn't able to corral and Cal came away with an 88-81 overtime win. For more on the game, read on.
• Washington State: The Cougars have crimson T-shirts they wear a lot. In big block letters on the back it reads "finish." They couldn't last night. After Marcus Capers tied up the game at 66 with an athletic follow jam, there were 7 minutes left in regulation. Just before that, DeAngelo Casto spun away from Markhuri Sanders-Frison to earn an uncontested reverse layup. It didn't fall. After Capers' dunk Reggie Moore got loose on the left baseline and had a right-handed layup. It didn't fall. Finally, Klay Thompson broke backdoor, took a perfect Casto feed and went up for a layup in traffic. With lots of contact, it didn't fall. Of such things games are lost. Ahead 72-71 with less than 30 seconds left, Jorge Gutierrez missed his ninth shot. But Brock Motum and Casto couldn't stop Allan Crabbe and Sanders-Frison from tipping the 50-50 rebounds to Harper Kamp and the Cougars had to foul. Kamp made both. So instead of pulling out a road victory in regulation, the best WSU could do was tie the game at 74 on Klay Thompson's in-your-face, 26-foot 3-pointer. ... They didn't start too well either, with Crabbe a big reason for that. The 6-4 freshman found the open spots on the weakside when WSU did what it likes to do, double the post, and scored 17 first-half points en route to 30. But the Cougars' lack of fire also played a part. ... In between, Washington State dominated. The Cougars didn't double the post as much – the change left Abe Lodwick (fouled out) and Motum alone on either Sanders-Frison or Kamp often and Cal made the Cougars pay for that – and, when they did, it was Marcus Capers on the weakside (he also guard Crabbe after halftime) instead of Faisal Aden, which shut down the reversal. That helped slow the Cal offense. Plus, WSU played with more intensity, which sped up its offense. The first 13 minutes of the second half WSU missed just seven shot, though there was a stretch in there of three consecutive turnovers. Still, with Thompson firing away outside and Casto taking Thompson's feeds and scoring on consecutive dunks, the Cougar offense pulled them back in the game. ... Now they have to regroup and try to figure out a way to defeat Stanford here, something that hasn't happened since 2005. ... On to the links. ... We had some notes and the unedited version of our game story here last night, along with our story as it appeared in the S-R this morning. ... From the Bay Area, here is the San Francisco Chronicle story and the coverage from Oakland. ... CougCenter has a recap.
• Around the Pac-10: The Stanford Cardinal posted the first big upset of the Pac-10 season, defeating No. 17 Washington 58-57. The Huskies had their chances to tie late but couldn't after blowing a big lead. ... There was another upset last night – though I guess home wins are less startling than road ones – when Oregon opened Matthew Knight Arena with a 68-62 win over USC. ... UCLA was nearly upset, but held off Oregon State down the stretch 62-57 behind the play of big man Josh Smith, reprimanded earlier in the day by the conference for comments about officiating. ... A few football stories. Stanford stayed in-house for its new coach, hiring offensive coordinator David Shaw, the players' choice. ... LA Times columnist Bill Dwyre sees Oregon as the dominant school in the Pac-10. ... The reports of Norm Chow's demise at UCLA might have been a little premature.
• That's it for this morning. We're working on something for tomorrow and will be back later. Until then ...