A GRIP ON SPORTS
It was a strange day yesterday. Really strange. But the way it ended was perfect. Read on.
• There are a lot of things that happened yesterday that shake your faith in sports. Chip Kelly pulls a Nick Saban and takes off. Manti Te'o's girlfriend. More conference realignment. Nothing joyful in any of that. But if you were lucky enough to stay up late and see the end of the St. Mary's/BYU West Coast Conference showdown, you saw why sports exist. In one 10-second span, you were able to experience joy, despair, determination and exaltation. You watched as one guy made a spectacular play, 15 players explode in joy and 17,000 fans went numb. You saw Matthew Dellevadova, the man the WCC loves to hate, take an inbound pass with a bit more than 2 seconds left and hit a near-halfcourt shot to give the Gaels a must-have 70-69 win at BYU last night. But more importantly, you saw the celebration afterward. No fans rushing the court here, the visiting team won. This was a celebration of teammates who had fallen behind 20-4, but kept fighting. Who had blown a late lead, but kept fighting. Who had seen the Cougars score what looked to be the game winner, but kept fighting. The unrestrained joy was in sharp contrast to the rest of the day. No dour visages here, not even on the BYU bench. No, this was about relief. It was about delight. And it was about satisfaction. It was sports.
• Oh, by the way, if you didn't see the game-winner and the ensuing celebration – tamped down a bit by the obligatory video review even though the shot left Dellevadova's hand with about half-a-second remaining – you can watch it below. Enjoy.
• Washington State: We'll let Christian Caple recount the Cougars must-have win over Utah last night (and at least 67 percent of you thought it was on our poll yesterday) as well as the other big Pac-12 news (including the Kelly-to-the-Eagles bomb, which is the subject of today's poll). Christian had a pregame post, a tale of the tape, interviews, his game story and today's morning post. You know, the typical stuff the day of and day after a game. He'll also have a live chat today. ... Because it's Thursday, Christian has a summary of the weekend ahead from our weekly Four Corners college basketball page.
• Gonzaga: The Zags will be in Portland tonight (and Indianapolis on Saturday), and Jim Meehan put together his weekend summary before he left town. He also has a feature on the change that has come over Kelly Olynyk, who is being mentioned more and more prominently as a NBA high draft choice. ... Jim also has this blog post from last night. ... We mentioned the exhilarating ending of the BYU/St. Mary's game in the segment above, but we don't want to forget the links. And there are a lot of them, though the Bay Area papers didn't make the trip. ... Guess who is atop the WCC standings? Yep, it's San Diego and head coach Billy Grier, who I used to run into every once in a while at Albertson's. The Toreros have the unenviable task of facing BYU in Provo on Saturday. ... The Gonzaga women have their hands full tonight, as a sellout crowd will watch them battle WCC-leading BYU. Chris Derrick has an advance.
• EWU: Venky Jois (pictured) uses his long arms well in the paint, especially when it comes to grabbing rebounds. The freshman's prowess in that area leads our notebook. ... Jim Allen also has the summary of the Eagles' weekend. ... Weber State is becoming something of a stopover site, what with former head football coach John L. Smith – he was announced as Ft. Lewis College's head coach yesterday – spending just a couple months in Ogden before splitting and now offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach leaving town after months after taking the job. Rosenbach, the former Cougar quarterback and coach, heads to UNLV. ... Weber State's basketball program has more stability, especially atop the Big Sky.
• Idaho: The Vandals lost a legend this week. Josh Wright has a blog post and a short story on the passing of Wayne Anderson. ... Josh also has the summary of the weekend's hoops. ... Utah State remains atop the WAC standings.
• Preps: Greg Lee was so impressed by the Central Valley/University basketball battle this week he leads the Prep Page notebook with it. ... He also has a feature on Mt. Spokane's Brooke Reilly (pictured) and there is Mike Vlahovich's wrestling roundup. ... We also can pass along the Associated Press boys and girls basketball polls.
• Mariners: It's "Back to the Past" for the M's once again as they desperately trade away left-hand hitting catcher John Jaso and bring back former M's minor league shortstop Mike Morse, who made his bones the past few years for the Nationals as a slow-footed, power-hitting outfielder/first baseman.
• Sounders: It's draft day for the Sounders, who have two spots in the MLS' SuperDraft.
• We stayed away from the Te'o story this morning because I didn't want to write anything stupid. After all, that seems to be the bottom line with every one connected to the story of his fake girlfriend. Christian has some links on his blog post if you are interested. Me, I think the whole thing is sad – and easy to make jokes about – on so many levels. Until later ...