If Washington State had completed a comeback last night in Beasley Coliseum, there was a play by Marcus Capers we might have been talking about for years to come. As it turned out, it was an outstanding effort play that got lost in the jetsam of a bad loss to Stanford. We have more on Capers' spectacular block along with links and such, so read on.
• Washington State: The Cougars were in the middle of their second-half comeback when Capers' highlight-reel play occurred, having cut Stanford's once 19-point lead down to a manageable six at 51-45. Plus, WSU had the ball. Faisal Aden tried to penetrate into the key and Stanford's Aaron Bright picked him clean, knocking the ball ahead and taking off for a seemingly easy fastbreak basket. Except Capers was having none of it. "I was thinking of fouling him," Capers said before realizing it was Bright, a 5-foot-11 guard from Bellevue, who wasn't going to try for a dunk. So the 6-4 Capers decided to go for the block and, by getting to the rim first, was able to get it. He knocked the seemingly sure two points toward the baseline where Klay Thompson, also hustling, ran it done. Now Stanford had to put on the brakes and not enough Cardinal players could. Thompson found Brock Motum on the other end and Motum laid it in. In the course of about 10 seconds Capers had changed momentum back in WSU's direction. ... I wonder what Kyle Weaver, sitting in the front row behind the Cougars' bench – he stood and waved to the crowd, blowing a kiss I think, when the mayor of Pullman gave him a shout out – thought of Capers' play. If I see him today, I'll ask. ... It wasn't enough, of course. The Cougars got within one, but never had a second-half possession in which they could take the lead. They did have two 3-point attempts that would have tied it after that, but Aden and Thompson both missed and Bright made the free throws that stretched Stanford's lead to five, 60-55, with 6:45 remaining. ... There seems to be a lot of discussion about WSU's NCAA chances after its record fell to 16-8, 6-6 in Pac-10 play. Really, whether the Cougars make the NCAA, the NIT, the CBI or stay home seems immaterial right now. What would be a victory of sorts down the stretch would be WSU playing with passion, win or lose, in each of its remaining six conference games and how many it plays after that. Because if this senior-less team returns intact, including Thompson (who has yet to decide his future), that type of play would build a good foundation not only for any postseason play, but for next season as well. If the remaining games feature intensity one night and a mailed-in effort the next, then offseason hope might be a rare commodity. ... We had our game story this morning in the paper but we weren't the only one on press row. ... Bud Withers had a column for the Times and Braulio Perez covered the game for Cougfan. ... Josh Wright, who covers Idaho for us, covered the Cardinal's road game for San Jose and filed this story. You can also read the AP story if you wish. ... We also had our story on new assistant football coach Todd Howard.
• Around the Pac-10: The Huskies are pretty good at home, aren't they? After losing every time on a three-game road swing, they returned to Hec Ed and routed California, 109-77. The big news for WSU: Cougar-killer Allan Crabbe, who had 30 in Berkeley, took a knee to the head and suffered a concussion. The freshman has to be doubtful for Saturday's 3 p.m. game. ... The Ducks were cooled off by the ice box of the Pac-10, Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins rode Malcolm Lee's 25 points to a 64-54 victory. ... USC overcame its mistakes to stop Oregon State, 67-56. The Beavers are 0-5 in Pac-10 road games this season. ... Arizona coach Sean Miller didn't really understand how left-out the left coast is until this past week. ... And we'll leave you with this Bob Condotta story in the Times about the back-room conversations concerning UW athletic director Scott Woodward's comments about Oregon.
• That's it for this morning. We'll be back later today if we can come up with a worthy hoop story for tomorrow. Until later ...