Worry isn’t a word that should be used when the 8th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs are playing a home game against a 0-8 opponent. But there it was Thursday night, coming into play.
Not about the outcome of the game, mind you, but for those of us at home, counting on Comcast to deliver the goods, worry about just finding the contest.
The on-air guide Comcast provides didn’t list the Gonzaga vs. Mississippi Valley State game.
At least not on any of the usual suspects.
Not on KHQ, which had the NFL game. Not on SWX, which had a high school game listed. And not on Root Sports, which purported to be showing the Utah Jazz game with the Miami Heat.
So, if you were like me and had other duties that necessitated DVRing the game, you did some research and then guessed.
This paper’s broadcast guide listed the game on Root, so we punched the record button on the Jazz listing. But, just to be safe, we also recorded SWX and then left the cable on KHQ just in case.
It felt a bit like wearing a belt with suspenders, but when it comes to Zag games, who wants to miss out?
And, like the Zags, who raised their record to 9-0 with a 97-63 rout, Root – and the newspaper’s trusty broadcast guide – came through.
Now, if the usual McCarthey Athletic Center energy had as well, the night would have been perfect.
As it was, the Mac atmosphere, usually electric enough to filter through into the living room, was hit-and-miss at best. Sort of like the Delta Devils. The visitors from Mississippi were overmatched, but game. It wasn’t enough to make it a game, though.
And the usual home broadcast triumvirate, Greg Heister, Dan Dickau and Richard Fox, were left to their own devices much of the contest.
Which was fine, in that it let the trio catch up on the recent tournament in Orlando and touch upon how the team had changed since it left.
Dickau spent a lot of time on the play of the point guards, Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins. As he should. After all, he played the position well enough to have a long NBA career.
He and Fox discussed the demands on the two, both of whom play at times with the offense in their control and at other times without it. Each circumstance demands a different mental skill set.
And Dickau was not shy about discussing those demands – and how it is affecting the duo, Perkins in particular.
“Josh has the tendency to make the difficult or cute-looking pass,” Dickau said after Perkins had committed a couple of turnovers.
But he was also quick to praise as well, especially when Perkins heated up before halftime and was quick to take – and quick to make – 3-point shots.
Still, what made the conversation go throughout the game was, despite the lopsided score, the willingness of the trio to deal with problems.
The atmosphere for one.
Dickau pointed out early the “Delta Devils (are) just showing more activity, more energy, out on the floor than Gonzaga tonight.”
And the crowd was in a similar vein.
The number of empty seats was a bit jarring on television, especially right after halftime when it looked as if half of the folks sitting behind the benches had decided to wrangle an extra beverage or two.
For a while in the second half the only sound coming through the crowd microphones were of the students begging for tacos.
(If you don’t know, Gonzaga has a giveaway with a national taco chain. If the Zags hit 10 3-pointers, everyone in attendance earns a free taco. GU had nine at halftime.)
When Bryan Alberts connected on his only 3-pointer of the night with 13 minutes, 44 seconds left, it was the Bulldogs’ 10th. And the Kennel Club went wild.
It sounded a bit like a big game. But that comes Saturday afternoon, when the Zags travel to Los Angeles to take on 16th-ranked Arizona in a neutral site contest.
There will be no doubt where to find that game. It’s on ESPN beginning at 2:30.
The DVR is already set.
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