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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Ralph Walter: Sure, the weekend was a stinker in sports, but that’s what timeouts are for

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 8, 2020

A little time off might actually be good for Gonzaga and standout freshman Jalen Suggs, who can now rest the gimpy ankle he hurt against West Virginia on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Indianapolis.  (Associated Press)
A little time off might actually be good for Gonzaga and standout freshman Jalen Suggs, who can now rest the gimpy ankle he hurt against West Virginia on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Indianapolis. (Associated Press)

Sports are supposed to be a pleasant distraction.

But after a weekend that saw Saturday’s highly anticipated Gonzaga-Baylor clash canceled and the subsequent temporary halt to the Zags’ season – along with Washington State football’s 38-13 clunker at USC and the Seattle Seahawks’ 17-12 faceplant against the lowly New York Giants – maybe Netflix would be a less frustrating diversion.

Throw in Eastern Washington basketball’s 70-67 near-miss at Arizona on Saturday, the Gonzaga women’s 75-72 overtime heartbreaker to South Dakota State on Sunday and the recent COVID-caused halt of Washington State basketball, and it’s safe to say that sports in the Pacific Northwest have already gone to Schitt’s Creek.

In a pandemic, we should probably expect nothing less.

For a minute, though, things almost felt right.

WSU freshman quarterback Jayden de Laura dazzled in his run-and-shoot debut in early November. And at 1-1, the Cougs were in the thick of the Pac-12 race.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks won their first five games with Russell Wilson routinely Bobby Flay-ing opposing defenses.

And by the time preseason No. 1 Gonzaga throttled Kansas in its season opener, high-flying freshman guard Jalen Suggs was already stirring fans’ dreams of that elusive national title.

But winter and darkness hit, and COVID has brought us back to reality.

Players and coaches infected. Games canceled. Schedules thrown out and reworked.

The disruption can be felt within our sports staff, as well. Shifts for copy editors and page designers are shuffled like decks of cards.

Reporters are literally adjusting on the fly.

While trying to keep up with WSU’s fluctuating football schedule, writer Theo Lawson has booked and rebooked flights more than Expedia. All morning on Saturday, he sat in L.A. monitoring flight tracker information to make sure the Cougars football team was still making its way from Pullman.

With Gonzaga news seemingly breaking by the second, reporter Jim Meehan can barely put his phone down long enough to use the restroom.

In fact, he was taking his first day off since before Thanksgiving when reports broke that GU’s season was being halted.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. The eight-day break gives Gonzaga a chance to regroup, and gives Suggs time to rest the ankle he hurt against West Virginia.

Perhaps a quick reset is what we all need.

After all, the news isn’t all bad.

— Fresh off Sunday’s disaster, the Seahawks welcome the winless New York Jets to Seattle next week.

— The GU women, still ranked 25th in the latest AP rankings, learned Sunday that versatile senior transfer guard Abby O’Connor will be immediately eligible to play.

— After wrapping up the Pac-12 portion of its rugged schedule on Monday, Eastern Washington seems an even more obvious favorite to win the Big Sky.

— Washington State men’s basketball? Still undefeated.

— And in football, if Oregon can knock off Washington, there’s still a possibility for a Dec. 19 Apple Cup. This time, there’s no Mike Leach to get in the way of a Cougar victory.

And if we have to take another pause, that’s OK, too.

There’s always The Crown to watch until the Zags get back to chasing theirs.

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