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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

TV Take: ESPN announcers praise Drew Timme in career-best performance during win over Texas

By Vince Grippi The Spokesman-Review

Drew Timme isn’t a surprise to anyone anymore. Not after the two seasons he has put together for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. But, like the Zags, he has his supporters and his detractors.

Count ESPN2 analyst Fran Fraschilla in the former category. Big time.

He was in McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday night to broadcast the Zags’ 86-74 victory over the fifth-ranked Texas Longhorns. And to document Timme’s career-best game.

What they saw …

• Right from the get-go, Fraschilla and his play-by-play partner Jon Sciambi, highlighted the preseason player of the year.

“He’s as technically sound as any player I’ve seen in the last 10 to 20 years,” Fraschilla said as the game tipped. Amazingly, the junior center not only lived up to that description, he may have exceeded it.

Timme, overpowering Texas’ undersized front line, didn’t miss a shot until halfway through the first half.

He finished with a career-high 37 points, including nine midway through the second half as Texas tried to cut into the Zags’ 20-point halftime lead. He missed just four of his 19 shots. He added seven rebounds. He was the best player on the court.

And he elicited these comments from Fraschilla:

“Watch the footwork. It’s textbook.”

“This kid is Mr. Zag.”

“He will go down as one of the greats to ever play here.”

“He loves playing the game.”

“Hey why not have fun,” Fraschilla said as ESPN2 showed a montage of Timme playing to the Kennel Club. “That’s why you play college basketball.”

“He has a chance to go down as one of the great four-year college players of the last 30 years,” Fraschilla said after wondering if Timme, a Texas native, might not just stay in Spokane for one more season.

And Fraschilla’s last one, as Timme scored his 37th point: “Texas had no answer.”

What we saw …

• More like what we heard. We know commercials are always louder than the game action. That’s a given. But in this one the volume was quite a bit louder, so much so the mute button got a workout during the game.

There was a silver lining, however. With the game on ESPN2, there was a wider variety of commercials. Just think how, say, the Pawn1 commercial would have jarred you seven or eight times during a local broadcast.

• If you watch a lot of college basketball – guilty – you see a lot of the same officials at big games. But the stretch John Higgins worked late this week was pretty exceptional.

The Omaha-based referee, a veteran of many NCAA tournaments, flew to Seattle and worked Washington’s win over Northern Arizona (along with Michael Greenstein, who was part of Saturday’s crew) Thursday. Last night, Higgins was in Los Angeles and called No. 2 UCLA’s overtime win against fourth-ranked Villanova.

Then he flew back to Washington and was in McCarthey to work another nationally significant contest. And sleep in another foreign bed.

• ESPN2 didn’t shy away from dealing with Mark Few’s legal issues. The network jumped right in following the second media timeout.

As a graphic summarizing Few’s early September DUI showed on the screen, Sciambi explained what happened. Then he threw it to Fraschilla.

“Let’s put everything in perspective,” the former coach said. “(It’s) lucky no one was injured, neither (Few) or anybody else on the road that night.

“He’s been remorseful, he’s built up a lot of equity in this community, he’s been continuously apologetic.”

Then Fraschilla addressed the punishment given to Few by Gonzaga.

“A three-game suspension, to me Jon, is right,” he said. “If it was five games, someone would want seven. If it was seven, someone would want nine.”