Say Good-NIT To The Cougs

I’m going to need you to use your imagination a little bit on the pronunciation of that title.

I hope the Dawgs are prepared to give me my just kudos for all the reverse jinxing I’ve been doing lately!  Really, this win was all MY doing.  But, the true heroes are never recognized in their time.

One hell of a game last night.  First, I want to commend Lorenzo Romar on the insertion of Terrence Ross into the starting lineup.  GENIUS!  Calling for Aziz to come off the bench isn’t necessarily something I’ve been harping about, but maybe it should’ve been.  I missed the opening tip last night as I had to use the john; obviously I assumed Aziz was in there and that we – as always – lost the tip.  But, when I returned to see Ross hit our first three points of the ballgame, I was more than overjoyed!

Just a ton of great efforts from our starting five.  Justin Holiday was driving and slashing through that zone defense like I’ve NEVER seen from him before!  Granted, he was 0 for 5 from beyond the arc (so he probably needed to do that, lest he be held scoreless), but the man put up a premium effort.  We needed all 12 of his points and all 10 of his rebounds; let’s hope he can make this sort of contribution the rest of the way.

The aforementioned Ross caught fire early (I believe he had 13 of his 17 points in the first half) and C.J. Wilcox – our other starting swingman – picked up the slack in the second half (scoring most of his 16, ending the night 5 for 9 from Three Pointland, all of them huge as we snatched momentup and kept our feet on its throat).  Not a whole lot from Suggs or Gant, who both played up and down games; luckily we didn’t need a whole lot from Suggs or Gant.

MBA’s all-around effort on both ends of the floor certainly helped spark our comeback – especially early in the second half.  We needed it too, considering he picked up two quick fouls early in the game and had to sit for most of the first half.  The starter who posted the fewest minutes last night, I should say MBA’s legs will be fresh tonight when we play Oregon (who upset 2nd seeded UCLA handily).

But, before I get to that, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our field general.  Isaiah Thomas was absolutely ABSURD last night.  Our lone point guard played all 40 minutes; in those 40 minutes he had to keep up his defense (including trying to figure out a way to slow down that Klay Thompson juggernaut, who finished with a ridiculous 43 points), he had to do a lot of full-court press in the second half, he managed to find his long-range shot (hitting 3 of 5 from three), he drove the lane whenever it was available, and he hit the game-clinching shot with 9 seconds remaining to take a 3-point lead.  IT finished with 21 points, 11 assists, and 3 steals.  Amazing.  Klay Thompson might have been the star of the game, but IT was the true Player Of The Game.

One final note:  I witnessed a very good sign last night.  As I just mentioned, we had a 3-point lead with 9 seconds left in the game.  After a time out, they inbounded while we pressed.  They got it past mid-court to around the top of the key with a little under 3 seconds remaining.  And, before they managed to get a shot up, we fouled, forcing them to the line.

This is what we’ve been calling for as Husky fans for YEARS now.  And for the longest time, Romar wouldn’t foul.  Well, it looks like he’s changed his tune on this issue, and I for one couldn’t be happier.  He coached a flawless ballgame and showed everyone why he’s the best coach in Pac-10 basketball.

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