Well tonight, our Cougies snuck out an 85-79 overtime win tonight against the mighty Steve Nashes. And in the process, I aged about 140 years.
So, in case you missed the game via Santa Clara’s dynamite feed, here are few bits:
1) We were flat as a board. Not much else you can say, but Santa Clara came to play tonight and we looked like we had just gotten Lei’d. In the second half, Santa Clara went up as high as 10 points and routinely answered EVERY run we gave them by going right back up by seven or nine. Without exception, this was a game that we should have lost. But credit to the lads that we didn’t.
2) No garden of Aden. Tonight was easily Faisel Aden’s worst game as a Coug. And, while Marcus Capers certainly has become the hot buzz around Cougar Nation, we saw tonight that when Faisel isn’t stroking it, we look A LOT like the last place team of last year. So, lets hope that he finds that stroke somewhere over the Pacific or we’re going to have a long week ahead.
3) Klay, Klay, Klay. While I almost threw my computer on the floor when Klay rushed a three to try to put us ahead by one with under a minute left, I almost threw my laptop onto the ceiling when he knocked down a 25 foot three in transition to tie the game with 14 seconds left. In short, while this was NOT one of his better offensive performances, he showed a lot by keeping his moxy when it mattered most. And he finished with his scoring average as a result.
4) So Much for Rugged D. There has been a lot of talk around Cougtown lately about our defensive resurgence, but tonight looked a whole lot like last year’s defensive team. Specifically, if we learned anything about our team tonight, we should have learned that we CAN NOT play man-to-man defense for prolonged stretches. So, as we look toward this week’s tilts with better teams, lets hope that we see much more of that active zone with man-to-man mixed in as a wrinkle.
5) Casto is a MAN. While DeAngelo spent most of the night toiled in foul trouble, Casto really stepped up down the stretch, scoring 8 to 10 of his 15 points in the final five of regulation + overtime. What’s more, Casto contributed mightily on the offensive end without giving up much on the defensive end–in spite of playing with 4 fouls for the stretch run. Good for him.
In sum, given that this figured to be the CLASSIC trap game for this group, getting a win was really, really great. And hopefully, this team will come out focused on Thursday, or Mississippi State will send us straight to the loser’s bracket in front of a national, ESPNU audience.
Enjoy the first part of your week.
And Go Cougs.