We've been waiting for Klay Thompson to have another good game and Thursday night, he delivered, scoring 30 points and grabbing five rebounds. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to beat Arizona who, admittedly, looked like the #12 team in the nation last night in a 79-70 loss.
Now, it's never easy for me to admit that I was wrong, and fortunately it rarely happens, but I have to say that Arizona looked very good last night.
The Cougs really didn't play very poorly, and had this game been against 7 of the 9 other Pac-10 teams, they probably would've won. But Arizona showed just how deep and talented they are, with multiple players delivering when called upon. For the most part, the Wildcats were composed and patient in their offense (with the exception of Lamont Jones who seemed overly excited every time he touched the ball) and active on D.
Thompson looked like the conference's best player again, taking control and shooting like the Klay of old, going 11-24 from the field and 5-8 from the three. Klay looked like an on-floor leader that this team really needs. Unfortunately, he seemed to be the only man on a mission in the backcourt. Reggie Moore didn't have his usual fire and Marcus Capers all but disappeared. Faisal Aden continued to struggle (1-4 from the field) to get open looks and forced his shots.
In the front court, DeAngelo Casto had another solid game scoring 14 points and collecting six boards. Casto was sporting a new haircut, which may have had something to do with missing a key dunk late in the second half - a balance issue, perhaps? Down by seven with 4:16 left, Casto had the ball under the hoop, elevated and slammed the ball down with authority. Unfortunately, he slammed it on to the front rim. Arizona took the rebound, went down the court and drew a foul. Kyle Fogg hit both free throws, putting the Wildcats up by nine and the Cougs were never close again.
So, where does it leave the Cougs? They are now 17-9 overall and 7-7 in the Pac-10. With four games left, it's officially time to start worrying.
ASU (9-16, 1-12) is up next, followed by a road game at UW. If they go 1-1 there, they have the LA schools next in Pullman. USC beat Cal last night to move to 14-12 (6-7) and UCLA beat Stanford to improve to 19-7 (10-3).
Sure, the Cougs could start playing like they did against UW and win out, but there's very little evidence that that sort of consistency is possible. Sadly, I'd say that 2-2 is much more likely. 2-2 means 19-11 (9-9).
That means they have to win the Pac-10 tourney for a shot at the big dance. Not impossible, but again, that would ask for a lot of consistency and there's been no sign of that this season.
NIT, here we come.
0623's Hustle Stats:
Offensive Rebounds: WSU 12, UA 10
Defensive Rebounds: WSU 16, UA 25
Steals: WSU 5, UA 5
Blocks: WSU 1, UA 5
Points in the Paint: WSU 26, UA 30
Points off of Turnovers: WSU 16, UA 14
2nd Chance Points: WSU 18, UA 13
Fast Break Points: WSU 4, UA 4
Bench Points: WSU 8, UA 14