The shouting frustrations toward Washington State head coach Ken Bone far from melted away on Saturday afternoon, but heck if they weren’t quelled to a dull grumble for a week or two. Bone had his kids ready to play an almost complete basketball game, which today was enough to hold off the Washington Huskies by five in Beasley Coliseum. And a win against the Huskies… well, that means everything right now.
Not to say Bone won his job back or anything of that nature. WSU still nearly blew a 12 point lead with under 2:00 left. And Heaven knows if this team stays true to form the Cougs will come out and get lambasted at Colorado and Utah next week, even though they played well against those two the first time around, that’s the M.O. But enough about the negative, today it’s all about the good!
Let’s first talk about D.J. Shelton…
(Sigh). D.J. Shelton, where has this D.J. been all season? You may not remember but I wrote this article before the season tabbing DJ as the best opportunity for the Cougs to create a bonafide, nightly mismatch and become an all-conference caliber player. I was thinking that maybe, perhaps he would/could do things like soar through the air for nasty put-back jams, rebound everything in his area and heck, be a multi-dimensional force. I’d say 20 pts, 18 rebounds and oh yeah, that monster tip-jam early is exactly what I was talking about. He’s been good the last couple games, maybe starting to come around?
DaVonte Lacy was not spectacular in his return from a rib injury, far from it actually, but his two corner-pocket 3’s were absolutely HUGE and his defense was beyond admirable against one of the conference’s toughest offensive weapons. Que Johnson was what he is becoming, a dangerous outside threat with developing skills to make a few moves to the basket.
Everybody else was pretty average, but at least Royce Woolridge and the rest of the boys played hard today, inspired even. Easy to get up for the purple from across the state I guess, especially when they’ve owned you for the last three seasons and you’re leading scorer is coming back after a month-long injury. The much bigger crowd didn’t hurt either, we all know the boisterous nature of the Zzu Cru when the Huskies are in town and they were at it again Saturday so props to them for showing up and showing out!
No doubt the Cougars put a smiley face on crimson fans all across the Northwest for a day. How long it lasts really doesn’t matter. Cougs beat Dawgs, let’s celebrate!
*This was round 1. The Cougars head to Seattle for round 2 on Feb. 28, in four weeks.