Nov 21, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Kyle Dranginis (3) fights for the ball against Washington State Cougars forward D.J. Shelton (23) during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Gonzaga program is a great one, they have been for a long time and there’s no doubt about it. The Zags had every right to expect to win the basketball game with Washington State coming into town. They probably had every right to expect to dominate, but as we know, the Cougs generally play inexplicably well against the Bulldogs.
The 90-74 beat-down that the Cougs received at the Kennel in Spokane last night was… well, disappointing, if not somewhat predictable.
We were hoping for DaVonte Lacy to step up to the plate and deliver another 20 point performance when a team was conscious about his scoring ability. We were hoping the bigs could show more than we’ve previously seen with a little depth available now. We were hoping the coaches would charge their team with trying to out-Zag the Zags.
Nov 21, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Kyle Dranginis (3) makes a basket against Washington State Cougars guard Royce Woolridge (22) during the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs beat Cougars 90-74. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
But none of it happened, or even came close to happening. Lacy was all but ineffective, finishing with a 3-8 shooting performance and 14 of the quietest points of his career. There was no physical presence as the Coug bigs proved to be young and pretty weak overall, outside of a couple nice moves from Jordan Railey in the post. The game plan is further away from putting pressure on the opposing offense than it was last year.
The Zags had yet another no-name guard put up a career high against the Cougs. Remember Kevin Pangos’ coming out party two years ago? Oh yeah and by the way he torched the Cougs again too. This was supposed to be a team with a renewed focus and energy on the defensive end of the floor. Full court pressure, traps, pressure is what we were promised.
Gonzaga’s point total from Thursday marked the largest point total by an opposing team since the Bulldogs put 89 on the Cougs in November of 2011.
The excuse is that the team is struggling to adapt to the new rule focuses of the officials and trying not to foul. But something has to be done, because the Cougars must earn easy baskets to stay in these ball games.
I think the biggest disappointment is realizing that the Zags aren’t even as deep as they were last season, especially up front. WSU was completely dominated in every facet of the basketball game.
Nov 21, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Ike Iroegbu (0) goes up for a shot against Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Kevin Pangos (4) during the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs beat Cougars 90-74. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Ike Iroegbu looked like a bonafide star for years to come for the Cougars, but even his awesome performance gave WSU a headache. Not because of Ike of course, his 20 points were impressive when you take into account that he far outplayed anyone the Cougs put on the floor in his third college basketball game. But did he really out-rebound every player on the Washington State front line? The answer is an unfortunate and emphatic “yes”.
In fact, WSU guards out-rebounded their own bigs 16-14 and that’s only if you put swing-man Will DiIorio’s four into the big man category. Pathetic.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. Jordan Railey, WSU’s biggest big, had 1 rebound… ONE(!) in 18 minutes of play. D.J. Shelton reverted back to his soft play, shooting 8 three’s in the game and only 3 shots inside the arc, only ending with 10 points and 2 boards. In 75 combined minutes, veterans Dexter Kernich-Drew, Royce Woolridge and Lacy combined for less points (24) than Pangos’ 27 for Gonzaga.
Basically, this was a sign of digressing from the Cougars. It’s early and we know from football that a bad game against a good squad doesn’t ultimately signal the end of the season or anything, but this performance is cause for major concern for the Cougar faithful. It’s not even so much about the game’s final outcome, it’s about the way we arrived there.
On to hoping we improve by a lot by Sunday. I can’t imagine I’ll feel this down about the sad performance we witnessed last night by then. I just hope I don’t feel like this again afterwards.