An unforgettable Apple (hoop) Cup (w/ gallery)

February 25, 2012 

Here are a few random thoughts as I continue to absorb the final 10 minutes of basketball's version of the Apple Cup at home next to my lovable Coug...

This edition of the Washington Huskies (20-8 overall, 13-3 Pacific-12 Conference) is notorious for frustrating fans at the free-throw line, but I don’t think I’ll ever see a D-1 program perform as poorly in their home gym from the charity stripe as Washington State (14-14, 6-10) did in the second half of Saturday's 59-55 loss.

The Cougs hit just 6 of 20 attempts from the line in the final 20 minutes. For those scoring at home, that’s a .300 shooting percentage. They really let down the “Zzu Crew.”

Wazzu made 11 of 12 in the first half. I believe the WSU faithful have trademarked a term (insert it here) that applies to their second-half performance.

Remarkably, the Huskies went 15-for-19 for 78.9 percent. Heck, even senior center/mason Aziz N’Diaye went 1-for-1.

— Speaking of free-throw shooting, how’s a guy with as much PT as senior Abe Lodwick make it to the line just three times all season going into his final home game? The product of Bend, Ore., did get a season-high six free throws against the Huskies, making his first four.

— It was strange to see the game-deciding shot designed for a guy who came in stone cold off the bench. It was understandable when Patrick Simon, the 6-foot-8 sophomore from Ephrata, failed to draw iron on his 3-pointer from the corner.

In fact, the box score shows something rarely seen for such a key figure in a game. Simon played "0+" minutes. He averaged 6 minutes per game in the 17 games he's appeared in this season, while his 3-point field-goal percentage of .316 ranks eighth on the team.

Here is what WSU coach Ken Bone told the media after the game:

"Going to (Patrick) Simon was one of the options, if he was wide open we told him to shoot it. He had a good look, the other day at practice he made 8-of-10. He is a great shooter, unfortunately for him, you know kind of like Brock (Motum) last year, he just hasn’t had a chance to play that many minutes. But we know what he is capable of, we see him every day and he is a prolific shooter."

The quote reminds me of Allen Iverson’s infamous rant: “We’re talking about practice. We’re not talking about the game.”

— When DaVonte Lacy stops playing for the Cougars, I can’t imagine his cousin, former Husky great Isaiah Thomas, will be seen Pullman again.

— Good to see Richland’s Dick Cartmell working the game.

— As out of control as freshman Tony Wroten plays, he defends, he’s fired up and he’s talented. And in the second half, he gave the Huskies what they needed on this night. I just can’t imagine an NBA team believes his outside game is good enough for the next level just yet.

— Bottom line, the Huskies really had no business winning this one. Consider the following:

* Darnell Gant, a senior, played 38 minutes and mustered just three points.
* Terrence Ross, the sophomore who will be playing in the NBA this fall, fouled out with just two points, which he scored on a spectacular ally-oop that helped spark the UW comeback.

— And looking back on it, didn’t the Cougs have the opportunity to push their lead over the Huskies to 16 if they make all four of their free throws following the Austin Seferian-Jenkins technical foul with 12:46 left in the game?

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