WSU HOOPS

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Well, what did you expect?

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 18, 2008

You know a game is bad when the most drama all night boils down to whether the home team could maintain a 23-point advantage with its scrubs in the game. Gambling degenerates everywhere — and I mean that in the nicest possible way — rejoiced, I’m sure, when Sean Carter’s final jumper with eight seconds to go clanged off the rim one last time to keep the Cougs above the 21.5-point spread.

Yes, this game was 13-12 with just more than seven minutes gone in the first half, but it never really was in doubt. The Beavers were doing something they hadn’t done virtually all year — make some outside shots — and one just had the feeling that there was no way it could continue.

Alas, it didn’t, as Oregon State followed up its 50 percent shooting in the first half with a more Beaver-like 33 percent on 7-of-21 shooting in the second half. The difference in the game, of course was, a 20-4 spurt to start the second half in the which the Beavers were completely flummoxed and outclassed by the Cougars.

The awesome thing for Coug fans is that WSU did their damage in just about every way possible. The Cougs were 9-of-18 from 3-point range, including 3-of-6 for Derrick Low and 2-of-2 for Daven Harmeling (which makes him 9-of-12 since breaking the thumb on his shooting hand, in case you’re wondering). They also had 18 assists. Where did a lot of those assists go? Let’s turn it over to the Spokesman-Review’s Vince Grippi, who wrote this before the game at SportsLink:

“A couple of things I see happening tonight. One is Aron Baynes scoring often if C.J. Giles guards him. Giles is a shot blocker and he loves to get them through help. If any of the WSU guards break down a defender, Chester (as coach Tony Bennett calls him) will attack the penetrator. The dish to Baynes should result in a dunk.”

Here are Baynes’ six made buckets from the play-by-play:

If you need further proof of the offensive domination, check out the shot chart. The makes are scattered all over the floor. And the defensive domination was much the same — once the Beavers got their shooting streak out of their system, it was business as usual as the Cougs held them to an efficiency rating (what’s that?) of 83.2.

It really is startling when you step back to look at the fortunes of these two programs. The comparisons are natural because of the rural settings of each of the schools, and their perpetual status as the less glamorous of the two major state institutions. One of the most interesting things is to me is that the Bennetts and Oregon State coach Jay John took over their programs at roughly the same time. John got a year’s head start, taking over during Paul Graham’s final year, but has been able to do virtually nothing in Corvallis. He is 70-96 overall in five-plus seasons, 30-71 in the Pac-10.

I didn’t follow his rebuilding effort all that closely, but it seemed — much like Graham — that he really relied heavily on juco’s and other transfers right from the start to try and get some quick momentum, and it just never really took hold. They did have a decent season three years ago, but as so often happens when you don’t take your lumps with freshmen, the cupboard gets bare quickly. All new  head coaches should learn a strong lesson from the failures of coaches such as Graham and John.

So now, the Cougs turn their attention to the Ducks, who — let’s all say this together — have beaten WSU 13 consecutive times. I’ll have some thoughts on that one in the next couple of days.

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4 Responses to “Well, what did you expect?”

  1. Ptowncoug said

    I am real concerned about Oregon. We might be able to okay on the boards, but its going to be rough. I think they are more athletic than UCLA. Luenan can play about anywhere and shoot from anywhere. Hariston scares, Porter does as well. Taylor is good and I can’t recall off hand their other starter. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think we’ll go to Baynes early to try to draw some early fouls, and if we don’t get Luenan in foul trouble, I expect to see more of Caleb on the floor.

  2. Nuss said

    Leunen’s pretty good at not getting in foul trouble — he’s only been close to in foul trouble in one game, and even those four fouls against Washington didn’t keep him out of the game, as he played 39 minutes. He’s a savvy big man, and let’s not kid ourselves into thinking Baynes is more active than Brockman. I think the best we can hope for is that he’s gassed from that 39-minute war with Brockman, but I wouldn’t count on it with the extra day off. I’d be much more worried about how the Cougs are going to try to keep Baynes out of foul trouble.

  3. Ptowncoug said

    Not sure I agree that we should be concerned with Baynes in foul trouble. I think Harmeling will see significant time along side Cowgill as Leunen will be hanging outside the 3 pt line for a portion of the game. Someone has to jump out on him.

  4. Nuss said

    OK, then who does Baynes guard? With Catron hurt, Oregon almost exclusively runs a four-guard offense. I agree that Cowgill might be a better defensive matchup, but would you like to put Baynes on Hairston? Or Odia? Baynes will have to guard Leunen.

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