Perplexing Huskies fall on luck – But we’ll take it

The last 36 hours or so have been pretty incredible for the Huskies. Thirty-six hours ago I was an anxious Husky fan imaging scenarios on opposite spectrum’s that had the Huskies either gloriously rolling out of Pullman with a giant road win, and myself gloating my ass off all the way out of Beasley coliseum, or one that had the Huskies once again falling flat in the face of another opportunity to make a statement.

Luckily for myself, and my crew of Husky fans that made the trek to Pullman, we were able to walk out of that arena with smiles on our faces, and with drunk Cougs showering us with insults.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I loved it when the angry WSU student sitting in my section turned to each and every Husky fan, flipping us the bird with a complimentary “fuck you”.  And I was a damn good Husky fan reminding my friendly Wazzu hosts that shooting 6 of 20 from the charity stripe in the second half is a glorious and perfect example of Cougin’ it.

Yes sir. The Cougars once again, Couged it.

Brock Motum showing us how he "Cougs it"

Of course, the objective Husky fan in me is blessing those wonderful Cougs for doing so. The Huskies hardly deserved to win this basketball game, they were out worked by Washington State and ultimately out played by the Cougars. But they couldn’t hit their free throws and crumbled late in the second half with their shot selection.

The Huskies, who were on the ropes on two different occasions in this game, have to count their lucky stars to win a game that they had no business winning. But you know what? I’ll take it. While I can say with some certainty that I can’t envision Washington winning any more games this season that buck trends, a win like this spurs an unusual amount of optimism as well.

– The Huskies don’t win games on the road in which they give up 14-0 runs early in the first half.

– The Huskies don’t win games on the road in which they are out rebounded, and the -5 rebound differential seems generous from what I perceived.

– The Huskies don’t win games on the road in which they shoot 35 percent from the field.

– The Huskies don’t win games on the road in which Terrence Ross, the team’s best player, scores two whole points the entire game. Yeah, that’s right. Two. Terrence Ross had more combined personal fouls and turnovers(7) than he did points, assists and rebounds(6).

They don’t win those types of games. But they did.

Bottom line is that this win was as much about Washington State handing us this game as it was about Washington overcoming the adversity to win it, but make no mistake about it, Washington overcoming that adversity played a part.

When Washington State took control of the game early with a 14-0 run due to some solid ball movement and a good zone defense it seemed like Washington could do nothing right. The defense was failing left and right and they couldn’t get the ball inside at all offensively, instead settling for perplexing shots.

But instead of panicking and falling in to a deeper hole, the defense decided to buckle down and CJ Wilcox led Washington on a 12-4 run that helped lead to a halftime deadlock.

Then the Cougars ran ahead in the second half seemingly spurred by Brock Motum’s posterizing teabag dunk over Terrence Ross. The Cougars went on a 17-4 run to start the second half, when the Huskies again were settling for horrible shots in the face of WSU’s zone, while the Cougars were offensively spurred by dominant offensive rebounding.

With twelve minutes left and a 13 point deficit I was expecting either a Terrence Ross miracle bail-out or a trademark Lorenzo Romar road team melt down.

Neither happened. Instead, Washington became more disciplined in their pursuit of attacking the basket and buckled down on the defensive end, where Washington’s full court offensive prowess really begins.

Tony Wroten and Abdul Gaddy scored ten of Washington’s final twelve points, four on the free throw line, with the last two being CJ Wilcox icing free throws with 10 seconds left in the game.

And, well, that’s where Washington won this game. 9 of Wroten’s 21 game leading points came at the charity stripe. Overall as a team, Washington shot 17-24.

Washington State also made 17 free throws….but on eight more attempts.

It was an inexplicable meltdown from Washington State that coincided with a perfect storm of maturity and character from Washington that led to one of the most improbably fashioned Husky wins in recent memory.

Oh, yeah, and California lost to Colorado. That means Washington has claim to first place in the Pac-12 all to our lonesome. A sweep of LA and the Huskies claim their second outright conference crown in four years.

Just our luck.

We stylin' on 'em