It was close... that close....0.1 and DeAngelo Casto put in an off-balance little 6 foot shot that crept over the rim in little Cat feet and in that moment the hard work of the road in Los Angeles was undone as the Cats failed to hold serve on their home court. So the Cats are now under .500 in the conference as a result of their defeat at the hands of the Cougs 78-76
We all know that this team is going to cause us to be frustrated and there will be times where they will exceed our expectations as well. Tonight was a night of missed opportunities, yet still, we can slowly see this team being crafted out of the chaos due to Coach Miller's relentless coaching.
Wazzu frosh Reggie Moore led all scorers with 20, Klay Thompson was held under his average of 23.5 and managed 19 hard earned points and the aforementioned Mr. Casto had 16 points to go with 9 boards.
More thoughts after the jump.....
Wazzu earned this one more than the Cats lost it although there were some of same old problems coming back into focus for the Cats tonight.
As for what did the Cats in tonight?
Well stripes and whistles were a factor in getting Jamelle Horne on the bench early in the first half with two quick fouls that were somewhat less than obvious given the flow of play. Then The Cats lost Derrick Williams with about 8 minutes left in the 2nd half due to a best supporting actor performance by Mr. Casto, which won the heart of the official across the court but found no sympathy with the gentlemen wearing a whistle less than 4 feet away. Such is life in the Pac 10, where the capriciousness of the call is only matched by the odds of the roulette wheel in Vegas. So that played a part, but not so much that it couldn't have been overcome.
So lets discuss the bad before we move onto the good.
The Boards.... the Cats lost the battle of the boards 34-22. The O glass was 12-6 in favor of the visitors. This was telling tonight and perhaps the early pine time given Horne and Williams time in and out of trouble contributed, because the main offenders for wazzu were Casto and frontline sub James Watson who totalled 9 O boards together.
The Defense... is still a work in progress. They were able to keep Thompson in check, but then Reggie Moore drove the lane with reckless abandon and spent a good portion of his night at the free throw line. So call it a push considering Wazzu managed just above 50% from the floor and 40% from 3pt land, but the Cats managed to turn them over 16 times to only 10 for themselves.
Game sense... I'm hesitant to even go here, but with the shot clock off and the Cats having the ball and being down by two, I'm unsure why Nic Wise is driving the lane with 15 seconds left. Jamelle was able to clean up after him with a tip to tie the game with about 12 seconds left. Which Wazzu promptly used to get the ball into Thompson's hands and he managed to find Casto in the lane for his effort to be rewarded. Perhaps I'm being too tough on the Cats here, but Nic is a senior and while last second heroics are not something you can always depend upon, my feeling is that the play was started about five seconds too soon.
the Interior game... butts need to be on bodies to block out (guards too) and someone needs to work with our big guys on the bunny drill. We're still missing way too many shots from within 3 feet of the basket.
the start of game intensity... was sadly lacking as the Cats only had 4 points about 7 minutes into the game. The bulk of the turnovers took place at this time as well. C'mon boys, we're cheering for ya, quit acting like you're worried about having enough cash to pay for dinner AND the movie.
Quality efforts tonight as the sscoring was passed around a bit, with four guys in double figures. Promising game time performances from Kyryl, Brandon and Kevin off the bench. Those guys played with intensity on each end of the floor tonight.
The Cats could have folded as the Cougs had moved the lead to 7 points with about 3 minutes left in the game, many a time we've seen young teams fold at that point but they hung in there, got lucky with the odd FT miss by Moore and we're able to battle back.
Now we get to look forward to a Husky squad that was humbled in Tempe, so I imagine that they will be looking for redemption. Let's hope that our lads will disappoint them.