Dawg Blog - WSU

It's a beautiful day in the Palouse, a day perfect for a rivalry game. Apparently some WSU students have been here since 6 a.m., making sure they can pounce on anything purple. Reporting a game at Beasley is always an adventure, as press row is literally five feet from the 'ZZU CREW' - WSU's version of the Dawg Pack.

78 minutes before tipoff: The 'CRU' is trying hard to boo Joe Wolfinger, as he goes through a workout with Jim Shaw, but how can you boo a guy that's not even going to play? And Lorenzo Romar comes out, and they even try to boo him and throw some smack talk around, but that doesn't last too long. Every time a UW player or two come out onto Friel Court, they are greeted with a loud chorus of boos.

75 minutes before tipoff: Kyle Weaver comes out to a 'Ky-le Wea-ver' chant and he acknowledges the CRU. Meanwhile, they are telling Ryan Appleby to go back to Florida. I'm not sure they realize he's really from Stanwood. Either way, it's going to be an interesting time listening to how many times the CRU integrates the word 'suck' into their smack talk. Aron Bayes is shooting around, and the CRU comes up with a half-hearted 'Aussie, Aussie Aussie, oi, oi oi!' chant - shade of Joseph Hachem winning the 2005 World Series of Poker. I'm waiting the 'Beer run Jen-sen' chants any time now. The students also came equipped with newspapers that have 'Beat the Dawgs' across the front. I'm assuming that will be for the pre-game introductions.

43 minutes before tipoff: It's amazing where those that travelled with the Husky band have to sit. I'm courtside, and I can barely see them in Upper Mongolia. I see a 'Ted Bundy was a Husky' sign held up by a CRU member. Very little purple right now in Beasley. George Thorogood's version of 'Bad to the Bone' is blaring, followed by the first strains of Washington State's band. They are wearing red and black bowling shirts. Actually don't look half bad, but if you weren't at WSU, you'd have no idea whose band they were.

38 minutes before tipoff: Strains of some song come wafting down from the rafters, where the Husky band is swinging from. Immediately the CRU gets off their feet and does an acapella version of the WSU fight song. And then from what looks like a semi-formed Dawg Pack (sitting across from the band in Eastern Upper Mongolia) starts a 'Let's go Huskies' chant, which is immediately drowned out by the CRU's own 'Let's go Cougars' chant. Nothing original, but effective nonetheless. The WSU band breaks into 'Birdland'.

34 minutes before tipoff: Cougars come out for their warmup session. UW band is still trying to play something, can hardly make heads or tails of it. Ah yes, 'Walk this way'.

31 minutes before tipoff: In a 'master of the obvious' moment; the CRU starts chanting out - apparently to the thirty UW fans on the other side of the floor - 'You wear puple!'. About 30 seconds later, the Pack up top starts chanting 'We wear purple'. I'd say on the creativity scale, it's at about 2. WSU DC Robb Akey shows up on the other side of the floor and CRU acknowledge him with some nice applause.

26 minutes before kickoff: Without prompting, the CRU is just chanting off players' names, staring with Josh Akognon. Robbie Cowgill has also been chanted. The CRU's creativity level is going down with every word that comes from them. They better have some real zingers during the game, or I am going to come away with a very dull impression of WSU's student section.

20 minutes before tipoff: The refs come out. Don't recognize two of them, but stands out like a sore thumb - Dave Libbey. So it's going to be Washington vs. Washington State, featuring Dave Libbey. Great.

11 minutes before tipoff: The WSU band is playing the Doobies. Both teams have to criss-cross to go to their respective locker rooms. The CRU doesn't know whether to clap or boo, so they do both. Except for the CRU, Beasley looks positively spacious. Lots of seats everywhere. But as it's been explained to me by the TNT's Don Ruiz, there's plenty of things happening in Pullman on a Saturday afternoon in February. I forgot where I was for a second.

5 minutes before tipoff: The 'Rally Dancer' is out shaking her 40 DDD's at half-court when the Huskies come out for their final warmup. She's oblivious, as UW players go right past her to warm up. Bobby Jones had a look on his face - words can't describe it. One of the WSU folks brings the 'Rally Dancer' to the sideline, where she finishes up. A truly bizarre sight indeed. The Cougars come out soon after, and it's just about tipoff.

Gametime: Right before the national anthem, someone was heard saying 'Go Seahawks!'. That got a laugh out of everyone. Amazingly enough, Beasley is pretty full. The WSU faithful have the last-second thing down pat.

15:10/1: First timeout, and WSU is doing their patented stuff - screening for Akognon's threes and using their bigs (Baynes and Cowgill) effectively. Justin Dentmon and Jamaal Williams both made their first shots, will that give them confidence to contribute more? We'll see. From a pure statistical standpoint, UW has done much better with balanced scoring. But they've fallen into the same trap that has hampered them of late - early turnovers. Jensen and Appleby now in the game.

14:14/1st: Jones picks up his second foul. Dentmon back in.

13:34/1st: 'Beer run Jensen!' I knew it was coming. The CRU is about as predictable as Dave Libbey's tan. Jon Brockman is working hard underneath. Baynes just got his second foul, we'll see if that means anything.

12:12/1st: Some guy behind me is trying to talk Brandon Burmeister smack. How uncreative is the ZZU CRU, anyways?

11:15/1st: Dave Libbey makes a call that goes Washington's way. I can die a happy man now. The CRU likes to pick on Appleby. Dentmon is showing a lot of moxie right now on both ends, scrapping like mad. The CRU has started to resort to vulgarities, it's very humorous to hear them when they are angry. But UW still hasn't made a three and haven't been able to convert the and-one chippies. But the energy is definitely there. Intersting lineup - Dentmon, Appleby, Burmeister, Jensen and Brockman.

9:33/1st: The Huskies aren't shooting well, but they are making things happen anyways. Dentmon has all of a sudden decided he's a shooting fool. Good timing. The CRU has decided also to redirect their pique at the officials. Apparently WSU is getting homered at home. That's the only conclusion they've been able to come up with.

7:35/1st: Still shooting off the mark, but continuing to extend lead because of tenacious defense and pure scrappiness offensively. The CRU is getting downright nasty. These officials may want to make sure they have their cars ready to go when the game is over. Still up in the nether-regions is the UW band and Dawg Pack. I need my binoculars to see them. Roy is back in the game.

6:21/1st: Jones nails UW's first three-pointer of the game - with 6:21 left in the first half. Crazy shooting day so far for UW. Dentmon has been the sharpshooter.

5:29/1st: Roy will not be deterred. He continues to drive and get fouled. But he can't convert from the stripe. Been a long time since I've seen UW play with this much spirit on the defensive end. Akognon makes a two-pointer, first time in minutes WSU has scored.

5:00/1st: Williams picks up his second. Brockman gets tangled up and he goes crashing to the floor with a WSU player. He gets the foul. WSU scores and two and Dentmon comes back with three. Heck of a comeback so far for the frosh from Carbondale, Ill.

4:03/1st: Ivory Clark takes a tumble on a Roy drive and the refs call a block. The WSU fans go insane. I think an escort may be required for Libbey and co.

3:52/1st: We're at the under-4 timeout and some WSU fan is trying to win something by shooting. Doesn't make it. The Huskies have extended a lead, and could have picked up another charge with Mike Jensen building a house in the paint, but this game was ripe for a make-up call, and that was it. Too bad really.

2:53/1st: Brockman picks up his second on a charge, and the CRU is asking about a travel the call before. Time to pick it up, CRU. Even the newspaper guys are worried about you.

2:15/1st: Jensen bulls his way in after a great offensive rebound and gets called. Appleby gets called on WSU's offensive end. The crowd is back in it. Burmeister is back in the game, and now Hans Gasser is in. The CRU breaks out some Hans Gasser smack.

1:02/1st: The Huskies go cold, the Cougs went on a 10-2 run and Romar calls timeout. Roy takes it on his own and gets schooled by Clark.

1.5 seconds left: God has a sick sense of humor. Roy dishes to Dentmon in the corner, and he gets fouled. Three shots at the line. He misses the first one. The Cougars almost give a gift away as Roy gets the inbounds pass but can't put down a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Halftime: The halftime entertainment is a bunch of 10-year olds with nunchucks who break wood with spinning kicks. One of the broken pieces of wood almost hits us. Great. The ZZU CRU is going berzerk over these guys. Future WSU fans, I guess. I was surprised that the Huskies didn't go more to Williams after making his first shot. He only took three the whole first half. They shot 43 percent for the half, 25 percent from three. WSU, conversely, shot 48 percent from the field, but the same as UW from three. The Huskies hold a decidedly strong advantage on the boards (18-12), including 7-1 when it comes to offensive rebounds. It's the young guards that are leading the way; Akognon has 11, while Dentmon has come up big with 13 points.
20:00/2nd: Jensen came out later than the rest of the UW players. Treatment on shoulder, perhaps? Don't know if that means anything, we'll see.

18:36/2nd: Dentmon comes out of halftime with a steal, but UW can't convert. Akognon continues to light it up from range. Jones gets his third.

17:50/2nd: Clark goes in for a soaring one-hand jam to tie the game and then does it again to give WSU the lead. Crowd is electric. Huskies can't seem to get the chippies down, they are all around the rim, like it was when they played OSU in Seattle. Jensen and Appleby in.

16:22/2nd: Baynes executes a perfect post move on Brockman. The frosh looks tired. The Cougars are getting their hands on passes and shots, and the Huskies are playing like their tank is on empty. The fantastic 'F the Huskies' chant is welling up in the CRU.

15:08/2nd: Roy put the jets on driving to the basket and Clark took a tumble. Not pretty. Of course the CRU is cussing Roy out. Clark gets up to a big ovation and goes to the WSU locker room. A shot actually dropped in the basket, something of note.

14:15/2nd: Roy takes a seat after turning the ball over. Looks like UW is looking for Brandon to take over, not a good sign. Baynes just rocked the rim with a two-hand stuffer, but Appleby counters with a driving lay-in. Huskies aren't playing with a ton of energy defensively right now, but they are scrapping on offense.

13:07/2nd: The CRU love to tell Libbey and staff how to do things. They aren't getting a lot of feedback in return. Jones sinks two, while Clark comes back in the game to big cheers.

12:24/2nd: UW goes 2-3, but WSU is finding seams.

11:25/2nd: Huskies get a big 3 from Jensen. They still go 2-3. Burmeister is in the game, as Jones is out with four fouls. Baynes with another dunk. If they are going to give up dunks, the Huskies don't stand much of a chance to win.

9:57/2nd: After Chris Henry makes a three, Romar calls the zone off. The Cougars have found every crack, every spot available to them offensively and have taken every opportunity. Conversely, the Huskies have found good looks deep and every time the ball slides off the rim.

8:55/2nd: Libbey calls a charge, which makes the CRU hopping mad. Look for a makeup call very soon.

7:35/2nd: Roy comes out after the under-8 and immediately posts up. He wants to go for his patented up and under move, but he's been scouted very well by WSU. Bennett has his guys ready to play. They aren't buying it. Romar is starting to trap, but WSU breaks it pretty easily. The Cougars have been a lot more effective on the offensive glass than in the first half. They are getting after it.

6:40/2nd: Jones makes a three and they immediately trap. Baynes comes back in the game, rested. Expect WSU to pound it into him.

6:04/2nd: Baynes gets it, and Appleby slaps him. He steps up and calmly sinks his shots. If this game is going to be won or lost at the line, I like WSU's chances. They are pretty solid.

5:15/2nd: Jones is out. On a play where Dentmon gets fouled by his defender, Jones gets called for a block. Interesting call to say the least. The CRU is loving it. Na,na,na - goodbye Bobby. But Roy takes the ball over and goes right to the hole, forcing Akognon to foul. He makes both and they continue to press, forcing WSU to call a TO.

4:43/2nd: Roy comes up with one of his miraculous one-hand running baseline scoopers, but can't make the and-one. To my recollection, they haven't made an and-on all game long. Dentmon with some amazing D, up against Cowgill, forces a jump ball to UW.

3:37/2nd: Matthews hits a three to really put the screws on UW and then the Huskies turn it over on the other end. Burmeister fouls a WSU player, and Romar can't bear to watch.

3:14/2nd: Down 9, it's starting to get down to it. Roy gets fouled, so the clock stops.

2:02/2nd: WSU plays keep-away, up by 7. Baynes blows the front-end, so it's still a three-possession game. WSU guy pulls Appleby down, but Ryan can't make the front-end. Whenever they get a chance, they are sabotaging themselves.

1:35/2nd: The Huskies lost this game when they couldn't put away buckets at the rim and had a serious power-failure on the defensive end. They scrapped, but WSU was just a lot better with the ball and forced Washington into a lot of poor decisions on the offensive end. Simple as that.

1:10/2nd: Baynes fouls out, but he did his damage - 13 points. Not enough time to come back from 11. Brockman misses the second, but Roy puts it back in. A woman stands between press row and the CRU. I ask her if she feels safe. She says, 'No.'

52.8/2nd: Refs call a foul on Cowgill, and Bennett has a fit. He slams his hand into the protective barrier on the sidelines. The 'Overrated' chants come out right when the WSU player is about to shoot free throws. The CRU breaks consciousness in time to shut up right before he shoots. Roy hits a quick three, the CRU wants three but they don't get it. Romar calls a quick time out.

29.7/2nd: Brockman picks up his fifth, and the Cougars have been nails from the line down the stretch. The crowd goes 'Just like football'. Probably the best chant they've had all night, and it didn't come from the CRU.

10 seconds left/2nd: Matthews drives the length of the floor for a layin to put the exclamation point onto a very nice win for the Cougars. The Huskies couldn't execute offensively, and when they did, they couldn't make the chippies. And they couldn't slow down WSU's steady inside-out game. Too many easy shots inside made the difference.

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