Today in the bag, it's all about basketball. I'm talking the men's regular season finale in Pullman, the women's statement in Seattle, and how the rest of the Pac-12 ended their seasons.
Click below for the bag...
Buffs let a win slip through their fingers -
Oh, so close! Up two with the ball and just 10 seconds to play, it seemed as if all Colorado needed to do was get the ball in bounds to Askia Booker, and they would beat the Washington State Cougars on the regular season's final day. It was not to be, however. Ski did collect the inbounds, and was expectedly swarmed by Cougs, but the refs didn't see the traditional foul. Instead, they saw a held ball, which gave possession back to WSU. Senior DaVonte Lacy knocked in the game-tying bucket on the ensuing play, and Wazzou went on to roll in overtime. 96-91, one more kick in the gut by 2014-15.
In spite of the loss, I was impressed by two of the Buffs stars. First and foremost, Josh Scott was a monster, putting up 32/12 in 40 minutes of play. I keep saying he's not healthy, but he was running better this trip, and it showed in his performance - beating defenders down the court, jumping freer than before, and otherwise dominating the paint. His performances have been trending up, leading me to believe his back is truly recovering. Askia Booker also had a nice game, outside of the held ball, posting 26 points in his final regular season action.
|Josh is starting to look healthier, and the points are flowing to prove it.|
The loss leaves the Buffs in 10th place, with an uncomfortable date on Wednesday against the Oregon State Beavers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm MT, with coverage available on Pac-12 Networks. I'll have my Day One teaser up Wednesday morning from the plane.
Women go on a run in Seattle -
For 48 hours, at least, the University of Colorado owned the city of Seattle. The women's team, that had struggled as mightily as the men's this winter, took to the Pac-12 Tournament with aplomb, pulling off successive upsets to storm into the semifinals. While they would fall on Saturday to end the run, their spirit, energy, and competitiveness lived up to the standards of the program, and are a credit to Coach Linda Lappe and crew.
|A joyous stand from the ladies in the Emerald City. From: CUBuffs.com|
Following up on Thursday's success, the Buffs pulled off the upset of the tournament, stunning the top-seeded Oregon State Beavers 68-65. The Buffs used a beautiful combination of timely shooting and defense to earn the win, going 6-9 from deep, and holding the Beavers to under 34% from the floor. The star for Colorado was senior Lexy Kresl (eventually selected to the all-tournament team), who scored 19 points, mostly off of a perfect 5-5 stroke from deep. Her early points set the tone for the evening, but it was her last two, off of a perfect cut to the rim, that sealed the win. Never before, in the history of the Pac-12 Tournament, had a nine ever advanced past the #1 seed.
|CU toppled the heavily favored Beavers - a historic achievement. From: CUBuffs.com|
At two games under .500, even the NIT isn't in the cards for the women, but they showed a lot of fight in Seattle which could serve as a jumping off point for next fall. More immediately, I hope their example can inspire the men on a similar upset drive in Las Vegas.
Around the rest of the Pac-12 -
Washington 77 - Utah 68 -
What the flying hell? How could Utah, so ferocious a monster, lose to frickin' Washington. Not two days before, Colorado had made the Huskies look foolish, now they're stomping a team with Sweet Sixteen aspirations? I just don't get this sport anymore.
|Somebody stop that man!|
Oregon 65 - OSU 62 -
Utah's loss was Oregon's gain, as the Ducks' Civil War win over the Beavers helped slingshot them into 2nd place. One of the top-five games played in the league this season, UO had to hold on throughout, as a raucous Gill Coliseum crowd was into it from the opening tilt. Eventually, a defensive breakdown from OSU and some clutch free throw shooting from the Ducks sealed the win.
|All smiles for the Ducks.|
ASU 74 - Cal 70 -
The only other game of consequence this weekend was played in Tempe. ASU earned 5th place in the Pac-12 thanks to a trio of strong performances from Shaq McKissic, Savon Goodman, and Gerry Blakes. They combined for 55 points on 57% shooting.
|The Sun Devils had a great weekend, sweeping the Bay Area schools.|