Will the real Rob Sacre please stand up?
No, not the guy who was transparent against St. Mary's last night or the one who languished for two points and six rebounds against Butler....We're looking for the dynamic center who pulled down 10 rebounds, blocked three shots and sprang for 15 points against Washington State or the determined pivot who had 16 points and seven boards in 34 ambitious minutes versus Michigan State.
It's difficult to imagine great Zags' posts like Casey Calvary, Ronny Turiaf, Cory Violette or J.P. Batista going into Moraga against the hated Gaels and emerging with a line that looks like a typo...one-of-seven from the field, four points, three rebounds and one block in 18 minutes. Rob has been around the program long enough to understand that the game at St. Mary's requires tournament-level intensity....instead he brought the kind of blase effort you expect in an exhibition game against Missoula Tech.
Since the thumb injury against Air Force, Rob's numbers have dropped to 7.8 points and 6. 4 rebounds in 20.8 minutes. You also have to wonder if the offensive output by Sam Dower has the senior glancing at the sidelines to see if he is headed for an early substitution.
The comments from Coach Few after the embarrassment at St. Mary's told the story...."They thoroughly outplayed us" and "We didn't keep them out of the lane once in the second half." Rob was part of this, but not the only one to blame. The point is that Rob -- the focused, enthusiastic and skilled Rob that we've known and appreciated for so many years -- must set the tone in the post (and overall) for a team that is still looking for an emotional catalyst.
St. Mary's is good, but they should never beat a Zags team that is playing at its full potential, whether in Moraga or Spokane. Elias Harris showed up last night. Kevin Pangos was there in stretches, but we need Dower, Carter, Bell Jr., Sacre, Stockton and company to play with the sort of Matt Santangelo energy that wins league championships and forges the way for a healthy run at tournament time.
"Be quick, but don't hurry," UCLA Coach John Wooden once said. When the Zags got down against the Gaels and Rob Jones picked up his third foul, they began to hurry. The result? No field goals in the final 4:34 of the first half and the worst WCC loss in Coach Few's tenure.
The good news is that this team has the ability to accomplish great things. Now it will take an courageous effort by a senior center to get us moving in the right direction.