Capping off the worst day for Eastern Washington sports in recent memory, all of the Zag’s warts and weaknesses were exposed in today’s loss to K-State.
It’s gonna be hard to find something positive to say about what amounted to an ugly loss. These are the kind of games GU fans expect the team to win because they’ve done it so many times in the past, despite the obvious hurdles to overcome: Earliest start of the year, not having played in a week, prep during finals week and game 4 days before Christmas, 13000+ screaming Wildcats fans, travel across two time zones and a limited Pangos and an injured Dower.. The game turned out to be an early Christmas present for the Few hating crowd.
Far worse than the loss was watching Sam Dower barely able to make his way off the court. The team’s most consistent player, a long term injury to Sam will severely impact the rest of the season. Let’s hope Sam just got banged up and will be up and around next week, but if not, it’s gonna get interesting. Still not sure about Ryan Edwards and a medical redshirt, but a long term loss of Dower would probably put the kibosh on those plans, given we didn’t see Angel Nunez today.
Reading the game posts after the fact (I had to watch the game on DVR tonight), it appears not playing Nunez is the worst thing to happen to the program since Mushroomgate. Hard to comment on this because (a. I’ve never seen him play, (b. Few tightens the rotation and goes with who he knows (trusts) in tight games and (c. the young man hasn’t played in a year and only 55 minutes of college ball total. I reserve the right to comment on Nunez until I see him in action.
One guy I have seen in action is Gerard Coleman. I must admit, even as an ardent Few supporter, I was really perplexed by the quick hook and the lack of playing time in the 2nd half. Sure he had a turnover and threw up an airball, but he also made the game’s best pass and appeared to be the best option to get a rebound or two after Dower went down. Others have said it before and it appears to be true, the poor guy has to look over his shoulder whenever he is on the court because he knows he’ll be banished to the pine gulag upon his second mistake. Hopefully we have an easy game against Santa Clara so Gerard can get 20+ minutes, some of his confidence back, and get out of Few’s doghouse.
I know this goes against the game posters, but other than free throws I didn’t think PK played a bad game. He looked smooth in the post, grabbed some good rebounds had a couple of nice blocks. Ya gotta keep in mind we’re talking about a sophomore center who just turned 20-years-old. I did notice he didn’t seem to be set or look confident before shooting any of his free throws, anyone in Spokane know a good sports psychologist?
First game I remember this year that GBJ disappeared. Giving credit for how well he’s played thus far, he gets a pass in my book for this one, but,,,,,,,,,,,,, He’s gotta step up. He’s an upperclassman and three year starter. Some may call it a wise move to stop shooting after missing 6 of 7 shots, but Kevin Pangos has illustrated time and again that going 1 for 7 for 35 minutes is easily forgotten when you go 3 for 3 in the last five.
Speaking of KP, it’s pretty obvious to me he’s not moving well and I’m not talking about the scoreless first half. K-State got several open 3’s because the perimeter D was slow to rotate to the ball. I know many think that’s par for the course, but it seemed even more prominent in today’s game.
Barham looked like he was on the same path as Coleman, but a couple of key 3’s seemed to allow him to play most of the game.
Despite the ugly loss, there were a couple of positives. Even with the loss of Dower, a hurting Pangos, and an AWOL GBJ, the team fought back in a hostile environment and took the lead with 10 minutes left to play. Unfortunately, a lack of horses coupled caused the team to run out of gas. Coleman and Nunez could have been those horses but we’ll never know, the game was still in doubt with under two minutes to play and Few didn’t play them.
Here’s to hoping a fast and full recovery for Sam Dower and hopefully all you fans have a great Christmas. See you on 28 Dec.