The Victory Beverages Edition

G Gabe Harris

Sitting 1-3 in conference going into a Big Game is not comfortable. Playing anyone when you are 1-3 in conference is uncomfortable, but when Monty comes back to Maples it is worth extra deodorant. There is a pucker factor. Thankfully, the underwhelming weenies took it in the shorts instead. Whew! Exhale.

Step back from the 10-meter diving board, take off the speedo, and order another margarita or six.

Speaking of deep six-ing, John Gage once again emerged from deep on the bench. (Mindboggling how he gets there, and then the Basketball Office tweets that he scores 9.8 a game when he gets to play 15 minutes—what is that?) Once on the hardwood, Gage locked and loaded from The Fort for 14 points and almost dunked on someone. In fact, Coach Turncoat had to be wondering whether his team, Richard Solomon in particular, was even paying attention during the scouting report, because no one in their right mind leaves John open. Hell, the way we are shooting from inside the stripe (13-of-38 in this game—and that will scar your retinas), no one should be helping off our three-point shooters, not even Elliott Bullock.

Depth probably won us this game, given the terrific contributions of Gage, Harris and Allen off the bench. Conversely, the weenies had nothin' off the bench or on it, kinda like Manti Teo's girlfriend. Heck, even their assistant coaches couldn't keep track of the bonus foul situation at the end of the first half. And where the heck did Jay John go anyway? Jay, please pick up the courtesy phone, how many fouls does Stanford have right now, if right now is 29 seconds left in the half?

Our margin of separation at the end of the day was that our bench outscored their bench 26-3. Plus, in-game rest was huge as only two of our starters played over 30 minutes, while four weenies played over 35 minutes. I don't really care at all, but Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs had better figure out how to get Brandon Smith and Tricky Ricky Kreklow healthy soon, or one of them is going down with a fatigue-induced injury and then you can kiss the weenies' season goodbye.

So, in keeping with the bench being the margin of victory, Gabe Harris had the best in-conference performance of his career. A whopping 20 minutes, largely in lieu of Aaron Bright, and six points and three assists (zero turnovers). Sure, the ball-handling was tenuous at times, but Gabe nailed four free throws down the stretch and played solid defense on Cobbs when we had to have it. In fact, give Coach Dawkins credit for inserting Gabe with eight minutes to go and letting Gabe play out the game. Hell, give him credit for remembering that Gage is on the team too.

Cobbs did some damage from the eight- to the four-minute marks of the second half, but it was over Bright. When Bright subbed out and Randle subbed in, Gabe moved over to Cobbs and took away his right-hand drive, which was where Cobbs was going with success up until then. Taking the shots out of Cobbs' hands and forcing him to distribute took the weenies' primary option away, and forced them to run some offense and use clock. Just doing those little things well made this Gabe's best in-conference game. Gabe, I hope you made a Goose run after the game and that someone scored you a complimentary Victory Beverage!

Aaron Bright struggled against a much bigger better athlete in Cobbs, just as he did against Gaddy. He doesn't look 100 percent out there, but in any event, he needs to re-focus on leadership, ball movement, and finding a way to break even on defense. He needs to re-discover pesky (this is the only type of defense that smurfs can really play anyway), because he is too smart to not play that way on both ends.

Speaking of consistency, Chasson Randle did his job. He might tell you that he should have had 20, but you would have to ask him. But his coach asking him to foul Cobbs with nine seconds left on the clock at the end of the first half, followed by an iffy charge call early in the second half, meant he spent most of the second half in foul trouble, which backed him off attack mode. Not very sexy, but he did convert his steal into our first fast break points since the Compton game. Nitpicky, but Chasson needs to get more physical with his cuts to the ball in our press-break inbound plays. He floats a bit and needs to get nasty about wanting the ball.

[An editorial digression here on charging fouls: call me a noxious psychopath, but basketball in general has a problem now with flopping. A great example was when Chasson Randle apparently blasted Jeff Powers, who has to be 6-foot-7, 240 pounds of solid muscle, to the ground. When the designated lummoxes of the world are now stage diving, as a sport, we are in trouble. Whatever happened to a big strong guy standing there and inflicting some pain and suffering on a guard? As a coach (Coach Turncoat this means you), you can't whine about your team playing with a lack of physicality when every big guy you have is flopping like a mackerel. That is coached, folks. Sure, it was nice to get that foul on Randle, but he came away without even a booboo on his elbow.]

Andy Brown has to be noted here as he played 28 selfless defensive minutes, locking into his role of chasing and bumping Allen Crabbe. Crabbe took three shots from deep and only two free throws in 13 shots overall, and he worked his butt off to get that many shots. Brown reminded me of those old Montgomery-era defenders that seemed to have thoroughly scouted the opposition's tendencies, taking away their strengths with smart defense rather than athleticism, anticipating the screens and slipping through them more often than not. A nice day's work, Andy. And Andy is old enough for a Che Goo run for complimentary Victory Beverages with Gabe.

Final Thoughts: Both teams can claim to have "taken care of the ball" in that we had six turnovers and they had seven, but the flip side of that was pretty lackluster basketball. Our free throw total was a bit deceptive in that we didn't draw a lot of fouls going to the hole, cal just fouled us a lot down the stretch, using the old "Mike Montgomery Bataan Death March to the free throw line" strategy, and we crushed their weenie souls by going 13-of-15 in the last 6:04 of the game.

Final, Final Thought: It was nice to see that the cal band couldn't even muster a full squad for this one. The weenies must be feeling pretty deflated right now. Hey weenies, is it starting to feel like football season again?

Final, Final, Final Thought: Raise your hand and apply some more deodorant if you saw UW dumping one at home to the Running Utes. What the hell was that?

Final, Final, Final, Final Thought: Wouldn't you like to know which weenie assistant it was who lost track of the foul count at the end of the first half? I hope it wasn't John Montgomery.

Final, Final, Final, Final, Final Thought: Am I nuts, because I feel a road sweep coming? (A possibly rhetorical question, depending on the reader.) Vamanos Arboles!

Bonus Bootleg Insider Joke: Jim Rutter rented someone else's child for the game just for Dance Cam and Drum Cam. Only a venture cap guy would do that.


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