Friday, February 7, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 02/06/20: More Snow, Kitchen Fun, Zags Win

1. I started the day with another workout, shoveling snow. Today's shoveling was more strenuous thanks to some rain and warmer weather. The snow was heavy. I was careful not to lift too much at a time and I got the job done. My back didn't hurt very much and the exercise helped me sleep more restfully.

2. I made a new batch of granola and experimented a bit. I used cranberry trail mix. I included dates as well as golden raisins. I increased the amount of melted butter, vanilla, and cinnamon I used. I don't know that I'll ever make the perfect granola, but I enjoy trying out new ways to make it.

I also made a turmeric cauliflower soup by roasting cauliflower florets, chopped shallot, and some garlic cloves drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper. Once roasted, the recipe called for adding these ingredients into a mixture of unsweetened almond milk and vegetable broth.  I decided to be a bit daring and use crab stock instead of vegetable broth. I pureed it with the blender stick. It worked. I also blended in the last of the hummus I made the other night. I used a little too much garlic in this batch and so it helped garlic up this soup. It's not the best soup I've ever made, but making it once gives me ideas for how I might improve it next time around.

3. It would have been a stunning upset had the Loyola Marymount University defeated Gonzaga tonight. Yes, the Zags got sloppy in the first half and turned the ball over too often. A few times the Zags fell asleep on defense and gave up some easy buckets to LMU. And, yes, LMU hung in there in the first half and were behind by only eight points, 38-30 at halftime. In the second half, Gonzaga tightened their defense, took better care of the rock on offense, started hitting three point shots to compliment the great inside scoring they were getting from Drew Timme and Filip Petrusev, and stretched their lead into a rout and cruised to a 85-67 victory.

With Killian Tillie injured with a sprained ankle, Gonzaga thrust the freshman Drew Timme into the starting lineup and tonight he was brilliant. He plays with a lot of savvy around the basket and has a deft shooting touch, although his range his limited. But from about 12-15 feet and closer to the basket he scores in a variety of ways: floaters, tear drops, jumpers, bank shots with both his right and left hand, and strong put backs off missed shots. He is emerging as a very solid player and teamed up with Petrusev inside makes Gonzaga's interior offense tough to defend.

Gonzaga plays their arch rival St. Mary's in the Gaels' tiny pressure cooker gym in Moraga, CA on Saturday. I hope that by not playing last Saturday and again tonight, Tillie might be recovered enough to give the Zags some minutes against St. Mary's. The Zags' bench is shallow and any minutes Tillie could chalk up would give Timme, Petrusev, and possibly Corey Kisbert some valuable time to rest during the game.

Tonight, Gonzaga made 72% of their free throws. They shot 25 and made 18. This percentage at the line is slightly better than their 68.1% for the season, which, by the way, puts Gonzaga at 262 out of the 350 teams in Division I basketball.

Saturday. On the road. Likely a tight game. I would love to see the Zags rise above their past performances over the season and make something more like 80% of their free throws. Against St. Mary's every stat will be precious -- turnovers, rebounds, points in the paint, everything. It would bolster Gonzaga's chances of securing a victory on the road if they make their charity tosses.

Easier said than done.

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