Friday, February 21, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 02/20/20: Two Bill Waltons and a Tough Loss, Zags Benefit from Halftime, Cherry Pie (OMG!)

1. It was nearly a half an hour of space truckin' almost too galactic to write about when Frank Caliendo joined Dave Pasch and Bill Walton during the first half of the Oregon/Arizona State game and impersonated Bill Walton while Bill Walton was being Bill Walton. The Magic Carpet Ride soared to heights previously unknown in the history of telecasting, if not the history of the human race.

Occasionally, Walton 1 and 2 even acknowledged that a basketball game was underway. Arizona State is coached by Bobby Hurley and, both as a player and as a coach, Bobby Hurley's conduct gets under my skin. That said, I really admire his basketball team and the Sun Devils played the Ducks very tough, forcing numerous turnovers (they scored 19 points on Duck turnovers), hitting their offensive glass hard (ASU scored five second chance points -- and won by five points), and getting good scoring nights out of Rob Edwards and Alonzo Verge.

The Ducks had flashes of brilliant play, but also stretches of subpar play and their inconsistency probably cost them the game. Payton Pritchard fouled out. That hurt the Ducks. The Ducks were also lackluster from the free throw line (making only 12-19 free throws).

The Ducks are undefeated at home and have lost 5 of 9 conference games on the road. I'm not sure why they struggle so much away from Eugene, but those struggles were apparent tonight,evidenced especially by how the Ducks played so hot and cold.

The final score: ASU 77 Oregon 72.

2. Back in high school, and I don't remember if it was my junior or my senior year, one night we played Moscow pretty well at home in the first half before we ultimately lost the game.

I remember Mike Farley saying to me, "We got beat by halftime."

What he meant was that we had some good energy going in the second quarter and it seemed to have drained out of us when we stopped playing, went to the locker room, sat and listened to our coach talk, and returned to the floor without the oomph we had in the first half.

This came to mind tonight as the second half of the Gonzaga/University of San Francisco game got underway. USF played over their heads on the first half and their spirited defensive effort seemed to have the Zags rattled. The Dons led by nine points at halftime.

Then both teams went to their locker rooms at halftime.

Gonzaga regrouped and settled down; USF came out flat, without nearly the energy they had before halftime.

The Zags went on 20-2 run, secured a lead they never gave up, and ended up defeating the outmanned USF Dons, 71-54.

In a way, the Dons were defeated by the halftime break.

But, truth be told, even had they come out stronger in the second half, I think over the course of the second half, Gonzaga's superior players would have beaten USF any way. As is often the case when mismatched teams play, the underdog simply doesn't have the personnel to maintain the high quality of play required to defeat the stronger team over 40 minutes.

Tonight, for about 20 minutes, San Francisco was able to play at a high enough level to give the Zags a good contest in the first half and establish a halftime lead. But, they didn't have 40 minute of that kind of effort in them and as the second half progressed, the inevitable occurred. The Zags established their superiority down low around the basket, the Zags started hitting some outside shots, and the Dons couldn't sustain any kind of effective response.

3. Christy and Teresa went to Mary Alexander's house in Mullan today and baked pies and played cards. Mary has agreed to tutor Christy and Teresa in the arts of baking. Christy is loving it and, well, so am I! At halftime of the Gonzaga game, Christy served me a slice of the cherry pie she baked today. It was slightly tart (YES!), had a really pleasing almond flavored undertone, was built upon a flaky and very tasty crust, and paired perfectly with vanilla ice cream. Maybe my disposition about the Zags and the game's telecast was so sanguine because this pie made everything seem wonderful.

Christy informed me that she will be bring a peach pie to my house for Sunday's family dinner. I'm wondering if I should try to cook a meal that serves as a proper prelude to the peach pie. Hmmm. What might that be?

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