All right, then! Wednesday night featured nine, yes, NINE Pac-12 games that seemed to take on nearly every single narrative a basketball game can take on. We had single overtime, double overtime, huge upsets, huge blowouts, huge losses to teams like Idaho (I'll give you three guesses as to who that was), and a whole lot of fun in between.
The next time we'll get this many Pac-12 teams in action on one night isn't until next Saturday, so drink up kiddies, don't save any of this water for the fishes.
Arizona State 77, UNLV 55: The best part of this game was in the post-game press conference when coach Herb Sendek said point guard Kodi Justice had, "swag." (That quote comes from our friends at House of Sparky, ASU's SB Nation site.) It seemed like everyone on ASU had some swag in them on Wednesday, with five different shooters knocking down threes. Justice, Jon Gilling and Bo Barnes would all have three triples apiece.
Believe it or not, ASU made some significant comebacks in this one. They trailed by scores of 9-2, 15-4 and 21-6 early on, but pounded out a 12-0 run to get right back into the game. At the half, it was 37 all.
There was a five-minute stretch in the second half where the Runnin' Rebels would go scoreless, leaving the door wide open for the Sun Devils to "run" through. Leading the way once again was Eric Jacobsen, who had 16 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, and breakout star Gerry Blakes, who pitched in 11 points and nine rebounds.
Also of note, UNLV's starting center's name is Goodluck Okonoboh. And to think I cried to my parents when they named me Jesse.
Idaho 77, Washington State 71: A friendly Twitter follower last evening told me, and I quote, "I mean, not like another team is all [of a] sudden gonna show up. This is what we're stuck with. Shouldn't be a surprise anymore." (Thanks to @NeilStover for the tweet) And you know what, Neil? I think you're right. But I'll tell you now, if they beat Gonzaga next Wednesday, all bets are off.
So how is it Wazzu can be fixed? They're currently 219th in the country in points per game, which sounds bad, but pails in comparison to the 320th they are in the nation in field goal percentage.
Josh Hawkinson is averaging nearly a double-double on the season, and he had another one last night with 16 points and 10 boards. DaVonte Lacy can outright score the biscuit, even though he went 5-for-18 from the field last night. At least he's willing to take and make some shots. With Lacy's percentages factored in, the Cougars went 5-for-30 from three; without him, they went 2-for-17! Both Ike Iroegbu and Ny Redding joined them in double figures for the second consecutive game, but in order for this team to win some games, they'll need to figure this out quickly before the Pac-12 gauntlet begins.
California 78, Montana 76 (2 OT): Can I dismiss this due to the fact that Jabari Bird didn't play? No, you say? Well, then let me note that the Golden Bears are damn lucky the Grizzlies couldn't stick their free throws. They'd finish 11-for-23 from the night, and when you lose by only two, that can be infuriating.
Jordan Mathews' three-pointer to send the game to its first overtime was clutch, but Tyrone Wallace was the stud of this game. He'd miss five free throws of his own, but would chalk up 26 points and 15 rebounds, leading both teams in each category.
Playing for the first time all season long, Brandon Chauca, a freshman from Alexandria, Virginia, logged 41 minutes. He wouldn't just stand in the corner; he got into the act as well. He led the team in assists with six, while also sticking two threes, finishing with eight points. Depth is a beautiful thing, boys and girls.
Hats off to both Jordan Gregory (23 points, 12 rebounds and five assists) and Martin Breunig (23 points, five rebounds and two blocks) from Montana for impressive games on the other side, as well.
USC 77, Loyola Marymount 61: I don't know for sure who enters the official attendance, but whoever that person is, you're hereby called out. The numbers say 2,537 were there, but that's an incredibly generous figure. As we pointed out on Twitter last evening, there was all of one fan in the student section 20 minutes prior to tip-off. Some have claimed that Finals week was the cause of this-give me a break. Don't act like other schools don't have finals. If you're honestly cramming your brain full of knowledge 20 hours a day during finals week, all that means is you didn't work hard enough during the actual semester, and if you're proud of that, don't go to a Pac-12 school. I get that the Trojans aren't exactly setting the world ablaze, but they're at least a reasonably fun team to watch. Take a stroll across your gorgeous campus and go watch some hoops for two hours; it won't hurt, I promise.
Once LMU went on a horrendous scoring drought in the first half that lasted nearly seven minutes, the Trojans had this one all but wrapped up (they'd score two points in a ten-minute span). By halftime, the lead had ballooned to 15 and was never truly close again.
Ten different Trojans scored, with Jordan McLaughlin leading the way with 18 points, while also tossing in seven assists. Also scoring was sophomore Devon Pflueger, who was stepping on the court for the first time all season. The three he would nail home was his first take and make of the year.
Colorado 72, San Francisco 55: There's the Askia Booker we were all waiting for. He'd go 5-for-6 from three, 8-for-12 from the field and finish the game with 21 points and also throw in three dimes and three boards.
Despite Colorado jumping out to a 7-0 lead, the Dons would respond with a 21-4 run that placed them in steady control in the first half. At the break, the lead had been cut to two, but the Buffs had reason to be worrisome.
Then the second half came and Booker was unrelenting. Burying four of his five threes after halftime, it was the Booker show with Josh Scott as his understudy. The Buffs would eventually run away with this one, cruising down the stretch to victory.
Oregon 94, Concordia (OR) 63: Considering this will be the one and only time most of us will ever watch Concordia play, I won't have much to say about that side of the ball.
For the Ducks, it was the usual suspects of Elgin Cook and Joseph Young showing up. Cook would go 9-for-10 from the field, dominating the game as he racked up 19 points and eight rebounds. The Ducks' catalyst was once again Young, who did a little bit of everything, scoring 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out six dimes and even getting two swipes. Still, he went 0-for-5 from three.
That was a theme for Oregon though. They would go just 5-for-26 from deep in this one, with both Young and Dwayne Benjamin missing all five they would take.
Recording his second straight double-double off the bench was freshman forward Jordan Bell, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds in just 15 minutes of action. The Ducks' frontcourt is lush with talent-a true asset come Pac-12 play.
#25 Utah 69, #8 Wichita State 68 (OT): This is my early selection for Pac-12 Game of the Year. And to be quite honest, it'll be difficult to topple what was one of the most highly competitive basketball games all season long. (That Duke-Wisconsin battle beforehand wasn't too shabby, either.)
Even without Jordan Loveridge, the Utes were able to pull off the "shocker," even after nearly giving the game away. After leading by nine with 3:23 to play, the Shockers would score 11 straight points to take the lead with just 36 seconds remaining.
With ice in his veins all night long, Dakarai Tucker stuck the two free throws that sent this one to overtime. Playing 34 minutes in this one, Tucker stuck three threes in a game for the second straight contest, finishing with 13 points.
Despite scoring just 13 points himself, Delon Wright's final shot would make all the difference as his turnaround jumper in the lane with 14 ticks remaining clinched it for the Utes.
It was a tough night for pre-season All-America selection Fred Van Vleet, who would miss the front end of a one-and-one with seven seconds remaining, allowing Utah to pull off the upset win at home and deliver Wichita State their first loss in 35 regular season matchups.
UCLA 73, Cal-State Fullerton 45: The rout was on early in this one. Jumping ahead 11-2, the Bruins breezed their way past their Big West Conference, in-state foe.
All five starters for the Bruins would reach double-figures in scoring, including Norman Powell who led the way with 18 points, as well as five rebounds and four assists. Forward Kevon Looney recorded his fifth double-double of the year and continued his streak of scoring in double-figures for every game this season with 10 points and 11 boards.
The Titans were woeful from the field, hitting just 13 shots all night. Their starting backcourt would go 6-for-26 on the night, while the team as a whole shot 24 percent from the field and just 20 percent from three.
The Bruins have two more tune-up games before their collisions with Gonzaga and Kentucky in the upcoming weeks.
Oregon State 74, Mississippi Valley State 50: We like to joke about how bad Wazzu has played so far this season, but the Delta Devils from Mississippi Valley State really are one of the worst teams in the nation. They've allowed more than 100 points already three times this season and lost by 53 to TCU, who went winless in the Big-12 Conference last year.
As for this game, Gary Payton II was not sharing any spotlight. On one of the most crowded nights on the schedule all season, Payton 2.0 produced maybe the nation's most outstanding line when he dropped 24 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, had four steals, and pitched in two assists and two blocks. He was perfect from the three-point line, nailing all three he would take.
A special head nod to Jordan Washington of the Delta Devils, who is the best player on a bad, bad team. He would knock down five threes last evening, leading the team with 17 points.