It is said that the hardest things in nature to predict are the actions of the 18-22 year old human male. That was never more the case than Wednesday night at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Washington. The Washington State Cougars, last in the Pac-12 and losers of nine straight, jumped all over UCLA's business in the first half. The Cougs bolted to a 22-4 lead, and beat the 23rd ranked Bruins 73-61.
UCLA (22-8 overall, 12-5 conference), co-leaders of the Pac-12 coming in, played their worst game in many months. Superstar frosh Shabazz Muhammad, believed to be a one and done in the college game, was four for 19 from the field, two for 11 from three point range, and held to three rebounds on the night. Such is not the stuff of which legends are made.
The Cougars (12-18, 3-14) must be given their due. Wednesday night's victory wasn't simply a matter of UCLA being sluggish. Washington State, playing without guards Mike Ladd and Devonte' Lacy, both late scratches, beat the Bruins bloody on the boards. Washington State outrebounded UCLA 43-20, beat them to all the loose balls and would have beaten them in a thumb war if the evening had called for it.
Brock Motum led WSU with 20 points and six boards but there was honor to spread around on this night. Royce Woolridge tallied 19 on eight for 14 shooting, and D.J. Shelton scored 13, hitting five of nine shots from the field.
It was a night for the ages for the short-handed Cougars. Only seven of them saw the court. Years from now those seven will tell the tale of March 6, 2013 and a chilly winter's night in the Palouse. They will tell the tale and they will smile at each other. A band of crimson brothers, victorious.