Writer: Caitlin Moscatello
Game: Notre Dame vs. Washington State
Post Time: 10:02 p.m., Saturday
DENVER -- If Tampa is the city of upsets these first two rounds, Denver is the city of blowouts. In what was expected to be a close game, Washington State beat Notre Dame 61-41 with the help of seniors Kyle Weaver and Robbie Cowgill. Weaver, a 6-foot-6 guard who averaged 12.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in the regular season (he scored 18 points Saturday), was undoubtedly going to be a factor for Wazzu. But the real surprise was Cowgill, who at a lanky 6-foot-10 and 211 pounds looks like he could be broken in half by Notre Dame's Luke Harangody. Cowgill missed just one shot, scoring 12 points for the Cougars, and played a significant role in keeping the Irish from scoring inside the paint. Cowgill, a bearded, guitar-playing forward with a mellow on-court presence, was an unassuming opponent for the bulldozing Harangody (who to his own credit had 22 rebounds and led Notre Dame in scoring).
The key to this game was defense. Washington State did just what it needed to in keeping Notre Dame shooting from the perimeter. In the first half, the Irish made just 12.5 percent of their three-pointers and were unable to dribble penetrate, which worked out well for the Cougars considering Notre Dame's best three-point shooter, junior Kyle McAlarney, made just two out of eight shots from outside the arc.
Washington State seniors Cowgill, Weaver and Derrick Low were part of the Wazzu team that was bounced out by Vanderbilt in the second round last year. Before that, Washington State had not been in the NCAA tournament since 1994, and this is the first time since 1941 that the Cougars have made it past the second round.