December 28: Caleb Forrest grabs an offensive rebound off the rim and throws it down.
I’m not normally a casual fan. Lining up a couple of hours before men’s home games is a minimum for me, although 3 hours before the game sure doesn’t guarantee front row like it used to. Nevertheless, three days after Christmas in Pullman I decided to take it easy. There weren’t any students in town, and I could have a nice relaxing dinner with my significant other, show up five minutes before the game, and get great seats to watch the #4 Cougs blow out a school that I wasn’t sure existed.
So imagine my surprise when I show up and the ZZU CRU section is mostly filled. But not with students. What happened, I would find out later via text from a friend, is that the athletic department, fearing low attendance, sold student section seats to the general public for $5 (much to my chagrin as I had just payed $10 for a student guest ticket – thanks a lot). In the pre-bandwagon days, attendance for a game like this over break would be around 2,000, if the Cougs were lucky. Thanks in part to this promotion, and a large number of hardcore season ticket holders, attendance was 6,642. That says a lot about how far Cougar basketball has come.
What the public of Pullman didn’t know, however, is that the ZZU CRU also occupies the baseline on the East side of Friel Court. So lucky for me, we waltz right in and sit in the front row behind the basket (a few seats over of course, because directly behind the basket obscures the view).
This is where the play comes in. ESPN’s play by play lists it as a “two point tip shot”. It wasn’t. I am sure of this because it happened about 7 feet in front of me. If you were there, you know why this play is on the list. Another Cougar (can’t remember who, might have been Forrest himself) missed a mid-range jumper, then Caleb Forrest comes out of nowhere to grab said jumper off the rim and dunk it like he was LeCaleb Forrest, sure-fire NBA lottery pick. I jumped out of my seat like a four year old, and uttered these eloquent words to my girlfriend:
“Did that just f#$%ing happen?”
Caleb played 23 minutes that game to relieve an injured Daven Harmeling. He scored 8 points as the Cougars improved to 12-0 and finished the nonconference slate undefeated. The game itself was never close; it was another defensive clinic from the home team. NC A&T scored 12 points in the entire first half. Only 9 points in the first 19:28 of the game. They shot 25.5% from the field for the entire game. WSU led 53-16 at one point. And outsiders wonder why we like Bennett Ball so much.