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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

November 15, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Channeling Jack Buck and Kirk Gibson . . .

OK, let’s not overstate this. I’m tempted to say, “I don’t believe what I just saw,” as Buck did in 1988 when Gibson’s homer sailed out of the park in the 1988 World Series, but I don’t want to go too far.

Then again . . .

Got to say that in a 50-hour span, I saw a couple of individual performances that rank with the most amazing I’ve ever seen, given the circumstances. Saturday night, Washington State redshirt-freshman quarterback Connor Halliday threw for 494 yards, and he didn’t even start the game. Two nights later, Gonzaga freshman point guard Kevin Pangos banged in nine threes and scored 33 points.

I’m stunned. Between the two guys, they have one start in their college careers. Halliday didn’t torch Azusa Pacific, he beat Arizona State. Pangos didn’t torment Adams State, he beat WSU.

First, Halliday. No WSU quarterback — not Mark Rypien, not Drew Bledsoe, not Ryan Leaf, not Jason Gesser — ever threw for more yards in a victory.

Then Pangos. Here are a few comparative benchmarks for what he did Monday night:

— The school record for threes is nine not only at Gonzaga, but also at Washington and Washington State. So, of the big three programs in the state, Pangos, in his first college start, joined six other players who have hit nine treys. (By the way, Klay Thompson never hit nine in his three-year WSU career.)

— Two of Gonzaga’s sharpshooting guards of the past decade, Derek Raivio (7) and Blake Stepp (8), never hit nine. Nor did Adam Morrison, a gunner who shared 2006 national player-of-the-year honors with J.J. Redick.

It’s entirely possible that Halliday and Pangos will never equal their monster numbers, even if they have four-year competitive careers. No doubt, they not only have established a scouting portfolio on themselves, but they will become marked men. You could argue that against a stout Utah defense this week, Halliday will be doing very well to throw for half the yardage he amassed against Arizona State.

Maybe these two performances are statistical outliers of sorts.

But both those guys can say it: Oh, what a night.

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