You think of a college basketball coach after a 35-point conference loss, one in which a team scores seven points in the first half on less than 10 percent shooting, and you immediately think of ducking for cover.
If this is Bobby Knight, there are more chairs flying through the air than at an Office Depot during a Texas tornado. There is enough spittle to lubricate a V8 engine. You have to hide the nuns, and quickly, because the Lord’s name will be taken in every vain imaginable.
And speaking of veins, just imagine the pronounced supratrochlear, popping out of Rick Pitino’s forehead. Wonder if there’s a boa constrictor in there. You ask yourself if one question will awaken the giant within, and if you’ll end up bleeding from the ears.
You sure don’t picture Ken Bone.
Wholesome Ken Bone, who took Washington State’s 60-25 loss to Arizona in stride, an advanced course lesson in offensive ineptitude. He addressed the media with the patience of a monk, and after a game like that, he probably said a few Hail Marys.
“It’s the first game of a long conference schedule,” Bone said, not the least defeated. “We started off playing the best team on their home court. In some ways, it feels like four or five losses. But at the end of the day, it was one loss, we didn’t have all of our guys, and we’re better than we showed.”
It’s not that Bone had his head in the sand somewhere, though he could have been forgiven if he did. He paced the court, fully comprehending the calamity that was the Cougars offense. At one point he lost his jacket, but to be fair, it was a bit hot in McKale Center.
Perhaps it was a bit to be expected — Washington State was down its leading scorer, DaVonte Lacy, and fellow starter Dexter Kernich-Drew. The Cougars went big, hoping to counter the Wildcats massive size, D.J. Shelton sliding down to the three-spot, but it didn’t help.
It took Washington State nearly three minutes to score its first point, on a Royce Woolridge free throw, and 11 minutes to score its second. By the time free throw No. 3 dropped in with 7 minutes 17 seconds left in the first half, the Cougars trailed 21-3. A Woolridge field goal, the team’s first, with 6 minutes 42 seconds left in the half drew mock applause; Washington State finished the first half 2 of 21 from the field.
It would be comical if it weren’t so sad, but there’s no chuckling when a team is just chucking up the ball.
“I wouldn’t say it was so much overwhelming — it was just tough because no matter what we did, we couldn’t score the basketball,” Woolridge said. “It wasn’t, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s happening?’ It was, ‘Oh man, we gotta get a bucket.’ ”
They tried. In the second half, the Cougars shot 29.2 percent from the field.
All along, Bone stayed above the fray, refusing to tear into his players.
Minutes into the game, he knew a fragile psyche was a bigger risk than a twisted knee.
“I’m aware of how we were doing,” Bone said. “I was at the game, watched the whole game, and when we missed shots, I knew we missed them. I was quite aware of what was going on.”
Woolridge said he’d never been in a game “when you score 25 points in 40 minutes.”
Shelton called it “kind of ridiculous,” and “real frustrating.”
Bone, though, knew better than to scorch the earth.
These are young men who knew full well what had just happened, in Pac-12 Game No. 1, on the road, against the best team in the land, down two starters.
“Coach was supportive,” Woolridge said. “He told us we played good defense and that he always had our backs.”
Not a single flying chair.