Final Score: UW-87 SU-74
The Huskies had this one in the bag from the get-go as Cameron Dollar and the Redhawks overextended their full court press leading to many easy baskets in the early goings. The Huskies looked to have played their first truly complete game in quite some time as their defense completed their offensive efficiency and the troubles at the foul line withered away.
The tempo was set early when Desmond Simmons made a great hustle play to knock the ball away from one SU player only to have it unfortunately roll into the hands of another who had a wide open look at the hoop. C.J. Wilcox exploded out of nowhere to reject the easy basket and declare that the Dawgs would not be victimized tonight.
The Redhawks were down 22 at half, but made a nice run at the start of the second half to cut the lead to 11 following a pair of turnovers forced by the full court press. Romar called a much needed time out to rally the troops and it paid off as the Huskies surged back to a 20+ point lead for extended minutes throughout the second half.
The Huskies got another career night from Scott Suggs who finished with 24 points, a perfect 8 of 8 from the foul line. Suggs felt his shot dropping early and was able to get some nice open looks outside the arc as his rhythm developed. Suggs had a bit of a scare in the second half when it appeared his calf cramped up and he limped off the court to be looked at by the trainers. Just minute or two later and Suggs was back on the court and draining shots.
Desmond Simmons and Aziz N’Diaye both pulled in double-doubles as the Dawgs dominated the glass with a 39-28 performance. N’Diaye ripped down 6 of his 11 boards on the offensive end, while Simmons grabbed 10 of 12 on the defensive side of things. This dangerous duo could not be combated by the undersized Seattle U squad. Simmons was an amazing 7 of 8 from the foul line, whereas N’Diaye’s struggles at the line continued with a miserable 0 for 3 night at the charity stripe. The big men combined 10 of 18 from the field and showed great hustle on both sides of the ball.
Hikeem Stewart scored his first baskets of the season and put 6 on the board before hyper-extending his knee late in the game. Stewart was helped off the court by a trainer and Suggs. Hopefully the injury is nothing serious and simply needs a few days rest to recover. With Andrew Andrews out for the second straight game with a sprained ankle, the Huskies backcourt cannot afford another major injury.
Overall, this was the best performance of the year for the Dawgs who beat a mid-major team in the fashion that has been expected the entire year. The Huskies should review this tape in earnest and learn from it the cohesion and chemistry that has been missing much of this year. If the Dawgs can perform like this the remainder of the season, the year can be salvaged and an NCAA berth is not an impossibility. There is much work left to be done, but this is a move in the right direction.