While it’s often said that a win is a win, I haven’t seen too many wins that seemed less positive than this sloppy victory. The home crowd at Hed Ed was small and lifeless, the game plan uninspired, and the play of the Husky squad absolutely ugly to watch. While this has often been the norm this season, it’s especially disheartening to see this team struggle to put away the 0-7 (now 0-8) Jackson State Tigers on their own home court after playing their best game of the year in defeating Seattle University at Key Arena only a few days earlier.
However, that is where this team stands. On this particular occasion, a great deal of the blame has to fall on senior point guard Abdul Gaddy. Midway through the first half Washington was up 16, but after a series of horrifically ill-advised passes from Gaddy, Jackson State was back in it with a few minutes remaining in the half. Free throws were also, once again, a big issue, as the Huskies actually shot a higher percentage from the field (50%) than they did from the charity stripe (46.2%). That is not good. A lot of it had to do with N’Diaye’s 2-9 shooting from the line, but both Gaddy and Suggs going 4-6 and Wilcox missing his only attempt didn’t help. If they had hit more like 75% the game would never have been all that close.
I also have to question the game plan a little. Jackson State is severely undersized in the post, yet Romar rarely chose to give the ball to Kemp or N’Diaye in the low post. Instead, players passed around and looked uncomfortable until they either turned the ball over or let Suggs or Wilcox shoot jumpers. Luckily, those two managed to shoot a decent percentage, and it was enough to win against a winless opponent, but it isn’t a great template for success in Pac-12 play.
Defensively, I can’t complain too much when Washington holds an opponent to 36% shooting from the field, but the open threes that are being allowed are worrisome. That being said, it has been nice to see this team improve on the horrendous rebounding, and they did take advantage of their size to win the battle on the boards 39-30. Desmond Simmons, who has suddenly emerged as a terrific rebounder, had 9, which tied him with N’Diaye for the most on the team.
Things certainly could have been worse, but with conference play fast approaching, I haven’t seen nearly enough growth from this group, and this game did nothing to change that.