The Dawgs played marginal basketball and got past a marginal Oregon State Beaver team that had upset them a few weeks ago. The Dawgs committed 10 first half turnovers leading to a 2 point lead for the Beavers going into half. Thankfully for the Dawgs, the Beavers have struggled more at finishing games than the Huskies and UW was able to pull off a decent 10 point win. What sealed the game? The same thing that wins almost all games: free throws. The Dawgs hit at least 9 in a row to end the game as the Beavers fouled in an attempt to extend play and potentially make up the differential.
The Dawgs continued to control the ball miserably despite the favorable outcome. 18 turnovers is twice the acceptable amount and a better team would have taken the Dawgs apart with such horrendous play. What went well for the Huskies was the returned shot of C.J. Wilcox who finished with a game high 24 points on 7 of 14 shooting. While the improved shooting was nice, Wilcox committed over a quarter of the Husky turnovers with 5 on the night. Wilcox did put up 3 nice blocks, but in a game that was down to the wire the turnovers were critical mistakes that simply cannot happen. I did like his 6 rebounds and the nearly 88% foul shooting with a 7 of 8 night.’
The game became interesting near the start when Joe Burton flopped on a hard box out by Aziz N’Diaye resulting in N’Diaye being flagged with a Flagrant 1 foul. N’Diaye did go into Burton hard, but the contact was clearly into the chest and Burton used the opportunity to try and take the big man out of the game. To Burton’s credit, he may have succeeded. N’Diaye had a terrible outing and sat on the bench most of the second half due to his 6 turnovers and only 4 boards. After posting several double-doubles in a row, N’Diaye fell well short with only 5 points. Thankfully, the remainder of the Husky frontcourt elevated their game at least temporarily with Shawn Kemp playing strong in the post hitting 5 of 7 shots. Kemp only managed 1 rebound, but Jernard Jerreau proved an excellent foil with his best game wearing the purple and gold. Jerreau nabbed a team high 7 rebounds on the night and took advantage of the transition style game scoring 8 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Desmond Simmons did his fair share with 5 boards, 6 points, and 0 turnovers. Simmons was hauled to the ground by Eric Moreland (if I remember correctly) and initially the refs called only a simple foul. Upon review the refs called a Flagrant 1 on Moreland, though a Flagrant 2 seemed plausible given the complete lack of play on the ball as Moreland grabbed two handfuls of Simmons’ jersey to bring him to the court.
Roberto Nelson kept the Beavers in the game with excellent foul shooting. The long ranged guard only managed 2 of 6 from the field, but hitting 11 of his 13 foul shots allowed the Beavers to stay well within range until the final 3 minutes. Paired with Ahmad Starks who drilled both of his 3-point attempts, the Beavers capitalized on the many Husky mistakes as they took an early lead that was maintained for the first 20 or so minutes.
Abdul Gaddy and Andrew Andrews looked infinitely better today as they both did their job as point guard and CREATE PLAYS! Instead of trying to put the offense on his back, Gaddy dished out the ball to the shooters and finished with 9 assists and 3 turnovers. Attempting only 3 shots, Gaddy hit 2 and finished with 4 points. Any night Gaddy gets 9 assists with limited turnovers is a good performance regardless of points tallied. Gaddy nearly tore the rim off after a missed shot, but the ball racked out of the hoop. I didn’t realize the 6-3 guard could get up so high. Andrews was even better, embodying the spirit of Isaiah Thomas with a tremendous outing. Andrews missed some open shots, but continued to attack the basket finishing with 3 makes on 9 attempts. Andrews threw out 6 assists to just 1 turnovers and was instrumental in keeping the Husky offense high tempo. Andrews aggression is very promising and excites me for next season as he pairs up with Nigel Williams-Goss, a McDonald’s All-American.
This was certainly a feel good win for the Dawgs who had lost 3 in a row coming into the late Saturday match-up, but it was hardly a quality or memorable win. Each game is critical in the Huskies’ attempt to earn an at-large bid to the big dance and this was a decent start to a run that must last at least 7 games if they want a shot at redemption. The Dawgs have a rough road ahead of them and sitting a game under .500 is an even worse place to be in such a situation. With road games against Arizona and Arizona State, the Huskies face a difficult pair of games that could either bolster their resume or sink their post season hopes. The Arizona game will hopefully be another exciting and competitive game, while ASU is proving to be increasingly skilled. Arizona has been drubbed in their previous two games and face an extremely over matched Utah team Sunday. A third straight loss by Arizona could either inspire the Wildcats to stomp all over the Huskies or it could crush the Wildcat moral and lend its hand in a UW win.
I enjoyed this win, but I am not going to get terribly excited over it. Much like the last win by the Huskies against ASU, tonight’s match-up was filled with holes that will be seized upon by better teams. The Huskies have a long way to go, but there is still the slimmest of hopes on the horizon.