Phew. The Dawgs tried to give up an 15 point lead to the Cougars with 8 minutes left only to pull it out at the last minute. The Huskies started very strong with excellent offensive movement, above average shooting, decent ball control, and overall great play that had been missing all season. Much as has been the tale of the tape for the Huskies this season, when the lead got big for the Dawgs the coaching staff decides to slow things down leading to a big comeback by the Cougars. Romar, the assistants, and the players have to learn to continue what got them the lead rather than changing pace to “burn clock.”
The Dawgs got a huge night from senior Scott Suggs who was hot early and kept his stroke going most of the night. Suggs finished with a team high 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting, 4 of 6 behind the arc, and a perfect 3 of 3 at the foul line. Suggs struggled to contain WSU superstar Brock Motum who went off for a game high 28 points on 11 of 19 shooting.
Motum was nearly by himself on the court for a majority of the game. When all was said and done, the Cougars only had 4 players with points next to their name and only 3 points from the bench. D.J. Shelton proved to be an all but impossible match-up for Aziz N’Diaye and racked up 19 of his own, while Royce Woolridge dropped in 12 to support the forward duo.
Abdul Gaddy had a great night overall with last minute turnovers that were nearly detrimental for the Huskies. Gaddy finished 1 point shy of a double-double. Gaddy had 5 assists at half and went on to toss up another 6 assists in the second, including a pair of back-to-back alley-oops to N’Diaye for his only 2 points and Shawn Kemp Jr.
Andrew Andrews was an unsung hero whose last second piece of basketball brilliance proved the deciding factor. Andrews only compiled 3 points, but dragged in 5 rebounds. On the last play of the game Suggs defended Brock Motum who screened off another Cougar. Andrews switched on the screen and played tight in Motum’s face despite the 8 inch height differential. Motum tried to flop into Andrews as time expired to draw a foul, but Andrews showed his agility leaning away from Motum to avoid the contact. Speaking of flopping, Motum fell down more times than I could count and only one was a legitimate fall. I understand that Motum had to fight through a lot of harder contact, but a guy of his size and athleticism does not go down that easily unless he is trying to draw attention and sway the referees. In a way this is not surprising as the NBA has specifically created laws to fine and punish flopping due to the “techniques” being used by foreign players in the league.
The Huskies need to study and execute the first 30 minutes of today’s game for a full 40 minutes tomorrow against the Oregon Ducks. The last 10 minutes need to be thrown away as the slow tempo play that allowed the Cougars to make another improbable comeback is garbage and the complete opposite of what the Dawgs find success in. A win is a win, but the Huskies have a long way to go with another 3 wins necessary to reach the NCAA.