Gant's Moustache: Thoughts on the Huskies' 86-71 Win Over San Francisco

Gants Moustache logo copy
Gants Moustache logo copy /

Huskies wear out Dons in Pac-10 tune up

This is Gant’s Moustache, filling in for Montlake Madness while he vacations. I’ll be covering the next 4 Husky games— giving you the scoop on Husky game action the way I saw it happen.

Some fans wear rose-colored glasses. Some fans see every glass as half empty. I just try to see things over my big, hairy moustache.

Will the Real Huskies Please Stand Up?

A Jekyll and Hyde performance from Washington (9-2) was good enough to beat a weak San Francisco (4-10) team, 86-71, this afternoon at Hec Edmundson Pavillion. This historic victory marked the 1600th in the program’s history. It was also the first time the Huskies and Dons ever played one another.

Please raise your hand if you know what a Don is. Anybody? Seriously. Anyone? Luckily for the inconsistent Huskies, on Saturday, Webster’s defined a Don as “a Division I basketball team with one good player and a bunch of tall guys who can’t shoot.”

After a slow start, likely fueled by a few days without basketball, the Huskies got on track behind great post play from Tyreese Breshers. It also helps that Superman, I mean Quincy Pondexter, finds ways to score from everywhere on the court.

The Huskies let the Dons hang around early, but took a commanding 16-point lead into halftime, despite IT being held scoreless for the second game in a row.

I made a celebratory sandwich during the half and planned on eating it while I watched the Huskies win by thirty. To my dismay, the second half began with a 5-minute stretch of awful basketball that nearly caused me to choke on a stringy piece of salami. The Dons cut the lead to 4 faster than you can say ‘why is Clarence Trent in the game right now?’ (And that’s exactly what I did say just before Romar called time and took him out.)

For some reason, the Huskies have these 4- or 5-minute stretches where they look unenthused, tentative and disorganized. This disturbing trend has reared its ugly head in every game of this young season, with the exception of the Portland State beating. *I wonder: is this because of the 11 man rotation? Does the team just lose rhythm? I would love to hear your comments on this.

Luckily, this team manages to turn things around in a hurry. That’s exactly what they did on Saturday. Scott “Don’t Call me Terrell” Suggs’ only basket of the night was a big three-pointer from the corner with 11 minutes left, which extended the lead from 4 to 7. He is not quite “Big Shot Scott” but I like his poise, shooting with a hand in his face, and knocking down big three’s. I thought this was a critical shot because it really took the wind out of the sails of the Dons.

Q-Pon, Overton and MBA pretty much took off from there as the Husky defense clamped down and the fast break baskets began to fall like rain. The Huskies never looked back. Elston Turner played some nice minutes down the stretch, and Holiday and Gant were quietly great defensively. (Venoy was also great defensively, but he doesn’t do anything quietly.)

A few thoughts on a few Huskies:

–          Please dunk the ball MBA. He actually dunked the ball twice, which was great to see. Still, watching him try for that reverse layup on the fast break pass from Overton early in the second half was like watching a squirrel fly an airplane, it just didn’t make sense.

Speaking of squirrels, Michael Williams, #5 on the Dons, was standing beneath the basket. He is barely 6 feet tall and as MBA came toward the hoop, he looked just like a squirrel dodging an 18-wheeler on I-5. This was not an appropriate moment for MBA to show finesse. Jump and dunk the ball on his head, please!

Other than that, MBA played a real nice game and seems to be getting the message that he needs to take it up strong on offense. He finished with 13 points, 6 boards and 3 steals.

–          Venoy makes us go. When this team is led by the ‘go-go-go’ mindset of Venoy (and he is able to keep his rocket fuel from burning himself and his teammates up), this team is fun to watch and very difficult to beat.  Not sure why it works so well, but Venoy is just much better off the bench.

–          Quincy is ridiculous. Quincy scored 22 points on 10 of 12 shooting, and pulled in 5 boards, with three blocks. If he needed to, I think he could have scored 35 in this one. Luckily, he was moving around well, showing no physical damage from his performance in the Nutcracker on Dec. 23rd.

–          Gaddy is still struggling. He had a nice drive to open the game, and a pretty bank shot in the second half as well.  You can tell how good he can be if he just believes in himself a bit more and plays with some swagger. It’ll happen. I am a believer.

–          IT making adjustments. The league is starting to realize that if you keep IT in front of you and clog the lane, he has trouble scoring. His response? He is becoming much more adept at driving into the contact and finding open teammates. He is going to force opponents to choose their poison: let him score contested layups or find wide-open teammates? I think opponents are going to find that committing to stopping IT isn’t the magic formula to beating the Huskies—especially if he continues to pass in traffic so effectively.

Final analysis: With Pac-10 play beginning against Oregon State this Thursday, the missed dunks, careless turnovers and bad stretches will have to stop.  We seemed to have controlled the turnovers, but it is hard to tell if that will last long.

If not for a badly broken leg, and a team full of guys who had a very hard time putting the ball in the basket, would we have been 2-0 these past two games?  I am not so sure.

The Pac-10 is up next. In a down year for the conference, we can’t make too many mistakes and be guaranteed tourney bid. The real season starts on Thursday!