Gant’s Moustache: Thoughts on Oregon's 90-79 Win Over The Huskies


Huskies Get Spanked by Talented Oregon Team

The Oregon Ducks (10-4) defeated the Washington Huskies (10-3) at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, 90-79. The Ducks dominated the Huskies in the second half behind the tremendous play of the backcourt duo of Malcolm Armstead and Tajuan Porter. Their big man, Michael Dunigan, was equally impressive, overpowering the Huskies inside (7-10 from the field and 6 -7 from the line).

Have you ever seen a duck outrun a dog? Well, it happened for about 40 minutes on Saturday in Seattle. Lorenzo Slomar’s—I mean Romar’s—Huskies were a step slower than their opponents from the get-go. I have to give Oregon credit. They played a great game. I am not going to be surprised if they contend for the Pac-10 title, which is looking more and more up in the air these days.

The Ducks hit seven three pointers (and shot 41%), played effective defense, made nearly 80% of their foul shots, got contributions from nine or 10 guys and only turned the ball over eight times. Most significantly, our big three (Thomas, Overton and Pondexter) looked like the junior varsity compared to their three-headed monster (Armstead, Porter and Dunigan).

The first ten minutes of the game saw the Huskies clicking on all cylinders. The crowd was excited, IT nailed a three from the top of the key just twelve seconds into the game, Gaddy was playing with swagger—all seemed to be right in the world: the 17th ranked team in the nation was playing a conference home game against an inferior opponent and it showed. 

With about 12 minutes left in the first half, it felt as if the Huskies were up by twenty-five. Then Suggs buried his second bomb in a row to put us up 24-16. I was at the game with a huge smile on my face, admiring Gant’s moustache from my seat across from the Husky bench, and begging myself to remember to dress in layers next time I attended a home game.

A scene from an hour before the game tipped….Husky janitor #1: “Hey let’s turn the heat up to 85 for today’s game just to mess with the Ducks.” Husky janitor #2: “Won’t that screw our guys up too?” Husky janitor #1: (Silent nodding, while he turns up the heat to 85 anyway.)

From there, we got spanked. Although we only trailed by one at halftime, the second half began with an 8-1 Oregon run. We were down 50-42 when Romar called for time. From that point forward, the Ducks beat the Huskies up and down the floor. Their guards penetrated into the lane time after time, either making a circus layup, being fouled, or hitting Michael Dunkagain—I mean Dunigan—with a perfect pass which led to a hoop. They hit threes, made baseline jumpers and fast break layups on the way to scoring 49 points in the second half.

We lost by 11, but it honestly could have been 20. The Huskies weren’t in this game after the first time out of the second half . . . just a brutal loss.

Yes, I know this is only one game, but….here is The Bad News:

Our defense isn’t good. We force a lot of turnovers and have a knack for turning them into fast break baskets. Unfortunately, these steals come at a price: we commit so heavily to closing down passing lanes that we do not guard the paint.

It amazes me how many easy baskets our opponents get by either driving the baseline (which is simply NEVER guarded in this defense) or by driving right down the lane after one of our guards swings and misses at a steal.

Against mediocre guards (every team we have played except for Georgetown and Oregon), our defense looks incredible. We force turnover after turnover and teams can’t get into their offense. But against legit, veteran guards (like Porter) we look overanxious and undisciplined. They wait for us to swipe at the ball, drive past our guards and have a 5-4 break on almost every play. We need to adjust our philosophy or we simply can’t hang with good teams.

Romar still doesn’t have his rotation figured out. I want to believe that Romar has a plan. After all, we are 13 games into the season.  But then I see things like Clarence Trent playing in critical situations. Huh? I thought we resolved this already. I like Trent and think he will contribute in the future, but what is he doing in a Pac-10 game that we are trailing by eight at home?

Every player needs to know his role so he can contribute to the best of his ability. Honestly, Husky fans, after watching this team for 13 games, do you think these players understand their roles? Do you think Romar has a master plan for each guy? I am not so sure. When Romar called Trent into the game he was shocked. It reminded me of the look on my face when I was 14 years old and my grandmother turned to me from the front seat of her Chevy Cavalier and said, “I’m tired, you drive.”

The Good News:

At least we have 16 more conference games remaining, we took care of Oregon State, and still have a chance to play our best basketball in March this year, rather than January like last year. We are talented and just need some tweaking. The world has not ended, but losing to Oregon at home sure does suck.