Huskies Salvage Thin At-Large Hopes with Win at Pullman


Great win for the Dawgs tonight in Pullman. The Huskies defeated the Cougars, 59-52, and kept a small amount of hope alive for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament field.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning (17 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks) has had games when he’s scored more points, but it’d be hard to argue with the assertion that this was his best game as a Husky. In the first half, the man from the U.K. looked as good as any player on UK, KU, or any other team in the country.

Isaiah Thomas had 13 of his 22 points in the second half and helped the Huskies overcome a big run by the Cougars early in the second half that briefly saw the Huskies lose the lead.

After dominating the first half, going into the locker room up 35-21, the Cougars started the half with a 25-9 run, whipping the Wazzu crowd into a frenzy.

As the Cougars took a 46-44 lead with about seven minutes left, the frenzied crowd celebrated the very real possibility that the night could end in a win for the hometown team. But, three-pointers by Scott Suggs and Thomas gave the Huskies a lead which they would never relinquish.

Observations and analysis:

Matthew Bryan-Amaning’s first 12 or so minutes tonight were the best stretch of his Husky career. Seeing him do it against DeAngelo Casto, the Pac-10’s most underrated player and a (future) legit pro prospect, was encouraging. MBA’s M.O. has so commonly been to play better against bad competition, so this was a true breakthrough for him.

Scott Suggs, minus his shooting, is a very mediocre ballplayer. He’s got the raw materials, but this is a big offseason for him. Lots of work to do.

We can’t turn the ball over 19 times if we’re going to try to win the Pac-10 Tournament.

Now that the Huskies are eliminated from the conference race, I say, root root root for Cal. The more comfortable the Bears feel with their at-large bid hopes, the less likely they’ll bring the heat to the Pac-10 Tournament.

If I’m voting for Pac-10 Player of the Year, I’ve got to pay some attention to the fact that Quincy Pondexter (seven points, seven rebounds tonight) only averages 14.4 points in road games, right?

I don’t mean to be negative, but you heard it here first (and I imagine you’ve thought this as well): Abdul Gaddy, Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, Tyreese Breshers and MBA, with V.O. first off the bench, is not a Pac-10 championship lineup. We need Terrence Jones and another big body.

If the Huskies win their next two, they’d have to go into the Pac-10 Tournament as a semi-favorite. They’d be on a six-game winning streak, finally in possession of a legitimate third scorer, with the highest ceiling of any team competing in Staples that week not called the “Lakers.”

Next up, Oregon on Thursday at 7 PM. No TV, so be sure to get batteries for those transistor radios! (Am I the only one who still uses a transistor radio?)

Thanks for coming!