Game Preview: UW vs Eastern Washington

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by Craig Yamada

Who: UW (1-0) vs Eastern Washington (0-1)

When: Tuesday, November 16th @ 7 PM

Where: Hec Edmunson Pavillion

Coverage: FSN NW
                                                                                                         The Huskies are coming off the hands of a huge landslide victory against McNeese St. They welcome in the Eastern Washington Eagles on Tuesday night. Eastern Washington is coming off a 67-60 loss against ex-Husky, Adrian Oliver, and the San Jose St. Spartans. The have also gone (0-2) in two competitive exhibition games thus far against Seattle Pacific and Montana St. Billings. Needless to say, EWU is hungry for a win and they will be bringing their best game to Hec Ed on Tuesday. This will be UW’s final opportunity for a tune up before they fly to Maui for the Maui Classic.

Eagles 101: The Eagles are anchored by 6’7” JR forward, Tremayne Johnson, who scored 21 points and grabbed 7 rebounds on his opening night against San Jose St. Johnson also is their best three point threat as he went over 40% from beyond the arc last game.  5’10” Sophomore guard, Jeffrey Forbes, is second on the team in scoring with 15 ppg. Their third scorer is 6’7” JR PF, Cliff Ederaine, who garnered 8 points last week while grabbing 10 rebounds. Ederaine has averaged 10 rebounds per game including all of his exhibition games thus far.

Their team is without their Big Sky Conference FOY, Glenn Dean, entering into Tuesday. Without Dean, EWA lacks a true PG. As a result, they turned the ball over 17 times to San Jose State.

Projected Starting Line Up:

G – Kevin Winford, 5’11” – 5.0 ppg
G – Jeffrey Forbes, 5’10” –  15.0 ppg
F – Tremayne Johnson, 6’7” – 21.0 ppg
F – Laron Griffin,  6’8” – 5.0 ppg
C – Cliff Ederaine, 6’7” – 8.0 ppg
                                                                                                                 Huskies 101: UW, coming off a 54 point win, has to feel confident heading into Tuesday’s game with EWU. UW has a 10 man rotation working well right now and has allowed them to keep up their defensive intensity from start to finish. The return of Darnell Gant and Venoy Overton has definitely given UW a huge boost on the defensive end. Both of these players know their roles and both played quite well on Saturday. I will look for Romar to deploy the same lineup he did last game in efforts to control the boards and the tempo from the tip.

PG – Abdul Gaddy, SG – IT, SF – Justin Holiday, PF – Darnell Gant, C – MBA

The Huskies win if:

  • They can force 20+ turnovers against a turnover prone EWU team. The sideline half court trap defense will definitely give the Eagles fits. The length of our squad this year allows us to gamble a little more on defense. I noticed that guys were aggressive in going for steals for the simple reason of having Aziz and MBA waiting in the paint in case they got beat.
  • They can get MBA going early on.  Establishing a post presence is a sure fire way to open up the perimeter for our shooters.
  • They can lockdown EWU’s stud. Look for Holiday to put the defensive handcuffs on Johnson all game long to keep them off balance. I also will look for Gant to switch off on Johnson when Holiday is out of the game.

The Huskies lose if:

  • They have issues establishing their fast tempo. I will look for EWU to try and slow down the Huskies by working the clock on offense. They have averaged 65 ppg thus far in their first three games (including scrimmages).
  • They can’t break a 1-3-1 zone. Look for the Eagles to go zone if UW pulls ahead early to slow down the tempo of the game.  From what we saw on Saturday, they had little trouble dumping the ball into Holiday at the high post which opened MBA down low for easy buckets.
  • They lose the glass. Controlling the boards will be key. If UW loses the rebounding battle, this game will be closer than it needs to be. Now that Desmond Simmons is red-shirting, UW will need to keep their bigs healthy and out of early foul trouble.

Game Prediction:

The Dawgs keep it close for the first 5 minutes, but ultimately will have the advantage in turnovers resulting in plenty of transition buckets. Look for UW to win this one 106 – 69.

Notes:
Huskies Two Game Report Card: As Griffin noted in the McNeese St. Recap, it’s hard to project how good this team really will be this season following the two blowouts we have witnessed thus far. Long story short, if I had to divy out a report card for the first two games, it would look like this:

  • Isaiah Thomas = A : IT gets my best grade so far on this team as he looks ready to take on the responsibility of utility man on this team. IT just does the necessary things for this team to win. He has shown he can distribute the ball well. He has shown he can score if he needs to. His defensive tenacity alone is leading by example for the entire team.
  • MBA = A- : MBA has officially turned the corner. We saw flashes of his upside last year, but was still a little rough around the edges. He has refined his skills this summer and his post presence has reflected his efforts. MBA no longer goes up with a quick shot while being off balance. He now has a wide array of post moves, including a big drop step up and under move. He is confident and is going up strong every time he touches the ball. Look for UW to establish MBA early and often moving forward.  The only knock on MBA has been his free throw shooting (50%)
  • Abdul Gaddy = A- : Gaddy is playing like an McDonald’s All American PG. He’s just a year late to the party. For all of those critics thinking Gaddy was the same player as last year, I am sure you are biting your lip right now. Gaddy looks like a completely different player: confident and quick. He is beating his man off the dribble when he wants to and looks smooth as he drives the line. He no longer appears hesitant.  And yes, his shot looks much improved. On defense, he knows what he is doing now. His slimmer frame is allowing him to jump through screens and has done wonders for forcing turnovers. He’s ready to turn his haters into believers this year.
  • Justin Holiday = A – : Holiday struggled a bit to get his shot going against McNeese. However we did see his full potential during the St. Martin’s game. Look for Holiday to become more consistent on the offensive end. He has done well finding his opening teammates thus far and is still a defensive workhorse.
  • Venoy Overton = A –  : Venoy’s presence alone makes us a better team. He didn’t score too much, but he forced 6+ turnovers last game and dished out 6 assists. Venoy knows his role on this team and will help fill big minutes when Gaddy or IT is on the bench.
  • Scott Suggs = B+ : Suggs pretty much picked off where he was last year. He is still a spot up shooter and resides around the arc, which is what Romar needs him to be. He struggled a bit last game with his outside shot, but had one very nice baseline drive to the basket which showed he is developing other aspects of his game.
  • Darnell Gant = B : Gant is officially back and has re-established himself into the Huskies defensive scheme. He blocked shots and rebounded well. He may not be a scorer this year, but he did shoot confidently last game from beyond the arc. He was 0-2 but his shooting form looks much improved.
  • Aziz N’Diaye = B –  : N’Diaye really turned some heads against McNeese. He showed his potential as he rebounded, blocked shots and threw down jams. His balance and footwork are still very raw on the offensive end. Both will come with time, but we will need to temper expectations for Aziz. He will be great, but he is definitely a work in progress. Free throws, we all know the story. I’m sure Romar has him running suicides for a day for his last performance from the stripe (3 for 15). He will need to remedy this before teams start taking a “Hack-a-Shaq” approach to playing UW.
  • Terrence Ross = B – : Ross just had an off game against McNeese. He did have a nice 3 pointer in rhythm, but had struggles getting his shot going later in the game. His athleticism is unparalleled on this team and it could take 4-5 games before Ross establishes bigger minutes in this lineup.
  • CJ Wilcox = B – : Wilcox looks to be the 10th man off the bench, but has shown that he is a very streaky shooter. He did well in garbage time from beyond the arc against McNeese, but would love to see him get more minutes.
  • Sherrer/Hosley = B – : Anytime these guys play, it’s great news for us. They get B’s just for getting into the game.