by Craig Yamada
Venoy Overton found himself in unfamiliar role coming out of halftime against the Eagles of Eastern Washington. He was featured as a SF and guarding the toughest assignment of the night, Tremayne Johnson. And as a result, the Huskies stormed to a 12 point lead around the 15:00 mark and eventually led the Dawgs to a 98-72 victory over EWU.
Venoy was all over the floor tonight as he seemingly disrupted the Eagle offensive flow by just looking at a player. He had two big steals in the first half to create points in transition for MBA and himself. Venoy was the catalyst for a Husky team that started the game a bit sluggish compared to the past two games. Venoy finished the game with 9 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. VO also grabbed the Montlake Madness MVP for UW tonight. Congrats VO, and we are all hoping you didn’t seriously injure your tailbone tonight. Heal fast.
Things I liked:
- Abdul Gaddy – Gaddy has arrived folks. He is the truth. He’s slimmer. He’s quicker. He’s a legitimate 3 point threat. No, that is not a typo. Gaddy’s shot release is much improved and he is shooting with high confidence. Thank you Ryan Appleby. And that confidence is trickling down for the rest of his game. He looked like the floor general tonight as he weaved through defenses with his dribble and found the open man for 6 assists. He even outscored IT tonight with 13 points.
- Terrence Ross – Ross responded well from an off game against McNeese. He was a force in the first half as he found openings in the key where he was able to knock down his jumper. He is almost Kobe-esque in the way he fades away from his shot in the key. He even knocked in a big three late in the first half to extend UW’s lead. UW is looking for Ross as a scoring option on every play. With only 14 minutes of playing time, I was amazed at what he accomplished tonight. Look for Ross to continue to get more time as the season progresses.
- Justin Holiday – Holiday was the game’s high scorer tonight with 18 points. He did very well in the mid range tonight by knocking in open shots when presented the opportunity. He also had a thunderous one handed throw down on a fast break that brought the fans to their feet. It was a quiet 18, but nonetheless Holiday played a solid game.
- MBA – MBA responded nicely to a quick benching after he neglected to dive for a loose ball on the floor. He finished with another double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. He went 50% from the line tonight as well. Much better than Saturday, but still has room for improvement
- Romar’s 2nd Half Adjustment – With Darnell Gant having an off game and Tremayne Johnson getting his way to the rim in the 1st half, Romar changed things up by going extremely small in the 2nd half by starting IT, Gaddy and Overton. The defense was disruptive and the guards and small forwards had issues getting to the basket as they were stripping balls away and creating turnovers.
Areas for Improvement:
- Aziz N’Diaye – Tough game for Aziz as he looked a bit out of it today as he picked up some unnecessary fouls and could not get his body in the right position to make defensive plays. His post presence still needs some refining as he appeared a bit raw on the offensive end. He will continue to improve as he finds his legs this year. But for now, let’s temper our expectations. Aziz is in there to be a defensive game changer, and he has been doing his job thus far.
- Darnell Gant – Darnell was the first man to head to the bench in the 1st half. He had some issues catching some easy passes from Gaddy and IT at the high post. And he found himself riding the pine to start the 2nd half. Just an off game for Darnell, but I fully expect him to start against Virginia in the Maui Classic.
- Establishing rhythm for players – The one thing I did notice is that Romar is still searching for his winning formula for this team. Last game, we saw Aziz get into early foul trouble and let him play it out. And it worked out well. I just hope he will instill the same confidence in players like Terrence Ross who got pulled as soon as he made a defensive lapse or a turnover. Once Ross is in rhythm, I am sure he will be ready to be a centerpiece for this team.
- Awkward lineup – Yes I know, it’s way too early to assess what works and what doesn’t. I am as guilty as anyone by declaring that any combo of our 10 man rotation is workable. I was wrong. At one point in the second half a lineup of Aziz, Gant, Suggs, Wilcox and Overton were in in the game. The scoring threat for this kind of a lineup isn’t the most threatening. Aziz and Gant aren’t the most productive offensive players in the post. And I noticed that Wilcox and Suggs play the same role in the offense as spot up shooters. I realize they were trying to bust up a zone with two shooters, but the Huskies need a legit threat in the high post for that to work (Holiday or Ross). The experiment didn’t last long as IT soon entered for Suggs. This lineup is similar to what we saw when ET and Suggs were in the game together last year.
All in all, a fine win for the Dawgs. It was not as convincing as Saturday, but in someways it was good to have a somewhat competitive tuneup before we take on the big boys in Maui. Mahalo plenty for stopping by and get your viewing parties ready for next week.
More to come soon.