by: Griffin Bennett
Someone had a case of the Mondays! The crowd, the players, and even the dunks looked sluggish on a dreary Monday night at Hec-Ed. The loudest it got was when, Husky legend, Nate Robinson was shown on the big screen sitting in the first row. From the introductions on, the Huskies looked flat on the court but neither the offense or defense looked to be effected. There’s always room to grow, but even in one of the poorest showings of the year, the Dawgs won by 22 in a 94-72 bout. Let’s take a deeper look into the game that was.
- Justin “MVP” Holiday – With all due respect to Mr. Thomas, Justin has been the MVP of the team thus far. His game has no weakness and he has the effort to match. Tonight he garnered 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3-4 from the beyond the arc, and 8 “Holidays” which is a new stat that I just made up that keeps track of dives on the floor, jumping throws off of an opponent to retain possession, charges taken, and fast break passes. I might have to change my man-crush from Scott Suggs to Justin.
- Scott Suggs – Never mind, I can’t cheat on Scott like that. Finally feeling healthy after tweaking his MCL against Michigan State, Suggs dropped 13 points while shooting 3-6 from deep. He made the shot of the night that silenced Portland’s late push while playing 18 minutes which was more than Wilcox and Ross combined (17).
- Isaiah Thomas – At 5’8” (maybe) he was the leading scorer (20) and leading rebounder (7) for the Dawgs Monday night. He continues to do what is needed for his team to win which is exactly what a leader should do. His defense lacked at times, but he continues to have supremely solid games.
- Rebounding and Defense – I’ll combine these two tonight as they go hand-in-hand. Winning the rebounding battle 35-28 was key and the guards did an exceptionally good job of chasing down long rebounds which made the difference beacuse Portland’s Luke Sikma (16 rebounds) was destroying Aziz and MBA down low. The defense forced 13 turnovers which are alright, but it also held their shooters to 8-25 three-point shots.
- Three-points shooting – 13 for 23. ‘Nuff said.
- Assist-to-turnover ratio – 20 to 9. The Huskies are top 5 in the country in assists per game and it doesn’t look like it’s going to fall soon if this team continues to find the outlet on the perimeter.
- Darnell Gant and Aziz N’Diaye – Aziz continues to struggle during his post-Maui starting opportunities. I continue to hear that he has been destroying in practice, but it just doesn’t come together for him come game day. Gant had been so hot as of late, so I won’t get on his case after a less than impressive night.
- Energy and Intensity – It was just a weird night. The atmosphere was dull and I think the players could feel it. The Dawg Pack was ¾ full and the crowd was late-arriving. I don’t think this will be a lingering problem.
- Venoy Overton – Look Venoy, I’m going to talk straight to you. I can’t hate on your defense (3 steals) but you have to start staying in control and finding the open guy on fast breaks. I know I’m picking on you, but you’re a senior and I have to make an example of somebody. Oh, stop jacking up threes too. Now get out there and be somebody.
There will be better days, but I think we’re getting spoiled by this team. It’s only December and Texas A&M waits for the Dawgs next. This will be the last true test before Pac-10 play starts and it will be a great barometer to see if these Huskies are truly ready to make that next step. Bow Down.