by: Griffin Bennett
In the last game before a week off until Pac-10 play begins, the Huskies gave all of us an early Christmas present with a 90-60 victory over Nevada. It was a dominant performance the whole way through and Nevada couldn’t have shot their way out of paper bag. Same story, different day. The Huskies dominated a weak opponent and looked every bit of a top 10 team. We didn’t really learn anything as we are all waiting to see a performance like this against a good team. Nevertheless, I’m not one to get negative after an impressive win like the one Wednesday night. This time of the year we all know that Santa is making his list, and checking it twice. Let’s see who made his Naughty and Nice lists.
- Team Defense – Another dominant night for the Huskies swarming defense. The Huskies packed the stats with seven blocks, seven steals, while forcing the Wolf Pack to 11 turnovers, 28.3 FG%, and 16.7 3Pt%. Their off-ball movement was excellent as they held Nevada to zero assists in the first half. Keep in mind that Venoy didn’t even play.
- Isaiah Thomas – He had the best night of the season and was easily the MVP. He had 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. He should have had upwards of 8+ assists if MBA hadn’t bricked countless point blank lay-ups. It was exactly the night that he needed heading into league play next week.
- Aziz N’Diaye – He recorded his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Even more impressive was his defensive decision making that helped him to limit his fouls to only two while playing 20 minutes. He looks a lot more comfortable on both ends and his circus reverse lay-up was amazing. He could be blossoming at the right time.
- MBA – While his missed lay-ups are causing me to invest in Just For Men at a young age, his rebounding effort looked markedly improved and playing his more natural position at PF looks to be helping his game. His 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks were very nice.
- Justin Holiday – We’re starting to take him for granted. As our most consistent player, we are getting spoiled with his daily lines that looked like his tonight: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 2 for 3 from deep. I love watching him every night and his reverse dunk was the highlight of the night.
- Rebounding – Huskies won the key stat that they have been focused on all year as they beat Nevada on the boards 55 to 40. Nevada’s cold shooting hands gave the Huskies numerous opportunities to work on their game and it paid off huge. They had 4 different players with 8+ rebounds. It’s a step in the right direction.
- Gant, Suggs, and Ross – They all gave the Huskies what they will need from them the rest of the season. Consistent rebounding and scoring off of the bench will be key all year from these guys. Gant contributed a much needed 4 rebounds while Suggs and Ross scoring with 8 and 9 points respectively. It’s nice to have players like them to come in and help out when players like Gaddy and Wilcox are struggling from the field.
- Abdul Gaddy – It was a rough night for the sophomore as he went 1-6 from the field and 0-3 from downtown. His got his fourth foul early in the second half which hurt, but he came back in with around 7 minutes late and played better. It was dissapointing to see Gaddy struggle after Romar said that he wanted Abdul to start shooting more. Hopefully it won’t carry over into next week. On a positive note, his 5 assists and zero turnovers were very nice to see.
- C.J. Wilcox – He struggled from field shooting 1-7 from the field and 1-4 from deep. He will have off shooting nights, but he missed a few wide open threes that he needs to drill. His defense continues to be his Achilles-heel and may keep Romar from giving him more minutes.
- Free Throws – In a night where everything was working, you’d like to see more than 15 attempts from the line. You would also like to see the team hit more than 9 of them for 60%.
It was a great night to be a Dawg fan and overall it was a much needed step forward heading into Pac-10 play. The rebounding numbers seem to be improving and I think that Coach Romar is feeling confident about where his team is at this point. Romar said that Overton could have played if he had to, but that his hyper-extended knee needed some rest. Also, Holiday left the game with a sprained ankle and had it x-rayed but Romar doesn’t think that it’s anything to worry about. The week off will help those guys get healthy and it looks like the team will have all of it’s bullets ready for USC next Wednesday. We’re all waiting for the Huskies to dominate a good team and the Trojans will be a great test. I still can’t believe that it won’t be on TV, but I’m ready for the real season to begin. Are you ready?