by Craig Yamada
One man in a yellow wind breaker sat in a sea of purple on Thursday night at Hec Ed. In his coat he hid a duck call blower. At first I thought he was just being an obnoxious Duck fan who was just trying to anger his neighbors. And suddenly it dawned on me. This man was a confused soul. Duck calls are used to by hunters. And tonight that call allowed the Huskies to shoot down the Ducks in the second half off the backs of Terrence Ross and Isaiah Thomas 87-69. Way to think it through fella.
Isaiah Thomas tweeted this summer that he would dunk in a game this year. And tonight he made good on that promise. Extra juiced to play well for his fallen teammate, Abdul Gaddy, Thomas got into a passing lane in the second half and found himself in a familiar situation: A break away. Thomas looked back and saw his defender 5 feet behind him and sprung up for a one handed jam that brought the home crowd to its feet. Thomas soon raised the roof as he promised he would over Twitter. Thomas finished with 20 points and game high 9 assists.
The Dawgs seemed like they were lulled to sleep in the first half of play. The loss of Abdul Gaddy was definitely apparent as the offense was not flowing as smoothly as we had grown accustomed to. However Terrence Ross soon woke the team back up as he subbed in after the first 5 minutes of play. Ross went off for a career high 25 points on Thursday and he was simply spectacular. Ross picked up right where he left off during his LA trip as he scored in multiple fashions. He was lighting it up from beyond the arc. He attacked the high post with his smooth jumper. But his most impressive play was in the open floor. Ross’ basketball IQ is through the roof and can control his body with the best of them. Ross’ alley oop by way of IT put his signature on tonights game as he won MVP honors tonight. But Ross displayed another part of his game that Romar longed for all season. He defended well. He totaled a game high 4 steals and had a big block against Joevan Catron. With his length and athleticism, he will become a real asset to Romar as the season progresses. He showed why he was the Oregon 5A player of the year as a sophomore on Thursday night. Tonight a star was officially born in Ross.
Scott Suggs also played nicely tonight as he provided a nice spark off the bench as he equaled Ross with three from beyond the arc. Suggs finished with 13 points. MBA also had a nice game tonight as he put up another impressive stat line of 13 points and a team high 8 rebounds. The Huskies actually neglected their big man a bit in the second half with their guards taking over the game from the outside.
Overton had a rather average game in his first stint filling in for Gaddy. He succeed in finding the open man tonight as he garnered 5 assists on the night, but had three turnovers as he seemed a bit out control during certain stretches. UW will definitely need Overton to step up his game as the Pac-10 season progresses.
All things considered it was a good finish for the Huskies as they worked through some sloppy play in the first and second half. Full game highlights compliments of UW Athletics:
- Husky Bench: The Husky bench accounted for nearly half of UW’s production tonight. Thanks mainly to Terrence Ross and Scott Suggs. Both players made the most of their extra minutes and can definitely expect too see larger shares of minutes moving forward as CJ Wilcox continues to mend from his infection. This just further begs the question: Did Terrence Ross earn a starting spot tonight?
- Isaiah Thomas: Although IT started slowly tonight, he played like a true PG tonight. He set up his teammates all night long with his court vision and his 9 assists were definitely proof of that.
- Rebounding: Is it just me, or has MBA vastly improved his rebounding technique? MBA attacks the ball when it comes off the glass and he gathers himself with his elbows spread. As a team the Dawgs out-boarded the Ducks 34-27 as they continue to showcase their improvement in team rebounding.
- Forcing Turnovers: The Huskies hit my quota of 15 turnovers tonight and they ultimately turned the tide of the game because of it.
- Busting the Zone: It took UW a while tonight to figure out a way to bust Oregon’s zone defense. They finally fed the high post and Ross benefited as a result, but had issues getting into sync prior to that. With Oregon State coming into town on Saturday, UW better have their zone buster plan ready.
- Careless Passing: The Dawgs had 12 turnovers on the night as they seemed a bit out of sync on offense. Overton looked a bit of control at times as he threw some out of reach passes to his perimeter players. Thomas also contributed with three turnovers. The absence of Abdul Gaddy was apparent in this department tonight as the Huskies will have to re-adjust without their floor leader.
- Free Throws: At home and against Oregon, 50% was enough to win. On any other night, they may find themselves in trouble.
- Not Feeding MBA: During key stretches of the game tonight MBA, was wide open in the post. And most importantly, Joevan Catron was guarding him. With MBA’s height advantage and Catron in foul trouble, the Dawgs should have gone at him. MBA has earned his touches and should get the ball a little more when shots aren’t falling.