Dawgs ward off Sun Devils 88-75


by: Griffin Bennett

While the 13 point margin of victory looks good, the game was close until the very end. Every time the Huskies would try to pull away, the Sun Devils would just drain a three to bring it back. The Dawgs have had slow first halves before, but this was the first time that they didn’t pull away from a mediocre team in the second half. I just assumed that Arizona State would cool off from three, the Huskies defense would improve, and they would become more motivated but it never happened. With 4:10 left in the game, the Huskies were only up 70-68. I wasn’t truly worried up until that point. I just kept imagining Ty Abbott draining a game winner as the Dawg Pack collectively buckled under the weight of the loss. Luckily, the Huskies turned it on and outscored the Sun Devils 18-7 the rest of the way. It was close.

Secondly, let me just state that after seeing the terribly officiated Arizona game, I didn’t think that it could get worse. It got worse. I’m usually not one for hyperbole, but I’ve never seen a collectively poorer outing from a group of officials than I did Saturday afternoon. It didn’t favor one team or the other, but the refs were just disorganized and confused the entire game. It kept either team from getting in a groove as either coach was arguing as the ball went down the court.

With that out of the way I think we can start looking at how the game broke down. The ASU offense really suffered from a lack of a true point guard. It would stall at times, but their forced shots kept falling. The Huskies, on the other hand, thrived from their strong point guard play but their contested shots missed. Ty Abbott got hot and then just kept shooting. He was 4-7 from three as Isaiah Thomas’ attempt to guard him did not work well most of the night. I didn’t understand why Coach Romar wanted I.T. on Abbott as the 6’3″ 205 (he looked chunkier than that) guard shot over him all night. Luckily, it didn’t cost UW the game, but Romar’s opinion that I.T. is a “great defender” still escapes me. I want to see it, but I just don’t. I.T. is an average defender at best and it’s not because he doesn’t try or know how. He’s just too short and small to defend big time guards. On the other hand, I’m just a guy and Romar is the best coach on the West Coast. On to the grades:


  • Matthew Bryan-Amaning – When he plays like he did today, I have to call him by his full name. With ASU playing a small line-up to compete with UW’s athleticism, the team realized that MBA would have an advantage down low. He not only recognized it, he abused it. He went 11-16 for 30 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, and 8-8 from the charity stripe. Absolutely dominant. He finished at the hoop with incredible skill and battled for tough rebounds late in the game. If it wasn’t for some over-the-back calls late on ASU, MBA would have had his double-double.
  • Isaiah Thomas – His 19 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds came quietly but were just as effective. He is so good with the ball in his hands, that when he’s not on the court the offense looks lost. I don’t think that it’s a knock on the team, but a compliment to how well I.T. leads the team when he’s on the floor.
  • Rebounds and Turnovers – The Dawgs won the board-battle 28-22 as well as only turning it over 10 times. The combination of both will always lead to victories.
  • Free-Throws – It was so refreshing to see that shooting from the Arizona game was not going to start trending. The Dawgs shot 20-26 from the line, including 8-10 from I.T. and 8-8 from MBA.
  • Scott Suggs – The newest starter keeps posting stat lines that should keep him right where he is. With Holiday having an “off night”, it was great to see Suggs make some clutch shots. He was 4-5 from the field and 2-3 from deep. His HUGE three with 1:08 left iced the game for good.


  • Off-ball Defense – The Huskies let too many of the ASU shooters get space and make shots. Especially in the first half, the Dawgs defense look lost as if they didn’t know who they were guarding. The Sun Devils drained threes which kept them in the game all day.
  • Aziz N’diaye – He played 18 minutes and got ONE rebound. How is that even possible? How does he not luck into at least 3? Just a shocking stat to see.
  • Three Point Shooting – Another off night. It’s starting to become a trend that doesn’t look promising. C.J. Wilcox looks like he lacks the confidence that he once had, but we all have to remember that he is still a freshman. If you could combine Wilcox and Ross into one player, you would have the freshman of the year. The Dawgs were 6 of 20 and hopefully the full week off will give each player time to shoot some extra shots.


I’ll take it. It was a let down game, by definition, and Romar teams always struggle against Sendek’s defense. Like Romar, I’m just happy to get the win and send them back to Tempe.

Now the Dawgs have a week off to prepare for a a tough road game against the Cougs. It should be a raucous crowd and a win would really shut all of those pompous fans up. Everyone will be talking about “Thompson vs. Thomas” and “Casto vs. Bryan-Amaning”, but we all know that the Huskies would win that tag-team match 10 times out of 10. Bow Down.