by: John Chase
I don’t even know what to say right now. The Huskies came out with zero heart, zero effort, and zero drive to win this game. The only player worthy of positive feedback is Scott Suggs. Suggs wanted to win tonight, Suggs wanted to score, Suggs didn’t want to lose to one of the bottom feeders. MBA played with zero intensity. He didn’t enforce his will like last month. He didn’t back his man down. He didn’t rebound.Isaiah Thomas played terrible once more. He would drive and turn the ball over. He couldn’t score, he couldn’t pass, he just kept giving up the ball. Justin Holiday played flat. He was just as average and nonchalant about the game as just about everyone else.
Just like the WSU game, UW forced the outside shot all too often and couldn’t hit anything. The inside lacked any post presence. I don’t remember seeing Aziz in the second half for more than 4 or 5 minutes. MBA was a non-factor. Gant didn’t do much.
OSU had too easy of a time passing inside and scoring. UW played terrible on the help defense.
UW couldn’t rebound either. MBA somehow managed 10, but I counted all too many times that he was boxed out with ease by his man. 44-31. You will not win a game having a -13 rebound margin.
UW attempted half the free throws OSU did (38 to 19) and only converted 9. You cannot miss 10 free throws on the road. Just pathetic. Aziz went 0-4, MBA went 2-6. That is unacceptable. I said it in the pregame, free throws win ball games and on the road you have to hit what little you are given.
Isaiah absolutely killed us today. If I had to put this loss on one persons play, not something I normally like to do, it would be Isaiah. 6 assist is normally nice, but he had 7 turnovers. 7. He only had 9 points on the night and 4 of those game from the line. He wasn’t getting the foul call and he refused to adjust his game. He wasn’t making his shots either. He finished 2-11 from the field, 1-6 from range. In the last two games Isaiah has resorted back to the selfish play he was known for in his first year and a half, except this time he isn’t getting the foul calls that bailed him out.
I really am at a loss for words with how to describe this loss. We really didn’t play to win today. We seemed to play because we had to. I never once saw the bench get excited, the plays throw up any salutes or high fives. Nothing. Give OSU credit for making us stay outside. They did a great job getting position on the glass and keeping the ball out of MBA’s hands. MBA went 5-12 from the field, by the way.
With Arizona’s win today, they take a 1 game lead for first place and we enter a tie with UCLA for second in the league. Oregon crushed WSU as well by 26 points and looks to be dangerous this weekend.
32% shooting from the field and 24% from range. 47% from the free throw line. -13 on the rebounding. That is the kind of slump and play that will haunt you for many games. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we get whooped Saturday at Oregon. The Huskies are playing with zero heart right now.
What was Good:
Scott Sugg’s First Half: 4-5 from range in the first half and a game high 14 points going into the break. He couldn’t miss, yet we didn’t feed him as much as we should have. He went 1-6 in the second half from range and fell apart like the rest of the Husky offense.
What was Decent:
MBA’s and Holiday’s Rebounding: By some miracle MBA finished with 10 boards and Holiday had 7. I really don’t know how that happened. MBA looked just plain overwhelmed in the post and was kept out of position more times than he got it. Aziz might as well have sat the entire game. He missed all 4 free throws, picked up 2 rebounds, and had 2 turnovers in 12 minutes. Terrence Ross managed 4 rebounds in 16 minutes, but didn’t contribute anything else.
What was Bad:
Ball Handling: Sure we only has 13 turnovers this time, but OSU also had 6 steals and UW only managed 12 assists. I.T. had over half of our turnovers. That is ugly. He needs to go back to playing smart basketball. As with WSU, this loss showed why we miss Gaddy. Gaddy may not score 20 points a game. He may not put on a flashy show and have double digit assists, but he does run a team very well and can dish out better than anyone.
Offensive Execution: We forced shots all night again. We could not hit our shots and we could not get any presence inside going. I don’t know how MBA managed 12 points. He air balled another short jump hook today. What happened to our mid range game? How about our dribble drive or the pick and roll. Sure the pick and roll is harder to execute against a zone, but there is no reason not to try it when it has been so effective thus far.
Inside Defense: OSU had their way in the paint due to UW not rotating well on defense and ignoring the weak side players that were open for backdoor cuts and the like.
Free Throws: I.T. was 4-5, Scott Suggs was 3-4. They were the only players with respectable numbers. When on the road, free throws are life and death. You take those 10 misses and convert them to points and suddenly its a new ball game. It was the same way at WSU and its the same way tonight. Make your shots, pretty simple.
Three Point Shooting: 29 three pointers out of 62 shots taken. Only made 7. Scott Suggs had 5 of those. Talk about going from a multi-optioned outside team to one dimensional. Not sure what happened between November and now, but it is nothing good. We need to find our shot again.
Player by Player Review:
Justin Holiday: 4 points on 2-8 shooting, 0-3 from outside, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover in 33 minutes. I was expecting a bigger offensive night as I imagined OSU focusing their efforts on MBA and I.T., effectively opening the court for Holiday to have a field day. He looked uninspired today and besides his rebounds, Holiday really didn’t contribute much to the game. Holiday missed a wide open lay-in, got the rebound and missed again…Pathetic. You are 6-6 and wide open. DUNK IT IN! Grade: C+
Matthew Bryan-Amaning: MBA should have been able to power his way to a much stronger double double tonight, but missed his shots and didn’t create enough opportunities for himself. The air ball nonsense from 10 feet out needs to stop. MBA needs to make a move to the post and go up strong. I counted at least 3 plays where he went up to get the rebound, brought it down, and went for a lay in that would miss instead of going up strong for a dunk. When you have the size, strength, and position to jam the ball in the hole, DO IT! 12 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover. Grade: B-
Venoy Overton: Overton was much more successful on the drive than Isaiah. He had the quickness and agility to execute the play, but really only went for it late in the second half. He had a very limited impact on the game as well. 4 points, 1 steal, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 1 turnover. Bleh. Grade: C
Brendan Sherrer: Did not play. Grade: N/A
Darnell Gant: After a strong showing the past few games, Gant did not show up to play big today. 23 minutes, only 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 4 points. 2-6 shooting. We needed him to produce on the glass and possibly on the scoreboard, but we had neither from him tonight. Grade: C-
Isaiah Thomas: Worst game of the year by far for Isaiah. This is the second straight game where Isaiah has done more harm than good. The difference between today’s game and Sunday’s outing was the 10 points more he had against WSU. 7 turnovers = a lot of opportunities missed for us and a lot more points for OSU. He is not getting the foul calls he used to and is seemingly refusing to adjust his game play to the way the fouls are (not) going. 2-11 shooting. We needed him as a point guard and play maker, not a scorer tonight, but it is hard to break a player of his ingrained habits this late in a season and career. While he has had tremendous success from the point the past few weeks, he is regressing back to playing with a 2 spot mentality. Grade: D
Aziz N’Diaye: He might as well have stayed on the bench. Zone defenses render him useless and Romar hardly played him. For only having 1 foul I am really not sure why Romar didn’t give him some more opportunities to make a difference inside when we had had so little success from the players underneath as it was. He needs to make his free throws and catch the ball with a little more power and confidence. Grade: D
Antoine Hosley: Did not play. Grade: N/A
C.J. Wilcox: Hit 1 of 3 shots from outside and played a team low 8 minutes. 2 rebounds and 1 assist. He didn’t have enough time to make an impact and didn’t do anything exceptional with what time he had on the court. Grade: C
Terrence Ross: 4 rebounds and 2 points in 16 minutes. 1-4 shooting and 0-3 from outside. Like C.J. he really didn’t have an effect on the game. He hustled decently enough, but had 0 steals and forced 0 turnovers. Grade: C-
I.T. said it was important to not let one loss turn into two, but it did and now they have to keep from sliding even further down with a loss a Oregon who is riding high and mighty after smashing WSU. UW will drop out of the polls regardless of Saturday’s performance and will likely drop to a 6 or 7 seed in the NCAA bracket. They have also put themselves in a big hole they will have to dig out of if they want a shot at the title. With Arizona getting to face us on their court this half of conference they are looking like the new strong favorites to win the title. Sure they have the tough California road trips to finish up, but UW just laid an egg at OSU and could easily drop the game at UO as well. Days like today I find it hard to write without a lot of emotion and wish I wasn’t so invested in this team. It is what it is. I’m trying to stay optimistic, but this is just screaming to be let down season. We have so much potential, yet we struggle to unleash it on the road. Sure you don’t have the home crowd cheering you on, but the nice part is the court is still 94 feet long, the free throw line is 15 feet from the basket, the hoops is 18 inches across, and the arc is still 20.75 feet from the basket. If UW wants to get this title they really can’t afford to lose any more games this season. If they want good seeding in March, or even get to the NCAA for that matter, they need to dominate the opposition and stop playing to their level and tempo. We need our post to go strong and we need our offense to get the ball to them. We need Isaiah to play the point and not the shooting guard position. We need consistent play and tough defense. We need to execute on offense and not miss the easy shots. Free throws need to be hit and games need to be won. I started this season thinking 18-0 and was a very real and achievable goal, but now I am hoping for 14-4 and second place in the league with hopefully a 7 seed in the tournament. This was a must win for UW and they dropped the ball big time. A loss to Oregon on Sunday would put us in a world of hurt and begin to put our post season play in question. The UA and WSU game will be tough battles that really could go either way.