by John Chase
In what is the highest point total scored against a Pac-10 opponent in school history, UW dominated and returned to playing true Husky Basketball. UW tied ts season high with 17-3 pointers and shot 54.8% on the night from range. Isaiah Thomas was lights out and led the team, shooting 6 of 8 behind the arc and finishing with 23 points. C.J. Wilcox rediscovered his soft touch and scored 14 points on 4-7 shooting from range.
A total of 6 players scored in the double digits for UW tonight. I.T. with 23, Matthew Bryan-Amaning with 18, Wilcox with 14, Holiday with 12, and Scott Suggs and Terrence Ross put up 11.
Both I.T. and MBA were one stat short of a double double. I.T. had 9 assists on top of 4 rebounds and 2 turnovers. MBA had 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 0 turnovers.
Defense was the name of the game tonight and UW did it extremely well. Cal was held to 2 of 7 shooting from range and 48.3% overall. UW forced 16 turnover, had 11 blocks, 4 steals, and countless charge calls against Cal.
The refs were terrible per usual with a foul differential of 29 to 15 in Cal’s favor. UW was only allowed to attempt 7 free throws and made 6 while Cal attempted 37 and made 19. How about some home cooking refs? For once I would like to see the foul calls go our way.
UW did a great job of working the post early with MBA and Aziz each putting up 4 to score our first 8 points. Aziz finished with 3-4 shooting and picked up a technical foul, though for what I am uncertain.
30 assists tonight. 30. Hot damn that is nice. I.T. led with 9, followed closely by Venoy Overton with 7, and Terrence Ross with 6. Holiday dished out 4.
This was exactly the sort of game we needed to play to get our heads right, our game right, and our swagger back just a little bit. Brendan Sherrer even played 5 minutes today and Antoine Hosley grabbed 4 minutes.
Holiday threw down a monster jam from the baseline. He drove hard, jumped up, cocked his arm back and rammed it down over the Cal defenders. Beast Mode activated.
Lorenzo Romar showed some emotion, finally. He was stomping, high fiving, roaring, and fist pumping. I even saw a press for a play or two. I was also extremely pleased to see us return to our man to man defense.
Overton was back tonight. He played shut down d the whole night. He split his time between Jorge Guitierrez and Brandon Smith. Holiday also played crippling d on Allen Crabbe who took a nasty spill near the end of the first half and did not return to play. I’ll update later on it, but to me it appears as though he might have suffered a mild concussion.
My favorite play of the game, besides Holiday’s dunk, was Isaiah Thomas nailing a 3 pointer, getting fouled, and sinking the free throw. Brilliant effort.
UW rebounded with force, beating out Cal 36-27. MBA led with 9, followed by Darnell Gant with 5, and four players had 4 rebounds: Holiday, Ross, I.T., and Aziz N’Diaye.
Ross was playing just plain filthy out there tonight. He made not have made every shot, but boy did he impress with some very athletic and talented moves. He drove, he twisted, he did reverse lay-ins. He nearly had another tip in dunk, but the Cal defender managed to hold onto it in the air.
The poise and control on offense led to only 9 turnovers. Combined with vicious, tenacious defense made this game a blow out from the start ending in a 32 point beat down that at one time was a 38 point differential. The 2 3 pointers for Cal came late, in garbage time, from one player. Garbage time was the only time I was disappointed with our defense, but that always happens in garbage time.
I.T. played like the general we are used to. He controlled the ball, he controlled his shots, he controlled the game. Too bad he couldn’t get just 1 more assist to pick up his 3rd double double.
Brendan Sherrer. SHOOT THE BALL! He played 5 minutes and had one great opportunity, but chose instead to pass the ball and ended up turning it over. Sad days.
MBA was looking fantastic tonight as well. Tough, tough play. Every block was decisive and impressive. Aziz was crushing Bears left and right. Literally crushing. I’m going to call him the Trash Compactor from now on because he just doesn’t let garbage come into his domain. Even Holiday was humiliating people on the court. I think I saw Harper Kamp shed a tear after the last block Holiday had on him.
What Needed Work
Sure the refs weren’t helping us, but there comes a time when you have to realize the refs aren’t going to help you out at all. We did a great job getting Cal to commit charges, but 29 fouls is getting ridiculous.
What was Good
After a streak of 3 terrible games, UW rediscovered their ability to stuff the middle. You really have to watch the game to truly appreciate the turn around. They showed fire. I.T. was all over his man. Just what the doctor ordered.
36-27. Enough said. If there is one thing outside defense that will win games, it is rebounding. UW was boxing out and getting up high to clean the glass.
I was throwing up my hands more times than a Guido in a New Jersey Club. We were shooting long and we were hitting. It was sexy. I.T. was taking heat check shots and they kept going in. No one was stopping him tonight. He had a point to prove and he put an exclamation mark on it.
This is another item that was killing us during our losing streak. 30 assists and only 9 turnovers. That is more like Husky Basketball.
Player by Player Reviews
A brilliant return to his Vennoying ways. Between him and I.T., Brandon Smith was about to have a conniption. 8 points, 7 assists, only 2 turnovers. Very nice. His form is coming back, his confidence is returning, and he is looking good. We’ll have to wait until Saturday to see if it sticks or not.
12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, shutdown defense. He may not have been shooting his best, but his shot looked fine and his play was what we needed. I would rather have him score 12 points and play shut down d then score 20+ and let people through.
18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 steal, 1 assist. He had 10 points at half and finished strong despite picking up a bogus 3rd foul followed soon after by his 4th. He returned with about 8 minutes to go and played until the 5 minute mark. His defense was solid, defending Harper Kamp most of the game, holding him to 8 points. Those blocks were just plain mean. At one point he yelled “GET OUT OF HERE!” while swatting the ball into the bleachers.
Brendan finally returned to play and threw away his one good opportunity at a shot. He picked up 2 fouls and a turnover. He is in the books, boys.
Grade: A for effort, F for not taking that shot!
Played 24 minutes on the night, hit some nice 3 pointers, and looked as confident as ever. He did have 2 turnovers and 0 assists, but he was not called on to run the show until there were 5 minutes to go and handed over the reigns to Antoine Hosley who entered with 4 to go.
6 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist. His 3-9 shooting wasn’t great, but the rebounding and defense were awesome. He was still feeling a little sore pregame, but his play and 19 minutes say he was feeling pretty well in the end. If he can keep this kind of play up we will do well.
MVP tonight. No doubt. 23 points and 9 rebounds. That is what we have come to expect from him. His outside shot was dirty, just plain dirty tonight. He didn’t have to drive to score. I.T. only went inside a few sparse times. He was pulling up and raining pain down on the Cal bears. He pushed the ball inside to MBA and Aziz, he dished it outside to Holiday, Wilcox, Ross, and others.
Aziz did pick up 4 fouls tonight, including the technical. He did not return to play after the T, not sure why. He shot well from the field, rebounded pretty well, and looked confident against the zone. Most of his 20 minutes came in the first half. I would have liked to have seen 2 or 3 more boards and 1 or 2 less fouls, but Beggars can’t be Choosers. He did well for what we needed him to do. His 3 blocks all resulted in players hitting the dirt. It was almost cruel.
4 minutes tonight with a lone assist to put him in the stat book.
Grade: A for effort
Is his shot back? Looks like it. 4-7 ain’t a bad night by any means. His shot is so sweet, soft, and quick. I would like to see him take some 30 footers just to see his range and talent level. He had 1 assist and 2 offensive boards tonight, which is great to see. It’s nice to have some support where you least expect it.
5-8 shooting, 1-3 from outside, 4 boards, 6 assists, 3 blocks. Nice work, TRoss. He is going to be an absolute monster in the coming years. Ross was playing like BRoy out there and boy was it pretty. I would not be surprised at all to see him replace Holiday at the 3 after this season. If he can bring this level of play to the court consistently, he will leave his mark on the program.
Everyone played a great game tonight. Everyone. I can’t think of one player I was disappointed in. Sure some silly mistakes were made, but no one is perfect. Got to carry this momentum into the weekend and over into next week to get ourselves back into title contention. A great way to start the short home stand and a great way to get the night going. All for now, I’m off to celebrate my 21st birthday. Go Dawgs.