by John Chase
Final Score: UW-95 SU-74
Well, it wasn’t always pretty, but the dunks were brilliant and the outcome was nice. It wasn’t the 30 to 40 point beat down I expected, but we missed a lot of shots and this allowed SU to stay in the game.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning forgot his jersey at home and wore number 55 without a name today instead of the usual number 11. He dominated regardless of the number. 24 points and 13 rebounds. Aziz also had a double double tonight with 15 points and 10 rebounds. 4 other Huskies had double digits. Isaiah Thomas had 20, Terrence Ross had 13, Darnell Gant had 10, and Justin Holiday had 10.
UW dominated the glass tonight in fantastic fashion, 49-28. UW picked up 20 offensive boards, led by Aziz with 6. MBA had the game high at 13, followed by Aziz with 10, C.J. Wilcox added 6, and Holiday had 5. Aaron Broussard led SU with 7.
C.J. Wilcox got the start tonight, but struggled to find the spark he had been showing the past few games. He finished with 3 points on 1-8 shooting, 1-6 from range. He was taking pretty good shots, they just rattled out.
We had a decent number of assists tonight, but our turnovers were atrocious. 16 assists and 17 turnovers, bleh. I.T. led the team with 4 assists, but also led the team with 5 turnovers. Not a pretty game for him. He forced too many awkward passes and drives at time, which led to giving the ball up.
UW set a new school record for blocks in a season, breaking the previous record of 151. Not sure where we officially ended tonight, but I’ll update when I find out.
Justin Holiday threw down one of the most vicious dunks of the season tonight. The alley oop pass was pretty bad and behind him. Somehow, Holiday managed to find the ball, grab it behind his head and windmill it down into the hoop for a monstrous jam. The dunk was followed immediately by a brilliant block courtesy of Darnell Gant.
MBA had his own set of monster dunks, including a very nice 180 jam from the baseline.
Brendan Sherrer remained on the bench with his Staph infection.
The game was never really in doubt. Turnovers in the first half allowed SU to keep pushing within 5 points or so and every time the Huskies would jump back out to a bigger lead. They finally sealed it in the second with stronger, cleaner play.
This was a letdown game where not everything went right, but we did enough good stuff to run away with it early. We shot terribly from range tonight, 1-9 in the first half and 4-18 overall. Our free throws were also horrendous. We missed 13 free throws tonight, 29-42. I.T. must have forgotten his Wheaties next to MBA’s jersey because he air-balled his first free throw and short changed the next 2 or 3. 5-10 from the line tonight for Isaiah. Not good. Aziz was 5-6. Excellent. Must have stolen some Mojo along the way.
Lorenzo Romar picked up a technical after a terrible no call followed quickly on the other end by a weak foul against UW. The refs were slightly better than our usual Pac-10 slop, but they still had some very questionable calls at times. I.T. could not buy a foul on the drive no matter what he did.
SU simply stood no chance as their tallest player is 6-8 and their skill set was no match for the experience D1 play of UW. Against a Pac-10 school, this would have been a much closer and dangerous game.
What Needed Improvement
UW did not do a good job handling the rock tonight. All too often they threw away transition opportunities by short changing the pass or forcing through multiple coverage. Thomas led with 5, followed by Ross with 3. 4 other players had 2 turnovers. This cannot happen come Sunday or any of the following Pac-10 games. You can’t even blame it on a home crowd. Key Arena was look pretty purple tonight.
Free Throw Shooting
Aziz N’Diaye did well. So did Terrence Ross. MBA was decent (6-9) as were Holiday and Gant (both 4-6). I.T. was just plain ugly. After so much work and progress this season with his free throw shot, the last two games have seen a dramatic decrease in his efficiency at the line. We need to make the freebies. 69% is not acceptable.
Only 22% tonight. Wilcox was cold as ice and I.T. was just as frigid. The two combined for 2-11 from the arc. Terrence Ross’s shot was looking good, finishing 2-3 from outside.
What was Good
Fantastic effort by all tonight. Sure, SU didn’t have the size to compete, but we did exactly what we should against an inferior and over matched team. Dominate. Both MBA and Aziz looked very strong and aggressive on the glass tonight. Aziz pulled down one board and using a single hand, threw off two Redhawk defenders to maintain possession. What a beast.
While a few of our passes went stray, its hard to stick your nose up at 16 assists. Holiday and Venoy added 3 a piece to I.T.’s 4 and UW worked fairly well in transition and this led to several awe inspiring dunks.
After such a hard fought, important game against UA, it would be easy to see UW letting this one get much closer than they did and allowing SU to have more than a fighting chance at a win. The Huskies did well to keep their head on straight and finish this game off strong.
Player by Player Reviews
Poor tonight for the senior. 0 points, 5 fouls, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers, and a block. He only took one shot and that was beyond the arc. He couldn’t seem to find an open shot and didn’t seem to be able to create one for himself. The fouls kept him a bit out of the game and perhaps losing the starting role to Wilcox affected his mindset. Who knows. Either way we will need him to be on top of his game come Sunday.
Holiday’s dunk may have been one of the most impressive all year across the nation. Overton’s pass was way behind Justin, yet he managed to real it in and cradle it to the grave. I am looking forward to seeing the replay of that jam over and over. FSN better make a commercial out of it. Only 3-8 shooting tonight, 0-2 from outside. His shot is getting better once more, but it is still slightly off kilter. On top of the 5 boards, Holiday also added 2 blocks and a steal. He played very strong defense, but had 2 sloppy turnovers in transition from poor passes.
MVP, no doubt. 24 points, 13 boards, and only 2 turnovers. Somehow MBA not only forgot his jersey, but his invitation to the block party as well. UW had 9 blocks on the night, 2 short of the season high. MBA was 9-11 from the field and 6-9 from the charity stripe. Great night, though I would like to see him hit 7 of 9 from the free throw line. 75% is a reasonable goal. He had an awesome two hand slam near the end of the game that added to his already impressive performance. He brought down rebounds with power and looked much more confidence attacking the glass than he has in a few games. Not to say he hasn’t put up good rebounding numbers, he just looked more aggressive tonight.
Did not play.
Did not play.
A pretty good night for the Birdman. 3-7 shooting, 4-6 from the line, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 assists. He did a great job on defense and was looking for and creating shots on offense. This was great practice for what we need out of him, not only to end this season, but for next season as well.
An overall poor night for I.T. despite the 20 points. His free throws were grotesque, his outside shot was anemic, and his turnovers were just plain lazy. He will not be able to coast by like he did against WSU. He needs to get his head back in the game quickly because his role is very important for the rivalry match up this Sunday. His inside shot and drive were the most redeeming part of his performance tonight. He was overall 7-12 from the field, meaning he was 6-7 inside the arc. That is where his game focus should be. The outside shot is nice, but on nights when it isn’t dropping he has to stop forcing.
A wonderful career high point performance for the big man. He was great tonight. This was a good warm up and practice game for WSU on Sunday who is a bit taller and stronger. He picked up his first double double in quite sometime. He was 5-7 from the field, including the game opening points (an awesome 2 hand put back dunk). My favorite basket was a dunk in the second half where it looks as though he didn’t even jump to dunk it. That man is long and strong.
3 minutes tonight. He barely missed his lone shot, a 3 pointer from the corner. He picked up a foul in the final minutes and had no other stats to speak of.
Grade: A for effort
C.J. was bound to return to earth after soaring sky high the past 2 or 3 games. His shot was off and no amount of shooting could seemingly fix it. He did grab a fantastic 6 boards to go along with a block and 2 steals. This was his first start of his career, though it looks as thought it will not be a permanent option this season.
A pretty decent night for Ross. He had a nice dunk to go along with MBA and Holiday. A wonderful put back dunk with two hands, similar to that against Oregon State on the road. He was the only one with success outside the arc and was perfect from the free throw line, 5-5. 13 points in only 16 minutes is pretty good, especially considering he only had 2 at half.
The game didn’t quite go how I had it envisioned, but 95 points and a 21 point win is nice. It helps elevate moral after a tough loss on the road. The focus this week needs to be on ball handling and free throws Our defense was there tonight. 16 forced turnovers, 9 blocks, and 5 steals. WSU is on the horizon and it is time for vengeance after the terrible performance in Pullman.