by John Chase
Final Score: UW-60 USC-62
A terrible way to end the season as well as senior night. Justin Holiday went scoreless the entire game, while Venoy Overton did everything in his power to will this team to a victory.
Rebounding and free throws killed us tonight. USC out rebounded UW 36-25. UW missed 6 free throws including a few huge ones down the stretch when the Dawgs were trying to fight back from 12 down.
UW handled the ball well, only turning the ball over 7 times. They dished out 8 assists on 21 makes. UW also had 6 blocks and steals on top of 11 forced turnovers. Overton was a Venoying machine out there and was critical down the stretch. At one point Romar pulled Overton out and Holiday told Romar “We need him.” Romar then chewed him out. I’m on Holiday’s side. Overton was the reason we came back. He made 4-6 from the field and 7-9 from the line.
Isaiah Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning continued to struggle with their shooting. MBA was 5-11 and I.T. was 5-13. Holiday was 0-6, 0-3 from range. Our shooting woes were another reason we lost this game. 39% shooting on the night and 2-16 from outside is not going to win a game when compounded with the free throw and rebounding issues. Scott Suggs shot well on the other hand. 6-8, 2-3 behind the arc. C.J. Wilcox collapsed again. 1-7 from the field, 0-5 from range. Ugly.
Terrence Ross did not play tonight. Not sure the reason yet. This is extremely puzzling especially when one considers he was the reason we beat USC on the road at the onset of the Pac-10 season. Aziz played a team low 12 minutes and was hardly used in the second half. Aziz had 0 shots attempted, 0 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 fouls. Useless tonight. He was just plain outclassed by the extremely strong duo of Alex Stephenson and Nikola Vucevic who combined for 24 boards and 30 points.
The crowd was dead tonight. I don’t know what has been going on, but the general fan base has been extremely apathetic and it kills me that it continued into Senior Night. Yes, I know the Huskies got down early, but being quiet is only supporting the opposing team.
What Needed Improvement
MBA led the Huskies with 6 boards. 6. Not solid at all. Vucevic and Stephenson work MBA in the post all night. Holiday and Overton each added 5. Pretty hard to win a game when you give up a ton of offensive boards and lose too many of your own.
Free Throw Shooting
You cannot afford to miss free throws. Ever. Especially down the stretch in AND1 situations. I.T. missed a front end of a 1 and 1 as well as an AND1. I believe Overton also missed an AND1 shot.
I don’t know what to say about this. We have lost that oh so sweet touch that we were renowned for in the beginning of the year. Sure the non-conference opponents were not the most stellar of teams but this team has scored over 100 points 6 or 7 times this season and 98 on another occasion. This is a team that can shoot and we aren’t doing it well any more. Even if your defense is doing everything it can, you will not win if you aren’t scoring.
What Was Good
UW held USC to 41% shooting and 20% from range. The blocks, steals, and turnovers forced were solid. Donte Smith was held to 1-9 shooting. UW also forced USC into 21 fouls, 18 by the starters with 3 of them picking up 4 a piece.
Suggs and Overton
Couldn’t ask two players to do much more. When one of your seniors doesn’t hit a shot and the other is missing gimmes along with being dominated by their assignment its hard to win. This was a night I thought Holiday was blow up and drop 20 again. Not even close. Overton wanted to win and worked his ass off trying to do it. Suggs shot well and defended his man pretty well.
Player by Player Reviews
Bleh. Not how you want a senior to end his career at home and in the regular season. I feel bad for the kid. Glad he didn’t cry coming out with his family, I would have lost it. He was out sized trying to guard Vucevic and its hard to expect him to really challenge a guy that much bigger than him. If Aziz had been successful this may not have been a problem as Vucevic would not have been able to guard Holiday without giving up size somewhere else. He rebounded well enough. 5 boards is pretty good for a wing. Too bad he didn’t have help from the post players. Holiday got beat up this game. He got jabbed in the eye, twisted his ankle, and like a champ, played through it all to the best of his abilities.
Got worked tonight. Stephenson is a strong player and MBA always struggles against guys who are as athletic as he is. He took some longer range shots that baffled me, shots he hadn’t attempted all year. Don’t know who he was trying to show off for, but I wasn’t impressed. I’d rather have seen him make some post moves and get to the rim. He struggled on the glass and went 1-3 from the line. He did have 2 steals and 3 blocks to offset 2 turnovers.
My personal MVP for the night. He worked his ass off and the Venoyance meter read LEVEL 5 the entire second half as he battled and battled, trying to spark some offense into the Huskies on both ends of the court. Even when USC dropped 4 back on free throws to defend the hoop Overton was able to get straight to the rim and quickly. It was impressive. He forced USC into a 5 second call and was continually tapping the ball away from guards, forcing them to lose their handle at least for a moment or two. He finished with 15 points, 1 behind Thomas who led the team. Venoy led the team in assists with 4 of UW’s 8.
Did not play.
Was not terribly successful tonight. Only 2 rebounds and 0 points on 0-2 shooting. He only played 15 minutes. Did not remember much of his defensive efforts so I can’t really comment on how he performed on that side of the ball. The lack of blocks or steals tell me he was likely not to successful.
He may have led the team in points, but only 3 assists and 38% shooting is just not going to cut it. 6-8 from the free throw line official. In my mind, however, he is 6-9. Missing the front end of a 1 and 1 should always count as two misses. You can’t make what you don’t attempt. He missed a huge AND1 free throw in the final minutes that would have cut the lead to 3 rather than 4.
A solid night from the junior. His level of play has really elevated this season. He finished with 14 points and was the only successful outside shooter with the only 2 makes UW had behind the arc on the night. Both his rebounds were offensive and he added in a block to finish off his stat line. No assists, but no turnovers as well. As with Gant I don’t remember any outstanding defensive efforts by Suggs, but I also don’t remember any big lapses so it could not have been that bad.
He may as well have stayed on the bench the whole game. His stat line is empty minus a steal and 2 fouls. Not sure when the big man is going to turn a corner in his career and start putting up consistent numbers. With MBA leaving after this season and all the big name recruits falling through for the Huskies there isn’t a whole lot of talent in the post for the Dawgs.
Did not play.
Did not play. He did not look injured so to me this screams team rule violation. No reason not to put him in when Suggs is the only one having success outside. Listening to Romar’s interview it sounds as though Ross did not play because “there weren’t enough minutes.” Eff that. C.J. wasn’t hitting, put Ross in and let him try his hand. It wasn’t as though Romar was trying to keep size in the game as I remember moments where MBA was the lone post player on the court. So between C.J.’s minutes and Gant’s minutes I find it hard to believe Romar couldn’t find a few to give Ross. As I said before, Ross was a monster against USC earlier this year so why would you not try him again.
As I said with my preview I wasn’t expecting a great performance from Wilcox tonight, but this was just pathetic. 4 points on 1-7 shooting. We needed his range and it was nowhere to be seen. His free throw shooting was brilliant though. Love his free throws.
Not how you want to end the regular season. UW finished 3rd in a year where they could have finished 18-0 and in first place. UW, in my mind, needs to win at least 1 game in the Pac-10 tournament. They face WSU in the first round. WSU will likely have Klay Thompson back, despite his father’s wishes, as well as Reggie Moore who sat out the UCLA game today with a sprained ankle. UW has a lot of work to do and I don’t know what to expect from them any more. I really am lost as to how this team can struggle so much with their shot. This reminds me of our stretch last year on the road where we couldn’t buy a win. Got to hope someone steps up and gets this team going again. I don’t want the NIT. I want the NCAA and a run to the Final Four.