Dawgs win ugly against Owls 77-71


by: John Chase

It was ugly, but a win is a win. The Huskies played a very sloppy game where the theme of the night was missed opportunities. UW shot an atrocious 38% from the field and committed 17 turnovers on the night, which allowed FAU to shoot themselves back into the game in the waning minutes. To highlight how terrible UW shot and how fortunate they were to win the game, FAU made more field goals and more 3-pointers, while UW attempted 10 more free throws and made 11 more than FAU.

The Huskies may have needed this humbling experience to remind them that they cannot play down to their opponents or risk an upset. Tony Wroten Jr. literally had to play down to his opponent as he often matched up against FAU’s 5-6 point guard, which led to Wroten racking up 4 fouls due to overplaying the ball and the man. The Owl point guard was also able to get away with hand checks and push offs due to his diminutive size as they did not have a noticeable effect on the defender. Just because he is small does not mean he cannot foul. Thankfully, the refs finally started calling the fouls in the final 3-5 minutes when the Owls were looking to slow the game down.

Abdul Gaddy showed why he starts over Tony Wroten once more. With 6 assists, only 3 turnovers and a very nice 15 points, Gaddy was much calmer, collected, and efficient than the flashy Wroten. Wroten racked up 4 assists, but also committed 5 turnovers and missed several lay-ins due to playing an extremely fast tempo that just doesn’t work at the collegiate level. Gaddy went 4-6 from the line, while Wroten went 3-7 (he shot 2-9 from the field).

Aziz N’Diaye had some nice looks today as well. While he again looked a little rough offensively, he showed signs of improving post moves and was a lot more effective at creating shot opportunities for himself on the block. He went 5-12 from the field and made 3 of his 5 free throw attempts. He also collected 12 rebounds (5 offensive) to pull in the double-double.

C.J. Wilcox again led all players in scoring with 19 to put his average in the tournament thus far at 20.5 points per game, a fantastic result. Wilcox, like most of the team, struggled on the easy inside shots. He went 5-13 from the field, 3-5 from range. His struggles were highlighted by an easy fast break lay-in opportunities that rolled out. In reality, he should have jammed the ball through the hoop to prevent exactly what happened. If you have an open opportunity and you can dunk, DO IT! It does not need to be a monster jam, just a simple two-handed dunk.

Four players made double digits in scoring today and all four were starters. Darnell Gant was the only starter not to hit double digits and finished the night with only 2 points on 1-4 shooting. He did have a 3-pointer taken away due to an offensive foul committed by Tony Wroten after he had dished it off. Gant played a very quiet 25 minutes only managing to pull down 5 boards.

One very concerning stat was the rebounding line. UW went into half holding a 26-16 lead in the rebounding column, but only finished with a 3 board advantage, 42-39. This was another big reason FAU was able to stay in the game. UW was not boxing out well or communicating, which led to at least 3 UW rebounds knocked away by our own players. Romar needed to use a timeout or two to calm the players down as it seemed the close score line was causing our line-up to play overly anxiously.

Martin Breunig played only 9 minutes, but was a perfect 2-2 from the field. His limited time was largely due to his high foul count and ended the night with 5 points and 3 rebounds. Simple freshmen mistakes were a big part of why he picked up the fouls he did.

Hikeem Stewart only came in for a quick 2 minute burst while Romar rested his starting guards and tallied 1 rebound.

Shawn Kemp did not play today and Jernard Jarreau confirmed last night at the press conference that he would indeed be red-shirting (Jarreau, not Kemp).

Terrence Ross had another sub-par shooting night going 4-14 from the field, 1-5 from range. He did shoot a very nice 5-6 from the charity stripe and for that I give him an A+.

What Needed Improvement:

  • Rebounding – For having such a height advantage, the Dawgs certainly seemed lost in the second half as to how they should keep their opponent out of the box. It was rather unfortunate as rebounding was one of the few nice stats coming out of the first half. N’Diaye had a fantastic night and with 12 boards and its hard to ask him for much more. The rest of the Dawgs performed below average on the glass. After N’Diaye the next highest rebounder had 5 (Gant and Ross). The Huskies need one other player to really bring their game and average 7 boards along with N’Diaye.
  • Free Throws – This is one area where poor performances are unacceptable, no matter who the Huskies are playing. Free throws are named such for one simple reason, the shooter has a free attempt at the basket. No defenders, the same shooting rhythm and motion, and essentially as much time as they wish to take. Seeing our team go 24-35 from the line when the score differential is only 6 is extremely frustrating. Even making 4 more shots puts our lead into a comfortable double digit margin. For a point guard, Wroten sure does shoot like an over-sized post player. Wilcox or Ross need to take Wroten under their wings and show him how to put a soft touch on the ball.
  • Lay-Ins – Never thought I’d be writing this under the needs improvement category, but here it is tonight. The Huskies were ugly when it came to converting in the paint. Lay-ins were often overshot or were rejected by the rim. Players missed fast break shots and tried far too hard to get a poor shot off. If I was Romar I’d be doing more than a fair share of lay-in drills at the pregame practice tomorrow.

What Was Good:

  • Defensive Pressure – UW forced FAU into 19 turnovers and picked up 6 steals, led by Wilcox who had 4 on the night, as well as tallying up 7 blocks of which N’Diaye had 3. UW held FAU to 32% shooting in the first half before letting up in the second when FAU jumped up to 48%. Overall the Owls finished with 42% shooting from the field and 40% from range. The latter number is a bit troubling, but correctable with better rotating defense.

Final Thoughts:

The Huskies gutted out the win which in itself is a good thing. What is not so good was how poorly we played against such an inferior team. Yes, often teams will end up playing to the level of their opponent, but in this case the opposition level was far below anything the Huskies should consider respectable. With no FAU player taller than 6-8, the Huskies had a big chance to use their size in the paint and when they did get in the paint, the Dawgs couldn’t finish. UW will have to play much better quite soon as better non-conference opponents are approaching and 17 turnovers against a team like Marquette or Duke will absolutely demolish us.

The Dawgs take on the University of Portland tomorrow in the final game of the tournament. UP is 2-0 in the tournament, winning both games by 5 points in what I would consider an upset manner. They have been behind early, only to finish strong and take home the win. If the Huskies do not step their play up, the Pilots could very well leave Seattle 3-0. The key to a Washington win tomorrow is finishing at the basket and controlling the glass throughout the game and not just in one half.

Go Dawgs!