Game Analysis: Washington 87 UC Santa Barbara 80


Well, I warned you in the Game Day Preview that UC Santa Barbara loves to score and likes to shoot early in the clock. I warned you about what Orlando Johnson was capable of. That exactly is what happened and the Husky defense seemed unprepared for stopping them. It’s almost as if they didn’t scout them or practice in anticipating any of it. Did the Huskies simply think this would be a normal home blowout win against a mid-major? But, what even I did not anticipate was that 7’3″ Hungarian Greg Smogyi would start going off on the Dawgs early. Without anyone taller than 6’9″, Simogyi looks like a giant among boys.

On offense, I did like some of the better ball rotation, movement, and passing by the offense early on. One thing I’ve noticed in regards of Wroten is that he has some amazing passing skills, but when your big men are freshmen who either don’t expect the pass or aren’t used to one at that pace, they can’t take full advantage of it. But, the team does look like it is showing more patience to make the extra pass or two to find the open man.

They still are too quick to accept the 3-point shot as their only option, but at least Tony Wroten is willing to take advantage to lanes that open up to take it to the rack. I’d like to see Wilcox do more of it.

Speaking of Tony Wroten, I see a new team leader emerging. Wroten is taking over segments of the game. Tony Wroten has that confidence to take it to the rack, driving into a 7’3″ center four different times in the first half alone. He has a swagger and desire to win that we saw in a freshman Isaiah Thomas. But, what gives him the added advantage is his 6’5″ height. This is a kid who could conceivably be the leading scorer of this team someday as the point guard. But, can you imagine how dangerous Wroten could be if he could hit a free throw?

On the other hand, Abdul Gaddy brings a very different pace and quality on the floor than Wroten. While Wroten goes 100 mph, Gaddy takes it easy and seems a calming influence. Gaddy does seem to have decided that he wants to get into the offense himself by hitting 4-4 from the field, including two 3’s in the first half alone.

As for Terrance Ross, I just don’t understand what happens to him. Why can’t someone with that enormous potential and athleticism get himself into the games early? Is it mental? Why can’t he get the ball into his hands in the 1st half? Why does he stand around so much on offense?

Obviously in the 2nd half Ross decided to try and insert himself more. A couple of nice moves inside and then shooting a couple long jumpers, before you know it, he really became a factor as the Huskies built up a nice little lead in the middle of the 2nd half. While Ross can silently end up with quite a few points, I still think the Huskies are going to need Ross to carry them on his back at some point this season if they want to make the tournament. I’d love to see Ross explode in the 1st half sometime and then when teams are forced to key in on him, others can emerge.

Speaking of missing, when did you expect Gaddy would easily outscore Wilcox? It almost seems like CJ Wilcox has never been the same since that concussion, both on offense and defense. Wilcox has all the tools and I have been his biggest fan. But, he just seems to have disappeared recently.

While Desmond Simmons still has a lot to learn and makes mistakes, this guys energy and effort is going to be huge for the Dawgs as we move forward. I love how he plays defense and has shown glimpses of his scoring ability as well.

But, with a 10 point lead and 5 minutes left, the Huskies most definitely lost their edge. The emotion waned and they seemed to act like they had it in the bag. Then Johnson drops a 3, Taylor drops a 3, Wroten throws a rediculous turnover resulting in two more, and the Huskies just like that are losing again.

Why UCSB didn’t use the matchup zone more, knowing UW’s inability to function in the half court, is confusing. But, the use of it late in the game clearly confused and disrupted the offense during that Gaucho run.

The Huskies have got to learn how to close out opponents. With 1:39 left in the game and up 5, Wroten drove to the hoop and was fouled with 14 left on the shot clock. That should be Wilcox (82% FT) or Ross driving, not a guy shooting 50% from the line, even if he does have 28 points. Then UCSB purposely fouls Wroten knowing his poor average and it works out. Romar needs to be smarter about pulling him and having Ross and Wilcox in there at those critical junctures until Wroten improves that average. But, while I was frustrated with how quickly they lost their lead, I was pleased with how they finished the game.

As for UC Santa Barbara, this is most definitely an NCAA tournament team. They are really good. They can score, they have depth, and they have experience. It’ll be a battle between them and Long Beach State for the Big West title this year. But, they might be good enough to get an At-Large bid on their own even without the conference tournament title.