Dawgs roast the Ducks 76-60


by: John Chase

The Huskies started off conference play with a nice sweep over the Oregon schools and did so in fairly dominating fashion. The Dawgs won both games by 15+ points and led most of both games. Both OSU and UO made it close at times, but the Huskies were able to gut it out and regain the lead through strong offense and denying defense. Up next are newcomers Colorado and Utah, who faced each other last night where Colorado completed dominated a severely diminished Utah team 73-33. I’ll have more on them later, for now let’s talk about the game against the Ducks.

C.J. Wilcox came off the bench in the first half, allowing Tony Wroten to start. It wasn’t so much a demotion as a move to get the Huskies off to a fast start behind the legs and tenacity of Wroten. Wroten has been superb this year at attacking the hoop and, more often than not, completes the lay-in. Wilcox started the second half after entering the game and drilling some smooth shots with a consistent hand. Wilcox and Wroten helped the Dawgs keep the lead despite poor rebounding on both ends of the court and sub-par free throw shooting. With 3 minutes to go in the first half, Wilcox and Wroten accounted for half the Husky points. Wilcox finished the night with a game high 24 points tying his career high he set last March against UCLA when he dropped all 24 in the second half. Wilcox went 8-11 from the field last night, 6-8 from outside, and 2-2 from the free throw line.

E.J. Singler and Olu Ashaolu dominated the glass for the Ducks and combined for 21 rebounds, 9 on the offensive end leading to 16 second chance points as opposed to UW’s 6 total offensive boards and 2 second chance points. The Huskies often let smaller players sneak underneath them to grab boards they had no right taking. The Dawgs simply weren’t aggressive enough on the glass to get the type of numbers they are capable of.

Wroten had another fairly stellar night, but his free throw shooting regressed once more. Wroten finished with 17 points on 7 of 15 shooting, missing all three of his 3-point attempts. Wroten was a miserable 3 of 8 from the FT line and had all four of UW’s FT attempts in the first half. Wroten had 4 rebounds, somewhat low for Wroten who has been picking up 7, 8, and 9 boards in the past few games. Regardless, Wroten also dished out 5 assists, a game high, while only committing 2 turnovers. Wroten is beginning to get his passing game under control, but is still lacking a decent free throw shot and lacks a right hand when taking shots inside. Wroten made a nice steal and took his defender off the ball using some nice dribble moves rather than powering through to the hoop and possibly drawing an offensive foul.

Aziz N’Diaye. Oh how we missed you against SDST. While N’Diaye’s stats were not the most amazing, it was what can’t be shown in the box score where his influence is most felt. Oregon simply refused to attack the paint when N’Diaye was in the game. Players would often drive the lanes only to dribble right back out or kick the ball to the wings. N’Diaye had a play where he blocked two straight shots after the first block tipped badly to another Oregon player. The Dawgs went down and got an easy lay-in on a muddled Duck defense. The Ducks called timeout and N’Diaye yelled and pumped his fist hard, really feeling the emotion and power of the moment. It was fantastic to see him get excited like that. N’Diaye started off with the first 4 points of the game, including a nice dribble-spin move that allowed him to hook in a nice shot off the glass. N’Diaye finished the game with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks. He also had 2 steals and 3 turnovers.

Terrence Ross had a quite night, mainly due to early foul trouble as he picked up his third only 30 seconds into the second half. This made him less aggressive in his attack and certainly held him back a bit on the defensive end. Ross shot 4 of 9 on the night, including 3 of 5 from deep. Ross had a very nice lay-in following tough contact, forcing him to shoot deep from his hip. Ross only managed 3 rebounds, half of his season average. He also finished with 11 points and 2 steals.

Abdul Gaddy was decent tonight with 12 points. He was a perfect 3 for 3 outside the arc and 4 of 5 overall. He missed 2 of his 3 free throw attempts following a foul on a 3-point attempt. Gaddy had 3 assists and an uncharacteristic 3 turnovers. Gaddy picked up 3 fouls in the first half, which limited his contribution inside the paint.

Darnell Gant was quieter than Ross and seems to be losing more of his minutes to Desmond Simmons. Gant did earn himself some credit for coming to aid Tony Wroten after Ashaolu elbowed Wroten in the head. Gant was charged a technical for supposedly mouthing off at Ashaolu. Gant went 0-2 form the field and finished with 0 points. Gant did pick up 4 rebounds and an assist. I love Gant and he can be a huge asset at times, but Simmons is slowly proving himself to be a better rebounder and has just a good of shot, if not better, than Gant. While I suspect Romar will keep Gant in the starting 5, barring some huge collapse by Gant, Simmons certainly deserves the minutes he has been playing and is proving Romar and teammates right when they discussed what kind of hustler and player he is.

Simmons only managed 2 points against the Ducks on 1-4 shooting, but grabbed 6 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, only 1 turnover, and nabbed 1 steal. Simmons played 29 minutes to Gant’s 17 and it is starting to become more obvious that he is having a bigger impact on the game. Tonight was not necessarily a highlight of his talents, but Simmons had a decent game and had just about the production we need form him to win games. I’d like to see him take a few more inside shots as his is a strong player who can muscle his man out of his way.

Martin Breunig played an efficient 2 minutes, going 1 for 1 from the field. Hikeem Stewart also saw 2 minutes of game time, but didn’t log a stat. Shawn Kemp did not enter the game.

What Needed Improvement:

  • Rebounding – The Huskies were dominated on the glass, despite the numbers being close (36-34 in UO’s favor). Oregon picked up 15 offensive boards and held UW to only 6. Second chance points kept the game from being a blowout in the Dawg’s favor. If you cut the Duck second chance points in half, the Huskies win by 23. The Dawgs cannot afford to give up 15 offensive boards, no matter the opponent. Their goal should be holding their opponent under 10 offensive boards. The Huskies had a big size advantage over the Ducks whose tallest starter was 6-7. The Ducks were simply more aggressive.
  • Free Throw Shooting – This mainly falls on Wroten and Gaddy tonight who were a combined 4 of 11 from the line. Wilcox was the only other Husky to attempt free throws and drained both attempts. Free throws win ball games, plain and simple. It is the easiest shot in the game and never changes. At this point I’ve really nothing new to say about the importance of free throws.

What was Good:

  • Outside Shooting – The Huskies dominate the deep ball tonight, hitting a fantastic 12 of 22 attempts on the night. Wilcox and Gaddy were untouchable outside, combining for 9 of 11 shooting. Ross was respectable in his own right with a 3 of 5 shooting night and Wroten gave it his best, but missed all three attempts. The Dawgs also held the Ducks to 5 of 23 shooting outside, showing fantastic outside defense. This also included a great effort by Wroten following a nice lay-in after which he hustled down the court and blocked the trey attempt.
  • Defense – The Dawgs really shut down the Oregon offense that has been one of the better in the Pac-12. The Ducks were held to 60 points and 32% shooting following a 95 point and 69% shooting night against WSU two nights earlier. The Dawgs hustled the length of the court, forcing 15 turnovers and picking up 7 steals and 5 blocks. This was great to see after allowing 80 points against OSU.

Final Thoughts

This is a great confidence booster before the Dawgs hit the road. While Colorado and Utah may not be the most formidable opponents in the Pac-12, they certainly can’t be overlooked, especially Colorado who has the offensive tools to be an upset team.

Thankfully the Dawgs take on the Buffaloes before the Utes and can get the tougher game out of the way while our players are fully rested. The Dawgs are finally showing the type of chemistry that has arguably cost them games earlier this season. They looked much better on defense and are starting to see an inside presence from N’Diaye who is slowly developing some nice post moves. With Wroten maturing as a player and athlete and our wings continuing to supply the Dawgs with consistent offense from one player or another, the Huskies are poised to regain the hype and play that has been expected of them the past few seasons.

A rather bold prediction was made by an ESPN announcer during the Oregon game, Tony Wroten will win both Freshman and Player of the Year in the Pac-12. This was last done by Kevin Love in 2007-2008. Before Love you have to go back to the 1995-1996 season when Shareef Abdur-Rahim took the honors home. Do I believe this will happen? It certainly could. Wroten leads the Pac-12 in scoring and is easily the most influential freshman in the league. With his rebounding and turnover stats improving, Wroten is starting to become a key component of this Husky squad as shown by his move into the starting 5.

Go Dawgs!