Huskies hang on in Corvallis, 75-72


by: John Chase

The Huskies struggled through another poor shooting night both from the field and at the line, but the Dawgs got it done down the stretch making shots, converting free throws, and playing tough defense. Foul calls put both teams at the line a lot and, thankfully, OSU was just as terrible at the line as the Dawgs. The big difference from past games was how often C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross got to the line. Ross went 6 for 7 and Wilcox was 7 of 9. Desmond Simmons stepped back up and converted all 4 of his shots, including a clutch pair with a minute on the clock. The majority of the misses came from the usual suspects, Tony Wroten and Aziz N’Diaye, who were a combined 6 of 13 at the stripe.

Abdul Gaddy made his presence felt down the stretch with a pair of 3-pointers. Outside of those shots, Gaddy was unable to really score as seen by his 3 of 10 field goal stat. Gaddy had 4 assists tonight and only 1 turnover, a performance much more characteristic of him. Gaddy also picked up a pair of steals, which helped the Dawgs pick up their 9 fast break points. I think Gaddy played with a much better attitude tonight and it showed.

Aziz N’Diaye found himself in an interesting position tonight. After picking up his 4th foul (CBS Sports says 3, which is what I had thought) with 13 minutes remaining, Romar left him in the game for several more minutes and remained in even when Darnell Gant picked up his 4th and immediately came out. Not sure Romar’s reasoning behind it as Shawn Kemp had been playing pretty good basketball tonight. N’Diaye was doing a good job closing down the middle, but had a few lapses throughout the night. N’Diaye had a decent night in terms of production with 6 points, but his 3 rebounds were far below his 8 per game average. Thankfully the team was able to find rebounds elsewhere. N’Diaye had a monstrous dunk that nearly pull the whole hoop down. That type of throw down is what he needs to do all the time. Lay-ins are nice, but huge dunks send a message.

Desmond Simmons returned to his early season form. Simmons was 0 of 1 from the field, but made all of his foul shots and raked in an impressive 9 rebounds, second only to Ross. Simmons had a rough night in terms of ball control, committing 4 turnovers with only 1 assist. Not sure how they all racked up, I didn’t recall him throwing the ball away that many times.

Darnell Gant played a very quiet, but foul filled 10 minutes. Gant fouled out with only 2 points on 1 of 4 shooting. He pulled in 3 rebounds and committed one very ugly and silly turnover. Gant was stuck in the corner and rather than calling a timeout or throwing the ball off the defenders, he opted to throw a wild pass across the court to a teammate, which then sailed high and out of bounds. Not a smart play, made worse when one remembers he is a fifth year senior who should know better.

C.J. Wilcox had another poor shooting night with a 4-11 finish, but picked up 17 on the night by being aggressive and attacking the hoop. He finally started getting foul calls and hitting the freebies. I liked his attitude and game play despite his outside shot not falling (2 of 7). Wilcox grabbed one rebound and one steal. His work at the stripe helped the Dawgs secure a much needed win tonight.

Tony Wroten was a solid contributor in all aspects of the game tonight. He made only 12 points on 4 of 12 shooting. His 4 of 7 free throw shooting was more of the early season, but I firmly belief he has made huge strides in his foul shooting and will continue to improve his percentage. Wroten was big under the basket with 5 of his 7 rebounds coming on the offensive end. As a team, the Dawgs picked up 16 offensive boards leading to 14 second chance points. Wroten had 3 assists and turnovers on top of 2 steals.

Shawn Kemp played a semi efficient 9 minutes, going 2 for 2 from the court with his own big jam after an OSU turnover. He also split a pair of free throws. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins played 6 scoreless minutes, but had some nice looks and also nabbed 2 boards.

Terrence Ross was pretty good tonight. His 7 of 21 shooting left much to be desired, but his work at the line is what I really liked. Ross also pulled in a game high 13 rebounds, 5 offensive, which did more for the Dawgs than his scoring, in my opinion. Ross filled the stat line with an assist, 2 turnovers, a steal, and 2 authoritative blocks. Finally, Ross played a game where he contributed in both halves and it paid off in a big way.

What Needed Improvement:

  • Free Throws – Wroten needs to get back to shooting 75% and N’Diaye needs to salvage this season and pick up his miserable 35% average at the line.
  • Team Play – The Dawgs only managed 9 assists on 23 shots. Last season we were averaging an assist every other shot and I’d like to see this team get closer to that type of production. Our team excels when the ball is moving and players aren’t having to create their own shots. Give OSU credit for throwing a variety of defenses at the Dawgs, which included a 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone as well as man-to-man on occasion.

What Was Good:

  • Rebounding – The Dawgs won the battle on the glass 47-41 while grabbing 16 offensive boards to OSU’s 10. The second chance points were just as important as our bench points (24). The Huskies used their guards well to clean house. Ross and Simmons were all over the place getting the loose balls and their efforts payed off.
  • Finishing Power – The Dawgs went on a few runs down the stretch and held off a resilient Beaver team. They made big shots in the final minutes and made the majority of their free throws. The score should have been 75-70, but Cunningham hit a last second shot to make the game look closer than it actually was. The Dawgs showed their guts and didn’t let the crowd or the Beaver’s own runs get to their heads. They didn’t panic when Ahmad Starks got hot from deep and tried to shoot his team back in the game. Credit this to Romar who was finally coaching the team throughout the game and not just in timeouts.

Final Thoughts:

UW did what they needed to and got the win. They remain in a tie for first with California, though 3 other teams are close behind, only 1 game back. The Dawgs come home for their last two home games of the season taking on the Arizona schools, while Cal has their last home stand against the Oregon schools. Oregon looks prime to upset the Bears and OSU has the potential to pull off a win with their prolific offense. The Dawgs cannot overlook ASU on Thursday with a huge, exciting game coming on Saturday against rival Arizona.

Go Dawgs!