by: Griffin Bennett
It was another ugly one in Pullman, and I’m not talking about Brock Motum. It was a game of runs as neither team could find any sort of long-term consistency. This was the type of game that the Huskies would have given up on earlier in the season. Instead, they kept pushing and trusted in each other that they would find the will to win.
Even with Ross and Aziz in foul trouble early and often, the Huskies stepped up and played great ball down the stretch. It definitely wasn’t the ideal game from the Dawgs, but getting a win Pullman with the league title at stake should be all that matters.
I thought losing Ken Bone was a big loss for Dawgs when he left three years ago but it seems that it could have been a good thing. Down two with ~20 seconds left, Bone brings in the Sherrer of their team in Patrick Simon as a shooter. The “Human Defeat Cigar” in Simon had only made one basket in his last 15 appearances for the Cougars. Needless to say, Simon got the ball in his hands and launched the air-ball of all air-balls to seal the Husky victory.
Us Husky fans have complained about our lack of in-game coaching at times, but this is a whole other level of ineptitude. That is inexcusable as a coach. One of the students out of the crowd had a better chance at making that shot.
Coug’d it. It’s short and sweet and poignant for Cougar fans.
It was a game of terrible Pac-12 refereeing in Pullman, or as I like to call it: Pac-12 refereeing. Blocks are charges and charges are block. No player knows how hard they can body-up on defense. Technical fouls are now called after every emotional flare up. Does anyone have any clue what is going on anymore? I would rather the refs be consistently bad because being inconsistently bad is FAR worse. I want to be able to say “Yeah, that sucks but they never call that” instead of “WHAT? THEY JUST CALLED THAT FIVE MINUTES AGO!”. Sorry, that’s just my rant of the week.
On to the breakdown…
- Free Throws – It always feels good to write this down under positives. The Dawgs were 17 of 24 (71%) with Wroten and Gaddy shooting 9 of 12 and 4 of 5, respectively. In contrast to the Cougs, the Dawgs hit their free throws down the stretch which was the difference in the game.
- Darnell Gant – The senior had a great outing even though he only scored 3 points. He played a team-high 38 minutes while getting 7 rebounds (4 offensive), and being a huge reason that Motum shot 7-19 and “only” scored 17. He knows where his bread is buttered and it’s on defense and grabbing offensive boards.
- Defense – While it was touch-and-go at times, the overall defense was good. They held the Cougs to 35% FG%, 11% 3P%, while forcing 15 turnovers and 5 blocks. They let the Cougs get into the paint a little too easily but with Ross and Aziz only playing 21 minutes each, it was tough.
- C.J. Wilcox – He’s just lightning in a bottle. He saved the Huskies in the first half when they couldn’t seem to buy a shot. He hit all four of the Huskies’ three pointers and finished wth 16 points and 5 rebounds on 5-9 shooting. He looked healthier and quicker on the floor with all of the confidence back in his shot.
- Tony Wroten – He had a quiet 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists which is pretty impressive. He limited his turnovers to only four and shot 9-12 from the line. He wasn’t finishing at the rim as effectively, but he still had a large impact at the line.
- Rebounding – With Aziz and Ross on the bench, the Huskies two best rebounders, the Cougs got the better of the Huskies down low. It sucks but it was just the reality of the night.
- Non-Wilcox Shooters – There just wasn’t any consistency from outside of the post tonight from anyone other than Wilcox. Gaddy and Ross, specifically, couldn’t hit any jumpers to attack the Cougar zone. This team is so much better when those two players can hit the open 10-20 footer.
- Consistency – The back-and-forth style of this game had me almost seasick. The Huskies need to learn how to stop opponents’ runs earlier while avoiding scoring droughts. While those may seem like the same thing, I feel that they are very different.
- Pac-12 Refs – You aren’t good at your job.
It’s feels great to get that win. I predicted a loss in this game a week ago and I’m more than happy to eat crow on that one. It seems crazy that a Husky team that had so many issues coming into Pac-12 play is now 13-3 with the opportunity to win out and win the league title.
Tomorrow is huge as Cal plays at Colorado and every Husky fan should be watching. Regardless of the outcome, the final week of the regular season will be very fun.
Where do the Huskies stand in terms of the Big Dance? I think they’re sitting pretty. Barring a loss to USC (almost impossible), the Dawgs have a very good chance to make it in. Two more wins should seal the deal. Bow Down.