by: Griffin Bennett
I come away from Saturday’s game feeling like the Huskies left that one on the table and it could come back to haunt them. It would have clinched the outright Pac-12 title as well as added a decent road victory to the Huskies’ tournament resume.
Now we’re left waiting to see if Cal can beat Stanford on the farm Sunday night.
The Bruins and Huskies played a fantastic first half, at least offensively, but the second half was another story.
The Huskies only made 9 field goals in the entire second half, shooting 9 of 28 during the half. Add that in with too many turnovers and the Bruins getting 10 more free throw attempts than the Huskies (21-11 UCLA advantage) and you can see exactly why the Huskies lost.
It will be Darnell Gant‘s there pointer that he took in the waning seconds that will be remembered from this one. With what looks like Terrence Ross open to his right, the senior launched up a three that came up short which sealed it for UCLA.
Ross, who was playing like a Pac-12 player of the year, was the ideal candidate to have the ball in his hands but Gant could not get an open look at a pass.
After dropping 24 points on the Huskies earlier, Josh Smith only finished with 9 and played only 18 minutes total. The Huskies went zone whenever he was on the floor and it seemed to work effectively.
The issue was that the Wear twins, who combined for 23 points and 17 rebounds, got inside with ease and cleaned up the boards, including 12 combined offensive boards. It was’t Aziz’s finest day.
Time to break it down…
- Three Point Shooting – I thought this was going to be key but the Huskies shot very well, 9 of 22 (40%) and still came up short. It was great to see that Wilcox seemed as deadly as ever as he finished the night going 4 for 6. It’s a good sign that the Huskies are shooting better heading into the post-season.
- C.J. Wilcox – As I just mentioned the sharpshooter looks to be back to 100% again. He finished with a game-high 22 points and 5 rebounds.
- Terrence Ross – He came up early and often while stepping up on defense as well. He finished with 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals but its his 5 turnovers that keep it from being an outstanding performance.
- Abdul Gaddy – The “most indispensable” Husky had a fantastic game running the offense as he finished with 12 assists and only 2 turnovers. Unfortunately he continues to struggle shooting the ball and was 1 of 7 from the field.
- Tony Wroten – Some may disagree but I felt that Tony played a great game for the Huskies. He didn’t force the ball too often and played great defense. He saw that Wilcox and Ross were hot and he differed to them. He finished with a still impressive 14 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, and only 2 turnovers. Also, he shot an efficient 6-12 from the field.
- Points Off Turnovers – It’s probably the stat of the game as the Bruins had 19 points off of Husky turnovers. Sloppy play led to too many Bruins possessions.
- Rebounding – The Huskies did not bring their best rebounding game as the Bruins pulled down more, winning the battle 38-35. The Bruins length is a real issue and the Huskies only pulled down 12 offensive rebounds. The Bruins also had 13 second chance points of their own.
- The Second Half – After scoring 47 in the first half, the Huskies could only muster 22 in the second. There were fewer open shots and the Bruins defense did a better job at locking down Wilcox and Ross. It sucks. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.
The Dawgs blew a big opportunity. I think a win here would have sealed the deal for a NCAA tournament bid and now the Huskies have work to do next week.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. On the brightside, as Percy Allen broke down today, the Huskies will play the winner of WSU/OSU if they are the 1 seed, or the winner of Stanford/ASU if they are the 2 seed. The Dawgs swept every regular season game against those four teams.
They NEED TO WIN that first game. It’s an absolute requirement.
Now it’s time to sit back and root for Stanford to beat the Golden Bears. Even if that happens, I still won’t feel as good as if we had won yesterday.
I thought the Huskies were turning the corner but it doesn’t look like they’re there. I’ve started to accept that this team is what it is; an uber-athletic team that lacks experience and the intangibles to impose their will.
As a Husky fan, you learn to be a glass-half-empty kind of fan. I’ll remain cautiously optimistic as we head into the final week. I still think that we will make it to the big dance but we can’t afford any more hiccups. Bow Down and Go Cardinal!