In this world, there are many things that are dumb. Dogs chasing their own tails are dumb. The belief in (spoiler alert) Santa Claus at the age of seventeen is dumb. Me yelling "Gametime!" in response to my friend's neighbor asking if I knew what time it was while I dribbled a basketball - 2 AM - is dumb.
I have a dog, his name is Trucker. My family likes to call him a "dumb dog" because he does not understand certain things. If somebody knocks on the dinner table he barks as if the world is ending. If you are reading this as of 12/21/2012 then my apologies to have to live in a post-apocalyptic land. It sure must stink. My dog doesn't comprehend that knocks can come from more places than just the front door. We call my dog a "dumb dog" but the truth is that he just doesn't have the mental capacity to understand such things! For a dog he is intelligent!
The headline to this story is dumb. Fouling when down a baker's dozen with 30 seconds left is dumb. There is no coming back from that. Do you have Tracy McGrady on your team? He can do that. I just checked Cal-Poly's roster, and no they don't have Tracy McGrady. I understand that if you make one miraculous comeback you believe you can do it again, but there is a point of no return, and it had been surpassed. Statsheet lists this game as "statistically over" with 3:05 seconds remaining.
Kevin Calabro believes that the ending point of the game was a diving save by Desmond Simmons where he dove between the legs of a Mustang to get a loose ball. The ball then ultimately ended up going through the basket with Washington being the beneficiary of points. That seems as good a point as any. The game had only a few minutes left, and the Huskies held a 19-point lead.
That is near the end of the game. I know you have zero interest in how the game ended, only how the game started. The game started with a pair of turnovers by Aziz N'Diaye. The Huskies were making a concerted effort in the first half to get the ball in to N'Diaye on the block. The first five Washington possessions all had N'Diaye with the ball in his hands at or near the block.
Cal Poly is known as a patient team. They make smart decisions and rarely turn the ball over. This usually means that a team wants to play a slow-paced game. Cal Poly is not an exception to this rule. The score was 31-23 at halftime, with the tempo being dictated by the Mustangs. Although Cal Poly dictated the tempo, they did not lead the game.
Washington scored their first points on an N'Diaye layup. They never trailed. Cal Poly tied the score twice, once at 2-2 and again at 16-16, but that was the closest they got. C.J WIlcox had another ho-hum 21 points in a stat-stuffing effort: six rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. He was the player of the game.
Scott Suggs showed his all-around game as well. He had 12 points to go along with two rebounds and four assists.
Time for some Dots.
- This game marked the return of Andrew Andrews from a sprained ankle suffered in practice last week. Andrews was slowed only slightly throughout the course of the game, and ran the point effectively while spelling Abdul Gaddy. He may not have had a registered assist, but his ability to run the offense was invaluable to getting Gaddy some rest.
Andrews was not as quick defensively or offensively as he was before the injury, as should be expected. Despite not having the athleticism he is accustomed to, he still made an impact. I saw one play in particular that showed he is still not 100% back from injury. Suggs had the ball near the opposite baseline and made a pass to Andrews that was deflected high into the air. Andrews leaped less than a foot off of the ground with a defender closing in to grab the loose ball.
Some may say that Andrews was protecting himself from further injury, but it didn't appear as if Andrews was bracing himself for any impact, even though impact did come. Andrews has talent, just needs to be healthy in order to show it.
- N'Diaye is making progress offensively, and one thing I noticed tonight was that he has a new habit when he catches the ball in the post. He catches the ball, palms it in his right hand, then slaps his hands together. My guess as to why he does this is because the coaches are trying to teach him to be more patient with the ball down low. It could be something the coaches told him to do, just to force him to take some time.
Of course, it could be his way of "protecting" the ball, which probably won't work with pesky guards always poking at it.
I did notice another move used today that I do not recall seeing before, or it just had not registered. N'Diaye has had a drop-step lay in for a little while now, where he just steps around the defender while keeping his pivot foot planted. Today I saw him, from the right block (view from the top of the key) take a two-handed power dribble while making his drop-step. This is a move that requires understanding of where your opponent is positioned. The defender was playing N'Diaye towards the middle of the key, so he went the opposite way and finished for two points.
- Abdul Gaddy has developed his shot to three-point range. It is not the knockdown jumper that his two wingmates possess, but it is a weapon to be defended against. However, Gaddy doesn't catch and shoot like Suggs and Wilcox. He usually pulls up from a dribble or two at the top of the key or on the wing, or holds the ball looking for teammates when the defender fails to close out on him. "Hand down, man down." Gaddy seems to shoot out of rhythm, with hesitation. It works for him, but is just a little quirk I have noticed.
Washington used a blend of high post offense and motion offense within the halfcourt to score and slowly build their lead. This has become more or less what Washington is. They made the switch to a full-time high post offense, but it didn't work. Then Washington ran almost exclusively motion offenses for stretches within some games.
Now Lorenzo Romar's Huskies have the ability to run either of those offenses. Both of them showed promise in this game. This develops flexibility that could prove invaluable when conference play starts. If a team takes away the high post, Washington can attack them with the motion, and vice versa.
Washington plays again on Saturday. Watch it!