This is where the phrase "Cougin' it" came from! The Cougars doing stupid things like choking at the free throw line. The Cougars had this game handed to them on a black and white platter, but couldn't finish. The old adage "ball never lies" rung true in this instance.
This game was won despite terrible officiating. The game started by being a game of runs, but I have to believe that he officials themselves had their "runs." The first half and for the start of the second the officials favored the Cougars. Then there was about a three or four minute stretch where officiating favored the Huskies... Then it went straight back to the Cougars.
One must give credit where credit is due. For the first half and into the second half, the Cougars wanted the win much much more than the Huskies, and it was obvious. The rebounding in the first half was bad, with the Huskies grabbing I believe two offensive rebounds all half. Hustle tends to show up on the boards, and it did for sure in the first half. Referees tend to give calls to the team that wants it more. I am in no way condoning this, nor should officiating be as lopsided as it was for the majority of this game. Aside from the foreknown poor officiating provided by the PAC, it was just unacceptable.
The Dawgs did come back from a sizable deficit with ten minutes to play, if memory serves it reached a high of thirteen. This was in no small part aided by the Cougars Cougin' it. Again credit where credit is due.
- Say what you want about Tony Wroten, but this was an extremely inefficient performance offensively. 6-18 shooting with two offensive rebounds. I know he follows his shot extremely well, with that is two out of twelve misses that he grabbed. A very high rate, but still double the misses compared to the number of makes. That rate does not make up for the number of misses he had I have noticed this pattern with him recently. My belief is that teams are starting to pick up on his offensive tendencies. More specifically than his propensity to favor his left, he uses an extremely high number of "Euro step" moves followed by a finger roll. (A Euro step is a move where a player uses their two steps once their dribble is picked up to step one direction then once they plant move in a zig-zag pattern to work their way around or between defenders.) Once a Euro step is read it is an easy move to stop, and teams have learned how to read one of his more common moves. When his back is to the basket, it is even worse. Tony has two moves: attempt to use his quickness to shoulder his way around the defender using his right shoulder to pin the defender to his back in order to attempt to get around, or spin directly into the defender and attempt to finish over him. The moves worked well early on, but again teams have caught on to his tendencies. Tony has the ability to dominate games. It is obvious the talent level he has. He needs to refine his game with at minimum another year in college. He may need more given how raw his skillset actually is. All this said, I am glad that he hit his free throws, which did end up making his final line more respectable.
- C.J Wilcox is so important to this team. Without his consecutive threes the game would have been decided in the first half. His cutting ability opens up so many other players. I know that the play ended up with a bad result, but there was one play I remember where Wilcox slithered his way around a screen to catch an entry pass from Gaddy off of a cut that had to be precise. Should Wilcox have been any quicker around the screen Gant's (screen-setter) man would have still been in position to deny the pass. Slower or any closer to the top of the key an Wilcox's own man would have easily stuck with him. The play ended up with a Marcus Capers block into the stands, which I give zero blame to Wilcox as there was no way he could have seen that coming, but the play was a perfect example of the cutting ability of C.J's.
- After Abdul Gaddy finished shooting jump shots I became thoroughly impressed with his game. His explosion is slowly returning to him, and his dribble moves have not left him. He had one hesitation move in particular that left my jaw on the floor. Most hesitation dribbles involve a player moving up onto his toes in order to give the appearance of standing up straighter and trick the defender into settling back onto their heels before exploding to the rim. Gaddy used his shoulders while keeping his feet chopping. I cannot describe how difficult the move was that he pulled off. The fluidity with which he performed it was crazy. Maybe I am too smitten with Gaddy to be unbiased about this, but this move in particular more than caught my eye. Back to his overall performance however. He had a stretch during the comeback where he had six consecutive Husky points. For a pass-first point guard this is impressive. He realized that he had an ability to beat his guy off the dribble and took him several consecutive times to the rim. I cannot wait to see the ability he has next season with improved explosiveness.
- Rebounding was awful. This team should NEVER lose the rebounding battle. They have the size and athleticism to dominate the boards. Ross's foul trouble hurt, but still the Huskies should have performed much better on the glass than they did. This did pick up late in the game. There was one instance where a missed Cougar jumper hit the ground with nobody within seven feet. This was due to four Huskies all boxing their men way away from the ball. A rebound hitting the floor in college basketball is a rare occurrence. The fact that there were four Huskies surrounding it is impressive.
- It was obvious Darnell Gant had the assignment to guard Brock Motum from the outset. Not only did he get the start, but he led the Huskies in minutes with 38. Motum shot 7-19 from the field with 17 points and had four turnovers. Gant did a solid job throughout the game guarding him. He also did a good job cleaning up the boards with seven, four of the offensive variety.
- The coaching staff gets a "hats off" for one thing in particular. They make good adjustments. After being abused in the post early on, with WSU getting easy position down low, Romar switched to a two-three zone (Aziz was already in foul trouble) and put Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the middle. This immediately made an impact and the Cougars had trouble getting easy position in the post from then on out, regardless whether Seferian-Jenkins was in the game or not.
Cougin' it with the best of them!
What do all y'all think of the game tonight?
Like it, hate it, or just don't like me? Let me know below