Revenge has been had. Tonight the Huskies avenged their loss against the Ducks in Oregon by defeating the Ducks in post-season play. One can be assured that the Huskies, immediately following their victory over Northwestern, hoped Oregon advanced into the quarterfinals just for the chance to play them again.
This game was certainly a barn-burner, but not a blowout. Washington came out with the effort offensively to put the Duckies away early, but unfortunately lacked the defensive intensity to keep the Duckies down. Ultimately the Dawgs won, but this is a game that should have been put away in the first half. Regardless, it is always great to have a victory over Oregon.
Offensively, Terrence Ross showed why he is considered by many to be a potential lottery-pick in the NBA by leading the game in scoring with 24. His combination of shooting and vertical leap are unmatched in the PAC-12, one would be hard-pressed to find another with that ability in all of the NCAA. His gifts are uncanny and he makes shots that you would never expect to fall for a lesser player. His arsenal of mid-range moves is unbelievable.
Before I delve into the bullet holes, a reminder to you all to please be courteous to our Ducky visitors and hold yourselves with more class than the "flagged for capitalization" Addicted the Quack. As much as the Duckies are despised here, we can still show respect to fellow human beings.
- Terrence Ross was the best player on the floor for either team tonight. His play during the NIT has been a level above his play in the regular season. His play in the regular season was exhilarating, if inconsistent. Coming into the game there was no way to tell whether he would drop 20 or be held to 4. The most consistent part of his game was his rebounding, which is aided by his length and extreme vertical. Tonight his rebounding was subpar (for him) but his scoring was efficient (24 points on 18 shots) and he hit all three attempts from the free-throw line.
- In an effort to stop the Duckies in the first half, Lorenzo Romar switched the Huskies to a 2-3 zone defensively with Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the middle due to Aziz being in foul trouble. This did little to slow Oregon offensively, as the rotations were slow, leading to open looks for E.J. SIngler from deep and easy post passes to Olu Ashaolou, who carved up the Huskies from inside all day long. I think that the game-plan was to have Seferian-Jenkins try to body up Ashaolou inside whenever Aziz was not on the floor. That game-plan did not work regretfully, as Ashaolou ended up with 20 points to lead Oregon. It also forced the perimeter defenders to make quick rotations which gave Singler open looks from deep. He hit his first three from outside. In the second half, Singler was defended much better, as he had only two looks from deep, both heavily contested and missed.
- Oregon periodically entered a zone of their own. One specific time that I noticed was when Oregon went into a 1-3-1. This is a riskier defense than the 2-3, and the Huskies decided to attack it with skip passes. They beat the zone with a skip pass from Gaddy to Ross for three, and I do not remember seeing this particular zone again.
- Tony Wroten had himself another head-scratching game offensively. His 22 points on 15 shots seems impressive, but let's delve into the makeup of those points. 10-14 from the free throw line, 71%. Not bad for a guard and very impressive for Wroten, but if you are going to consistently get to the line that many times you need to be at 80+ percent. Let's consider his 14 attempted free throws as seven field goal attempts. 22 points on 22 shots. Not bad actually. Then consider the Huskies average over one point per possession (1.07). That means the team is losing points by having him shoot the ball. Then one must factor in the fact that missed free throws have a very slight chance of landing in the offensive team's hands, making the fact that he is an inefficient free throw shooter an even bigger issue. One last point on this: When Tony drives the lane he ends up with three guys surrounding him, knowing that if he attacks the rim, he will shoot. This means that there are three defenders in very close proximity to the rim. Jumpers can end up as long rebounds, not lay-ins. That is one reason he is so good at getting his own miss. His lay-in/flip-it-at-the-hoop thing ends up short, which is exactly where he lands after attempting the shot. He is an undeniable talent, but has done wonders with his raw ability.
- Abdul Gaddy is finally getting some of the explosion back into his leg. Tonight we witnessed him make his usual smooth dribbling moves in getting to the rim. But Gaddy had a little more explosiveness post-move than I have been accustomed to seeing. Usually he just flows out of his move. Now he still flows out of his dribble move, but with a little more quickness in getting past his defender. This little bit of quickness is huge. Think about how big one-tenth of a second is when players are running the 40 for the NFL Combine. Now think about how much bigger one-tenth of a second gained in the span of two feet is. He has gained more confidence in his leg thanks to the increased quickness. This has allowed him to be stronger when attacking the rim, and consequently able to find teammates from inside the paint when the defense collapses.
- Gaddy was sensational tonight. This may have been his most complete game of the season and possibly his career. He finished with a double double of 11 points and 10 assists. He needed only three more rebounds for a triple double. He ran the offense masterfully. Abdul has also taken a bit of a leadership role with the team on the court from what I can see. At one point, after Ashoalou scored on Darnell Gant inside, Gant was frustrated still on the defensive end of the court after passing the ball in. Gant was jogging towards Romar saying something. Gaddy called Gant over in order to initiate the offense. This seems like something any point guard should do, but he had the audacity to basically tell his only Senior "Get your butt over here, what do you think you are doing?" That takes guts and leadership. I guarantee if Hikeem Stewart were running the point during that possession he would have said nothing and just waited. While Gant may be the emotional leader of this team, Gaddy is the on-court director.
- The second-half shooting of C.J Wilcox was big for the Dawgs tonight. He was 2-2 from deep in the second half and hit the closing free throws. The team made a concerted effort to make sure that he was the one to shoot the game-clinching free throws. However, when WIlcox was at the top of the key dribbling the ball around waiting to get fouled it dawned on me that he doesn't look entirely comfortable with the ball in his hands. This is probably due to the fact that he spends so much time working on his jumpshot that no time is left for him to work on ball-handling, but it is one area that he could stand to improve.