Tony does this way too much. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
This was a frustrating one to be sure. The offense was the opposite of what it had been all season. The team got off to a hot shooting start but tailed off at the end of the game, fading when the buckets mattered most.
The Huskies had their chances and failed to capitalize, it doesn't get much more simple than that. Defense was poor, with failures to adjust to nearly anything the Bruins did offensively.
This loss could either help to motivate the Huskies to make a tournament run, or it could be a catalyst to a post-season implosion. With the coaching of Romar the chances are much greater that the former is the outcome. His teams have repeatedly peaked late in the season, and this is no exception. The team is peaking at the right time, heading into the PAC-12 Tournament on a hot streak, winning 16 of 20.
On to the bullet holes!
- This game is not on the shoulders of Darnell Gant. He had a good look and missed. It happens. The blame for the late-game miscue –which is not entirely the cause of the loss– goes in the design of the play. The only reasoning I could find in running the clock down 20 seconds before running something with a semblance of a play is a lack of belief in the defense. More on that later. I understand running a high screen with Abdul Gaddy and Gant. I even understand the pick n pop. Gant has shown to be a good, not great shooter, but is much more questionable around the rim. Gaddy had 11 assists at that point, so having him attacking the rim with Wilcox and Ross on the perimeter ready to either spot up or attack the basket on a cut, makes quite a bit of sense to me. Gaddy was having success finding lanes to drive all day, so it was more than reasonable to expect him to get the ball in the lane. I am going to have a full breakdown of this play and possibly more later this week. Edit: Play was not designed for Gant to shoot. Still does not excuse wasting the clock.
- It was nice to see Ross being more assertive early in the game. He has started to pick up his game in the first half recently, and is no longer saving all of his ability for late. He scored the first 6 points for the Dawgs on two three pointers. His scoring was impressive, along with his defense. He was reading passes well all game long, and had five steals and several deflections. I felt that this was the most hustle I have seen out of him in a game this year. His performance had its share of thorns however, with five turnovers. None of the turnovers were particularly understandable either. I could understand when Ross just plain had his crossover stolen by Tyler Lamb, who played great anticipatory defense throughout the game, leading to four steals and a block for him. Ross often found himself on the ground after failing badly with a dribble move, which was –at minimum– three of his five turnovers. That is unacceptable. I know his scoring was essential, but it was mitigated by his turnovers.
- C.J Wilcox was hitting tonight. His hip seems to be improving, and with it his shot is returning to where it was before the injury occurred. he shot 9-12 for the game, 4-6 from deep. He led the game in scoring with 22 points. He also had five rebounds to go along with his shooting. He did a great job of setting his feet before his shots. His footwork off of screens and in transition is spot-on. Wilcox can find a shot in almost every situation, which is an invaluable skill for a shooter.
- Tony Wroten has really soured on me. He has yet to adjust to defenses collapsing when he drives. The picture within this article sums up my opinion of the state of Wroten's game very well. He attacks and attempts to finish with three defenders around him. When he is around the rim, no longer does he look to find his teammates. He has set it into his mind that the shot is going up. He follows his shot extremely well, of that there is zero doubt. It does hurt his ability to get above defenders when finishing however. One of the key reasons he can get back up so quickly after shooting is because he doesn't lift too far off the ground when finishing. This allows him to set up to jump up again quickly. With how often he finishes it seems like a worthwhile tradeoff, but I would rather see him attempting fewer triple-teamed lay-ins.
- The defense was atrocious. There were zero adjustments made to combat the cutters through the lane. Here is a hint: put your forearm into their chest. No free rides through the paint. The Wear twins had solid passing throughout the game, especially to cutters and flashers, and received passes well as cutters and flashers. The Dawgs never did anything to combat this however. Passing from the high post has eaten the Huskies up all season long. I do not know how this will be combatted, but I do know that if the Dawgs face a good passing big man in the Tourney then there is the potential to have a similar defensive performance.
- Josh Smith is a big girl. A very, very large girl. A mammoth Girl. If she and Brittney Griner switched places I would not notice. Fat man falls! Blow a whistle! Fat man hugs Husky? Awwww how cute. I remember one play where it literally looked as is Smith was mounting a Husky (cannot remember who, believe it was Gaddy or Ross) after the Dawg had secured a rebound, yet there was no whistle blown. The PAC needs better referees. I have no idea where to find referees, but it needs to be done.