Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Three straight losses, and the loss to Oregon was the only understandable one. No loss to a rival is "acceptable" but one can understand why Washington would lose to the Ducks in Eugene, where UO has won 20 straight. Oregon is the very definition of a complete team. Washington is far from it, though they show promise at times.
Washington played tough, never giving in until the final buzzer, but they were beaten by the better team, with team being the key word. The ball movement by Oregon was phenomenal all game long. The fact that they had 12 assists to UW's 15 is one part of the game that stats don't bare out. Oregon know's how to play together, and that is why they won today, despite their starting point guard being out, possibly for a while.
One might say that Washington lost because of their turnovers. That could be true, until the stat sheet is put in front of that person's eyes. Oregon out-turnovered Washington 23-21. That was a problem, but not why Washington lost. Washington lost because of a myriad of reasons. The turnovers being one. E.J. Singler being another (although he had 7 turnovers himself, tying a career high).
Free throws may have been the biggest reason Washington lost the game. Washington shot 14-24 on the night for free throws, 58.3%. That is horrific. C.J. Wilcox missed both of his attempts. Andrews missed two late that would have made the game more manageable. Oregon shot an about average 73% on their attempts, and had more makes (27) than Washington had attempts.
The game was close throughout, despite 15 first-half turnovers for Washington. Oregon never had a lead greater than seven points until almost halfway through the second half, as Washington hung around, until they couldn't anymore. Oregon put on a press that caused UW turnovers on three straight possessions, and the game turned from there. Washington never again was in position to take the lead.
Some Dots, to satisfy your cravings.
- Whenever Washington faces a run by an opponent, one thing almost always happens: Scott Suggs attempts an isolation. Whether or not he gets a shot off can be a different story, but he attempts to quell a run all by himself often. Advanced stats and science (which I am typically a big fan of) would probably disagree with this theory, but it really seems like isolation plays tend not to work when an opponent is making a big run.
When Suggs isolates, he likes to be about seven or eight feet from the baseline, or near the top of the key. His isolations boil down to several jab-steps, pump fakes, and typically a pull-up jumper or a contested three. His favorite spot within the arc to shoot is along the baseline, as he likes to stop and pop from there if he gets enough space to dribble to his spot, whether he is contested or not, he will take that shot if he can get it.
He does have the ability to make those shots, so him taking those contested jumpers occasionally isn't an issue. The issue is when he takes them. He tends to put them up early in the shot clock, or when the opponent is making a big run, as noted above. These possessions take an offense out of their flow, if they are in one, and tend to give up long rebounds which can lead to transition buckets (of which the Ducks took full advantage).
- As pointed out in the broadcast, Washington failed to capitalize when they had numbers in transition. One such example was when Suggs had two trailing teammates and only Singler was back to defend. One method that teams use, with more and more frequency, is to have the ball-hander attack the basket and the rest of the players follow the shot, getting into position for a rebound, should the shot be missed. In this instance, it was missed, but nobody got into position to rebound the ball.
Washington is a team that is known for getting out in transition and scoring, whether that is what their focus truly is or not – it isn't by the way, that would be defense. They never did that this game. They had opportunities to go four-on-three or three-on-two and never took advantage. Oregon was the smarter team, and it showed. They are full of players with very high basketball IQ's, and that is why they were able to take advantage of opportunities that were there.
- Shawn Kemp Jr. had himself a nice game, having most of his success in the second half. He scored in double digits for the first time in his career. He shot 5-5 from the field and also tied for the team lead in rebounds, with six. Kemp also finally scored on a hook shot. He has attempted about a dozen hooks that I have seen, and tonight was the first that went in. It was off of an offensive rebound from an Andrew Andrews missed free throw (I think). His play was enough to get him in the lineup at the end of the game, along with Desmond Simmons, Andrews, Wilcox, Suggs and Abdul Gaddy.
- There were a few oddities in the game. Abdul Gaddy hit two threes. Both were in rapid succession, and he also didn't airball a third attempt, so kudos to him. Maybe, just maybe, that will raise his confidence, because he had a decent game. It would have been a good game had he not turned the ball over five times, but he did. The other oddity was that Aziz N'Diaye hit a led-handed shot. Yes, that was read correctly. Aziz N'Diaye made a shot with his left hand. He turned and did a half-hook half-scoop shot with his left that went in and hardly even skimmed the rim.