Washington Loses to BYU in First Round of NIT

USA TODAY Sports

Washington fought and clawed to stave off the end of the season, but in the end Tyler Haws proved too much and the Huskies will have to wait until October to lace up again.

And thus ends Washington's season. Ups, downs and turnarounds filled Washington's season but in the end it all led to being knocked out of the NIT by Tyler Haws and the BYU Cougars Washington battled to save the rest of their season, but it didn’t matter.

I almost wish that my work hadn’t let me off early so that Kevin would be stuck with this recap. Writing about the season being over sucks quite a bit. Maybe I should just stick to the game; that would be the logical thing to do, right? Screw logic. Logic never helped anybody with anything.

The season ended when Matt Carlino hit a three with 8:25 remaining in the game. Washington switched to a zone defense in order to defend Haws, who had been absolutely lighting up Washington, hitting off-balance jumpers and floaters at will. The zone was effective in slowing him temporarily, but Carlino is a zone-buster. He hit a three, his second of the half, and Washington realized that the zone was through and BYU was just going to shoot over the top, and the shots were going in.

So Washington switched back to a man defense, and Haws took advantage. It didn’t matter who defended him. Andrews took a turn, Suggs was embarrassed. Gaddy tried his hand. Haws would find space in transition, in the half court, anywhere. He would find space to get a mid-range jumper off and would drill it. Then the scoring of Carlino supplemented the barrage from Haws, who scored 37.

Carlino went 4-8 from deep, matching Washington’s top scorer C.J. Wilcox, playing in his hometown for the first time as a member of the Washington Huskies. Carlino’s nine assists matched Abdul Gaddy for the game-high. They were also the most he has had since the season-opener against TennesseeState where he hit double digits with ten.

For Washington, Shawn Kemp Jr. was their most efficient scorer and best rebounder; he got his first career double-double tonight. Kemp has improved steadily throughout the season on his jump hook and rebounding, and this was one of his best games all season, offensively. He scored 15 on 7-9 shooting and also had 11 rebounds, a game and career-high. This was the first time he broke double digits in rebounds.

Defensively Kemp Washington struggled to defend Brandon Davies, one of the best low-post scorers out West. Davies, who studies Hakeem Olajuwon tape in order to improve his footwork on the block, scored 20, including a monster jam after burning Kemp. Davies, Carlino and Haws combined for 79 of BYU’s 90 points.

C.J. Wilcox, possibly playing his last game in a Husky uniform, scored 20 points and was obviously trying to put on a strong showing for 51 of his closest friends and family–Wilcox had 50 tickets to the game and grew up as childhood friends with BYU’s Haws.

Scott Suggs was relatively quiet for most of the game after hitting an early three. He regrettably finished the season on a low note, scoring only five on 1-9 shooting. He did show some hustle in grabbing five rebounds, but it appeared that he may have been part of the transition defense, which may or may not have been his fault.

Aziz N’Diaye played a small number of minutes as he struggled against the more technically-savvy Davies. N’Diaye had ten points but only had three rebounds.

The season’s final Dots, for real this time guys, I promise.

· Thank you to all three seniors on the squad. Aziz, it has been fun seeing you develop an offensive game. Suggs, you developed from a standstill shooter to a good defender and an all-around offensive threat. Abdul, sorry for all of the flack given to you by fans. You kept the offense together for a large part of last season and this season as well.

· The perils of the high post hurt the Huskies once again. BYU did a great job outletting the ball up-court off of defensive rebounds and getting transition baskets. As has been covered here before by Gekko, the high post causes there to be only one defender in transition very often, typically the point guard or a wing. A lot of players are forced onto the baseline due to the 1-4 high-low alignment and that forces them to run the length of the floor to get back on defense.

The camera frequently panned to Gaddy or Kemp sprinting back on defense following a made basket. Kemp was utilized in the high post, and Gaddy ran the point guard position. That means that these two were the closest to the other end of the court the majority of the time. If anyone could possibly be lackadaisical on their retreat to defend the basket it would be these two, as they had the shortest distance to go, but instead they were sprinting.

Maybe I was missing some things, but as a whole, N’Diaye, Suggs and Wilcox were the last ones back on defense. This is by design. It is more of a design flaw than by design, but it is something that Lorenzo Romar will have to make a decision on in the offseason. Will they run a different style of the high post? Will they abandon it? Will they run the same offense again?

I struggle to believe the offense is going to be a strong selling point for recruits, except for the rare passing big man like Joe Burton or Aaron Gordon (please come here Aaron, we have cookies!).

· The offense did well when Wilcox was moving and cutting. When he is running off screens it draws attention from every member of the defense not guarding the ball-handler. It opens up driving lanes, post-up opportunities and also spot-up opportunities for Suggs, Andrew Andrews or even Gaddy.

Early in this game it looked like Wilcox’s foot was bothering him, as he was moving slowly and rarely on offense. I have to believe this is why Romar didn’t match him up against Tyler Haws, despite the fact that the familiarity factor typically plays into the hand of the defense in one-on-one situations, which are where Haws got most of his points outside of transition.

He started moving more on offense during the second half, and it led to Washington’s offense running smoother, and Wilcox scored more in the second half and appeared to be getting better looks from the perimeter. He had trouble scoring inside, going only 3-10 from inside the arc. His jumper is what is going to make him money though, and that is what worked for him, including a big step back three to finish the first half.


· Coming into this season, Shawn Kemp Jr. was a little bit of an unknown. He ended as a very dependable scoring option in the low post, and as a dump-down guy for drivers. He, Desmond Simmons and Jernard Jarreau all have good hands, with Simmons and Kemp a notch above the lanky redshirt freshman.

Kemp’s jump hook is a real weapon. It is virtually unblockable, and when he gets any sort of space the hook is more likely to go in than to miss. His strength and athleticism make him a major problem for defenses, and further development of his game could make him one of the best posts in the Pac-12.

I will have a post or four on this at some point during the dead period, but the development of Shawn Kemp is going to be a key to Washington’s success next season. The frontcourt is going to be crowded, with Kemp, Simmons and Jarreau all returning. They will be joined by Belgian transfer Gilles Dierickx and American transfer Perris Blackwell. The only one of those who can be characterized as a low post scorer other than Kemp is Blackwell.

I have a suspicion that Blackwell is partially responsible for developing the hook shots of both N’Diaye and Kemp, as they both developed the shot over an offseason. The two both use a different hook, with N’Diaye’s being more of a baby hook than a jump hook.

To oversimplify, you face up to the basket with a baby hook more than a jump hook. With a jump hook your shoulders are almost perpendicular. It is a more difficult shot to perfect, but also to block, and it allows you to see the floor better, as with a baby hook it is near-impossible to see any cutters when setting up for the shot.

Thank you, seniors. Thank you, C.J., maybe. I would hope this isn’t goodbye and that we will be seeing you in the purple and gold for another season. Thanks to my readers. Without you guys I am writing to myself, and that is just creepy considering I don’t read my own stuff.

Read my typically sports-related thoughts on Twitter.

For more on the Cougars, head over to Vanquish the Foe. Here is their recap on the happenings.

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