Scott Suggs scores 23 as Washington defeats Washington State

USA TODAY Sports

Hot shooting from Washington senior Scott Suggs led Washington to a victory over the rival Cougars.

Coming out of the half WashingtonState looked like it was going to pull away from their rival hosts, the Washington Huskies. WSU went on an 11-1 run to open the half to turn a two-point halftime deficit into a 43-35 lead. An Aziz N’Diaye free throw was the only thing that kept the Cougars from having all momentum.

Lorenzo Romar didn’t call a timeout. He opted instead to let his players fight through the tough stretch. N’Diaye responded by missing two free throws, which put him at one make and three misses at the charity stripe since the intermission. That is when things turned.

C.J. Wilcox stole the ball and the following possession turned into an and-one opportunity for Scott Suggs, who wasn’t able to convert, but still had scored his 10th and 11th points of the day, and had stymied the momentum for WashingtonState. UW then brought the deficit back to within two points before Brock Motum hit a jumper.

The Cougars kept a slight lead for the next 10 minutes of game time, until Washington took the lead on an Abdul Gaddy jumper and never trailed again, although WSU did force a tie at one point.

Leading Washington offensively was the senior wing Suggs. Suggs hit five threes and scored 23 points – tying Wilcox for the game-high. Suggs played extremely well to finish off his chapter in the Apple Cup rivalry, with two assists and rebounds to go along with his 23.

Active all over the floor early and often was the injured junior wing Wilcox; he is nursing a stress reaction in his foot that hasn’t allowed him to practice and has caused a slight visible limp. Wilcox was active on the defensive end with four steals, and he and Suggs combined defensively to hold DaVonte Lacy to only ten points on 2-6 shooting from the field.

Y’all only love me for my Dots, so here are my Dots.

  • Not enough can be said about Scott Suggs’s performance. He hit threes as the shot clock wound down multiple times, didn’t take multiple contested threes early in the shot clock (he did take one) and may have been the biggest reason the Huskies came out of their rivalry game with a win.

    He struggled to find a rhythm for most of the conference season, but has really turned it on these last two games, scoring a total of 39 points and is shooting better than 50% from three point range. His shot selection has been criticized by many this season (yours truly) but since he started to stay within his own game by catching and shooting and not dribbling five times before taking a shot attempt, he has been much more effective. He has the ability to get hot and lead the Huskies through the conference tournament.

  • Of Washington’s four big men in the rotation, N’Diaye is the most important. He is a defensive stopper, providing weak-side blocks, strong post defense. He also has become a dependable scorer on the offensive end, so long as he isn’t the focal point of the gameplan. The most important of the bigs today was not N’Diaye.

    N’Diaye received the fewest minutes of any Huskies post with 14, behind Jernard Jarreau, Desmond Simmons and Shawn Kemp Jr. A big part of that is the makeup of WashingtonState’s frontcourt. They run without a true banger in the post for N’Diaye to guard, and he is the least comfortable of any UW rotation player out on the perimeter.

    The most important of Washington’s "bigs" this afternoon was Desmond Simmons. Yes, Brock Motum scored 18 points on only 10 shot attempts ­­– that is really good. Motum scored the first five points out of the gate for WashingtonState, and immediately Desmond Simmons was brought in. The Aussie didn’t score again until there was less than a minute left in the first half.

    Most of Motum’s points came at the expense of anyone other than Simmons. N’Diaye, Kemp and Jarreau all dealt with the Aussie with minimal levels of success. Simmons played wonderful defense on the big man and also grabbed eight rebounds while he was out there.

    He struggled to finish around the rim, which is something he definitely could improve, and missed both of his free throws, but he also hit a big mid-range fade away jumper has the shot clock ran down tie the game at 53 with less than 7 minutes to play.

  • C.J. Wilcox continues to struggle with his outside shot. He was 1-5 from deep in this game, with most of his misses coming on open looks. Personally I attribute it to his injury, as missing practice time is difficult for any player, particularly a shooter. Last season, when dealing with the stress fracture in his leg, Wilcox was relegated to 50 jump shots in a day. That isn’t even a warm-up for most shooters.

    The sweet spot for Wilcox appears to be a step in from the arc, as he continues to hit shots from there as opposed to his bricks from beyond the arc. My guess as to why that is, is because he is taking lots and lots of set shots, or shots without leaving his feet.

    When practicing set shots, typically a shooter doesn’t venture any deeper than the free throw line, as otherwise form tends to be compromised. If his set shots are often from that area, he will be more accurate with his jumpers just due to the fact that he is more comfortable with that spot on the floor. Again, just a theory, but one that I would ask him about if I had the chance.

  • I get the feeling that Romar views Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox as similar defenders. He has the two of them switch on screens off-ball and on-ball.

    When N’Diaye’s man screens Jarreau, typically Jarreau has to attempt to fight through the screen as opposed to just letting N’Diaye take his man. Maybe it is because all centers smell really bad and N’Diaye doesn’t realize the stench. My best buddy is 6-5 and plays center on our men’s league team. He farts a lot. If one center farts a lot, they all must fart a lot; that’s the way the world works. If my computer doesn’t like the photo-editor for SB Nation, then no computers like the photo editor for SB Nation.

    Switching screens is typically only a temporary measure, as when the offense resets, or the two offensive players that the defenders switched are near each other, the two defenders switch back to their initial man. With Wilcox and Suggs, they just stay on their switched man for the remainder of the possession.

    When it comes to on-ball defense, the two are very similar. They don’t get beat off the bounce very easily; Wilcox is slightly better than Suggs at preventing dribble penetration, but gets caught reaching his hand in for the ball more frequently. Off-ball, Wilcox is the better defender. Suggs tends to be late on rotations while Wilcox gets a numerous deflections and steals. Wilcox averages almost double the steals per game of Suggs.

  • Abdul Gaddy has reclaimed the spot as Washington’s best point guard. For a while, Andrew Andrews was outperforming Gaddy in most every facet in the game: taking care of the ball, distributing, slashing, and defending. Gaddy (even in the midst of his airball spree) was the superior shooter but Andrews was better in most every other part of the game.

    Gaddy has taken care of the ball better in this recent stretch, with a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio in his past five games (30:10 total) while he has also shot 54% from the field in that span. To contrast, Andrews has 11 assists to eight turnovers in that span. He is also shooting 32% from the field during that span.

    Andrews may have hit the freshman wall, but regardless of what he has been doing, Gaddy has been solid recently, with his 9 points, six assists and two steals versus two turnovers matching with his current streak nicely. I still want to see a double-digit assist game from him this season, as he hasn’t had one this season after having a dozen in a game against UCLA last season.

Washington plays again on Wednesday, hosting the USC Trojans at 8:30 PST on the PAC-12 Network. Watch it if you can. Martin Breunig is currently earning a scholarship to play basketball for the University of Washington. Martin Breunig is also known as Luke Walton 2.0. Martin Breunig could beat any of us at basketball.

For more on the Cougars head over to CougCenter.

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