Matthew Knight Arena is four years old. The Huskies play in it once per year, in their trip to Eugene to take on the Ducks. That means UW has played four games within Matthew Knight Arena. None of those have been victories, leaving the Huskies 0-4 all-time in the building.
That includes Wednesday night, when UW came in with a real chance to grab its first win there. It didn't happen, and road Huskies showed up. Oregon wasn't all that great either, but showed its superior all-around talent in topping the Huskies 78-71.
It came in large part to an inability of Washington to get the ball into the hands of its best scorer's hands in positions to score. Early on, the Huskies were running him off of a lot of screens, and getting the ball into his hands on the wings. He was usually blanketed by whoever Dana Altman had on him that possession, and if Wilcox ever had a chance to get past his guy, he was greeted by help defense. Altman's strategy was to stop Wilcox. He sacrificed a lot to make that happen, and proved that the Huskies can't do anything offensively with their star not scoring.
It wasn't all bad, and the Huskies led at the half.
Much maligned (by me, along with others) Andrew Andrews played ad his best half of basketball all season in the first half including when he closed out the game against Utah with three very clutch jumpers in the final minutes. The stats: 3-of-6 shooting, 6 rebounds, three assists, nine points. The biggest difference? His decision-making. The ball was in his hands for most of the first half , and it belonged there.
It feels really weird to say that. I have been the harshest critic of Andrews. His second half wasn't head scratching, as he was fairly invisible.
The Huskies led at the half behind Andrews despite three points from C.J. Wilcox, who has been struggling of late, especially when compared to what he was doing earlier in the season. He drew heavy defensive attention, and as a result only attempted four shots and one three. The Huskies led at the half despite starting big man (Perris Blackwell asked to come off the bench) Shawn Kemp Jr. having a first half fouls per 40 minutes rate of 30. He had 3 fouls in 4 minutes of play.
That's it for the recap. A few quick Dots. College be taking up my time.
When it was determined that the Duck were going to be keeping Wilcox from doing anything offensively, the Huskies stopped running sets that featured him running off of three or four screens. Then, the Husky offense stalled. Wilcox finished with 9 points on 2-of-8 shooting.
How did the Huskies get their points when Wilcox was running off of screens despite not getting points? They did it because of all the attention he was drawing. Defenders fell asleep, which allowed Blackwell to get into position sealing his man, or it caused whoever was defending Desmond Simmons to forget he had a guy to guard.
Some people have argued that having Jernard Jarreau would have solved the Huskies interior defense problem. He would have helped, but he would not have been the savior. People forget that he really is a 3/4 hybrid. It isn't his job to anchor a defense in the middle. That should be Gilles Dierickx, but he hasn't done anything of note.
Jarreau would put up decent shotblocking numbers. Who else puts up decent shotblocking numbers on the Huskies? C.J. Wilcox. He isn't a defensive anchor. Jarreau would get his blocks in a similar fashion to Wilcox. He would use his athleticism and length to block shots from unsuspecting offensive players as opposed to bothering shots from pure height - though he can do that, to a point.
The officiating was legitimately bad. I don't make this complaint often, because typically officiating will be bad on both sides, if it is bad. This was really, really bad. It hurt UW. The charge call on Nigel Williams-Goss should not have even been called under the old rules. The fifth foul on Simmons was head-scratching to say the least.
Nobody else seemed to mention this, but I though that Ben Carter's foul on Wilcox should have been deemed an intentional foul. He was not even close to going for the ball (even if Bill Walton thought it was clean initially). Carter threw both arms straight down simultaneously. There wasn't any going-for-the-ball-ness about it.
Huskies play Saturday at one, on the road against Oregon State.
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