For the second straight game, the Huskies were out shot, with Belmont hitting over 50% from the field. However, UW got back to their usual ways by grabbing 22 offensive rebounds (6 by Quincy Pondexter), compared to just 5 for Belmont. Getting 17 extra possessions is an advantage that even the best teams in the nation would have difficulty overcoming. UW also took care of the ball better than Belmont did, which not only gives the team more scoring chances, but it also gets the team easy looks at the hoop in transition. Belmont edged us out on FT Rate, however that's a bit misleading. Because we took care of the ball better and hit the offensive glass we were able to attempt more shots, and though our FT Rate was lower we attempted and made more free throws. The performance at the stripe was impressive, with Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas combining to go 18/18, and the team hit 86%.
The story of this game was Washington's big 3. Thomas, Pondexter and Matthew Bryan-Amaning combined for 71 points and 25 rebounds. Thomas shot 4/5 from long range, MBA blocked 5 shots, and Pondexter hit 11/11 free throws. When you get that much production from three players, it doesn't really matter how the rest of the team plays. And it's good that those 3 guys did play as well as they did, because the rest of the cast was pretty unimpressive. Venoy Overton wen 0/5 from the floor. Tyreese Breshers fouled out in just 9 minutes of action. Darnell Gant went 0/4 from the floor with just 1 rebound. Abdul Gaddy had a decent game with 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Neither Scott Suggs nor Elston Turner shot well, combining to go 2/8, though Suggs did pull down 5 rebounds.
Belmont had a hot shooting hand in the first half, and was able to keep it close, but the Huskies pulled away, taking a 10 point lead into the half. In the second half the Bruins cooled down and the Huskies turned the game into a track meet, at which point Belmont simply could not keep pace.
Player of the Game:
Co-players of the game for this one. Both Pondexter and MBA hit their career highs in points. Pondexter finished with a double double, going for 25/11 and adding 3 assists. MBA went for 23/7 with all 5 of the Huskies blocked shots, and shot 78% from the floor. Let's hope this is progress for MBA, and not one of his off the chart games that he's produced. He's not going to produce like this every game, but this is definitely a step toward him being the powerful presence in the post the Dawgs need this year.
It's nice that MBA stepped up this game, but the rest of the forwards played pretty poorly. As mentioned above, Breshers fouled out in 9 minutes which is a bit embarrassing. Gant, Breshers and Trent combined for 5 points, though both Trent and Breshers did a good job on the glass as they both pulled down 4 rebounds in under 10 minutes of play.
3 point shooting was torrid. Even excluding Thomas's 4/5, Gaddy, Turner and Suggs combined to go 3/7.
Free throw shooting has been excellent in the first two games. Pondexter has yet to miss one, and Thomas is 21/25 through two games. Of course there's going to be some regression to their true averages, but it's encouraging that they're hitting them. It gives me confidence that the Huskies will be able to put opponents away at the end of games.
Justin Holiday didn't play well. Shot 2/8 and 0/3 from 3 and had just 1 rebound. It kind of feels like Romar is letting Suggs, Holiday and Turner battle it out on the court for who is going to be getting the lion's share of the minutes down the stretch, but none of those guys has stepped up yet. Suggs has played the best so far, but they're still anybody's minutes to take.