Seattle University's Cameron Dollar is definitely a Lorenzo Romar disciple. In-your face defense. Motion offense. Keep the pace up. Except when you play the other team's game you better be better at it. Washington is built on getting up and down the floor quickly, scoring with slashers and shooters. Seattle wants to play that way, but just cannot match up with Washington in that regard.
From the outset of the game, it was obvious that Washington was the better team. They broke Seattle's full-court man pressure defense with relative ease, despite Lenny Wilkens continually saying they need to pass the ball up the court. If my count is correct, the Huskies had only two turnovers in the first half, with neither of them coming against the press, both occurring in the half-court.
Seattle kept things relatively close for the first while, but there was just a sense that Washington was primed to make a run, and that they did. They took a 21-14 lead and went on a 20-2 run on two Scott Suggs to make it 41-14 with the game never getting closer than a 13-point difference at any junction.
Suggs fought through cramps to lead the Huskies in scoring with a career-high 24 points to go along with 5 rebounds, and a pair of both assists and steals. He started to cramp up in the second half, and had to come out in two different intervals due to them.
Hikeem Stewart was injured late in the second half after colliding with a Seattle player in mid-air. It appeared they went knee to knee with Stewart taking the brunt of it. His knee bent in a way it was never intended to bend, and he was understandably taken out for the rest of the game. It was a bad end to a good night for him offensively, as he hit all three of his shots from the field, all of which came off of jump shots.
To the Seattle Dots, all smothered in cream cheese.
- Several times in the first half, Seattle posted up a forward (oftentimes Clarence Trent) on C.J. Wilcox. Despite Wilcox's slender frame, he was able to dissuade any shot attempts from Trent - and only one by another Redhawk, which didn't fall.
We are really watching Wilcox mature as a player. Two years ago, before his redshirt freshman season, we were hearing about how "this kid can shoot lights out." Washington had Elston Turner as the designated shooter at the time, who was and still is a knockdown shooter. Commentators would mention how Wilcox was an even better shooter than Turner.
He was that, yet fans saw the potential for more. We saw the length and the vertical. He doesn't have the wingspan or pure athleticism of Terrence Ross, but that isn't a knock on him, as not everybody gets drafted top-ten into the NBA. We saw the ability to use his shot to create other opportunities. He has grown into that. There is still room for growth, as there will always be for a college player with NBA aspirations. He could get into the lane and finish with contact better. He could develop a better handle.
I have read about fans and heard fans say that he needs to do those things. His dribbling has vastly improved, and he is starting to get into the lane with more frequency. I am not saying that he is getting all the way to the rim, but he is getting into the lane. Baby steps. He tends to pull up from about 12 feet out and use a floater that he has developed. A floater that Tony Wroten could have used last season. But that is a whole other can of worms. Did I really just use "can of worms?" Well, some of you have to fish so I guess you are okay with it.
Also, Wilcox has become the team's best perimeter defender. I am saying this as Hikeem Stewart is trying to figure out which direction his knee is supposed to bend. If Stewart could bend his knee both ways, he could be an even better defender. Or a worse defender. I imagine his first step would be amazingly fast considering his hamstring would be able to develop like his quadriceps, at least on the leg that can bend both ways. He is probably in a lot of pain right now. Feel better Hikeem!
I asked Hikeem on Twitter if his defense would be even better now that his knee bends both ways. I think I spilled his secret to everyone.
Husky defense is in-your-face, overplay the passing lanes, get steals and deflections leading to fastbreaks. They got back to that early in the game (slight oxymoron), cutting off passing lanes to prevent Seattle from running their offensive sets. The first play of the game signified what Romar wants his team to do defensively. Abdul Gaddy pressured the ball at the top of the key and Suggs stole the pass to the wing.
Suggs finished at the other end. Defense turning into offense. Causing turnovers is a good way to get the pace up, which is what Washington wants. Seattle's press definitely helped.
- Speaking of Gaddy, he played 40 minutes tonight. It probably isn't a coincidence that college basketball games are have 40 minutes on the clock. That means he played the entirety of the game and never came out. Lorenzo Romar isn't comfortable with anybody else on the roster running point with the exception of Andrew Andrews. If Nigel Williams-Goss wasn't coming next year I would be looking for the development of Hikeem Stewart as a ball-handler.
Gaddy is the single most important person on the UW team. With Andrews out, it is even more paramount that he stays healthy. It looked for a while like Gaddy may have pulled his groin, but he never came out of the game which is a good sign.
The team as a whole got banged up, which just isn't in the best interests of winning future basketball games. Aziz N'Diaye had a minor foot-ankle sprain. Luckily it wasn't worse. Suggs dealt with cramps. Wilcox was hit with a hard foul that very well could have ended with a pretty bad injury. There was also the Stewart "Hey guys look what I can do" moment that he probably regrets right about now.
- Desmond Simmons is on a tear right now. In his last three games he has 18,12 and 13 rebounds. He just wants the ball more than anybody on the court, and he knows how to get it. He gets into great position, and sometimes when he doesn't get himself into great position he still makes a valiant effort for the ball. Every once in a while he can get a seemingly silly loose-ball foul, but it is more than worth it for all the extra possessions he turns in.
Washington dominated the glass tonight, winning the rebounding battle by 11. "The team with the most rebounds is usually the team that wins" is a statement we have all heard time and time again. The statement is very true, however there is more to it than just getting more loose balls.
Is it easier to get an offensive rebound or a defensive rebound? Defensive rebound. If you are shooting a better percentage than your opponent then they will have less chances at rebounds on the end of the court where they are playing defense, while you will have more chances for defensive rebounding yourself.
Put another way, say two teams are exact equals in rebounding: both gather 33.3% of their own misses. Team A shoots 30/60 from the field. They then get 10 offensive rebounds and team B gets 20 defensive rebounds. Team B though shoots 24/60 from the field. They then get 12 offensive rebounds while Team B gets 24 defensive rebounds.
In this scenario, Team A out-rebounded Team B 24-32 just because they shot a better percentage. Winning the overall rebounding battle is not always the best factor in which team is the better rebounding team. The stat offensive rebounding percentage is a much better way of determining who is the better rebounding team.
You can determine how good a team is on the offensive and defensive glass by looking at their o-rebounding percentage and their opponents' o-rebounding percentage.
All of this just to say that although Washington won the rebounding battle rather handily, the rebounding may not have been as lopsided as the raw stats show. Now the error bars will be large considering the missed free throws by Seattle when I calculate it for this game, as rebounds are almost always grabbed by the defending team on free throws.
O-Rebound % Washington: 12 Off reb / (57FGA - 31FGM) = 46%
O-Rebound % Seattle: 15 Off reb / (67FGA - 25 FGM) = 36%
And I come off looking like an idiot, which is okay! Washington dominated the rebounding battle in this regard. This has been skewed because of the free throws, but the Huskies would still likely be holding a slight edge if that wasn't the case.4