Lorenzo Romar's Huskies have had a trend to start slow and finish strong. The trend shows up within single games and also is a tendency for the entire season. Tonight against Nevada, the Huskies started extremely slow. They shot 3-18 to start the game.
At halftime, Washington had turned the ball over nine times, and finished with 16. too many to have a successful offense.
Washington came out with no energy, and were lucky to be only trailing by eight at halftime. They ended the half on a 4-4 run, a strong streak considering the entirety of the first half.
- Scott Suggs took a little while to get into the rhythm of the game, but once he did, his offense was integral to the comeback. He was 3-6 from deep for the game, and also had relative success when he got into the lane. All of this was after his 0-4 start. The final line for him shooting was 6-17, but considering the fact he hadn't played in two weeks since sustaining his concussion and subsequent foot injury, he performed admirably in tallying 19 points.
I didn't notice Suggs defensively, which is probably a good thing. One specific play he made defensively was a block off the backboard. He wasn't tasked with guarding Deonte Burton very often, so he wasn't taxed too much defensively, as Burton was unguardable for most of the game.
- Abdul Gaddy showed his importance to the team, although not in a way Romar wanted to see. He picked up three fouls ten minutes into the first half. Without Andrew Andrews to run the offense in his stead, Washington struggled mightily to score. The offense consisted of reversing the ball across the perimeter until either Suggs, C.J. Wilcox or Quinn Sterling put up a shot late in the shot clock. It didn't work.
- Desmond Simmons scored only one point, but made his presence felt on the glass, grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. That included 5 offensive rebounds. Washington won the overall rebounding battle, but their turnovers offset the extra possessions.
- WIlcox overcame a slow start to finish with 21 points. For his last four games, including this one, that lowered his average of over 25 per game. Wilcox got most of his points from beyond the arc once again, but once Nevada started cheating him off of screens, Wilcox and Gaddy showed their chemistry to connect for several back-door lobs for alley-oops.
Wilcox may not have the pure athleticism of Terrence Ross, but he can still get up high. He may not have had a blocked shot tonight, but he has developed into a consistent shot-blocker from the weak-side. He will never put up the defensive numbers of Aziz N'Diaye because he isn't a 7'0 monster, but has the ability to alter shot attempts and send some of them backwards.
- Speaking of N'Diaye, he didn't have his best game. He got to his right-handed hook shot, but in the two or three attempts he took with it, he couldn't convert. Rebounding, he totaled eight, with seven coming on the offensive glass. He just did not grab defensive rebounds. I could't quite spot what it was, but for some reason tonight he failed to corral in Wolfpack misses.
N'Diaye missed an alley-oop attempt thrown by Gaddy. He caught the ball above the rim, with all momentum towards the basket, but missed. He didn't dunk it but instead attempted to lay it in. Several times in transition he called for a pass up high, possibly for an oop attempt, but he only got it thrown to him once. The angle at which he caught that pass (over his shoulder) is a very difficult finish to make considering how close deep he was into the paint. And the fact that he is seven feet tall. That tends to complicate finishes. I am afraid of what would have happened should he have gotten more lobs.
He has continued his transformation from "giant playing basketball" to "basketball-playing giant." I am not sure whether he will ever make the transition to a "seven-foot basketball player," but seeing the growth he has made in his three years at Washington has been wonderful to see.
- Shawn Kemp Jr. had his first action of the season, but wasn't able to get any post-ups to show us his allegedly improved post skills. He was a physical interior defender, and played the part of interior enforcer well. Nevada double teamed him any time he caught the ball on the block, and Kemp did a good job of finding the open man. He ended with one assist, but no turnovers.
Kemp's stat-line looked like that of a defensive big: five points, five rebounds and two blocks. He showed he is more than that with the assist without a turnover, despite facing stiff ball-pressure every time he touched the ball.
- Deonte Burton is very, very good.