The Washington Huskies lost to the UC Irvine Anteaters 86-72. I don't think the lead could have been any simpler than that, because the game was about as exciting as that opening sentence. The injuries to UW's frontcourt proved to be too much to overcome against possibly the tallest team in the country in UC Irvine.
7-6 Mamadou Ndiaye had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 8 blocks to lead the Anteaters. The guy is seven feet and six inches tall. After one of his several dunks, he let out a yell that was directed at Perris Blackwell. Blackwell didn't move, but I may have crapped my pants had I been in his shoes.
Washington held a small lead, typically around two to four points, for most of the first half. They were slowly pulling away, but they allowed an 8-0 run to close the half and finished the first 20 minutes of play trailing 38-36. They would never retake the lead.
Nigel Williams-Goss opened up the second half with a bucket for UW to tie the game, but the wheels just fell off after that. 19 points for the Anteaters were matched by a single Williams-Goss free throw over the next five minutes.
Despite the horrible mismatches inside, UW only lost the rebounding battle by six boards. It is a testament to how well Washington's guards rebound. Mike Anderson led Washington in that department with eight. Shawn Kemp Jr., not a big known for having a knack for rebounding, had sox of his own. Perris Blackwell was unable to make much of an impact in this area of the game with three, dealing with the mammoth Ndiaye for the entire night.
C.J. Wilcox led the game in scoring with 24, which puts him as averaging 23 points per game. He is doing a much better job at getting to the line this season. Part of that may be on the new rules, but he was not the reason UW lost. He shot 4-8 from deep, 7-15 from the field and 6-8 from the line.
Nigel Williams-Goss hit a three. I don't remember it, honestly. His floater in the lane worked, as he used it to finish over either Ndiaye or Will Davis - a great shot-blocker in his own right - multiple times. He started to press late to bring the team back, and finished with 13 points on 6-15 shooting. He did go 1-4 at the line but HE IS NOT TONY WROTEN.
Quick Dots? Maybe. The game stunk, that usually means shorter and/or fewer Dots. Or it means I say shorter Dots and they end up long anyways. Whatever.
- Washington really misses the frontcourt depth they had before the season began. Desmond Simmons provided rebounding inside (sorely missed) along with great interior and help defense. He can't get back soon enough. UW could cope with him being gone, but losing Jernard Jarreau (one of the best matchups that Romar could have stuck on Ndiaye, really) for the season means that Simmons will be missed even more than before.
- Although he was going up against an impossible task, it was easy to see how much of an impact Perris Blackwell will have scoring down low. He showed nice moves, and when he was being defended by anybody other than the giant, he was able to get good looks, typically spinning into the center of the lane before putting up a baby hook. It will be interesting to see his array of moves.
- I love watching C.J. Wilcox shoot. He is the best player on Washington, obviously. His game off of the dribble has developed to the point where he doesn't always have to use a pump fake to get into the lane. I tweeted about it during the game, but I don't remember seeing him use a hesitation dribble much, if at all last season. He used it to get to the rim twice tonight, without using any sort of a shot fake.
Romar calls him his best on-ball defender. Is that by default? I mean, Wilcox isn't bad, in my piece about Deonte Burton's game last season, I noticed that Burton struggled the most with Wilcox defending him. Wilcox didn't look like a great defender. The entire defense looked soft.
- The defense looked exactly that: soft. Soft and small. Lorenzo Romar has had success with small-ball before. When facing a team with size like this, small-ball can only do so much. Washington's lack of frontcourt depth (Gilles Dierickx doesn't look ready to contribute) following the injuries stings a lot.
- This was touched on in the broadcast, but I have never considered how much of an effect bringing in new coaches has on a team. The coaches have to learn all new terminology, the players have to get to know the new coaches. The coaches have to learn how to communicate with each player. The players have to develop the trust of new coaches. How much of an effect does the staff turnover have on a team?
- NWG looked a lot better. Neither his nor Darin Johnson have particularly fluid jumper, but NWG's looks a lot better from mid-range than from deep. I don't mean on his floater, but that thing is something he really knows how to use. Johnson has a long release, and we will see how his game develops as the season progresses. He was quiet today.
True freshman Nigel Williams-Goss had five assists and zero turnovers. He pushed the ball in transition, sometimes over-penetrating but it shows tenacity that will be reined in as his career progresses. I like the kid.
- Jahmel Taylor is not redshirting.
These are my Dots, what are yours?