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Pac-12 Tournament: Huskies knocked out of tournament by rival Ducks

Washington wore down late in the second half, and couldn't keep their energy into overtime, causing them to ultimately fall to the Oregon Ducks

I imagine Nigel Williams-Goss is outside the picture, and that the basketball is a torch.
I imagine Nigel Williams-Goss is outside the picture, and that the basketball is a torch.

Despondent they sat. They felt they could do something to help their team. Their eyes watered; one leaned back, his expression exhausted and distraught. The other’s elbows were on his knees, head in his hands. His eyes glistened from the tears welling inside that he would not allow the cameras to see, but viewers at home could see when he peeked his eyes out to watch the final seconds. Desmond Simmons and Shawn Kemp Jr. both wanted to be there on the court to close out the game, to send the Washington Huskies to the semi-finals of the Pac-12 Tournament. Neither was.

The Iranian dressed in white stole the show late. Arsalan Kazemi started to take over the game with Simmons on the bench. Simmons had made Kazemi an afterthought for most of the game, defending him after being switched off of E.J. Singler for Scott Suggs. Maybe Simmons would have made Kazemi an afterthought, if anyone but Bill Walton was part of the broadcast crew.

The lack of size inside aside from Aziz N’Diaye allowed Kazemi to score 11 points in the extra period. With Aziz stuck guarding Tony Woods, Washington had to use a myriad of smaller defenders on the wily Iranian. It didn’t work, and Kazemi went to work. Kemp and Simmons had been assigned to defend him all game long, and until the mismatches were created at the end, Kazemi was kept in check. Then things changed when the new period began. Kazemi had three rebounds in the final period, more than Washington as a team.

Washington didn’t get a single rebound after regulation until a shade less than three minutes had passed in overtime, when C.J. Wilcox grabbed an offensive rebound off an Abdul Gaddy three. The lack of size inside really hurt UW in more ways than just one.

Senior big man Tony Woods led Oregon and tied C.J. Wilcox with 19 points, also garnering eight rebounds, only the second time this season he had done so, shocking for a player of his size. He was able to push around N’Diaye with superior lower-body strength, and a more fluid hook shot than the Senegalese.

Washington’s leading scorer was the redshirt junior Wilcox, who scored 19 on an efficient 7-12 shooting, as he hit three of his four three-point attempts, showing little ill effects of the stress issue in his foot that has bothered him for the majority of the season. Wilcox was also the second-leading rebounder for Washington with six, three coming on the offensive end.

Wilcox hit the biggest shot for Washington: a spinning, fading, arcing mid-range jumper that refused to touch the rim with 50 seconds left on the clock to put UW in the lead by two. He had a chance to win the game in regulation, receiving the ball with less than five seconds left and the game tied, but had the ball stripped by Oregon defenders, and the game went into overtime.

Key free throws late sealed the win for Oregon. They hit their last five free throws, and nine out of their last ten attempts. You can't control which ones you are going to make and which ones you are going to miss, but you can control if you commit a lane violation on your own free throw attempt, or any free throw attempt for that matter.

If Washington doesn’t get an invitation to the NIT, these may be the final Dots of this season, which makes me sad.

  • Jernard Jarreau has potential, and then he has more potential on top of it, but he is still too raw physically and in the post to be a reliable player. He earned his way back into the rotation slowly as the season progressed, and was a solid role player for a large chunk of the conference season.

    His rebounding needs work, as his extremely thin frame needs to add muscle in order to bang in the post with the more experienced bigs of the Pac-12 season, like tonight. He struggled against the stronger and more experienced Tony Woods and Arsalan Kazemi. Not all of it was strength-based, but it will be a big part of his development.
  • No, Abdul Gaddy hasn’t lived up to expectations. No, he wasn’t the stud we all envisioned him being when he signed to the Huskies as the second-rated PG behind John Wall. I don’t even know what point I am trying to make, and I am talking myself out of it, but I do know that Gaddy cares about the game. After the game, he was questioned, and responded, "I just don’t want it to end." He cares. He tries. Things just haven’t worked out for him.
  • C.J. Wilcox played himself a fine game, and would have had a defining moment had Washington won the game in regulation with his turnaround jumper to put them in the lead late. If this is his final game at Washington, he finished on a high note. 19 points on 12 shots. 3-4 from beyond the arc. He showed ability to get into the lane, especially in transition.

    Greg Bell tweeted that Wilcox was 50-50 on returning next season. We can speculate all that we want, and I get a feeling that it will depend on what teams think of his history of stress issues. If he can drastically improve his stock by coming back and avoiding a stress fracture or stress reaction, then he will probably return. No matter his choice, he has the shot to make it in the NBA as a role player, and his favorite spot being in the corner will get him minutes on any team, in addition to being a better athlete than given credit for. If this was your last season C.J., I am sad to see you go and may your stroke stay pure.
  • One thing that Andrew Andrews is going to have to improve going into next season is his ball-handling under pressure. He struggles to get the ball to the wing and to the high post when facing ball pressure and deny defense. This is obviously the point of deny defense, and it forces Andrews, or whoever the point guard is, to make a play to a backdoor cutter or to beat his man off the dribble.

    Of every Washington player, he is the best at getting into the lane. When facing the in-your-face defense of a Jonathon Lloyd, he needs to be unafraid to attack off of the dribble, and get either his defender or a big man in foul trouble. Penetration kills defense, the complete inverse of the old adage in football, penetration kills offense. If a defensive lineman busts through the line, it takes a dynamic quarterback or running back to make him miss or make a play. When a guard drives into the lane, it takes stellar help defense and defensive rotations to prevent a wide-open look from three or a layup via a dump-off pass or a finish by the guard himself.

    Andrews can be a great player for Washington. He is in the Isaiah Thomas mold, only a little less dynamic. He is not (probably) the leader that IT was. He doesn’t have the strength that Thomas has to finish through contact and in the lane, but he comes in with a smoother jumpshot, and similar albeit lesser quickness.
  • Suggs may have finished his career with a solid game tonight. He did a decent job on Singler, who is one of the best in the conference at finding ways to get open. He picks perfect angles, comes off of screens perfectly, and knows how to find open space on the floor. Singler’s jumper was working today, and when that happens, there isn’t much that Suggs can do defensively.

    Offensively, Suggs had a good not great game. He scored 18 points on 7-15 shooting, and went 1-2 at the foul line. Suggs also helped out in the rebounding department with four boards. This was probably in large part to defending Singler, who spends his time all around the court, as opposed to being purely a perimeter player like Suggs himself.

If Washington is invited to the NIT, we will have the coverage of Washington there. Lorenzo Romar said that they would decline a CBI invitation, so hopefully we get to see the Dawgs a few more times before the season is over. It’s been a ride, y’all.