A season-high of 30 from Nigel Williams-Goss was not enough for the Washington Huskies to snap their three game losing streak, as he and his Dawgs fell 80-77 in a game that was a thriller from the beginning.
Washington began the game on a 9-2 run with the offense being run through Nigel Williams-Goss' ability to drive into the paint, with a converted and-one floater putting the finishing touch on the early run for the Huskies. Washington State wouldn't go down easily, and on the back of three triples from Brett Boese kept the game close, and it was tied at 22 each.
With the score locked, WSU sophomore Josh Hawkinson attempted to throw down a monster dunk in transition, but the ball never cleared the rim, with the front of the iron denying Hawkinson. Washington held the lead for the next several minutes until the Cougars went on its own 9-2 run to take a 37-34 lead before an Andrew Andrews three tied it up to give the first half its final score.
The star of the first half was Ike Iroegbu, leading the Cougar offense to open threes by slashing through the lane and finding his teammates spotting up on the perimeter. He finished the half with eight points, four assists and four rebounds before a much quieter rest of the game.
Over the first ten minutes of the second half, WSU outplayed the Huskies, nullifying the advantage Robert Upshaw givesthe UW defense by shooting and making shots behind the arc and from mid-range and by using Hawkinson in ball-screen scenarios, forcing Upshaw to honor his ability to hit in pick n pop scenarios. With Davonte Lacy handling the ball in those situations, it caused difficulties for the Husky D.
Williams-Goss wasn't going to give the Cougars anything easy, causing havoc for Washington State point guard Ny Redding on the defensive end, and taking over the game for Washington on the offensive side of the ball. He decided the game was going to be won or lost on his hands, putting the ball on the floor, getting to the rim in transition and in half-court sets, eschewing half-court sets designed to get the ball inside to Upshaw and Shawn Kemp Jr.
The Huskies were never able to take control in the second half, even with Williams-Goss scoring nearly at will, and it cost them. Lacy's second half was just too much, with 20 of his 25 points coming in the second period. Washington's poor three-point shooting is what did them in: 4-19 from behind the arc, 2-10 in the second half, with one of those makes being an Anderson right wing three to bring the game within one once the Huskies were forced to foul to extend the game.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth, analytical break down coming soon.