The Washington Huskies played the Gonzaga Bulldogs for the first time in 9 years in the first game of the Battle for Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. The 10th ranked Bulldogs used their superior size underneath to chisel a 19 point lead in the first half and did not look back.
Kyle Wiltjer ended the game with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Domantas Sabonis added 17 points and 9 rebounds. The Dawgs were led by Andrew Andrews and Dejounte Murray who had identical numbers of 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Huskies worked their way back into the game, cutting the lead to 12 at the under 4 timeout in the first half. But the inability to handle the Gonzaga front line, knock down shots, fouls and turnovers contributed to the loss. The Huskies were clearly outclassed by a team that should make another deep run into the tournament in March.
The Huskies shot 25.7% from the field making 19 out of 74 shots. The Zags shot 50% from the floor (24-48).
The game was not all bad. Dejounte Murray showed flashes of why he was a top recruit as at times he looked like the only Husky belonging on the floor with Gonzaga.
Super Frosh Marquese Chriss was brought down to earth after two great games. In the first half, Chriss ran down a Zag to block a shot. But on the next offensive possession, he was bothered by the defense and shot a turnaround off the side of the backboard. Saddled with foul trouble, Chriss fouled out with under 10 minutes in the game with just 4 points and 3 rebounds.
Malik Dime played with great energy and despite some flaws he battled underneath and grabbed 11 rebounds.
The good news is that the Huskies played hard the whole game. They were clearly the less skilled (at this point) team on the court.
Now the bad news...
The Huskies had issues on defense dealing with the high ball screen. They also could not handle the Bulldogs’ front line of Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis. The bearded one, Karnowski, was the hardest to uproot in the lane as it seemed like Huskies bounced off of him when he was around.
Jay Bilas criticized the young Dawgs to no end in the first half. Mostly, his criticism was on how the Husky played defense citing the re-commitment to the handcheck rule. There were 35 fouls in the first half and the broadcast team that only 1 foul was called in the first 4 minutes of the game.
The Huskies were erratic on offense as the old Husky touch around the glass showed up. Notably, Malik Dime muffed a couple gimme layups and had to pass the ball out after collecting the rebound. The Huskies did not score on that possession.
The team pressed on offense once they were down. Multiple times the Huskies were called for illegal picks and Andrew Andrews was cited for pushing off to get a shot off.
Andrews was 9-9 from the free throw line in the first half but was 0-8 from the field. He finished with 21 points but shot 4-17 from the field.
Back to the fouls. Moving screens was the popular foul of choice this morning as both the Dawgs and Zags committed multiple fouls.
I took a peek at the stats at the under 8 minute break in the game and the Huskies were 15-60 shooting just 20% from the field. Ick. They managed to make a couple more shots to make it look "respectable."
The Husky bench drew a technical foul in the first half as one of the assistant coaches was cited. Will Conroy?
The good news about this tournament is that the Huskies get a chance to get this bad taste out of their mouth with a game on Thanksgiving Day.