Well, the Huskies spoiled us a bit with their early season performances against mid-majors. They had blown out every mid-major opponent that had entered Hec Ed coming into this game, so it was reasonable for Huskies fans to expect the Dawgs to have a similar performance today.
Obviously, that was not the case. You can find the recap of the entire game as well as some quick analysis of the team's performance below.
The Huskies got off to a slow start offensively against the Golden Grizzlies Saturday, as they only knocked down two of their first eleven shots through the first five minutes of the game. They were rather complacent, settling for six threes and knocking down just one. After the media break, the Huskies were not able to sort out their offensive issues and the Grizzlies were able to push their lead to 17-5 at the thirteen minute mark. Dejounte Murray and Andrew Andrews both forced the issue in an attempt to get the Huskies out of their scoring drought, forcing tough mid-range shots early in the shot clock and also forcing heavily contested shots at the rim. The Grizzlies went on a 16-0 run that spanned nearly five minutes, Marquese Chriss mercifully put this run to an end when he converted a layup after re-entering the game with two fouls.
The Golden Grizzlies were able to push their lead to 27-12 and seemed to have the Huskies on the ropes. However, the Huskies were finally able to put together their first run of the game in the middle of the first half. David Crisp connected with Marquese Chriss and then Matisse Thybulle on consecutive alley-oops. Donaven Dorsey was then able to throw down a fast break dunk after forcing a turnover.
The Grizzlies were able to sustain the Huskies' push and keep their lead in double digits. They got in the lane and converted layups and hook shots close to the rim, which helped them hold onto their comfortable lead. The Huskies also simply could not keep the Golden Grizzlies off the offensive glass; they surrendered six offensive rebounds in the first half. Worse still, the Grizzlies were able to convert three of their six second half attempts. The Huskies really struggled to stop Kahlil Felder, who converted nine of his 15 first half attempts, including two threes. He was able to convert at the rim, in the midrange, draw fouls, and also dish to his teammates. Led by Felder, the Grizzles were able to push their lead to 20, taking a 55-35 lead going into halftime.
The first half was pretty much a complete disaster. The Huskies were only able to convert 35% of their first half field goal attempts and were only able to convert three of their 13 three-point attempts. They also lost the rebounding battle 28-18 in the first half.
To their credit, the Huskies came out with good energy in the second half. They were able to get their offense on track, shooting 42% to start the first half. After a back-and-forth start to the second half that saw both teams trade baskets, the Huskies were able to put together a quick 8-0 run in less than two minutes to trim the Grizzlies' lead to just 10, 65-55 with 13:43 remaining. Felder twisted his ankle and was forced to leave the court during this stretch.
Similar to the first half, the Grizzlies were once again able to hold off the Huskies' run, as they rattled off a quick 8-0 run to push their lead back to 18. David Crisp was able to end this run with a right-wing three. After a short dry spell from both teams, Felder was able to convert two free throws and push their lead to 17. More importantly, Marquese Chriss drew his fourth foul during this sequence and was forced to go back to the bench. Shortly after Felder converted a layup at the rim, pushing their lead to sixteen. The Huskies tried to cut the lead and get back into the game by firing up threes on nearly every offensive possession for the last six minutes of the game, but were unable to make another significant run as they fell 97-83.
- The Huskies really struggled to execute proper defensive rotations in the first half. The Oakland Golden Grizzlies were able to drive and dish off to teammates at will, and the Huskies simply had no answers in the first half. While they adjusted slightly better in the second half, it was not nearly enough as the Golden Grizzlies shot 48 percent from the field on the day. They also out-rebounded the Huskies 55-38 on the day and also converted 24 second chance points. This was undoubtedly the Huskies' worst performance on the defensive end on the year. The fact that they had seemingly no answer for Felder or the Grizzlies' drive-and-dish offensive approach is cause for some concern.
- This was not exactly Andrew Andrews' best game of the season. He struggled mightily on the offensive end, converting just four of his 14 field goal attempts and only knocked down three of his eight three-point attempts. He forced the issue on the offensive end, throwing up heavily contested shots in the paint and from the midrange. He was trying to get himself and the Huskies' offense out of their early struggles, but it simply didn't work. To his credit, he was able to pitch in six assists and snag four rebounds. He was also lit up on the defensive end by Felder, who blew by Andrews early and often in the first half, which caused the entire Huskies' defense to break down. Granted, the Huskies' defensive rotations left much to be desired in this game, but Andrews is one of the Huskies' best defensive players. The fact that he struggled so mightily that they had to switch him off Felder entirely was rather disappointing.
- Dejounte Murray, Marquese Chriss and Mattisse Thybulle all turned in solid individual performances despite the disappointing outcome. Murray added 17 points and seven assists and also pulled down four rebounds. Thybulle was able to pitch in 16 points and knocked down three of his six three-point attempts. Marquese Chriss also pitched in 12 points and five rebounds. If the Huskies' defense would have been able to put together a better defensive performance, it probably would have been enough to put them over the top.
- Marquese Chriss and Noah Dickerson both had two fouls apiece before the first media timeout today. That is not exactly ideal. The young big men will need to figure out a way to stay out of early foul trouble before Pac-12 play begins.
- Finally, Kay Felder deserves his own bullet.The Huskies simply had no answer for him. He poured in a career-high 38 points on 14-27 from the field. He was able to get in the paint and convert from the midrange with a flurry of pull-up jump shots and floaters. He was also able to knock down a pair of three-point attempts and dished out nine assists. He put in an elite performance for the Golden Grizzlies and was the catalyst for his team.