This game is what Huskies fans wanted to see out of an opener that was against a team picked to finish 12th out of 13 teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Aside from a struggle to hit jumpers from the outside, UW dominated most every facet of the game against an overwhelmed opponent.
Washington started strongly, with a 10-0 run early fueled by six Andrew Andrews points, who finished with 13. The real star of the first half was Shawn Kemp Jr., who finished around the rim with ease, most of the time off of dishes from Nigel Williams-Goss, who flirted with a triple double, eventually settling for 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Kemp scored a game-high 17 points on 8-13 shooting.
After SCSU closed the gap, Washington went on another run, this time one that wouldn't be relinquished, taking a 39-23 halftime lead that never went into the single digits the entire second half.
Three Dots we learned:
- The frontcourt is going to be better than a year ago, a lot better. Kemp looks revitalized after a learning how to manage his Grave's disease, playing 23 minutes and not looking exhausted or slowed. Robert Upshaw is a big man who can move and block shots. In a discussion I had on Twitter with Jim Basnight of HuskyDigest.com, Basnight told me that Upshaw is, in his opinion, the most likely of any Husky to make the leap to the NBA next season. Oh and UW also has a power forward capable of throwing lob passes to big men, running the break in transition, and hitting jumpers, by the name of Jernard Jarreau.
- Nigel Williams-Goss, even with all the frontcourt talent, is still Washington's best player. His near-triple-double (which would have been the first in Washington's history) was impressive even considering the level of competitions he was against. Don't be surprised if he completes the feat some time this season. The offense runs more smoothly when the only true point guard on the roster is on the floor. NWG was on the bench was when SC State made a run to tie the game, that's no coincidence.
- Shooting is going to be the biggest flaw of these Huskies. Some shook their head at the addition of Quevyn Winters (though coming from the D-I factory of
IndianaIndian Hills C.C., his stats matter much less than most anywhere else) but shooting isn't going to come from almost anywhere else. Williams-Goss can hit corner threes off the catch, but jump shooting isn't his forte. Maybe Andrew Andrews can make the leap we've been waiting for, and Jarreau can space the floor a bit, but three-point shooting woes reared their head today (3-21) and probably won't go away.
What are your takeaways from the Huskies opener?