For whatever reason, the Huskies have been a second half team during the course of Lorenzo Romar’s tenure at Washington. At the end of the season, the Dawgs seem to put everything together and play their best basketball of the season. In the second half of games, the Huskies seem to make a run to put the game out of reach from their opponents or get themselves back into a contest where they had been outplayed.
That doesn’t seem to be the case as much this season, with the Washington Huskies moving to 10-0 on the season with its 69-67 win over Oklahoma in the MGM Showcase in Las Vegas. At one point in the first half, UW led the Sooners by 20, before a furious comeback sparked by a pressuring defense eventually brought the game to one point.
On Oklahoma’s final possession (excluding a fruitless full-court lob with less than a half-second remaining in the game) the ball never reached the hands of the game’s leading scorers Buddy Hield and Isaiah Cousins, who each had 17. Instead, Jordan Woodard missed a pull-up jumper at the left elbow that caused each individual heart of all those watching to momentarily pause while the ball bounced on the rim several times before Andrew Andrews redeemed himself from a poor possession the trip previous by securing the loose ball. He was fouled, made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second to bring about the final margin.
The three things we learned:
- Washington can win a tough game even when Andrews and Nigel Williams-Goss aren’t scoring big. Neither reached double figures, with Andrews scoring six on 1-8 shooting and NWG chipping in eight. The scoring came from everyone else. Donavan Dorsey had six points in six minutes, Jernard Jarreau scored 12 to lead Washington, with Robert Upshaw and Mike Anderson each putting in 11.
- Jernard Jarreau needs about three more feet on his jumper to extend it to three-point land. Even without it, he is slowly rounding into the form we expected to see from him last year prior to his ACL tear. I tore my ACL about a week before Jarreau, and am learning that it takes a long time playing before you truly get back to what you were before the injury (neither I nor him are at that point, though he may be getting there.) He was banging in the paint for shots near the rim, attacking off the bounce and handling the ball on the perimeter at times. He has the potential to be a special player who might be starting to break out.
- Oddly, the Dawgs struggled against pressure defense. One would think that a team that plays with constant on-ball pressure and wing denial defense would do well against a defense that does the same, but it wasn’t the case. The ball was forced out of the hands of Williams-Goss much of the second half. The trickle-down effect was Andrews, Anderson and Darin Johnson handling the ball more. Those three combined to shoot 1-7 in the second half.
Oh, Robert Upsaw did this: