Usually on longer recaps I wait until after the game to start writing. Starting to write before the game was over (officially) wasn't going to cause me to miss anything. Dakari Tucker hit an and-one three pointer and I pulled out the laptop. This was just not an enjoyable second half of basketball for University of Washington fans.
If Washington was going to win, limiting Delon Wright was going to have to be a priority for the Huskies. His ability to wreak havoc on either the offensive or defensive end needed to be mitigated. He didn't score a whole lot, as his total for the game was only five. His well-rounded game still did the Huskies in. Defensively, he forced turnovers, poor decisions and ill-advised shot attempts.
Offensively Wright led Utah to a very efficient scoring night through his ball-handling and facilitating. He doesn't need to score to control the game on that end of the floor, and as mentioned, he didn't.
The Husky defense couldn't contain a barrage of threes from Utah. In an effort to prevent Utah from taking (and subsequently making) threes Lorenzo Romar switched out of the Dawgs' 2-3 zone several minutes in the second half. It was too late with the Huskies already down 15. Washington's strategy in the 2-3 is funnel everyone to Robert Upshaw, which is a good strategy when he is in there and a team isn't able to shoot you out of the zone.
Utah continually picked on the corner of the zone being defended by either Shawn Kemp Jr. or Donaven Dorsey. In a discussion with fellow writer Lucas Shannon, he mentioned that Kemp has likely never played the corner position in the 2-3 in his entire career, so struggle can be expected from him. Dorsey hasn't played much defense in his entire life, a struggle of many highly-rated recruits. He is going to need to rectify that during his years at Washington: something he will likely learn under Romar.
Sometimes, when an opponent is hitting threes like Utah was, the defense can be helpless. Washington wasn't even attempting to run them off of the three point line or extending its zone out beyond the arc. The Huskies were lazy and lost defensively, both of which can be explained by fatigue. Gilles Dierickx had more meaningful minutes than Quevyn Winters, and that is a problem. Winters was going to be relied upon to provide scoring and depth on the wing. He has flashed almost nothing this season.
With Winters struggling and Upshaw forced into the starting lineup following Jernard Jarreau's injury, the Husky bench has been completely depleted. Darin Johnson has not improved upon his play from last year, and it actually appears that he has regressed in his play. The only player getting any sort of run off the bench is Dorsey, who provides floor spacing at this point in his career and not much else.
dilletaunt wrote earlier this season about how the Huskies needed scoring from the bench. That isn't happening. Dierickx and Winters combined for five points and neither scored when the game was still being contested. Those were all the points off the bench, with Johnson and Dorsey combining for a goose egg. Not only does Washington need scoring from the bench, it needs players off the bench. The starters were exhausted throughout the entire game because the rotation was kept to six players against Colorado, and seven against Utah (until the game was decided).
There was one bright spot to the game: Andrew Andrews may have rediscovered his offense. He scored a career-high 22 points on 7-14 shooting. He did commit a technical foul, along with two turnovers with two assists, so his night wasn't perfect, but it was the best game of any Husky, at least offensively. Offense has been hard to come by for the Dawgs, and an Andrews points explosion can only help that.
A few stats before I sign off:
Delon Wright had nine assists to make up for his lack of scoring. His facilitation would have been a wonder to watch had I not pledged my allegiance to the Huskies.
His facilitation led to 11-18 shooting for the Utes from deep (61.1 percent) and 53.8 percent shooting from the field. Dakari Tucker was the vanguard of the efficiency for Utah. He shot 7-8. 4-5 from deep for a career-high 19 points.
Nigel Williams-Goss struggled. He had three assists to two turnovers to go along with eight points on 4-14 shooting. His floater wasn't dropping, and without it he struggles to score offensively.
Out of sight, out of mind. This was an ugly one.