Monday, November 22, 2010

11th ranked Washington Huskies runs Bennett's Cavaliers out of the gym 106-63

By Kshell

When a team is truly a great team it often doesn't matter who the opponent is they are playing. Today was the case as the 11th ranked Washington Huskies(3-0) blew out the Virginia Cavaliers(2-2) 106-63 which was never a game. The Huskies led at halftime 55-31 and were to much for the Cavaliers hitting 17 of 26(65.4%) from three point range. The Huskies showed off their versatility today with 11 guys scoring and seven different guys hitting at least one three pointer. The Huskies showed today they can beat you inside and outside while still playing great defense. The Huskies passed the first test of round one in the Maui Invitational today. The Huskies have no time to celebrate as they take on 9th ranked Kentucky Wildcats who feature Terrence Jones. First I'll talk about this game and there was plenty to talk about.

Unlike previous years the Huskies left no doubt as to who was the better team early on. The Huskies in previous years under Lorenzo Romar have had problems in the non conference schedule but today they buried the Cavaliers from the start. The Huskies started off by draining their first eight three pointers they attempted in the half. The Huskies after leading 16-13 went on a 21-4 run which saw red shirt freshman C.J. Wilcox drain back to back three pointers to put the game away early. The Huskies also had great play from Isaiah Thomas who scored 14 points in the first half helping the Huskies take the lead 55-31 at halftime. The Huskies Matthew Bryan-Amaning received two quick fouls but unlike years past the Huskies had someone who can come in Aziz N'Diaye who changed the game. The Cavaliers were no longer scoring inside and were forced to shoot from the outside. The Cavaliers also had eight turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game as the Huskies ran and ran. The Huskies didn't let up at all in the second half either.

The Huskies continued their hot shooting in the second half hitting 9 of 17(52.9%) from three pointers. The Huskies outscored the Cavaliers 51-32 in the second half to beat a Tony Bennett coached team 106-63. For those who remember Bennett coached at Washington State and began his career going 5-0 against Romar but has now lost three in a row. The Huskies for the game shot 58% and 65.4% from three point range while holding the Cavaliers to 37.9% shooting and 25% from three pointers. The Huskies also out rebounded the Cavaliers 38-33 while forcing 17 turnovers where as the Huskies had just nine turnovers. The Huskies also shared the ball with 22 assists as 11 different players scored including nine guys scoring seven points or more. It was a total team effort as the Huskies won 106-63 as the Huskies are a very deep team this season.

The Huskies were led by Isaiah Thomas who scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists and shot 7 for 11 including three for five from three point range. The next leading scoring was red shirt freshman C.J. Wilcox who scored a career high to date 17 points in just 15 minutes on six for nine shooting including four of six from three pointers. Wilcox also added four assists. Other stars were Justin Holiday who added 11 points, nine rebounds and six steals. Abdul Gaddy continues to show his improvement scoring 12 points on six of nine shooting while dishing out six assists to just one turnover. Freshman Terrence Ross added 12 points on four of five shooting from three point land. Yes indeed it was a balanced performance from these Huskies. Tomorrow they'll have a true test against Kentucky and Terrence Jones.

As everyone has already talked about the Huskies will face off against Terrence Jones who Huskies fans envisioned would be on their team. Jones from Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon who was teammates with Terrence Ross both had committed to Washington. Then Jones changed his mind later that night and eventually went to Kentucky. That created a ton of buzz and hostility between the two schools. Jones after putting on the Huskies hat decided to go elsewhere. Jones is probably Kentucky's best player and had he went to Washington the Huskies would be ranked in the top five right now and a final four favorite. Having said that the Huskies are still a really good team and must get over the Jones decommittment. I think the Huskies are still talented enough to get to the final four and despite what you might hear they really want to beat Terrence Jones tomorrow and the snake known as John Calipari.


- This Huskies team has no weaknesses at all. They can beat you inside and they can beat you outside. Seven different guys including a walk-on and Darnell Gant hit three pointers today. That makes nine players out of 12 guys on the roster who have hit three pointers including eight of 10 scholarship players. The Huskies also force a ton of turnovers as they feature both Justin Holiday and Venoy Overton. The Huskies are a tough team to score on in the paint with Matthew Bryan-Ammaning and Aziz N'Diaye. The Huskies I'm sure will lose games this year even in Pac-10 play but for teams to beat Washington they'll have to play their top game.

- Abdul Gaddy is a different player this year which makes Washington dangerous. That is a fact which was missing from last season. Last year there was tons of hype surrounded by Gaddy but he disappointed with just a 3.9 PPG average. He was often a liability last season. He also was the youngest starter in all of college basketball. Gaddy this year has scored in double figures three games in a row while dishing out over five assists in all three games. Compared to last year where Gaddy had just four games where he scored over 10 points and just four games over five assists. He can drive the hole now and hit outside shots. With the emergence of Gaddy that means when Thomas sits down the Huskies still have Overton and Gaddy in the back court which is still the best back court in the Pac-10.

- The Huskies continued to have the same starting lineup the previous two games. Abdul Gaddy started at guard(12 points, 6 assists), Isaiah Thomas(18 points, 6 rebs, 4 assists), at forwards Justin Holiday(11 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals), Darnell Gant(7 points, 4 rebounds and his first career three pointer) and in the middle Matthew Bryan-Ammaning(8 points,4 rebounds). The Bench provided 50 points with Wilcox leading the way with 17 points.

- The Huskies have great shooters. Last couple of years since Ryan Appleby graduated the Huskies haven't had much outside shooting. Now with Thomas improving his three point shot along with Gaddy and Holiday the Huskies are dangerous. The Huskies also have Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross who have shown they can hit three pointers as well. The Huskies on the season are 42 of 89(47.1%) from three point range. Thomas is 8 for 13(61.5%), Holiday is 5 for 11(45.4%), Ross is 6-14(42.8%), Wilcox is 9-17(52.9%),Gaddy 4-8(50.0%) and Suggs is 7-16(43.7%). As you can see the Huskies are a terrific outside shooting team shooting close to 50% as a team from three point range while having six guys shoot over 40% from threes and averaging over a three pointer a game. The Huskies have four guys who are making over two three pointers a game.

- The Huskies can beat you from the outside so they must be weak inside right? This is why the Huskies are scary they are tough inside. Matthew Bryan-Ammaning is averaging 16.7 PPG with 9.0 rebounds with two block shots. His backup Aziz N'Diaye is averaging 8.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 1.7 blocks per game. The Huskies can beat you inside and beat you outside there doesn't appear to be a weakness on offense.

Well the Huskies have less than 24 hours to enjoy this win and take on Kentucky. The Huskies under Romar have beat good programs in years past but have never beaten a national program like Kentucky. Kentucky is ranked in the top 10 and there a name that growing up you have heard of. This should be a good test for the Huskies to see how good they really are. This is a big game not because of the Terrence Jones story but because this is a game that features the 11th ranked team against the 9th ranked team who is a national powerhouse. This is a chance for the Huskies to tell the rest of the country they are for real this year. With the balance on this team I think the Huskies should aim higher than raising a third consecutive Pac-10 championship banner.

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