Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#17 Huskies overcome slow start destroy Eagles 98-72

By Kshell

The 17th ranked Washington Huskies(2-0,0-0) defeated the Eastern Washington Eagles (0-2,0-0) 98-72 while overcoming a slow first half. The Huskies turned up the heat in the second half outscoring the Eagles 56-38 to put the game away. Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar made an adjustment in the second playing all three guards at the same time and pressed Eastern Washington most of the second half. The Huskies were led by Senior co-captain Justin Holiday and his career high 18 points. The Huskies showed off their depth as every scholarship player added at least four points and eight players scored at least eight points or more. It was a great all around effort by the Huskies.

The Huskies started the first off slow and were settling to much for three pointers. The Huskies after starting off the half shooting four from nine from three pointers ended up just five of 19 in the first half. The Huskies were outrebounded as well 18-12 in the first half and just looked sloppy. Freshman Terrence Ross lead the team in scoring with nine points and Mathew Bryan-Amaning had seven points and six rebounds at halftime. The Huskies led 42-34 which was sparked at the end by Venoy Overton twice picking the pockets of Eagles ball handlers which led to a 4-0 run.

In the second half the Huskies erupted to a 9-0 run to extend the lead from 42-34 to 51-34. Lorenzo Romar made a lineup change in the second half he decided to go small inserting Venoy Overton for Darnell Gant. He had Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Abdul Gaddy playing at the same time along with Justin Holiday and of course Bryan-Amaning. The Huskies were off the races pressing, creating turnovers and getting easy points. The Huskies were finally knocking down some three point shots as well shooting eight for 14 in the second half on three pointers.

The key to the Huskies second half was the defensive pressure. For the game the Huskies forced 25 turnovers while only turning the ball over 10 times. The Huskies were very balanced as well scoring 98 points despite Isaiah Thomas scoring just nine points on two for nine shooting. The Huskies were very effective shooting 48.7% from the field while blocking five shots and getting 14 steals. The Huskies turned up the heat in the second half and routed the Eagles 98-72 led by a balance attack.

The Huskies were led by Justin Holiday and his career high 18 points, Holiday was 8 for 13 shooting including two three poitners and four rebounds. Matthew Bryan-Amaning added another double-double scoring 14 points and 10 rebounds while blocking two shots in just 19 minutes. The big surprise of the game was the improvement shown by Abdul Gaddy who added 13 points on 5 for 6 shooting including three three pointers adding six assists to zero turnovers. In my opinion the player of the game was Venoy Overton who added nine points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals.

The Huskies overcame a slow first half but routed the Eagles in a tune up game before they head to Hawaii for the Maui invitational. The Huskies will take on former Washington State head coach Tony Bennett and then will play Kentucky/Oklahoma the next day regardless. If the Huskies win they'll play the winner of that game if the Huskies lose they'll play the loser of that game. The Huskies are a deep roster and will continue to get better as the season rolls on. At the end of the day you saw how good the Huskies can be in the second half today as they truly are the deepest team in the Pac-10.


- The Huskies are a deep and talented team. The Huskies will be sitting two quality players come Pac-10 season as Romar likes to tighten the rotation down to eight. You have to figure the starters will be Gaddy, Thomas, Holiday and Bryan-Amaning with the fifth spot up for grabs. Then off the bench Overton and Aziz N'Diaye will be part of the rotation. That leaves C.J. Wilcox(Redshirt Freshman, 16 mins, 2-7 shooting, 2-7 threes, and 8 points), Scott Suggs(Junior, 19 mins, 3-8 shooting, 3-6 threes, and 9 points), Darnell Gant(Redshirt Junior, Started today, 14 minutes, 2-7 shooting, 4 points) and Terrence Ross(True Freshman, 14 minutes, 4-9 shooting, 1-5 threes, 9 points). Two of those guys will be the eighth man and fifth starter while the other two will be left for garbage time or foul trouble.

- The Huskies unlike previous years have outside shooters. Against McNeese state the Huskies shot 33 three pointers and today shot another 33 three pointers. That can be dangerous as you saw in the first half since the Huskies shot 33 three pointers and only 43 two pointers. On two point field goals the Huskies shot an incredible 24-43(55.8%) which tells me the Huskies should focus more on two point shots than three point shots. I can see why the Huskies love the three ball as they have seven guys now that Gaddy has proven he can drill the three(alread has four this year) who are capable of knocking down a three point shot.

- The Huskies are also tough inside with Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N'Diaye who both present problems for the opposing team. Bryan-Amaning I felt going into the year and still feel is the Huskies second best player. Bryan-Amaning so far is having a dominate year and look for N'Diaye when he gets in better shape to take over the paint defensively. Both should thrive due to the great guard play of the Huskies.

- The Huskies have the best guard play in the Pac-10 and one of the best in the country. The fact that Abdul Gaddy can hit the outside jumper is huge. We all know what Thomas can do and ignore his bad game he'll be fine I'm not worried. Overton is what Overton is which is a pest to opposing teams he changed the game in the first half with his pressure. He gets easy steals which leads to quick fast break points. The key is Gaddy because of his size and he is so smooth that when he is playing well the offense flows better. Gaddy today had an amazing game with 13 points on five of six shooting while dishing out six assists and committing zero turnovers. That is a Will Conroy special right there.

All in all I liked what I saw today. Yes the opponent was weak and yes the Huskies looked sloppy in the first half but what I saw in the second half was dangerous. The Huskies are deep and like I said players one through ten can play and start on most teams in the Pac-10. In college basketball you win with guards and since Gaddy has improved the Huskies are in a great position. We'll find out more about this team next week in Maui but I'm pretty confident this year Romar's team can actually get off to a good start. This should make for a fun year come March.

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