Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Huskies crush Wolf Pack in final tune up 90-60

By Kshell

Isaiah Thomas led the Washington Huskies(8-3) in thier final non conference test before Pac-10 play with a 90-60 over the struggling Nevada Wolf Pack(3-9) at Bank of America arena. With the win that gives the Huskies 22 consecutive non conference home wins in a row. The Huskies this year are 7-0 at home where they are beating opponents by an average score of 98.6-67.7. Now it's time for the Huskies to get ready for Pac-10 play which starts one week from today down in USC then at UCLA. That road trip has seen the Huskies go 1-7 the past four years which hasn't been very kind to these Huskies. Romar kept the same starting lineup which saw Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N'Diaye starting together. For the second straight game the Huskies have controlled the rebounding which will be a big factor in determing how far they go this season.

The Huskies began the game playing smart unselfish basketball while controlling the glass. Isaiah Thomas hit two three pointers in the first half while scoring 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Bryan-Amaning added nine points in the first half while reserve Terrence Ross added seven points. Thomas ended the half with a great drive and kick pass to a wide open C.J. Wilcox who drained the three pointer to give the Huskies a 47-27 lead at halftime.

In the second half the Huskies put the game away outscoring Nevada 43-33 in winning 90-60 when the Huskies led by as many as 36 points. The Huskies were playing some "showtime" basketball with alley oops to Justin Holiday and some nice dunks by Bryan-Amaning. This game was all Thomas though as he played his best game of the year. Thomas finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists while hitting four three pointers. When Thomas is driving the lane and taking smart shots and dishing it to open teammates for easy shots he can be the best player in the Pac-10. The Huskies cruised once again at home in a non conference game.

Once again both big man played great when starting together. Bryan-Amaning finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds while blocking four shots while Aziz N'Diaye finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds while blocking a shot. For the second straight game N'Diaye also played over 20 minutes which is key. Justin Holiday had a nice game as well scoring 12 points on five for seven shooting and grabbing nine rebounds. Terrence Ross finished with nine points on the game as well. The Huskies showed off their depth playing without Venoy Overton. That was the first game in Overton's career he didn't play but should be ready for USC.

The Huskies didn't really tell you much this non conference schedule. The Huskies did blow out all the teams they were supposed to beat. Unfortunately the Huskies lost all three games all be it close games but still losses to ranked opponents. The Huskies are 8-3 which most would say worst case scenario they would be 8-3. The Huskies have shown that if teams play poorly against them or if they are on their "A" game they will blow you out. I still would like to see how the Huskies handle a close game. I have a feeling we'll find out a week from today down at USC.


- Romar's new starting lineup I like a lot. For the second straight game the Huskies controlled the glass. Even in previous blowout wins they weren't as dominant on the glass. Today the Huskies outrebounded the Wolf Pack 55-40 including 21 offensive rebounds. The two bigs of Bryan-Amaning and N'Diaye combined to score 27 points, grab 21 rebounds and block five shots. No team in the Pac-10 can match the Huskies two bigs and the Huskies still have great guard play.

For playing time for the two bigs means less playing time for Darnell Gant. Gant played the fewest minutes amongst scholarship players with 14 minutes and had five points with four rebounds. For Gant to find himself in the rotation he must do a better job of rebounding. Otherwise look for Ross to be the new backup big man.

- The Huskies were doing a great job of sharing the ball today. The Huskies had 18 assists to just five turnovers. Without Overton, Gaddy had five assists while Thomas had four assists. Gaddy actually had his worst game of the year scoring just two points on one for six shooting. He controlled the game well but hopefully this was just a bad game for him.

Thomas on the other hand shot 9 for 19 and was a playmaker. Like late last season when Thomas is creating plays for himself and others he is pretty dangerous. I would caution one thing which was Thomas shot 4 for 10 on three pointers. That is way to many three point attempts for one guy to shoot especially a historically bad three point shooter in Thomas. Thomas the last two games though has had nine assists to just one turnover. In the teams loss to Texas A & M he had six turnovers to just two assists.

- C.J. Wilcox shot one for seven in 15 minutes. This is the third straight game Wilcox hasn't shot well at all. He is the Huskies best three point shooter but with the play of Scott Suggs(8 points) and Ross(9 points) recently he might be the odd man out. The battle for playing time amongst Wilcox, Suggs, Ross and Gant will be quite the battle during the year.

Hopefully Romar finds the perfect balance between having a good solid rotation and keeping guys involved so nobody transfers. I like all 10 scholarship guys on this roster. Holiday, Bryan-Amaning and Overton are graduating but with Wroten coming in next year can be tough to crack the rotation as well.

- Good to see Justin Holiday break out of his mini slump that he was in. Holiday ended up scoring 12 points on five for seven shooting and hit two early three pointers in the game. Holiday also added three steals along with nine rebounds. Holiday is a future NBA player who can defend anyone.

For all the talk about Klay Thompson remember last year with help from Quincy Pondexter, Holiday shut down Thompson. Thompson has never scored 10 points or more on the Huskies. Last year Thompson was 4-29 shooting(13.7%) against the Huskies which is why I still like the Huskies to win the Pac-10. The reason I like the Huskies to win the Pac-10 is because of Justin Holiday and his terrific all around game.

At the end of the day for the Huskies they are 8-3 heading into Pac-10 play. This opening weekend although won't determine the season will speak volumes to how the year will go. Start off 0-2 and you'll hear whispers that this team can't beat anybody good, start off 2-0 and the Huskies will be ranked. If the Huskies go 1-1 you probably won't know much at all. Just like two years ago when the Huskies swept USC when Brockman was a Senior they have some guys in the middle who can bang with USC. The Huskies should be able to win both games but should winning and winning are two different stories. I think the rebounding problem has been fixed with this new starting lineup and look for the Huskies to make a great opening statement in L.A. by starting off 2-0 in Pac-10 play.

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