Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wilcox leads Huskies in season opening win 91-74 over Georgia State

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(1-0) began their season with a 91-74 victory over the Georgia State Panthers(0-1). The Huskies were led by C.J. Wilcox who scored 22 points making five three pointers and a career high 18 points from Darnell Gant. The Huskies under Lorenzo Romar are trying to make the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight season first time in program history. The Huskies made 10 three pointers and won the rebounding battle 42-31. The Huskies as a team also had six block shots including five by Aziz N'Diaye. The Panthers were led by Rashaad Richardson who scored 21 points hitting seven three pointers including five in the first half  to keep the Panthers in the game. The Huskies for the third straight season won their season opener and will play later today.

The Huskies got off to a slow start but were led by senior Darnell Gant. Last season Gant scored a career high 10 points a few games. Well he equalled that in the first six minutes this year. The Huskies started to pull away at the end of the half as they led 43-33 at halftime. The Huskies were led by Gant who had 10 points on four for five shooting including two for two from three point range. Freshman sensation Tony Wroten added nine points off the bench. C.J. Wilcox started off where he finished last year which was red hot scoring 12 points including three three pointers. The Panthers were led by Richardson who had 15 points on five for six from three point range. The Huskies shot 4-10 from three point range in the first half while the Panthers were 6-11 mainly helped by Richardson's three point shooting. The Huskies still for letting the Panthers shoot ridiculous beyond the arc had a 10 point lead which they would increase in the second half.

The Huskies pulled away in the second half outscoring the Panthers 48-41 and at one point led by as many as 26 points. The Huskies went on to win 91-74 led by Wilcox who scored 22 points on 8-12 shooting including 5-8 from three point range while also grabbing six rebounds. Darnell Gant was next on the team with a career high 18 points on seven for eight shooting including two three pointers. Tony Wroten in his highly anticipated debut scored 18 points on 7-14 shooting with seven rebounds and three assists. Terrence Ross was the fourth member of the Huskies team in double figures with 11 points on three for seven shooting including a three pointer with four rebounds and a block shot. The Huskies saw Abdul Gaddy play in his first game in close to a year as he filled up the stat sheet with seven points on three for nine shooting but also had seven rebounds and six assists. The big man in the middle for the Huskies Aziz N'Diaye added just four points on two for five shooting but did provide defense. N'Diaye led the team in rebounding with eight while also blocking five shots. Desmond Simmons off the bench added four points and five rebounds in just 16 minutes. This was a good team win for the Huskies to start the season off right.

All in all, the Huskies were expected to win this game and win big. The Huskies after seeing their conference foes Arizona(exhibition) and UCLA lose at home to teams they shouldn't lose to made sure they didn't let that happen. It appears until Scott Suggs returns that Lorenzo Romar is having just a seven man rotation which I don't mind. With two ball handlers like Wroten and Gaddy look for Wilcox and when Suggs returns to be drilling three pointers all season long. The Huskies have enough size with N'Diaye and Gant to be fine. Then you add in their most talented player Terrence Ross the Huskies appear to have the makings of an NCAA tournament team.


- Just like last season when a player goes down another guy must step up. When Suggs went down last year is when Wilcox was put back into the rotation and he shined. Last season Wilcox made 1.9 three pointers a game in just 15 minutes a game. So if Wilcox doesn't imporve at all and just plays 30 minutes a game he is making almost four three pointers a game.

This game when the Huskies offense was slumpling Wilcox stepped up in the first half. For the game Wilcox scored 22 points making five three pointers but he also made three two point shots and his lone free throw. Showing he has improved as an overall player Wilcox grabbed six rebounds, three assists and two steals. He also didn't turn the ball over in 29 minutes of play. Last year Wilcox was just a three point specialist but as you can see in the picture he was driving to the hole some. I look for Wilcox to set records for the Huskies as a three point shooter. He stepped his game up and with Gaddy and Wroten constantly penetrating the opposing defenses look for Wilcox who at times shoots three pointers like most players shoot free throws to make life miserable on his opponent. If Wilcox can add to his three point shooting like he did this game he could be a first team all Pac-12 type of player.

-  The most anticapated debut for a Huskies freshman since Spencer Hawes in the 2006-07 season Tony Wroten didn't disappoint. Wroten like Hawes did in his debut came off the bench. Wroten the five-star point guard from Garfield High School scored 18 points while driving to the hole mostly. Wroten was 7-14 shooting with only one three point attempt(he missed). Wroten also added seven rebounds and three assists including a steal.

Wroten has a ton of pressure on him at Washington. He is Nate Robinson's cousin, high recruit, comes from Garfield which has produced three all Pac-10 players for the Huskies including the great Brandon Roy. Wroten played fine in his debut and look for him to be all freshman team this upcoming season if not some sort of all pac-12 selection.

- Darnell Gant is finally going to have his chance to shine. As a freshman and sophomore Gant was the guy who played tough defense while setting screens. He would almost always hit the wide open jumper early in the game then continue to do the tough work. Last season as a Junior Gant actually expanded his game by hitting some three pointers and was a key member of the Huskies.

This season like so many seniors prior to him appears to be a breakout season for Gant. Gant had a career high 18 points making two three pointers and shot seven for eight from the field. Gant will be expected to step up this year as he is the only scoring option amongst the bigs as N'Diaye appears to be a work in progress on offense. Gant along with Wilcox are both players who redshirted so the fact Romar redshirted two guys this year isn't necessarily a bad thing on those two guys.

In conclusion, Lorenzo Romar has his hands full as his team is pretty young. The Huskies do have talent as the eight man rotation features two five star recruits, four four-stars and two three-star recruits. Ross and Wroten will be playing in the NBA someday and it wouldn't surprise anyone if Gaddy and Wilcox cracked an NBA roster as well. The Huskies avoided the disaster that other teams in their conference have done before them. This year will be an interesting season as the Huskies five best players on the roster are all guards. This was a good warm up game as the key players on the Huskies team stepped up when needed.  Now the Huskies will prepare tonight tonight to improve to 2-0 on the season. This was a good start for a team that will be playing in their rotation two freshman, two sophomores, two juniors and two seniors. Shows you how balance this team is far as age goes. The Huskies win their opener as they strive for bigger and better. For now the Huskies took care of business which was nice to see.

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