Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#11 Marquette defeats Washington in a thriller 79-77

By Kshell

Just like two years ago when these two teams played the game was a back and forth game which came down to the final play. This time it was the #11 Marquette Golden Eagles (8-0) who came out on top over the Washington Huskies (4-3) unlike two years ago. For the Huskies this is their second straight loss where they allowed a crucial three pointer with less than 10 seconds to go in the game. Last Friday the Huskies gave up a game tying three pointer at the buzzer to eventually lose in overtime to Nevada Wolfpack. This time hanging onto a one point lead after Terrence Ross made the go ahead shot with 16 seconds left the Golden Eagles senior Jae Crowder to hit the game winning three pointer with six seconds left.

For the Huskies this is just one of many close losses which is becoming more of a theme in the Lorenzo Romar era. The Huskies are now 0-3 away from Hec Ed and will have a tough test this Saturday as they play the Duke Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden. The Huskies lost this game despite a big game from Ross who scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds. This will be another tough growing pains loss for a team who lost three starters and a key reserve from last years Pac-10 tournament championship squad.

In the first half the young Huskies got off to a nice 11-2 lead over the Golden Eagles. C.J. Wilcox, Darnell Gant and Terrence Ross all made three pointers. The Golden Eagles would get back into the game as each team traded runs in the first half. The Golden Eagles would eventually take the lead over the Huskies leading 37-34 at halftime. They were led by Darius Johnson-Odom who scored 13 points on 3-10 shooting but made all six free throws. Todd Mayo the brother of O.J. Mayo scored eight points as well. Marquette shot 12-29(41.4%) from the field, three for eight from three pointers and 10-12 from the charity stripe.

Meanwhile the Huskies were led by senior Darnell Gant who scored 10 points on four for seven shooting including perfect from both three point attempts. Tony Wroten provided a spark off the bench scoring eight points on three for four shooting with four rebounds and two assists. Terrence Ross scored five points on just two for seven shooting with five rebounds. C.J. Wilcox added five points as well on two for four shooting including a three pointer. The Huskies shot 14-30(46.7%) from the field, 4-11(36.4%) from three point range but were just two for four from the free throw line. This frantic first half would pave the way for a classic finish between these two teams much like two years ago when the Huskies knocked off the Golden Eagles in the NCAA tournament.

The second half was wild as lead changes were plenty. The Huskies saw Ross emerge scoring 14 points making all seven field goals including sportscenter's top play with a 360 alley-oop dunk from Wroten. With under a minute left and the game tied Abdul Gaddy had a costly turnover but the Golden Eagles made just one of two free throws. The Huskies were trailing 76-75 as this time Romar took a timeout. Ross caught the ball and made a tough shot to give the Huskies a 77-76 lead with 16 seconds left. That is when the Golden Eagles drove down the court to hit Crowder for the game winning three pointer. Despite a timeout left the Huskies chose not to take it as junior guard Gaddy had seven seconds left facing a double team and ignoring a wide open Gant under the basket Gaddy forced up a tough three point shot which missed badly. The Huskies lost yet another close game which was a problem last season. The Golden Eagles led by Darius Johnson-Odom who scored 23 points on 6-17 shooting including two three pointers was also 9-11 at the foul line.

For the Huskies who lost a tough battle they were led by Terrence Ross who finished with 19 points on 9-14 shooting including a three pointer with nine rebounds. C.J. Wilcox scored 15 points on 6-16 shooting including three three pointers while also having four block shots. Darnell Gant chipped in with 14 points on six for nine shooting including two three pointers while dishing out a team leading four assists. Tony Wroten off the bench added 13 points on five for nine shooting but was just three for seven from the free throw line. Wroten did have six rebounds and three assists. Another key guy off the bench was Desmond Simmons who played his best game as a Husky so far scoring eight points on three for five shooting with seven rebounds. Aziz N'Diaye added four points on two for four shooting while grabbing 13 rebounds while blocking two shots. Then you had Abdul Gaddy who really struggled scoring just four points on 2-11 shooting including missing all three three point attempts with just two assists. Gaddy looked like he did his freshman year when he was scared and not making plays at all. This was a total team loss for the Huskies who didn't shoot as well as they'd like making just 6-20(30.0%) from three point range and 5-10(50.0%) from the free throw line. The Huskies didn't play their best game and still should have beaten a quality opponent in New York City.

All in all, the Huskies lost a tough game to a tough opponent. This was the type of loss that hurts but can also build confidence. If the Huskies play like this throughout the remainder of the season they very well could win the Pac-12 as the conference appears down. First thing is the Huskies must find a way to win these games as they are now 0-2 this season in close games. Having a healthy Scott Suggs who is a senior should help with that. The Huskies need more bench scoring as Wroten has been the only consistent guy off the bench. This was just a tough loss for Romar's young squad but a loss they can definately build on unlike the two previous losses.


- Tony Wroten is a very electric player for the Huskies who is quick he can penetrate the hole with ease. The Huskies as a team attempted just 10 free throws while Wroten attempted seven. The problem is Wroten made just three free throws. Wroten overall played a good game scoring 13 off the bench while using his size to pull down six rebounds. Wroten is showing the Huskies flashes of the future but is also making freshman mistakes like too many turnovers.

For the season Wroten is averaging 13 points per game, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists with 1.9 steals. He is also shooting 45.9% from the floor which is good. The bad is he is averaging 4.3 turnovers a game while shooting just 47.7% from the free throw line. Wroten is only a freshman he'll have his moments and sometimes on the same play. One moment you are screaming in delight over a great play by Wroten then the next you are disgusted. He has a bright future ahead of him as he showed at Madison Square Garden.

-  Another freshman albeit a redshirt freshman Desmond Simmons played a really nice game. In 22 minutes he scored eight points for the Huskies while grabbing seven rebounds including four offensive. Simmons redshirted last season due to an injury but has already shown to be an effective rebounder. Simmons can also knock down the open jumper as well. Look for him to be a more physical version of Darnell Gant when it's all said and done.

For the year in only 14.7 minutes a game Simmons is averaging 4.7 points and 4.7 rebounds a game. If he played 30 minutes a game he'd be averaging 9.6 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. Simmons has been a nice bright spot for the Huskies this season on a roster which features plenty of young guys.

- Lorenzo Romar will have to wait yet another game before winning #200 for his career. Romar has a young squad on his hands. Today Romar had his team bounce back well after a tough loss to Nevad but ultimately the Huskies couldn't come through down the stretch. This seems to be a bad theme for Romar especially saving a timeout in your back pocket. Romar also likes to go with veterans over youngsters as he had Gaddy in the game over Wroten despite Wroten outplaying him today. I guess at this point Husky fans including myself need to treat Romar for what he is. He is a good loyal coach to the program who has same flaws which tends to show their ugly warts at the end of close games against the good teams. Romar still has led the Huskies to the NCAA tournament in six of the past eight seasons and one of these days by skill or luck the Huskies will win these type of games.

In conclusion, the Huskies program once again failed to capture that big win on the big stage. At least unlike a few years back they aren't getting blown out on the big stage. The Huskies must find a way to make a statement as they are now 4-3 and with the conference appearing weak only three teams if that will make the NCAA tournament. The Huskies will now turn their focus on the Duke Blue Devils this Saturday in an attempt to land the biggest win in the Romar era considering the opponent. The Huskies showed today they have the talent to play with the big boys. Now it just comes down to execution down the stretch which has plagued them in years past. Hopefully the Huskies can solve their late game woes soon as there isn't a more deserving coach than Romar.

No comments:

Post a Comment