Wednesday, December 21, 2011

South Dakota State stuns Huskies 92-73

By Kshell

The South Dakota State JackRabbits(10-4,2-0) dominated the Washington Huskies(5-5,0-0) on their home court 92-73 in a game that was never close. The Huskies a team with so much promise heading into the season has now lost four of their last five ball games. For the first time since losing to top 10 Pittsburgh back in the 2007-08 season the Huskies lost a non conference home game. For Lorenzo Romar this could very well be the worst loss since he has taken over this program. This was no fluke as the JackRabbits outplayed, outcoached, and outhustled the Huskies all game long. For the Huskies they have just one more non conference tilt before Pac-12 season begins. This team which I said last game was finally gaining an identity has appeared to have lost that identity in allowing 92 points at home to a team that was playing division-2 ball just a few years ago. For the Huskies this was the lowpoint in a season that is already in danger of being flushed down the toilet.

In the first half the JackRabbits were hot from the start of the game jumping out to a 9-2 lead. They quickly increased their lead to double figures and at times led by over 20 points as they couldn't miss meanwhile the Huskies were struggling. The JackRabbits led by Nate Wolters led at halftime 51-33 over the Huskies who didn't know what had hit them. The JackRabbits in the first half shot 19-32(59.4%) from the field while draining 8-11(72.7%) from three pointers. They were led by Wolters who scored 16 points on 6-12 shooting including a three pointer and also dished out four assists. The JackRabbits also saw Chad White score 12 points on four for seven shooting but was four for five from three pointers. Griffan Callahan scored eight points on three for three shooting including making two three pointers.

For the Huskies they struggled shooting only 11-27(40.7%) from the field and made just 3-10(30.0%) from three point range. They were led by Tony Wroten who scored 10 points on four for eight shooting including a three pointer but once again struggled at the foul line making just one for three free throws. C.J. Wilcox scored seven points on two for five shooting including a three pointer. Abdul Gaddy scored three points on one for three shooting including a three pointer but had four assists. The Huskies dug themselves too big of a hole that they couldn't recover from it.

In the second half the Huskies would turn up the heat and go on several runs but could never pull the game within single digits. Whenever the Huskies pulled to within 10 or 11 points the JackRabbbits would score a crucial bucket. In the end the JackRabbits also won the second half as well outscoring the Huskies 41-40 winning the game 92-73. They shot 28-51(54.9%) from the field, 10-16(62.5%) from three pointers, 26-32(81.2%) from the foul line. They were led by Wolters who scored 34 points on 10-20 shooting with a three pointer and was also 13-16 from the free throw line. He also dished out seven assists while grabbing five rebounds. Callahan scored 16 points on five for six shooting including being perfect on all three three point attempts. Overall the JackRabbits had five guys in scoring figures as they dropped 92 points on the Huskies.

For the Huskies the shooting continued to struggle and the defense was even worse. The Huskies shot 26-63(41.3%) from the field and even worse from three point range making only 5-18(27.8%). The Huskies did make 16-22(72.7%) from free throws which was the only positive. They were led by Wroten who scored 23 points on 8-17 shooting including a three pointer but was just 6-11 from free throws. Wroten had four rebounds, three assists and three turnovers as well. The second leading scorer was Darnell Gant who scored 15 points on five for eight shooting including a three pointer and was four for five from free throws. Gant also grabbed 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. C.J. Wilcox scored 12 points but continued his shooting slump making only 4-15 field goal attempts including two for six from three point range. Desmond Simmons provided another strong game off the bench scoring eight points on three for seven shooting but grabbed 11 rebounds including seven offensive. Abdul Gaddy scored only seven points on two for eight shooting including a three pointer but did dish out seven assists to only one turnover. Terrence Ross had a frustrating game fouling out in 23 minutes scoring just six points on three for four shooting.  For the Huskies if they expect to win ballgames in the future they need to find a way to get Ross involved or this will be a long season.

All in all, this was an unacceptable loss especially for a program who has made the NCAA tournament the past three seasons. This loss appears to fall on the players shoulders as Romar teams are known for their defense and team play which this team lacks at both. This team is playing too much one on one ball trying to impress their future NBA teams and not the current team they play for. Romar takes on blame for not controlling his team as this season which is young is appearing to slip away from him much like the 2006-07 season did which also featured plenty of young talent. Romar needs to start taking control of this team even if it means sitting some future NBA players to send a message. This loss will be a black eye on a future NCAA tournament resume down the road. The Huskies are playing like a team you would see at a YMCA pick up game not a team who is hoping to play meaningful games in March.


- Tony Wroten is appearing to be the most talented player on the roster and also the best player on the roster. He also could be hurting this team in some ways as he is attempting more field goals and passing less. C.J. Wilcox last game had just five field goal attempts and this game Terrence Ross had just four field goal attempts. Those two are the Huskies best scorers so they should be shooting the ball the most. Wroten isn't making his free throws either this year despite going to the hole so much. Wroten for the year is making 51.4% of his free throws despite shooting 7.2 a game.

I haven't given up on Wroten by any means unlike most ignorant fans on the Seattle Times message boards. Wroten with his size brings a lot to the table and with his quickness he attacks the hole so much that if he starts making his free throws he can be unstoppable. Wroten for the year is averaging 16.4 points per game, 4.7 rebounds but only 3.0 assists per game compared to 4.3 turnovers a game. Wroten is a fine player but he must cut down on his mistakes if the Huskies are to be dancing in March Madness. Wroten isn't the only player who deserves critism though as I think another player is getting too much of a free pass as of late.

- Abdul Gaddy is the junior point guard who is a former five star recruit. He hasn't even came close to living up to his expectations which is what is really killing this team. Gaddy has actually regressed since last season which could be due to his injury he suffered last year. Either way Gaddy has been slow on defense and despite playing 35 minutes last game scored just seven points.

In the past four games Gaddy is averaging 33.3 minutes per game yet is only averaging 8.8 points per game on 12-33(36.3%) from the field and just 3-11(27.2%) from three pointers. Gaddy's lack of an outside game is hurting an offense which without Scott Suggs is hurting on scorers. Whether Gaddy is injured or not he is hurting this team on both sides of the ball and I think Romar should start Simmons over him next game and slide Wilcox to the shooting guard position. Make Wroten focus on being a point guard that is the best possible lineup for the Huskies to start the game.

- Every year I complain about Lorenzo Romar's coaching and he keeps proving me right which is too bad. I like Romar and think he has taken this program to heights they have never seen before. I feel like Romar is a terrific recruiter when it comes to guards. I also think Romar is proving he isn't the guy to ever lead this program further than what they are currently. In today's college basketball you must win with young talent and Romar to date has yet to show he can win with young teams. He has always needed a stud senior or junior to carry his team. This team has neither as their three best players are two sophomores and a freshman which for any other coach would be no big deal. For Romar that means an underachieving season is expected to happen.

The Huskies don't run an offense with Romar as his X's and O's appear to be lacking. The program offensively hasn't quite been the same since Ken Bone became a head coach at Portland State. Bone was the offensive mind behind those Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy teams. The Huskies can score points on bad teams but against any decent team the offense struggles. Romar needs to take control of this team by banning twitter and being harsh on these guys. Like what happened last year when Romar had the statement "Don't play defense come sit next to me" I think he needs to go back to applying that rule as the defense was horrible. Something is missing with this club and this isn't all on Romar either. Ultimately as head coach he must find a way to get this talented team to play to their abilities.

In conclusion, this was a disgusting loss for a team that features two five star recruits on their roster. NBA pro scouts were at the game to check out Ross, Wilcox and Wroten instead saw them get embarassed by Wolters instead. An NCAA tournament type of team doesn't get killed at home to South Dakota State. Even in Romar's worst  years they were always tough at home while this team just dropped a home game to a lesser opponent. The Huskies are now 5-5 and hopefully they rally like they did back in 2003-04 when they were 5-8 and still made the NCAA tournament. Romar's teams do play better as the season progresses. Hopefully that is the case this year or else the Huskies are going to be in for a long disappointing season ahead of themselves.

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