Saturday, January 21, 2012
Cal defeats Huskies 69-66 as comeback falls just short
For the second straight game the Washington Huskies(11-7, 4-2) had a slow first half only this team they couldn't quite overcome it losing to the California Golden Bears(16-4,5-1) 69-66. The Huskies fell behind by 10 points at halftime as they scored only 25 points for the second straight game. In the second half Lorenzo Romar received another technical which sparked a Huskies comeback finally pulling within one possession. When senior captain Darnell Gant's three pointer was short at the buzzer the Golden Bears had survived with a win over the Huskies snapping the Huskies streak of three wins in a row and four out of five against the Golden Bears. The Huskies were again without C.J. Wilcox and this game it showed as they simply don't have enough guys ready to play quality minutes in this conference.
In the first half the Huskies struggled offensively. Neither team could hit a three point shot at all combining to hit 3-16 from three pointers. The Huskies only offense was actually Aziz N'Diaye in the first half as the Huskies just couldn't find any offense for the second straight game in the first half. The Golden Bears shot 13-26(50.0%) from the field, two for nine(22.2%) from three point range and 7-10(70.0%) from free throws. They were led by Allen Crabbe who scored 10 points on three for seven shooting including two three poitners. Robert Thurman off the bench who had only averaged less than three points per game coming into the game scored 12 points on five for seven shooting. Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs scored six points on two for four shooting.
For the Huskies they struggled in the first half shooting 10-29(34.5%) from the field, one for seven(14.3%) from three point range and four for eight(50.0%) from the free throw line. They were led by N'Diaye who scored eight points on four for five shooting while pulling down seven rebounds. Tony Wroten scored six points on two for seven shooting but made both of his free throw attempts. Terrence Ross for the second straight game would struggle in the first half scoring just two points on one for five shooting while missing both three point attempts.
The Bears won the game as they were led by Crabbe scoring 16 points on 5-11 shooting with two three pointers and grabbing 10 rebounds. Thurman scored 16 points on 7-11 shooting with seven rebounds. Cobbs scored 14 points on 5-11 shooting including a three pointer. Meanwhile for the Huskies they shot 26-64(40.6%) from the field, 5-21(23.8%) from three point range and just 9-14(64.3%) from free throws. They were led by Terrence Ross who scored 15 points on 6-15 shooting including three for eight from three point range with five rebounds. Aziz N'Diaye scored 14 points on 7-11 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds. Tony Wroten added 14 points on 4-11 shooting with a three pointer and was pefect on all five free throw attempts. He also added three steals. Abdul Gaddy scored 12 points on five for nine shooting with a three pointer. Desmond Simmons scored eight points on three for five shooting with three rebounds. Then Darnell Gant off the bench scored just one point on 0-9 shooting including 0-6 from three pointers while grabbing just two rebounds in 28 minutes. The Huskies need more production from him if they expect to win.
This was a tough loss for the Huskies who had a chance to be in first place in the conference despite being down two key players(Scott Suggs for the season and now C.J. Wilcox). Both those players are great three point shooters and when Gant is ice cold as he is that leaves only Terrence Ross to carry the load from the outside which makes it very easy to defend the Huskies. Despite having two future first round draft picks this team is struggling as Lorenzo Romar didn't recruit any depth. It is quite obvious that this latest recruiting class with the exception of Wroten has been a complete dud that is going to haunt this program for a while. The Huskies lack depth for the first time in the Romar years and this loss was a big reason for it.
Gaddy the former five-star recruit #2 point guard in the country is now a junior. With Suggs out and Gant being limited he was supposed to have the big season to carry the Huskies. Instead despite averaging 33.1 minutes per game he is only averaging 8.8 PPG and 4.7 APG. He is shooting a terrible 42.5% from the field and an even worse 32.7% from three point range. In Pac-12 play Gaddy is averaging 9.1 PPG, 4.0 APG in 33.5 minutes per game. Especially now with Wilcox out and already with Suggs redshirting Gaddy has to provide the leadership for this team. Hard to be a team leader when you are constantly holding the team back. He looks nothing like a guy who was once so hyped coming out of high school.
Another Romar trait is he always goes with experience over talent. Gant played 28 minutes while missing all nine of his shots and grabbing just two rebounds while the younger Desmond Simmons played only 19 minutes despite scoring eight points with three rebounds. Gaddy played the most minutes with 38. Recruiting young studs like Ross and Wroten does you know good if you don't know how to use them properly. At Kentucky those two would be dominating while with Romar they take a back seat to guys like Gaddy and Gant. The Huskies program will never take the next step until Romar realizes college basketball has evolved and goes with talent over experience.
At the end of the day this was a tough loss for the Huskies because they played so hard. The Huskies had no business being in this game with the way Gant shot and being down Wilcox. The heart is there which earlier in the year it was not which is a good sign. Unfortunately the Huskies just aren't that good this year. They aren't very deep unlike last year when they could afford to lose Gaddy(back when he was good) and have Overton suspended for the Pac-10 tournament they still survived. Last year the Huskies going into the year had 10 guys on scholarship they liked a lot not counting Tyrese Breshers who was injured for his career. This year they have just seven guys so when Wilcox goes down, Gant isn't making a shot and Gaddy is still ineffective that leaves Romar to playing at least one struggling player all game. The decision to redshirt Suggs may have ruined this season more than we thought. Won't matter next year if he is back if that means both Ross and Wroten are gone. This was a great opportunity for the Huskies that came up just short which is probably how their season is going to end up.