Thursday, January 19, 2012
Ross has career high 30 points to lead Huskies over Cougars 75-65
It was a tale of two halves for the Washington Huskies(11-6,4-1) who defeated cross state rival Washington State Cougars(9-8,1-4) 75-65 in front of the home crowd to improve to 10-1 on the season at home. The Huskies were led by a career high 30 points by Terrence Ross who caught fire in the second half scoring 26 points which was more than the entire team scored in the first half. The overcame a 10 point deficit with 10 minutes left in the game due to their 44-20 rebounding edge which includes 21-3 on the offensive glass. The Huskies game and perhaps season was on the line when head coach Lorenzo Romar got a technical to spark his team for the comeback. This was a tale of two different halves for Terrence Ross and the Huskies team in general.
The Cougars for the game shot 23-51(45.1%) from the field, 7-24(29.2%) from three point range and 12-16(75.0%) on free throws. They were led by Faisel Aden who scored 18 points off the bench shooting 6-13 from the field with seven rebounds. Motum scored 17 points on 7-11 shooting including two three pointers. Devonte Lacy scored 10 points on 3-9 shooting including three for eight on three pointers. Reggie Moore scored just seven points on two for seven shooting including a three pointer but did dish out eight assists. The Cougars played the same in both halves just couldn't overcome the Huskies getting redhot after that technical foul.
All in all, without C.J.Wilcox for a while the Huskies basically only have six scholarship guys who are contributing on their roster. This is the thinnest roster Romar has ever had and is lacking in maturity as his three best players are underclassman. Which is why Romar had to resort to getting a technical to wake up his team who was sleep walking in the first half. That technical appeared to have work but Romar can't be doing that every game. The key to this game was hopefully this is just the start of a breakout season for Ross who up to this point was having a solid season even if he is capable of so much more. The big man play dominated this game which was supposed to be a weakness heading into the year has slowly turned into a strength in conference only having one bad game(Colorado). With Wilcox hurt all six of those guys must step up their game as the rest of the team has shown they aren't ready yet at least this year anyways. This was a good win for the Huskies as it is always nice to defeat your rivals.
For the year now N'Diaye is actually having a pretty solid season now. In 23.5 minutes per game he is averaging 8.2 PPG and 7.9 RPG with 1.5 blocks per game. He is shooting 53.1% from the field as well. This past week both Husky wins N'Diaye averaged 13.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG with a block shot a game. He also shot 9-13(69.2%) from the field and 8-13(61.5%) from the free throw line. N'Diaye gives the Huskies a huge advantage as most teams don't have a seven footer and his improvement from last season has really helped the overall big man play for the Huskies this season.
Darnell Gant also had a great game playing a career high 33 minutes as he scored 13 points with eight rebounds. The senior captain has been recently benched but there will be no pouting from Gant who has started off and on his entire career. Gant for the season is averaging 7.6 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game in 22.2 minutes. He is shooting 51.6% from the field and 40.7% from three point range making a little over half a three pointer a game. Gant needs to continue having games like he did against the Cougars for the rest of the season if this team wants to play in the NCAA tournament.
Wroten's game is driving to the basket as he has attempted 31 free throws the last two games. Unfortunately he has only made 19 of them which is good for 61.2%. Not all is bad with Wroten in fact he is having a first team all league season averaging 16.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.4 APG as well as 1.9 steals per game. Wroten is also only a true freshman who has shown great talent. He just needs to work on his fundamentals like free throws and stop shooting three pointers he should be unstoppable.
For the year now Ross is averaging 15.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG with 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He is shooting 45.6% from the field, 41.0% on three pointers making two a game and 72.3% from the free throw line. Lately Ross has been shooting really well from beyond the arc. In his last five games Ross has shot 15-29(51.7%) from three point range. In his last three games he has shot 11-19(57.8%) from three point range. Ross has all the talent in the world and nights like this should be more normal than the exception.
This year the Huskies three best players are sophomores Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox and freshman Tony Wroten. Meaning there is no leadership on this team. Which is why this team can go toe to toe with Duke and Marquette yet look uninterested at times vs South Dakota State at home. Romar was seeing the same thing in the first 30 minutes so he decided to fire his team up with a technical. The Huskies adjusted to the zone that former assistent Ken Bone had on them by attacking the glass. Without C.J. Wilcox for a while the Huskies will have to learn how to play against the zone as they'll be seeing a ton of it.
In conclusion, I've been highly critical of Romar this season but this game he won for his guys. He saw there was no leadership once again and did something about it by being a leader. Ross then finally realized he is the best player on the court by a mile and took over in the second half. The Huskies are tied for second place at 4-1 in conference play with two more home games left. The start of the schedule was kind to the Huskies who began conference play with five of their first seven at home which for a young immature team such as this group that is needed. This week against the Bay Area teams who the Huskies have historically done well against at home will be a big test for this group especially against a veteran team like California. This was a good win and it's always nice to defeat the Cougars which the Huskies have now done six of the last eight times.