Sunday, February 5, 2012

Huskies destroy Trojans 69-41 to remain in first place

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(16-7,9-2) continue their recent winning ways running their winning streak to five games in a row after destroying the USC Trojans(6-18,1-10) 69-41. The Huskies have won eight of their last nine games as their defense has vastly improve during that stretch. The Huskies saw 11 guys score a bucket for them tonight and they outrebounded the Trojans 49-16 as the Trojans who have just six players on scholarship once again were simply outmatched. The Huskies needed a win like this as their last three wins prior to this one were won by single digits including two at the buzzer. The Huskies were led by freshman Tony Wroten who played injured but scored 13 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed six rebounds all while committing just one turnover. The Huskies dominated the glass led by Terrence Ross who scored 10 points while pulling down 14 rebounds which ties a career high. His 14 rebounds were only two rebounds shy of the entire Trojans team who only had 16. This was a total team win as all 10 active scholarship players(plus Austin Seferian-Jenkins who is on a football scholarship) scored for the Huskies as Lorenzo Romar was able to play his young bench. For Romar this was a big win as the Trojans had won the last two in Seattle including three out of four in Seattle as well. The Huskies with that win are still in sole possession of first place which after getting destroyed by South Dakota State at home earlier in the year didn't at all seem possible.

The first half featured plenty of missed shots by both teams. After the Trojans began the game leading 7-4 the Huskies went on a 9-0 run which was capped at 15-2 to lead 19-9. The Huskies would lead at halftime 29-19 over the struggling Trojans. The Trojans shot 9-34(26.5%) from the field while missing all nine three point attempts and making just one of four free throws. They were led by Garrett Jackson who scored 12 of their 19 points on 6-11 shooting. While Maurice Jones had just two points on one for eight shooting and Greg Allen was held scoreless missing all six shots including five from three point range. The Huskies shot 12-35(34.3%) from the field but made just 2-13(15.4%) from three point range and three of six from free throws. The Huskies led due to outrebounding the Trojans 22-11 including 7-2 on offensive rebounds. The Huskies were led by Tony Wroten who scored nine points on three for seven shooting and three for four on free throws. He also had three assists and three rebounds. Darnell Gant provided eight points on three for six shooting including two three pointers. Shawn Kemp Jr. once again added a spark off the bench scoring six points making all three of his shots including a nice alley-oop dunk. Terrence Ross struggled shooting scoring just two points on one for five shooting but had eight rebounds.  The Huskies would put the Trojans away in the second half.

After the Trojans mini run to pull within 29-23 the Huskies would go on a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 38-23. With the Trojans still hanging around trailing 44-33 the Huskies put the game away going on an 18-0 run to lead 62-33 before eventually winning 69-41 to remain in first place. The Huskies outscored the Trojans 40-22 in the second half. They held the Trojans to 17-59(28.8%) shooting from the field, 1-16(6.2%) from three point range and 6-13(46.2%) from free throws. The Trojans were led by Jackson who scored 15 points on 7-14 shooting. Allen continued his miserable shooting scoring just five points on 2-13 shooting including 1-10 from three point range.

As for the Huskies they shot 28-58(48.3%) from the field but just 2-14(14.3%) from three point range and 11-18(61.1%) from free throws. The Huskies outrebounded the Trojans 49-16 and had 14 offensive rebounds. They were led by Wroten who scored 13 points on five for nine shooting while making three of four free throws. Wroten also added eight assists, six rebounds with only one turnover. Terrence Ross scored 10 points on three for nine shooting making all four free throws. He also added 14 rebounds, two steals and a block shot. Aziz N'Diaye scored nine points with five rebounds including a block shot. Darnell Gant scored eight points with seven rebounds including two three pointers. Abdul Gaddy scored six points but had six assists with three rebounds. Shawn Kemp Jr. scored six points off the bench for the Huskies. Austin Seferian-Jenkins scored five points with three rebounds as the Huskies improve to 5-0 in games he has played in. C.J. Wilcox scored just four points but added two block shots. Martin Bruenig also scored four points with a block shot as well. The Huskies reserves outscored the Trojans reserves 29-0 as they won by 28 points overall.

The Huskies basketball program is heading in the right direction defeating the Trojans by the amount that they did. They are winning the close games and now blowing out the bad opponents. Not since the 2003-04 season have I seen a Romar team evolve like this during the season. The Huskies have so many ways of beating you while earlier in the year it was only one way. Today the Huskies didn't shoot well at all yet still won by 28 points. They will face a big challenge going on the road to the Oregon schools which Romar in his career has had great success with but last year saw his team get swept which derailed their season. This current Huskies team has the talent and are finally seeing their depth improve as more players are starting to step up which can only help them get better as a team down the stretch.


- The Huskies shot just 2-14 from three point range yet won by 28 points. The reason was they dominated the glass 49-16 including 27-5 in the second half. Terrence Ross who didn't have a good game scoring wise had just 10 points but did tie a career high with 14 rebounds. Usually in the past the Trojans were the much more physical team than the Huskies. This year that wasn't the case. The Trojans leading rebounder had just five rebounds while the Huskies saw Ross pull down 14, Darnell Gant pull down seven, Tony Wroten pull down six, and Aziz N'Diaye pull down five. The Huskies in the Romar years have always been a good rebounding team regardless if they have a stud rebounder like Jon Brockman or not. The Huskies showed in this game and in a few other games that they will out work you for those rebounds which will turn poor shooting performances into victories.

- Heading into this game there was a 50/50 chance that Tony Wroten would even play. Well Wroten did play and in my opinion played one of his best games of his career. Wroten let the game come to him for once as he scored 13 points on five for nine shooting while dishing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds. He also made three of four free throws while committing just one turnover. Wroten played a calm game for once. In the last three games Wroten is now shooting 13-16(81.2%) from the free throw line so hopefully that problem is over. For the year Wroten is averaging 16.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 3.5 APG with 1.8 steals as well. Wroten is the runaway for freshman of the year in the Pac-12. Wroten should see himself as the first Huskies player ever named to the first team all Pac-12 team as a freshman. Wroten will most likely see freshman all-american status as well. Wroten is having the best freshman season for a Huskies player since Isaiah Thomas led the Huskies to a Pac-10 regular season title during the 2008-09 season.

- This was a big win for Romar defeating the Trojans. The Trojans had won two in a row in Seattle and three out of four in Seattle. The Trojans had also defeated the Huskies six of the last 10 games in the last five years. Even with all that Romar still leads the Trojans 12-7 as he dominated the series early like the Huskies dominated the scoreboard tonight. For Romar this team is kind of bucking the trend which he has set. Usually Romar teams who are successful have terrific upperclassman play and if they don't they struggle. Why this team reminds me of the 2003-04 team which was full of youngsters like this team is. That team also had some bad losses in the non conference season but went on a run in the Pac-10. This team is doing the same as Romar tighten his rotation  a bit but is slowly extending that rotation as Seferian-Jenkins has joined the team plus Kemp Jr has played well this week giving the Huskies a spark. Romar appears to be pulling the right strings as this team went from underachievers to possibly slight overachievers in the same season.

The Huskies did what every team does who wants to win a conference regular season championship. They found a way to blow out an opponent when they didn't shoot particularly well. The Huskies played championship defense making the Trojans go one and done several times while extending their own possessions with second chance opportunities with 14 offensive rebounds. This was a total team effort as 11 guys scored and 11 guys pulled down a rebound. The Huskies were able to rest some key guys while some youngsters got a chance to score. The Huskies saw their freshman score 32 points led by Wroten scoring a team high 13 points. This team is in sole possession of first place which is the latest in the season they have been in first place since winning the conference back in 2008-09. This program has won a regular season championship then back to back conference tournament championships the last three seasons. With the way this group is playing right now look for another conference championship banner to be hanging up in the rafters soon.

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