Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Huskies remain tied for first place with 75-72 win over Beavers
Terrence Ross led the Washington Huskies(17-8,10-3) with 21 points and 13 rebounds as the Huskies swept the Oregon State Beavers(15-10,5-8) in the season series with a 75-72 win down in Corvallis. The Huskies won on the road despite shooting poorly all game long. After getting blown out the previous game against the Oregon Ducks the Huskies salvaged their road trip with a split over the Beavers. With the win the Huskies are now tied for first place with the California Golden Bears with just five games remaining in conference play. Three Huskies scored in double figures while Abdul Gaddy hit a three pointer to give the Huskies a lead which they never looked back. With the game on the line redshirt freshman Desmond Simmons sank both free throws to clinch the victory. This was a total team effort as nine guys played for the Huskies while eight of them scored. This was a gut check game for the Huskies who passed the test with a crucial road win as they prepare to head home to take on the Arizona schools who they swept on the road just two weekends ago.
In the first half it would appear that the Beavers were dominating the Huskies and outplaying the Huskies. Instead the game was tied at 31-31 apiece in a half that was pretty sloppy. With the Huskies leading 13-10 the Beavers went on a 6-0 run to take a 16-13 lead. The Huskies would respond with a mini 4-0 run to lead 17-16. Trailing 19-18 the Beavers went on another 6-0 run to lead 24-19 before Terrence Ross hit a three point late in the half to tie it up at 31. For the Beavers they shot 13-39(33.3%) from the field, one for eight(12.5%) on three pointers and what really killed them was 4-13(30.7%) from the free throw line. They were led by Jared Cunningham who scored nine points while grabbing three rebounds. He shot poorly though making just 4-13 shots. Devon Collier also scored nine points for the Beavers making all four field goals but made just one of four free throws. Ahmad Starks scored six points while grabbing five rebounds but shot 3-10 in the first half.
For the Huskies they shot miserable making just 12-45(26.7%) from the field, 3-10(30.0%) from three point range and four of seven(57.1%) on free throws. The Huskies won the rebounding war 17-12 over the Beavers. They were led by Terrence Ross scoring nine points on 4-14 shooting including a three pointer while grabbing five rebounds. C.J. Wilcox scored seven points on three for eight shooting with a three pointer. Tony Wroten struggled scoring seven points on two for nine shooting but grabbed five rebounds. Abdul Gaddy scored five points on two for five shooting making his only three point attempt. The Huskies played terrible for a half and were tied on the road a result Lorenzo Romar would take.
This wasn't a pretty win by any means but this was a win which is all that matters. The Huskies are now tied for first place in the Pac-12 with five games left in the regular season. With the conference struggling this year nothing is guaranteed far as NCAA tournament berths go. The margain for error is very small for the Huskies as they must keep winnning despite finishing the season with three in a row on the road. The Huskies will play their final home games this week to honor the lone senior Darnell Gant against the Arizona schools. On senior night particularly will be a huge game against the Arizona Wildcats a team they have defeated four straight times at home. The Huskies continued their dominance over the Beavers who haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 1990 when they won the conference with former Sonics great Gary Payton.
For the season Ross is averaging 15.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks. He is shooting 44.2% from the field, 36.4% from three point range knocking down 1.8 three pointers a game and 75.0% on free throws too. His shooting percentages are about the same as last year and his points per minute are about the same too. The difference is he is getting more steals per minute, more rebounds per minute and blocks. He is pulling a Quincy Pondexter in where he is becoming a complete player who is filling up the box score. He is averaging 7.5 rebounds per game, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks all in conference play. Ross has became a complete player which means there is a good chance that Darnell Gant isn't the only one playing in his final game as a Husky this weekend at home.
This conference comes down to just five teams fighting for three spots in my opinion. California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Arizona are the only schools who are realistically in the NCAA tournament talk. Of those five teams four of them will get a first round bye in the Pac-12 tournament meaning one of them will have to win four games in four days. That isn't impossible by any means seeing how UCONN did that just last year winning five games in five days. I feel like the Pac-12 regular season champion and of course the tournament champion(automatic bid) will make the NCAA's. Leaving the other three fighting for one spot. The Huskies will be favored to win their remaining five games starting this Thursday at home against a school they have historically dominated in the Romar era in Arizona State. This team is starting to come together despite that horrible loss in Eugene. Now the Huskies will try to finish up their home schedule and send Darnell Gant out like the winner that he is. This year has been a rollercoaster and I have a feeling we'll have some more ups and downs before this year is over. For the Huskies whenever they are playing the Beavers that is almost always an up on the rollercoaster.