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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

November 6, 2008 at 10:17 PM

Western recap

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar’s assessment of his team after it beat Western Washington 105-85 Thursday night?
“I look back to try to compare where we were last year at this time to this year and I think we’re further along,” he said.
Husky fans probably wouldn’t accept much less given that last season ended with a 16-17 record and a loss in the first round of the CBI.
But there was evidence to back up Romar’s claim.
This team can definitely score in more varied ways, largely due to the addition of Isaiah Thomas, who was as good as advertised with 27 points, hitting 9-12 shots, and 8-8 inside the arc.
Western coach Brad Jackson was among those impressed by Thomas.
“I’ve watrched him play a lot growing up and what he did tonight was not surprising,” he said. “Obviously he is more mature than most freshmen having been out of high school for a couple of years. He creates so many things for you on offense. It is like guarding air — he is there and then he’s not there. He will be a great addition to their ballclub.”
The Huskies also looked more athletic, forcing the tempo more and defending out on the perimeter better, causing 22 turnovers (with the caveat that this was just a Division II team).
“They created problems for us with their defense and their strong backcourt,” Jackson said.
The Huskies also dominated the boards (56-35) with six players grabbing four or more led by Jon Brockman’s 18.
“We didn’t rebound the ball that well in the Wyoming scrimmage (a closed scrimmage last Saturday) but I thought we did a better job on the boards (tonight),” Romar said. “Our guys were aggressive attacking the glass tonight. I thought that was really good.”
The Huskies also shot free throws better, hitting 20-29, though Romar noted later that UW hit 16-19 in its exhibition game last year. “If we shoot 70 percent as a team, that will help our cause tremendously,” Romar said the Huskies, who technically hit 69 percent.
On the other hand, UW lost 20 turnovers allowed 58 points in the second half and 20 in the last five minutes, and led Western hit 13-21 three-pointers.
Romar afterward said the obvious — “58 points in a half is far too many points.”
But Romar said he thinks much of it can be cleaned up.
“I thought we played very good defense in spurts,” Romar said. “I thought we had too many spurts where we didn’t. We kind of relaxed. We can’t do that next Saturday when we play at Portland. Overall there were a lot of positives. We were a little negligent on our passing, sometimes made the wrong decision, shot when we should have passed, passed when we should have shot. Those types of things should be ironed out later.”
What also could be a concern is UW’s 7-21 shooting from the three-point line. Romar admitted later that Thomas likely won’t get a lot of the drives he got tonight against tougher competitions, many of whom may pack it in and dare the Huskies to fire away. Only Justin Dentmon was solid from outside, hitting 4-6. But Romar noted that Elston Turner, who was 1-5, will likely do a lot better in the future, and Thomas also has potential there — he hit just 1-4 tonight.
As for individual performances, I’m not sure there were a lot of huge surprises.
Thomas, Dentmon (18) and Brockman (14) were the three leading scorers, followed by Quincy Pondexter (13) and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (12). MBA was spectacular at times but spotty throughout, one reason he has at least temporarily lost his starting job to Darnell Gant — consider that Gant had five rebonds in 19 rebounds to two for MBA in 18 minutes. Romar said that right now, defense and rebounding is what is most needed from that spot.
Pondexter was also a little spotty, though the final numbers looked good — he was 5-11 shooting and also had eight rebounds in 22 minutes. Romar said Venoy Overton might have been the best defensive player on the floor, but he also lost four turnovers in 22 minutes.
Joe Wolfinger cleaned up late with seven points, six in the final 10 minutes.
The other freshmen looked predictably tentative — Turner hit his first shot then missed his last six and Scott Suggs was 0-5 in 13 minutes.
If there was an individual disappointment it was the play of Justin Holiday, who has been lauded for his performance in practice. He was 0-5 shooting with three turnovers in 11 minutes.
“That really surprised me,” Romar said. “That wasn’t what we’ve been seeing the last two weeks. He’ll bounce back.”
UW now has nine days to get ready for the regular season opener at Portland Nov. 15.

Comments | Topics: Brad Jackson, Scott Suggs

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