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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 20, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Keys to the game — USC

Here’s a breakdown of Saturday’s game against USC:
Records: Washington 19-7, 10-4; USC 16-9, 7-6. Where: Galen Center (10,258). Time: 4 p.m. TV: FSN-NW. Radio: KJR-AM
KEYS TO THE GAME
No. 1: Make the extra pass — To quote noted basketball guru W. Axel Rose “All the Huskies need is just a little patience” (oh, maybe he sang it just a little bit differently). Anyway, UW coach Lorenzo Romar on Friday said he thinks one of his team’s biggest issues in the road losses has been shooting too quickly, settling for early jumpers, which in turn allows the opponent to get out in transition while also staying fresh by not having to work all that hard on defense. So look for the Huskies to try to make that extra pass or two today to get better shots, which will be especially critical against USC’s “junk” defenses, such as the triangle-and-two. And then the key will be for guys like Darnell Gant and Quincy Pondexter to take advantage of what could be lots of opportunities to hit open shots.
No. 2: Recognize the defense — Speaking of USC’s junk defenses, one key is reading them correctly early and then making the right play to exploit it. It took UW about a half in the game in Seattle, but eventually the Huskies figured it out to pull out the victory. The guards, in particular, will have the responsibility to get the offense functioning well against the Trojans.
No. 3: Contain Dwight Lewis — UW didn’t have to worry about defending Lewis, USC’s leading scorer, in the first game as he was out with a sprained ankle. Lewis is hitting 40 percent on three-pointers and averaging 15.6 points per game and he’s done it against everybody, scoring 25 at Oklahoma in December, for instance.
No. 4: Wear em’ down — Due in part to injuries — namely to forward Marcus Johnson, who has missed the last four games with a strained rotator cuff — the Trojans’ starting five played almost the entire game against the Cougars Thursday. Four of the five were on the floor for 36 minutes or more and PG Daniel Hackett for all 40. Romar on Friday downplayed the notion that could be something for the Huskies to exploit, saying that by this time of year, players are in shape to pull off those kind of hard minutes. Still, it seems like something that could be a factor, especially when it’s the second game in three days. UW’s ability to get out and run could put that much more pressure on USC’s lack of depth.
No. 5: Get to the line and rebound —- Those were two things UW had more trouble than usual doing against UCLA. UW and UCLA each had 36 rebounds Thursday and the Huskies haven’t been quite as dominant of late on the boards save for a plus-15 game against woeful Oregon. In six of the last nine games, UW has had a rebounding advantage of three or less, getting outrebounded by Oregon State and tied by UCLA. And as was well-noted, UW was just 4-10 at the line against the Bruins. The Huskies have to get back to their previous ways of penetrating and getting fouled.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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