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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 27, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Keys to the game — Arizona

Here’s a breakdown of Saturday’s game against Arizona:
Records: No. 21 Washington 21-7, 12-4; Arizona 18-10, 8-7. Where: Edmundson Pavilion (10,000). Time: Noon. TV: FSN-NW. Radio: KJR-AM
No. 1: Don’t get distracted — Easier to suggest, harder to accomplish. It seems Husky Nation is buzzing as the team nears its first Pac-10 title in 24 years. It’s been a long time since folks around here could feel this good about the team. It’s impossible for the players not to get caught up in the emotion. Jon Brockman said he didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m. following Thursday’s epic overtime win over ASU. But if the Huskies aren’t focused, Arizona will run them out of the gym.
No. 2: Contain the supporting cast — Because Washington likes a quick tempo, UA’s Big Three will get enough touches and shots to score points. The Huskies must pay close attention to everyone else. If Washington had held freshman starting guard Kyle Fogg to his his 6.4 scoring average instead of a career-high 16 points, the Dawgs would have won the game in Tucson, AZ by a point.
No. 3: Don’t settle for the 3s — Early in the second half on Thursday Isaiah Thomas appeared as if he grew tired of driving into the teeth of ASU’s matchup zone. It didn’t help that many of his off-balance layups rolled off the rim and often times he drew hard contact from opponents, but didn’t get the foul called. Thomas, a .291 percent three-point shooter, can’t settle for treys. He was 1-4 on Thursday and 0-7 in the first game against Arizona. As painful as it may sound, he’s got to continue diving into the lane and taking the punishment in hopes that the refs reward him with the call. You tend to get those calls at home, which leads me to the next key …
No. 4: Don’t foul — In their last meeting, UA attempted 51 – yes FIFTY-ONE – free throws and convterted 41. That’s an incredible number. The Wildcats nearly attempted as many FTs as field goals (58). Nick Wise was perfect from the charity strip hitting all 14, Chase Budinger sank 8 of 11 and Jordan Hill 4 of 9. The UW would be better served getting a hand up and forcing a contested shot rather than fouling and giving up a pair of freebies.
No. 5: Unleash the Defensive ThreeVenoy Overton, Darnell Gant I and Justin Holiday have carved out a niche as the UW’s defensive specialists and it would be intriguing to see how they’d fare on the court at the same time against the UA’s Big Three. I suggested this idea to coach Lorenzo Romar on Friday and he didn’t think it was a silly. He said the other two Huskies would need to be scorers because OGH are offensively challenged. He also said he tried this strategy in the previous UA game. I asked the result. “They scored 69 in the second half,” he said. Still, I gotta believe Overton on Wise, Gant on Hill and Holiday on Budinger would slow down the Cats.



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