At times it was ugly as both teams combined for 37 turnovers and 53 fouls, but in the end Washington pulled out an 88-76 victory against Cal State Northridge.
Equally important, the Huskies were able to put Thursday’s disappointing overtime defeat at Texas Tech behind them.
This was a interesting game for several reasons. For starters, it might be the last time we see the 11-man rotation (more on this later) and it might have been the first time we saw the real Abdul Gaddy.
Plus, Quincy Pondexter (above) was Washington’s star once again and Isaiah Thomas took steps toward finding his shooting touch. He didn’t snap out of slump, but the little guy continued to attack the basket where he drew fouls and went to the free throw line 15 times.
So there were lots of of positives for Washington.
HERE’S A QUOTE FROM COACH LORENZO ROMAR
(Opening statement): “I’m probably stating the obvious, but tonight we didn’t do a good job of taking care of the basketball and finishing. I think if we take care of the basketball, with the exception of Texas Tech, like we have been doing other games, finish the point-blank shot, we’d be feeling a lot better about this win. We rebounded the ball really well. We got to the foul line really well. We just didn’t do a couple of those other things. It was great to see Quincy, now this is the second game in a row where you see a senior, things aren’t going really well, he just stepped up and made plays that allowed us to distance ourselves from Northridge.”
— Romar is reducing the rotation. He wasn’t sure what number he’ll use, but he said the 11-man rotation is making it difficult for guys to find a rhythm. He also said Washington is moving into a portion of the season he called the “pre-Pac-10 portion of the schedule.”
“We got some top-25 opponents, some opponents that are really going to come out and really test us. We’ve got to get ready for that.”
It’s difficult to know what Romar is thinking about the rotation. The starting lineup with Elston Turner in the mix looked solid even though Turner got a quick hook. Aside from a defensive gaffe or two, Turner acquitted himself well. He had six points on 2-for-4 shooting and two assists.
— Gaddy had his best game this season and finished with a career-high 11 points despite suffering a cut above his right eye. He also had two assists (which should have been 4-5 if not for missed shots) and three turnovers (which should have been 1-2 if not for bad timing).
(Pondexter on Gaddy) “You saw a glimpse of his potential. He is going to be a terrific player, just in a matter of time. People might say whatever they want to about him but at the end of the day, when his career is over, he’s going to be a tremendous player. He’s going to be a professional basketball player after this level. He played great tonight. He got in the lane. He can go wherever he wants with the ball. He’s just a terrific player and he’s real young. The sky’s the limit for that kid.”
— Pondexter sank his first three-pointer of the season, which was timely. Washington led 48-47 before his three, which sparked an 18-2 run. Pondexter knew he’d miss five previous treys this season. He also knew his 3, was important to the game’s outcome. Pondexter did a great job filling up the stat sheet. He had seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, two blocks and a turnover.
Read this quote from Pondexter and tell me if he’s doesn’t seriously embrace the role of captain.
(Was there a layover from Thursday?) “I think our team was just hurt. We were really emotionally hurt. We all went into ourselves and looked into our own hearts and realized that we have to get a lot better. There were so many mistakes that we all took upon ourselves that could have changed the game’s outcome. With that, we really want to get better. There wasn’t much time from that game to this game. I think this next coming week we have to be really active and ready to get after it in practice.”
— Thomas negated five turnovers with four steals, four rebounds and a turnover. He admits his shots still aren’t falling (4 for 10), but he was nearly perfect on the free throw line where he sank 13 of 15.
— It’s easy to overlook Matthew Bryan-Amaning, ,but his 10 rebounds greatly helped UW, which led the battle of the boards 50-30.
— At times, Tyreese Breshers (five fouls) and Clarence Trent (four) look like newcomers getting adjusted to the college game. At times, they’re just too aggressive and tonight the refs were calling everything.
Heck, even mild-mannered Pondexter collected a technical foul.
— It will be interesting to see if Scott Suggs, Justin Holiday and Darnell Gant have done enough in the first seven games to warrant heavy minutes going forrward. They all contributed tonight, but nobody had a monster, breakout performance.