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January 10, 2010 at 11:52 PM

Arizona post-game analysis

jamelle.jpg
Photo credit: AP PHOTO – John Miller
Washington wakes up Monday morning last in the Pac-10, which is a place the Huskies never thought they’d be this season.
It’s back to the drawing board for Washington. Or as coach Lorenzo Romar put it, back to the basketball laboratory.
That was the party line after the Huskies’ 87-70 defeat at Arizona. Everybody said the same thing. The players talked about being anxious to get to Monday’s practice. They said there’s no miracle solutions that will fix UW’s problems.
Washington showed no signs of fraying at the ends or panicking. Still the players looked a little stunned as they filed out of McKale Center. They weren’t expecting a 1-3 Pac-10 start.
There was a brief moment of levity when former Arizona coach Lute Olson stopped by the UW locker. He spoke with Romar, assistant Jim Shaw, Quincy Pondexter and Abdul Gaddy.
Otherwise, it was a somber scene. The players wore blank expressions as they pulled luggage and carried boxes of pizza to the team bus. The post-game interviews were shorter than normal because everyone rushed to the airport for a flight to Seattle.
During post-game comments, Romar doesn’t necessarily talk about the game that’s just been played. He likes to talk about trends, preferring to focus on the big picture.
There’s several disturbing trends developing during the three-game losing streak
— In the three losses, they’ve been outrebounded 114-83.
— They’ve had poor starts in the past two games.
— Pondexter has disappeared in the past two games.
— And they’ve made opponents look like all-Pac-10 performers: Oregon’s Malcolm Armstead (21 points and six assists), Arizona State’s Rihards Kuksiks (career-high tying 27 points) and Arizona’s Jamelle Horne (above) (career-high 22 points.)
That’s a lot to address in three days. Against Arizona, most of the Huskies’ deficiencies were on display. They were outrebounded by 17. They fell behind 8-0 at the start. Pondexter attempted just five shots. And they failed to recognize quickly enough that Horne had the hot hand.
Perhaps most troubling is how inefficient the offense appears. Early on, UW appeared intent on feeding C/F Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who got six shots in the first half and converted one. He didn’t take a shot in the second half and played just six minutes after the break.
When Bryan-Amaning didn’t produce and Thomas missed his first three shots, the Huskies turned to Elson Turner, who took six shots in the first half and converted three three-pointers.
The offense didn’t flow freely. It felt forced, awkward and desperate. Turner sank a few low-percentage shots, which made you question the offensive philosophy.
Perhaps Abdul Gaddy put it best after the game when he said: “When we get down, we get in panic mode. We just kind of start playing rat ball. We need to just start coming together more and play more as a team.”
When asked to explain the “rat ball” reference, he said: “You know just like open gym. It’s kind of more like that. But we need to go out there and execute our offense and take our time.”
Up next is Stanford, which features Landry Fields, the Pac-10’s second leading scorer, and Jeremy Green, who is capable of scoring 30 points.
A FEW MORE THOUGHTS:


— If you noticed UW struggling to defend the pick n’ roll, then you weren’t alone. Early in the game Nic Wise and Derrick Williams ran the play with marginal success. And late in the game, Wildcats guards and Horne ran a pick n’ pop that resulted in a Horne three-pointer.
After the 3, Romar yelled at players during a timeout for improperly executing the defense. I asked him about this after the game.
(What happened on the pick n’ roll plays?) “it did give us some problems. Arizona State runs pick n’ roll all the time and we did a great job agaisnt their pick n’ roll. Tonight we missed some coverages at times and they were key times during the game.
(What were the guys supposed to do?) “We were supposed to trap it at times. … If one person goes the wrong way, it looks like you didn’t guard it at all.”
— Romar took the blame for Pondexter attempting just one shot in the first half.
“I got to do a better job of getting Quincy shots,” he said. “As head coach, our leading scorer can’t go without a shot.
— Not sure if the move to put redshirt freshman forward Tyreese Breshers in the starting lineup is working. Romar admitted after the ASU game that the results were negligible. He would probably say the same after this game because Breshers got in foul trouble early and played just six minutes. He was scoreless and had two rebounds and two blocks. In the past two games, Breshers has eight fouls.
— Gaddy had his best game this season. He played 32 minutes, which was career high and the most on the team. Obviously, he was motivated because he was booed every time he touched the ball. Gaddy not only shot well from the floor (5 for 7), he went to the line six times. If he’d had more than 1 assist and fewer than 3 turnovers, it would have truly been a remarkable performance.
— Will the real Turner please stand up? (Boy am I dating myself with that reference) Turner the gunner took over the game for few minutes in the first half, he and Horne put on a show. It was amazing to see. Turner has a calm, easy demeanor. He looks as if he’s laughing after every shot. It seemed like a mistake when he didn’t start the second half. And it seemed like a bigger mistake when he played just eight minutes after the break and took two shots.
Clarence Trent got three early minutes. He had one assignment: stop Horne. When Horne drained a 3 and Trent launched a mid-range baseline jumper early in the shot clock, his day was done.
— In their previous meeting, Arizona players said Venoy Overton was the difference in the UW victory. On Sunday, Overton didn’t bring the defensive fire he normally brings. Cats guards Wise, Kyle Fogg, Lamont Jones and Kevin Parrom all scored in double figures combined to commit just two turnovers.
— Strangely, I was really impressed with Arizona. A NBA friend of mine, who was at the game, said Horne was the only NBA player on the court. I disagreed and said Pondexter will be a first-round pick. My friend noted Horne is an inch taller, is a far superior perimeter shooter and comparable to Pondexter in the paint.
We agreed Williams, a 6-8 freshman forward, will be the best low-post player in the Pac-10 if he stays a few years. Arizona’s offense doesn’t work without Williams, who drew four fouls from the Huskies in the first two minutes that set the tone for the game.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy

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