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Husky Men's Basketball

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January 23, 2010 at 10:49 PM

USC post-game analysis

Gaddy vs usc.JPG
Photo credit: AP PHOTO – Lori Shepler
On the one hand, Washington should be thankful its 87-61 defeat at USC had nothing to do with an inability to play against a zone or Xs and Os.
This was all about personnel and USC, which rolls out a NBA-caliber defense that shuts teams down. There’s a reason why the Trojans are third in the country in points allowed. That reason is their roster. USC plays an 8-man lineup and seven players are hard-nosed defenders.
Let’s use Quincy Pondexter as an example. Washington’s leading scorer was held to a season-low two points on 1 for 10 shooting. It’s his lowest point total since the Portland opener last season.
Pondexter drew Marcus Johnson, a 6-6, 210-pound athletic defender. Johnson has the length to contend on Pondexter’s fadeaway mid-range jumpers and he’s strong enough to challenge dribble drives. And when Pondexter managed to blow by Johnson, he ran into shot blockers Alex Stepheson or Nikola Vucevic before getting to the rim.
That’s what a big team can do.
Against teams like USC, Isaiah Thomas is going to struggle unless he’s knocking down shots on the perimeter because he had great difficulty scoring in the lane.
Washington’s best option was scoring in transition and relying on its role players to step up.
Justin Holiday took a career-high 10 shots and it’s asking a lot for him to carry the offense. Same goes for Venoy Overton, who showed a lot of grit and determination for long stretches in the first half when he kept the game from being a blowout early.
Not sure where the Huskies go from here figuratively speaking. They’re returning home where they’re 12-1, but the psyche of the team appears fragile. Even more so than it did a week ago when they were swept in Arizona and came home and won two.
Few people would have given Seattle University a chance in Tuesday’s game, but the Redhawks certainly look a whole lot tougher after dropping Oregon State by 51 points. And Washington State is waiting in the wings.
There’s a realization among the players that they overestimated how good they were and their chances of repeating as Pac-10 champions are miniscule with five losses. I also think there’s a growing concern they’ll miss out on a postseason tournament whether it’s the NCAA, NIT or CBI.
It was interesting to listen to Overton talk about USC, which is banned from postseason tournaments.
“It’s to play against a team that knows they’re not playing for nothing and can’t go to a tournament,” Overton said. “They’re just out there having fun. That’s how we got to do.”
SOME MORE OBSERVATIONS:


— Thomas looks exhausted. He’s had a difficult stretch where he’s defended the opponent’s best guard and it’s probably catching up to him. Thomas had to run through a lot of screens over the past few weeks to keep up with Jeremy Green, Jerome Randle and Michael Roll.
Tonight, he missed five of his first six shots and had just three points in the first half. Thomas also failed to harass Mike Gerrity into mistakes. Gerrity finished with 15 points, a game-high seven assists and just one turnover.
— UW used the zone with mixed results. It’s the longest the Huskies have played zone this season and it showed. At times, the zone worked while negating USC’s big men. Other times, UW’s guards allowed a field goal when the shot clock was running down.
— After playing a season-low four minutes Thursday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning got 29 minutes tonight. His stats (8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, 2 turnovers and block) are pretty consistent with his season averages. But UW needed a big night from their tallest player. They needed him to slow down USC’s big guys.
A few times, UW’s guards put Bryan-Amaning in a bad spot because they didn’t keep Gerrity out of the lane. Once he got in the paint, Gerrity drew MBA to him with a shot fake and dropped the ball to a big man for big dunk.
— Not sure why Tyreese Breshers played just seven minutes. He’s Washington’s second biggest player and arguably it’s toughest.
— It was odd Romar didn’t start Overton and Bryan-Amaning in the second half. UW trailed 42-32. Still, they were on the court when USC raced ahead 51-34 and put the game away.
Abdul Gaddy was aggressive early, but in the second half he stopped looking for his shot. It’s unfair to blame him for Dwight Lewis’ 19 points, but while Gaddy was cooling off in the second Lewis was heating up.
— It was surprising how easy the Trojans scored in transition even though UW was smaller and quicker. The stats say the Trojans had seven fastbreak points, but I remember USC scoring several times in transition and a couple of times they did it after a basket.
— A few stats jump out. Just five assists and two from the three point guards. UW was 3 for 13 on three-pointers. The three-point specialists (Scott Suggs and Elston Turner) didn’t make much of an impact tonight.
The 26-point defeat is the largest conference loss since Feb. 3, 2007 when UW lost 84-54 to then No. 20 Arizona.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs

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