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Husky Men's Basketball

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February 13, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Stanford post-game analysis

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It’s been a long time since Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter (left) enjoyed themselves on the bench during a road game. In fact, it’s been 357 days, which was the last time UW won a true road game.
To beat Stanford 78-61, the Huskies needed their stars Pondexter and Thomas, who responded with big nights. Pondexter finished with 18 points and nine rebounds while Thomas had 20 points and six assists.
That latter number – six assists – is perhaps one of most important of the night.
Thomas bristles when confronted with this stat, but UW is 6-1 when he has five or more assists. He and I have talked about it a few times this season. He acknowledges the team is better when he’s being a playmaker. And UW is very difficult to beat when he’s able to score and make plays for others.
Photo credit: AP PHOTO – Paul Sakuma
But Thomas likes to say he’s a basketball player and he doesn’t like labels.
Still when he plays the way he did tonight, it makes you wonder how good he can be. Thomas didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. More importantly, he did didn’t make mistakes with the ball. He committed just one turnover and consistently made the proper pass. He also showed a little restraint, which is odd to say of someone who took 18 shots and tied a season high.
After missing four of his first five field goals, Thomas contributed with a pair of assists to Abdul Gaddy and Pondexter.
This is probably bad advice, but if I were coach Lorenzo Romar I’d tell Thomas he could take two three-pointers for every assist he makes. Tonight, Thomas sank 4 of 10 three-pointers. It’s the most treys he’s made since the third game of the season.
The other stat of the night: Five turnovers, which is a season low.
MORE OBSERVATIONS:


— Not sure if Pondexter did enough tonight to seal the Player of the Year award and make league coaches forget about Thursday’s unspectacular outing at California. Pondexter outplayed Landry Fields, another POY candidate, but Cal’s Jerome Randle had another big night. He finished with 24 points in an 86-70 win over Washington State. Randle will likely be given the Player of the Week award, the first time he’ll win this season. He’s won it twice during his four-year career.
Pondexter was pretty special in final 10 minutes. It wasn’t his scoring that made the difference, but rather his defense against Fields, the Pac-10’s leading scorer. With Pondexter providing defense, Fields was 0 for 2 and scoreless while UW outscored Stanford 24-9 down the stretch.
— Solid offensive effort for UW, which had four starters score in double figures. It’s going to be fun next season watching what happens when Justin Holiday gets plays called for him on the offensive end. Right now he scores on hustle, while Pondexter, Thomas and the post players get plays.
Like Pondexter last season at this time, we might be watching Holiday putting himself in position for a big breakout season. He’s getting minutes because of his lockdown defense, but he’s also getting more comfortable taking shots.
In the first half, Thomas connected with Holiday, who was open on the wing on a slow break. Holiday had to shoot because he had a good look at the basket and drained a mid-range jumper early in the shot clock. Even though the shot went in, that’s probably not what Romar wanted to happen on that possession. As they ran down court, Holiday shot a look at Thomas that seemed to say “Thanks for passing me the ball.”
Matthew Bryan-Amaning returned to the starting lineup and he did what he does: 11 points and five rebounds in 13 minutes. That’s a good night from him.
Said Romar: “He also defensively caused some problems. Matthew rotated over and put a couple of fires out. Those were huge.”
— Solid effort from reserve guards Venoy Overton, Scott Suggs and Elston Turner, who combined for 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Meanwhile Gaddy’s slump continues. He had two points in 15 minutes.
— And it’s looking as if it’s time to return Darnell Gant to a prominent spot in the rotation as the first big off the bench in place of Tyreese Breshers. Because of foul problems with Bryan-Amaning and Breshers, Gant played 22 minutes. That’s the most for him since Jan. 10. He finished with five rebounds – the most since Dec. 22 — and four points. Breshers played five minutes.
— Final stat of the night: Stanford missed 13 of 24 free throws.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs

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