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Husky Men's Basketball

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

November 23, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Isaiah Thomas: “You can’t have one loss turn into two”

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Photo credit: AP Photo – David Perry
It was close at times. Washington withstood a big first-half flurry, took a one-point lead into halftime, but ultimately were undone by missed free throws, its failure to grab rebounds and to keep Kentucky off the glass.
It’s been a bugaboo in before in this short season. The Huskies were outrebounded by 10 in the exhibition against Division II Saint Martin’s and by five against Eastern Washington.
This time, two Kentucky players manhandled them on the boards and helped the Wildcats to a 49-39 rebounding edge in the Maui Invitational semifinal.
One of those players was Josh Harrellson, who had 14 rebounds, seven offensive.
And the other player was Terrence Jones.
The former UW commit didn’t have an outstanding offensive performance. He missed nine of 13 shots, but he got to the free throw line 14 times and converted eight. Jones hurt the Huskies the most with a game-high 17 rebounds and four blocks.
Washington tried to counter with Aziz N’Diaye and the 7-foot center collected 10 rebounds. He had little help from anyone other than Justin Holiday, managed seven rebounds.
Even if the Huskies had somehow evened up the rebounding numbers, I’m still not convinced they would have won this game tonight because UK freshman guard Brandon Knight (above) was amazing.
With all the attention on Jones, Knight was overshadowed going into the game, but within minutes he proved he was the best player on the court and also Kentucky’s biggest liability.
Washington had no one that could keep him out of the lane. The Huskies tried Isaiah Thomas and Venoy Overton and nothing worked. They harassed him into eight turnovers, however, UK could live with that as long as he scored a game-high 24 points.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Huskies who will face another elite level guard, Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas. He’s not as quick as Knight, however, he’s capable of big scoring performances.
Washington plays No. 2 Michigan State 2 p.m. (PST) in the consolation.
“We got to be ready to play,” Thomas said. “You can’t have one loss turn into two. Michigan State might be a better team than Kentucky so we got to turn the page.”
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:


— Holiday drew the tough assignment of defending Jones and despite the double double by the UK freshman, Holiday did a pretty good job. Jones got a lot of his points in transition and from hustling. When the Wildcats threw it into him in the post, Holiday prevented him from scoring and held the UK freshman to 4-of-13 shooting. Holiday also finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
Darnell Gant was the beneficiary of being in the right positions at the right times. It was obvious he wasn’t the focal point of UK’s defense and was purposely left open. Still, give Gant credit for draining big shots whenever he got the chance. Even when he scored a career-high 10 points in the first half, he didn’t force the issue and throw up a bunch of shots.
If you’re going to second guess coach Lorenzo Romar, then it’s fair to wonder why Gant played just three minutes in the second half. Gant left after collecting his third foul with 17:15 left in the second half and it was as if Romar forgot about him.
Gant’s outside shooting created space in the middle for UW’s post players and allowed guards to drive to the basket. Romar, however, went with N’Diaye who did a great job on the glass, but his defender often double teamed the post while N’Diaye stood on the weak side and watched. Gant would have found the open spot and shot a jumper.
— Mixed review on Abdul Gaddy, who finished with eight points, four assists, three steals and three rebounds. On the one hand, he was productive, contributed in many areas and his confidence continues to grow. On the other hand, I was hoping to see Gaddy try and slow down Knight and I don’t remember him being given the chance. That’s not Gaddy’s fault, but if he wants to regain his spot as one of the top point guards in the nation, he’s got to go against them on one one.
— This is the Thomas we saw in the NCAA Sweet 16 when he had difficulty getting off a clean shot against a bigger team. Thomas missed 10 of 14 shots, including four three-pointers. He also missed five of 10 free throws.
— Thomas’ difficulties were duplicated by Bryan-Amaning, who has to make adjustments and realize he’s not playing against inferior opponents anymore. He’s been so good that teams are going to double team him like Kentucky did and force him to either beat two defenders, pass or lose the ball. Often times, the latter occurred. Bryan-Amaning had five turnovers. He also missed eight of 11 shots. Having a bad offensive night is excusable against a quality team like Kentucky, but there’s no way Bryan-Amaning shouldn’t have more than two rebounds in 22 minutes. Especially when you consider there were 79 missed shots.
Venoy Overton picked up two quick fouls and he was rendered ineffective for long minutes. When he did play, the officials were unkind to him and failed to penalize UK freshman Doran Lamb for swinging his elbows. Lamb did it twice before drilling Overton in the jaw. Overton stopped playing momentarily and Romar pleaded for a call. After reviewing the video, the refs slapped Lamb with a technical. Overton also drew a technical foul earlier for seemingly shoving a player to the floor. Romar was asked about the technicals after the game, but declined to go into detail. Overton had a muted performance and finished with eight points, two steals, three rebounds and one assist.
— N’Diaye impressed a couple of scouts who raved about his defensive acumen. He blocked five shots and collected 10 rebounds, three offensive. N’Diaye also stayed out of foul trouble and he was a big deterrent in the middle.
Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross combined for five points and three rebounds and didn’t play enough minutes to be effective.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, Scott Suggs

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