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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 8, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Raise the roof: Washington starts 4-0 in Pac-10

Oregon_St_Washington_Basketball.JPG
Photo credit: AP Photo – Kevin P. Casey
The last time Washington started 4-0 in the Pac-10, Marv Harshman roamed the sidelines. Detlef Schrempf and Christian Welp starred for the Huskies. Alvin Vaughn and Shag Williams shared the back court and UW assistant Paul Fortier was on the court wearing the retro short shorts rather than tailored suits.
The season was 1983-83 and the Huskies ran off six straight wins at the start of the Pac-10 season before finishing 15-3 in the league and winning the conference crown. They were 24-7 overall and advanced to the Sweet 16.
It remains to be seen whether these Huskies will enjoy similar success as those Huskies. But if today’s 103-72 spanking over Oregon State is any indication, then UW should make room in the trophy case.
You might argue Oregon State, which lost Thursday in Pullman, isn’t as good as its 2-0 conference start last week. You can say Oregon, which UW beat 87-69 Thursday, is probably the worst team in the conference.
Still 4-0 is 4-0. And consider some of these streaks.
— UW has won 11 straight games against Pac-10 opponents.
— UW has won 10 straight at home.
— UW has won 8 straight against Oregon State.
— And UW has won its past six games.
Anyway you cut it, the 23rd-ranked Huskies are playing at a higher level than anyone else in the conference.
“These guys are doing well, myself included doing well, (with our) humility,” Matthew Bryan-Amaning said. “We’re just kind of being humble about it about it and not letting it get to our heads. We’re going out trying to play as hard as we did the last game. And I think we’re still fighting for respect across the country. I don’t think that’s escaping us. Keeping the fire under us to play as hard as we are.”
For the second straight game, the Huskies needed a little more than a half to decipher an opponent before cruising to a comfortable victory. This time Washington led 40-39 at halftime and used a 22-5 run at the start of the second half to seal the victory.
Said Lorenzo Romar: “We settled down in our defense–our guys really got up and started playing in the lanes and got their hands on some of their passes. We blocked 10 shots, protected the rim really well in the second half. I think that second half was as close to, maybe other than Virginia, the best half we’ve played this year.”
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:


— We may start calling Isaiah Thomas (above) the Maestro. Romar coined the nickname and it seems appropriate considering the past two weeks for the UW junior guard. His past three games:
at UCLA: 17 points, 5-9 FGs, 6-for-7 FTs, 1-2 3FGS, 9 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers.
Oregon: 20 points, 7-14 FGs, 4-6 FTs, 2-4 3FGS, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers.
OSU: 19 points, 5-13 FGs, 5-6 FTS, 4-9 3FGS, 8 assists, 1 turnover.
That’s production. Thomas and Romar won’t admit it, but Thomas is a far better point guard than he is a shooting guard. He’s better with the ball in his hands, directing an offense and dissecting a defense than he is running off screens and looking to score when he gets the ball.
Bryan-Amaning on Thomas: “He draws so much attention that if you just watch him or watch the defender he will always find you when you are in open space. The last few games he has had more than eight assists, and I think that is something people don’t know about Isaiah just because he scores so many points.”
— And speaking of production, Bryan-Amaning has never been more efficient than he was today. He converted 11 of 14 field goals for a game-high 24 points. He collected a career-high tying 15 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass. He protected the basket and blocked two shots, including a nice rejection of Joe Burton’s short jumper before falling out of bounds.
At times it appeared as if Bryan-Amaning wanted to play point guard because every so often he’d collect a rebound and lead a fast break rather than giving the ball to a nearby guard.
“Coach doesn’t mind me making plays,” Bryan-Amaning said. “As long as you make the right decision, he doesn’t mind me making plays.”
— For the first time this season, I saw Venoy Overton smile and I mean really smile after a game. On Thursday he appeared focused. Later he said he was too focused. But today, he appeared at ease and he had this grin that you couldn’t wipe away from his face. Overton had his second best game of the season and finished with eight points and seven assists.
“I guess I get like this every time I play these guys,” Overton said. “I guess something about them brings out the best in me. There defense really tests you as a point guard and forces you to be aggressive, but you got to take care of the ball too.”
Justin Holiday is 2 for 11 on three-pointers in the past three games. He was at his best today when he attacked the offensive glass for two putbacks. Holiday also had three blocks, which offset three turnovers.
Aziz N’Diaye had struggled to make a significant impact in Pac-10 games before today. He had a presence at UCLA, but for a brief stretch against OSU he dominated. N’Diaye caught passes in the lane and converted them into baskets. He finished with seven points and five rebounds.
Scott Suggs normally plays well at home so it’s no surprise he finished with 12 points. He scored nine points in the second half, but his biggest basket came late in the first half when he gave UW a 38-37 lead. It was the first lead since the opening minute.
Terrence Ross went scoreless in the first half and still finished with 14 points. Most of his baskets came when the game was decided, but give the freshman credit for hauling in seven rebounds.
Darnell Gant also had a big second half, scoring 8 of his 10 points after the break. He collected five rebounds.
— The shooting slump continues for redshirt freshman C.J. Wilcox who is 4 for 20 in the past five games. Today he was 1 for 4, including 0 for 2 on three-pointers in 12 minutes. The good news, Wilcox collected two steals.
— Walk-on Brendan Sherrer and Antoine Hosley played in the final minutes. Neither took a shot.

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, Scott Suggs, UCLA

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