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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 11, 2011 at 11:40 PM

Thomas carries UW into Pac-10 tourney final versus Arizona

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Photo credit: Seattle Times – Dean Rutz
Isaiah Thomas needs two assists to break Gary Payton’s Pac-10 Tournament record of 24. The two met up after Washington’s 69-51 win over Oregon in the semifinals and the former Sonics star had nice things to say about the Huskies junior guard.
“That boy put in work tonight,” Payton said. “Mark my words, he’s going to be special.”
Tonight Thomas tied the single-game tournament record with 12 assists. Ironically former Oregon player David Girley set the record in 1987 against Washington.
Thomas didh’t shoot particularly well. He was 2 for 11 from the field, 1 for 4 on three-pointers and 5 for 8 on free throws for 10 points. He also committed four turnovers. Despite his flaws, he was the difference for the Huskies.
He played 38 minutes, missing only two offensive possessions. When he was out of the game, the Huskies struggled to get the ball across halfcourt on the first trip and managed a basket on the second possession. But it was obvious UW needed Thomas on the floor.
Defensively he collected three steals and three rebounds.
And when it was over, he looked as if he needed someone to carry him off the court. Thomas was gassed in the second half. Many Huskies admitted they were tired.
Still they were in better shape than Oregon, which played three games in as many nights. The Ducks needed to play the perfect game and they were far from perfect. Washington held them to 32.1 percent shooting (18 of 56) and just 4 of 24 three-pointers. It’s been awhile since the Huskies were this good defensively.
And they did it with the zone.
“The zone helped us,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Aziz N’Diaye when we’re playing in the zone is good for us. He’s so big in there that when you get through our first line, he does a good job just being big and not allowing you to get easy looks. I thought maybe that slowed them down a little bit, didn’t allow them to get going.”
It’s unlikely Washington will play zone or see a lot of zone tomorrow against Arizona. The Wildcats are the best three-point shooting team in the conference and they rarely use a zone defensively.
Washington’s trio of young – well Scott Suggs isn’t exactly young – wings combined for 37 points. C.J. Wilcox tallied a team-high 14 points on 4-for-9 shooting, including three three-pointers. Terrence Ross started for a second straight game and finished with 13 points, three assists and three rebounds. And Suggs had 10 points off the bench.
Ross said being in the starting lineup makes him focus more than coming off the bench. He said he pays more attention to he scouting report because he doesn’t want to be a defensive liability.
“If I don’t, it shows and it gives the other team the opportunity to know I can be the weak link and they can go at me,” Ross said. “So I really got to stay focused.”
Romar raved about Darnell Gant who came off the bench and collected a career-high 10 rebounds. He also scored eight points.
It was solid yet unspectacular performance from Justin Holiday (seven points and six rebounds) and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (six points and seven rebounds).
N’Diaye added five rebounds in 13 minutes and both walk-ons (Brendan Sherrer and Antoine Hosley) got in the game.

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

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