Lorenzo Romar estimated Washington played 33 maybe 34 minutes of good basketball during tonight’s 93-63 demolishing of Portland. Wonder what would happen if the Huskies put together a full 40 minutes.
They were clicking on many cylinders against an undersized and inexperienced Pilots team that played gutty at times, but was simply overwhelmed by a bigger, stronger and more athletic team.
“They are long and they play with a lot of intensity,” Portland coach Eric Reveno said. “It is a tough matchup especially when things start to get away from you like they did for us in the first half. We tried to drop into the zone to disrupt them, but they settled down and started making shots. At the end of the first half they got really comfortable and it was hard to get them uncomfortable again.
“We were trying to handle their on-ball screens in different ways trying to not let them get a rhythm off of things, but we really thought the key for us defensively was taking care of the basketball, and I would probably give us a C in that category. We could have done a better job, but we also could have done worse. ”
It’s difficult to be critical of Washington after a performance like this when six players score in double figures. The Huskies shot 12 of 20 on three-pointers and 36 of 65 (55.4 percent) from the field. They dished out 18 assists. They collected nine steals and forced 15 turnovers which led to 21 points. They had 13 fast break points and never trailed in a game that was over at halftime when Washington led 43-23.
“We’re always concerned when we play them, but I thought the guys put forth our best team effort tonight,” Romar said. “Not only in terms of sharing the basketball but in terms of team defense and really trying to help each other out, our team was lost into the game. I didn’t think anyone had their own agenda. I thought we all just played Husky basketball and those were the results.”
If you’re nitpicking, Washington shot just 50 percent (9 of 18) on free throws and was outrebounded 43-38.
Otherwise it was a brilliant performance.
Photo credit: Seattle Times – Mark Harrison
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Romar gave Terrence Ross the defensive assignment of shutting down Portland’s tip scorer Nemanja Mitrovic and Ross delivered. Mitrovic was averaging 15.5 points per game, but finished with just five points on 2-for-9 shooting.
“I don’t know if I’ve been more proud of someone on the defensive end than Terrence Ross,” Romar said. “You’re talking about someone who, last year, was very gifted offensively, but was behind on the defensive end and it was tough for him. But now he’s come to do what he did tonight, guard a very, very good shooter and a tough basketball player. He did all that while still having a fantastic offensive evening. The great ones are capable of doing both.”
Ross was equally amazing on the offensive end where he performed like a NBA lottery pick. At times it seemed as if he could get any shot he wanted. Often he lulled a defender with a cross-over and used a step-back maneuver to create enough separation for a jumper. Ross drained 6 of 8 three-pointers and finished with 24 points, which is one shy of his personal best. He played just 26 minutes.
— C.J. Wilcox was voted the tournament MVP, which was fitting after his three-day performance. Tonight he had his worse game of the season. However, bad for Wilcox is 17 points, three three-pointers, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block shot. The sophomore guard is becoming a stat stuffer and tonight he was quietly effective.
— It almost seems boring the way Abdul Gaddy goes about his work. But then there’s nothing boring about 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting, five rebounds, five assists and just one turnover in 27 minutes. How can that be boring?
— Aziz N’Diaye should send a Thank You card to Tony Wroten Jr. who delivered two beautiful assists to the big man in the second half that resulted in dunks. N’Diaye displayed soft hands to haul in those passes. He finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. N’Diaye also had a team-high three offensive rebounds and three turnovers.
— Darnell Gant came out much more assertive offensively, especially early in the game. He’s at his best when he’s moving and finding soft in the middle of the floor for jumpers. He’s also really good when he attacks the rim for putbacks.
— Nice bounce back game for Wroten who struggled Sunday. He limited his turnovers to two, while still remaining aggressive defensively against smaller point guards and collecting a game-high three steals. Wroten also had a game-high six assists, 11 points and five rebounds. His biggest flaw was 1 for 7 free throw shooting.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I need to work on it in the gym constantly.”
— Reserve freshmen Desmond Simmons, Hikeem Stewart, Shawn Kemp Jr. and Martin Breunig were scoreless and combined for five rebounds. Kemp had two blocks. Othwerwise they weren’t much of a factor.
— Walk-ons Brendan Sherrer and Alex Wegner got late minutes. Wegner has a nice shot and drained a three-pointer, his second of the season. Sherrer knocked down two free throws.