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Husky Men's Basketball

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

November 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Washington trounced at Saint Louis

ross vs slu.jpg
At times it was embarrassing. Washington came out flat, especially on the defensive end and allowed Saint Louis to score on its first seven shots.
The Billikens did anything they wanted in the early going while building a 25-point halftime lead. They led by as many as 29 (62-33) with 14:32 left, but the Huskies didn’t quit and outscored SLU 31-15 the rest of the game.
That’s one of the few bright spots in after a humbling and humiliating 77-64 loss at Saint Louis, which spoiled coach Lorenzo Romar’s and Scott Suggs’ homecoming. Here’s the box score.
More significantly, the 13-point defeat exposed several flaws in Washington. The Huskies need to learn how to play more efficiently in the half court. SLU allowed UW just 12 three-point attempts. In 2010-11, the season low was 13. These are types of games that expose Washington’s anemic low-post offense and inability to score when the defense isn’t creating turnovers to generate transition baskets.
Washington also needs to execute its defense much better against disciplined teams that like to use screens and don’t commit many turnovers. It’s been a long time since they were outclassed the way they were in the first half.
If you’re looking for moral victories, UW outscored SLU 39-27 in the second half.
“That’s the main thing. Never give up, you always got to fight no matter how many we’re down by,” sophomore guard Terrence Ross (above right) said in the postgame radio interview. “The game can always change at any moment. That was one of our main goals.”
The Huskies ran its losing streak in true non-conference road openers to nine straight consecutive defeats under Romar.
“When the game began I thought we came out and was our own worst enemy,” he said during the postgame radio interview. “Obviously we didn’t guard very well. We were on offense for 8 to 10 seconds and the ball is cast up, which is something that you just can’t do against a very good defensive and deliberate team that is also a good team. That team had held teams to 12 points in a half and 15 points in a half. They were doing something right.
“It took the entire first half for us to figure it out. Once we began to move the ball from side to side and play better offensively it in turn helped our defense and it didn’t allow them to get into such a great offensive rhythm.”
“This group will learn and I thought we learned in the second half. … We did a much better job in the second half. A job that if we do that in our next game, we’ll fare much better.”
Washington (3-1) returns to action Friday against Houston Baptist (1-3) at Edmundson Pavilion. That game figures to be a lot easier than today’s crushing defeat.
Not a lot went right for UW in the first half. The Huskies converted just 9 of 28 field goals (32.1 percent) and were 1 for 6 on three pointers. Meanwhile the Billkens shot 60 percent (18 for 30) from the field and 66.7 percent (8-12) on three-point shots before the break.
The disparity in shooting allowed SLU to build a 50-25 lead going into the locker rooms and UW never recovered.
“The main thing was to (follow) the scout that the coaches gave us,” Ross said. “They told us that if we came out here taking one-pass shots, that’s what they like. That’s what fuels they’re offense. We came out doing that in the first half and they got a real big lead.
“In the second half we had to play more solid defense and once we stopped (doing) the one-pass shot, they slowed down on offense more. That’s something we should have did in the first half, but it didn’t play out that way.”
Photo credit: AP Photo – John Roberson

— If you’re looking for silver linings, look no farther than Ross. He finished with 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting and 10 rebounds in a game-high 36 minutes. Ross scored in a variety of ways, but did his best work when he was isolated on the perimeter. He missed all four three-pointers he shot, but was effective going to the rim.
“We learned first and foremost that we have to stay together,” Ross said. “We have a lot more road games. A lot tougher. This is a good loss for us to learn what we have to work on and make sure we really have to come out together.”
Tony Wroten Jr. rebounded from a miserable first half when committed three turnovers and was scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting. The freshman guard sparked the second half comeback with 14 points and three rebounds in 15 minutes. Still he had two turnovers and just one assist after the break and at times there appears to be a disconnect between Wroten in teammates when he passes. Perhaps that explains why Wroten seemed more comfortable taking over and driving to the rim. After shooting 1 for 7 on free throws in the last outing, Wroten connected on 2 of 3 today. He also drilled two three-pointers.
“Tony made a great adjustment in the second half,” Romar said. “Tony had his way with defenses his entire life and at this level they just play better defense and they load up on you. I thought Tony’s adjustment was a reflection of our team. We all adjusted in the second half and understood okay this is what we’re supposed to do if we want to win ball games especially on the road. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing when we go into our next game on the road we’ll handle it much better.”
Aziz N’Diaye finished with 11 points and six rebounds, but he appeared lost defensively. Despite his six inch height advantage, the 7-foot center couldn’t stop 6-6 forward Brian Conklin, who scored a game-high 25 points. SLU pulled N’Diaye away from the basket and put him in pick-n-rolls, which negated his shot-blocking ability. N’Diaye picked up his second foul early and couldn’t be aggressive defensively, which allowed Conklin to abuse him Diaye with several strong layups. Offensively, N’Diaye gave the Huskies a boost. But he wasn’t the focus of SLU’s defense, which was intent on stopping UW’s perimeter game.
C.J. Wilcox entered the game as UW’s leading scorer who averaged 19.3 points per game, but it was obvious early that SLU wasn’t going to allow him to get many open looks. He finished with four points on 2-for-9 shooting. Not sure why the Huskies didn’t run more screens for their best shooter. These games should be tailor made for Wilcox. He needs to vary his speed. Lull defenders then cut hard and hopefully free himself with a pick.
Perhaps ironically, it was a hard screen that finished the day for Wilcox. He didn’t return after taking a big hit from Conklin on a screen in the middle of the floor. Not sure who’s responsibility it is to call out that screen, but it needs to happen and it didn’t which is unacceptable. You can’t lose a player as valuable as Wilcox because someone didn’t speak up. I wasn’t there so it’s difficult to know for sure, but I can’t imagine the crowd noise was so loud that players couldn’t hear each other on the court.
“That’s something we talk about in practice a lot,” Romar said. “You can’t hang back. Whoever guy’s is setting that screen has to be there to call out that screen early. Unfortunately C.J. took a big hit on that one. … He should be OK.”
Abdul Gaddy simply didn’t do enough. Five points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists just isn’t enough. He didn’t commit a turnover, but he’s got to shoot better than 1 for 6. He also has to put more pressure on SLU point guard Kwamain Mitchell, who registered a season-high 18 points on a 7-of-13 shooting performance that included a 4-of-9 effort from 3-point range.
— It’s getting to be you know exactly what you’re going to get from Darnell Gant in the first five minutes. He logged five minutes in the first half today and two fouls and three rebounds. Gant did a nice job on big man Rob Loe (8 points and 1 rebound), but perhaps the Huskies should have moved him on Conklin. Gant had seven points and five rebounds.
— Didn’t know Desmond Simmons could shoot three-pointers. The redshirt freshman didn’t hesitate on an open three and drained the shot in the first half. I thought Simmons would flourish against a gritty team like the Billikens, but he finished with four points and three rebounds in 15 minutes.
Martin Breunig looked like a freshman playing in his first road game. He had a few nice plays, while committing two turnovers. Still he gave the Huskies a big body presence when Gant and N’Diaye were in foul trouble. Breunig had three points in 14 minutes.
— The game appeared to move too fast and the moment was probably too big for Shawn Kemp Jr. who played five scoreless minutes all in the first half.He ran over a Billkens player for a foul, had the ball stripped on a two-hand dunk and gave up an open shot in his short time on the court.

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


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