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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 18, 2012 at 4:43 PM

UW inching toward Pac-12 title

Thanks to Kyle McCormick for the highlights from Washington’s 79-70 win over Arizona.
It’s the Huskies’ first regular-season sweep of the Arizona schools since the 2003-04 season and only the fourth time UW has ever accomplished the feat.
Washington closed out a 15-2 home schedule in captivating fashion. It was an electric day that began with a joyous pre-game Senior Day celebration followed by a game that included jaw-dropping highlight plays Tony Wroten Jr. who flushed over Angelo Chol and Aziz N’Diaye who stuffed a dunk on Solomon Hill.
And then there was Terrence Ross, who finally put together a consistent 30-minute effort that everyone has been waiting to see. He scored 15 points in the first half and 10 after the break.
Coach Lorenzo Romar was pleased with the effort.
“I thought we played pretty well against them last time as well,” he said. “Earlier, Oregon here I thought we played well. We’ve played complete games but they’ve been scattered, we haven’t been consistent. I think this weekend was some of the most complete basketball we’ve played. If you look at the first half against ASU and this game, so that’s three out of four halves of complete basketball.”
As good as the Huskies were offensively, they did a solid job on the defensive end and held Arizona to 39.3 percent shooting.
“We have figured out this year that if our shots aren’t going down then we need to be able to make stops on defense,” Ross said. “I think that was the key to us winning this game. Once we started getting stops and our shots started falling I felt like we were going to win this game.”
The Huskies dominated in almost every way. They had more rebounds (43-39), attempts (67-56), blocks (7-4), steals (8-0) and fewer turnovers (6-12).
“They had 11 more shots at the basket than us,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “The fact that they turned the ball over six times and got twenty second shots, I think 42 points in the paint, it was clearly the difference in the game. They do that very well. It’s not as if tonight they did it against us.
“To me, it’s the thing they do the very best of any team in the conference and we knew that coming in. We had a lot of break downs and sometimes it’s difficult to give credit to the other team, but it’s the right thing in this case.
“They were hungry, they play hard, they’re great at offensive rebounding and they had that in place tonight. That was clearly the difference in the game. Really at half time I felt good about how we had played but as the game wears on against a team like that, they have a way of wearing you down. And to me they wore us down physically.
Regardless of what happens to California tonight, the Huskies (19-8, 12-3) will remain in first place and they’re closing in on a Pac-12 title. It’s within their reach. All that remains are road games at Washington State, USC and UCLA. Winning three straight away from home is never easy, but that’s not exactly a Murderer’s Row.
Perhaps the only relevant news that came out of the post-game press conference was the admission from Ross who initially said UW’s finish would factor into his decision to return next season. It wasn’t clear if meant he was going to come back if the Huskies finished poorly or would bolt for the NBA following a successful NCAA tournament run.
When asked to clarify, Ross was vague.
“If I feel like I’m ready I’ll sit down with my family and Romar and talk about it,” he said. “At this point I’m coming back. I’m not trying to jump to any conclusions right now. I’m just focused on the team.”
The Huskies have a long layoff before Saturday’s game at WSU. They use the time to rest injured players. Ross got banged up today and Wroten was hobbling a bit. N’Diaye (wrist) and C.J. Wilcox (hip) could also benefit from the extra time off.

— When Ross plays like he did today, he looks like a sure-fire NBA first-round draft pick. He was clearly the best player on the floor and he has an unassuming way of taking over games. Ross got going early and continued to pepper Arizona with dribble drives, mid-range jumpers, putbacks and alley-oop dunks. He had five rebounds and five steals. It should have been six steals, but an official made a questionable call on an Arizona turnover.
Ross also displayed toughness at times. He went against big Jesse Perry at the start for the jump ball and nearly got the tip. Ross defended Hill in the post a couple of times despite giving up 30 pounds. He was very active.
Romar on Ross: “When Terrance is playing like that it just makes our team that much harder to defend. They sort of have to zero in on him, so that just opens it up for C.J. and the rest of the team. That’s the second game in a row he started out very well.”
— How many teams have two guards who are drawing NBA attention? Kentucky. Maybe Duke. Can’t think of any others. Wroten wasn’t as efficient as Ross, but he was just as effective with 22 points and nine rebounds. Wroten attempted a career-high 22 attempts, but many were putbacks on his misses. He had five offensive rebounds. Wroten used his size and strength to overpower Arizona in the middle. He can be a bully at times and Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner, Arizona’s prized freshman guards, didn’t look as if they wanted to do what it took to fight with Wroten beneath the basket. Wroten was also electric in the open court. He often pushed the ball and wasn’t too reckless. He only had two turnovers.
Wroten’s dunk on Chol gave the crowd a lift considering it came against the former UW recruit who visited the Huskies about this time last year.
Wroten on the dunk: “I wasn’t even planning on dunking it. Coming down, I saw it was a 2 on 1 and I saw Terrence, so I was already plotting to throw it up to Terrence. Then two guards came sprinting down so Terrence disappeared, so I just went up for a lay up and turned it over and got him and dunked on him.
“It was just funny because it was Chol. He wanted to come here and he didn’t and I got him.”
— Wilcox didn’t attempt a shot in the first half and scored nine of his 11 points in the second. For a stretch he took over the game when he scored on consecutive possessions, created a turnover and nearly made another basket. Romar said Abdul Gaddy helped get Wilcox going in the second half when he turned down a shot and gave the ball to UW’s three-point specialist for an open jumper.
Romar on Wilcox: “In the first half Terrence was going really well and we were going to him, but C.J. hadn’t taken a shot. So in the second half we wanted to make sure we got him the ball more and we choreographed that to a point. They did a good in defending him.”
Wroten on Wilcox: “You got to give C.J. the ball. He’s one of the best shooters in the country. He didn’t have a hot first half, but we treated it as he made 10 in a row because you can see in the second half we were still looking for him. Every chance we get, we’re trying to give him the ball. Once he got going, it gave us a boost and it bumped the lead up. Once he gets going, he might never get turned off. He can hit 6-7 straight.”
— I literally jumped out of my seat when N’Diaye stuffed Johnson, dribbled around him and dunked on Hill. It was quite a feat and I’d never seen anything quite like that from the 7-footer. Often times he gets a bad rep for not being a little stiff, but that was a magnificent display of athleticism. Romar and players were coy when asked if N’Diaye traveled on the play. Looking at the replay, it appears as if the refs missed that one and Miller was right to protest as much as he did.
N’Diaye did much more than create a highlight play. He collected 12 rebounds. He scored eight points. And he blocked four shots. N’Diaye had trouble with Jesse Perry on the pick n’ roll, but Perry had trouble with N’Diaye’s size. Both post players had four fouls.
— Solid game Gaddy. He didn’t shoot particularly well and was 2 of 8 from the field. Still, Gaddy made a difference. He was active and he forced the issue at times. After not making a free throw attempt in the past four games, Gaddy went to the line six times and made five. He had nine points and delivered six assists without creating a turnover. Gaddy had four fouls, but still managed to play 32 minutes.
— It’s almost fitting Darnell Gant’s final home game has been much like his UW career. He didn’t have a spectacular game individually, but his team won. Gant struggled with his shot and missed four of five field goal, including all three three-pointers. But he provided solid defense and had four rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 25 minutes. Gant did a much better job this time against Hill who torched the Huskies for a career-high 28 points in the first game. Hill still managed to finish with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but he took just three shots in the second half.
Said Gant: “They’re a good team and I felt like they were going be in the ballgame as long as we kept giving them opportunities. We started to shut down their opportunities and close out on their 3 point shots. That took away from their punch. All they got was finishing around the rim…other than that, I felt like we did a great job of closing out on the shooters. They shot 39% in the whole game, and they shot 28% from 3 so, I think we did a great job of limiting them.”
Brendan Sherrer got the start and wasn’t so bad during his three minutes. It looked as if Perry wanted to attack him and the Arizona forward got a layup. On the next possession, Sherrer stonewalled him and forced a turnover. It was a solid effort. The Huskies are 30-0 when Sherrer plays.
Desmond Simmons might have been thrown off by the lineup change. He was hardly a factor and had difficulty with Hill. Simmons finished with two rebounds in 15 minutes.
Austin Seferian Jenkins and Shawn Kemp Jr. combined for six minutes two rebounds and a point.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, top 25


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