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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Terrence Ross leads UW to NIT quarterfinals

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Corrected: 9:30 a.m.
Perhaps Darnell Gant summed it up best after Washington’s 76-55 win over Northwestern tonight in the second round of the NIT.
“I feel like if we had played this way in the (Pac-12) tournament, then most definitely we would have won that and we would be in a totally different situation right now,” he said. “But it is what it is. If we’re playing our best basketball now, then that’s just the way it is.”
Annihilating the Wildcats was one of the Huskies’ better performances this season. They trailed 17-9 with 11:56 left in the first half and 5 1/2 minutes later UW was up 32-23 with 6:33 remaining and it never looked back.
“We picked up the pressure,” junior guard Abdul Gaddy said. “Tony (Wroten) was doing a good job pressuring their point guard. He had a couple of almost steals, but that weighs on a point guards mind, especially him. He started pressuring. (NU guard) Dave Sobolewski) got loose a little bit and he started finding guys, but eventually they started turning the ball over and we flourish in transition. We were finding the open shooters, finding Aziz (N’Diaye) in the middle. We were just making the extra pass and getting our open so they could knock down shots.”
The Huskies led 39-32 at halftime and turned the game into a laugher when they began the second half with a 13-1 run to take a 52-33 lead. Washington led by as much as 24 and never allowed NU closer than 18 the rest of the way.
Washington dominated the glass 44-26 and held the Wildcats to 35.3 percent shooting in the second half. The Huskies also crushed on Northwestern nearly all of the intangible scoring categories. They had more points off of turnovers (23-9), more second-chance points (16-2), more points off the bench (26-11) and more points in the paint (20-16).
And if anyone kept track of highlight points, Washington won that category as well thanks in large part to Terrence Ross (above) who finished with a career-best 32 points. He has never been better and scored the most points this season for a UW player.
It was the third highest tally for a Pac-12 player this season, the most for a Husky since
Quincy Pondexter scored 34 against Oregon in 2010 and ranks tied for 13th on the school’s all-time single game list.
“When Terrence gets it rolling you almost have to send two guys at him to get the ball out of his hands,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “He can continue to back up because is range is so deep, and if you come up too far then he can finish over the top of you or post you up. You have to keep him from getting going, because once he does you have to find some way to take the ball out of his hands.”
After the game, the Huskies made no bones about who they want to face 6 p.m. Tuesday in the home finale.
“I want to play Oregon,” Gant said. “We owe them.”
Washington suffered their most-lopsided defeat – an embarrassing 82-57 shellacking – at Oregon on Feb. 9, which many UW players believe is one of the reasons the selection committee left them out of the Big Dance.
“I want to play Oregon just because they beat us so bad at their place,” C.J. Wilcox said. “We have a chance to get them back and show that we’re a better team.”
And finally, Romar (below) addressed the crowd of 5,761 after the game, thanked them for their support and asked them to return Tuesday.
“We’re still trying to win a championship,” he said. “We’re not trying to be greedy. We do thank you for coming out, but we’d love for you to come and pack this place on Tuesday night and help us go to New York.”
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Photo credits: Seattle Times – Dean Rutz

MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:


— After a remarkable performance that included two alley-oop dunks and several step-back jumpers, the Hec Ed crowd showered Ross with affection and chanted “One more year” while he was at the free throw line near the end. It’s the second – maybe third – time that’s happened this season. The first time it happened weeks ago, Ross was caught off guard. This time, he smiled and drained two free throws to cap a personal best 32-point outing. After the game Ross was asked if Tuesday will be his final home game.
“Right now I’m just focused on the team,” he said. “As of right now, I’m still playing in college. I still got a Husky jersey on. I’m just worried about this next game.”
Romar might have had the funniest line of the night when asked how he would defend Ross. Romar said jokingly: “I probably would have low bridged him.”
Why not. Nothing else Northwestern tried seemed to work.
“When Terrence gets it rolling you almost have to send two guys at him to get the ball out of his hands.,” Romar said. “He can continue to back up because his range is so deep and if you come up too far, then he can finish over the top of you or post you up.
“You have to keep him from getting going, because once he does you have to find some way to take the ball out of his hands.”
— When Ross and Wilcox combine to take nearly half the shots, then the Huskies are playing the way they should. Wilcox was 7 of 13 from the field and 4 of 9 on three-pointers. He was the perfect compliment to Ross. They spaced the floor and were usually on opposite ends of the court, which stretched NU’s defense thin. Wilcox had another great night shooting, which was his fourth straight game scoring at least 15 points. But he was just as good on the on the glass. He finished with a season-high tying six rebounds, including four on the offensive end. He also drew a charge and played handcuffing defense.
— Gaddy didn’t shoot the ball as well as he did Tuesday, but his willingness to take five three pointers – he made one – shows he’s confident with shot. Despite scoring just five points on 2-for-6 shooting, Gaddy’s fingerprints were all over the game. He finished with seven assists, which was the ninth straight game he’s had at least four. Gaddy also had a four rebounds to offset five turnovers in 32 minutes.
— N’Diaye did a really nice job on the defensive end against smaller players like 6-4 guard Reggie Hearn, who had six points on 3-for-11 shooting. N’Diaye got low in a defensive stance on the perimeter at times and was shadowed NU players as they drove into the lane. At the point of attack, N’Diaye extended and created a 7-foot barrier that was difficult to shoot ever. He also didn’t pick up a foul for the first time this season. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Still the Huskies benefited from his 30-minute performance, which was his longest stint in the past 12 games. That’s amazing for a player who many thought would be a liability for the Huskies. Romar noted N’Diaye was voted to the Pac-12 all-defensive team for a reason.
When asked the game plan, N’Diaye said: “Just stay in there and protect the rim, make everybody’s shot difficult inside. I just did my job. They isolated, tried to take me out. I just tried to stay in the paint and help as much I could.
N’Diaye could have had a career scoring night if he would have finished several scoring opportunities. He had a big height advantage over the Wildcats, but had difficulty scoring inside.
— For the second straight game Wroten, UW’s leading scorer, attempted just five shots. He scored a season-low two points on 1-for-5 shooting, but still had a meaningful impact on the game. Wroten collected eight rebounds and distributed seven assists, both are one shy of his personal best. He also blocked two shots and had five turnovers in 31 minutes. The Huskies credited him for keeping NU guards out of the lane and forcing several turnovers during the decisive first-half run.
“It’s never about me,” Wroten said. “I’m just trying to help my team; trying to become more of a point guard. That’s why I only took five shots. We have a great scorer in Terrence and C.J. There’s no need for me to take that many shots when we’re playing that good.”
— Statistically Gant didn’t have a great game. He was scoreless and shot 0 for 5 from the field and 0 for 2 on three-pointers. He also had just four rebounds and his primary defensive target John Shurna scored 24 points. But statistics don’t tell the whole story. If not for Gant and Desmond Simmons, Shurna may have scored 35 points. They did a good jog of dogging NU’s all-time scorer most of the game. Shurna may have had 2-3 open looks. Otherwise his shots were contested, which is about all you can do with a prolific scorer. The Huskies could have done a better job of keeping him off the line where he sank 7 of 9.
— Simmons played 12 important minutes. He was benched in the first half and it seemed as if Romar wanted to stress the importance of staying with Shurna at all cost. When Simmons re-entered, he did a much better job. Offensively, he wasn’t much of a factor, but he did have a nice dribble drive along the baseline for a layup. Simmons also closed out the first half scoring for UW with a pair of free throws.
Hikeem Stewart was the only one of the deep reserves who played in the first half. He entered the game in the final minute for Wilcox, who had two fouls. Stewart, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Martin Breunig and Shawn Kemp Jr. finished the game for the Huskies. Stewart and Breunig connected on a highlight play in which the big German received a fast-break pass and flushed a crowd-pleading dunk on a defender standing beneath the rim with 2:27 left. Here’s a great picture of the slam and the UW players’ reaction.
— And finally a few words on Romar. When asked during the post-game press conference what prompted him to address the crowd he said he simply wanted to thank the fans.
“It was spontaneous,” he said. “I’m proud of how supportive they are for this NIT. I just wanted to let them know we appreciate them – and that the season’s not over. And that it would be great if they would come out big on Tuesday.
“They came out and they didn’t have to come out. I just wanted to make sure that they understood that we weren’t completely happy with how things turned out (as far as the NCAA tournament) and we wanted to show our appreciation that they came out. We also wanted to show that we still have the chance to do something special and we are going to need their support.”

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

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