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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Darnell Gant: “We were too immature”

Washington’s final game started like so many others this season. The Huskies came out flat and no one seems to know why that happened in the 35th game in a win-or-the-season is over scenario.
And yet with the exception of Terrence Ross, the UW players were lethargic defensively and out of sync offensively while falling behind by double digits in the first half to Minnesota. If not for Darnell Gant’s late three-pointer, the Huskies would have went into halftime down 15 points. Instead they trailed 38-26.
Coach Lorenzo Romar benched freshman guard Tony Wroten Jr. at the start of the second and replaced him with sophomore guard C.J. Wilcox. Wroten had a miserable first half and was unable to finish at the rim, while Wilcox was hardly any better. He attempted just one shot and allowed himself to be covered by a Minnesota defender.
Still the second-half switch provided a spark and the Huskies made a few runs. They cut their deficit to seven and it grew to 12. They closed to within six points with 5:34 left, but Minnesota pushed its advantage to eight with 2:32 remaining.
Finally Washington made one last run.
Abdul Gaddy sank a mid-range jumper followed by Wilcox. Minnesota made two free throws and Washington made one before Ross made a pair of incredible plays that gave UW momentum.
He blocked a layup attempt at the rim and seconds later drained a three-pointer to pull Washington to within two points (59-57) with 56 seconds left.
Both teams sank a couple of free throws and Washington’s full court pressure forced a turnover. Wilcox got the steal and scored on a layup with 15 seconds remaining to tie the game 61-61 and cap an amazing comeback.
Wroten did a nice job on the ensuing possession when he forced Andre Hollins to miss a mid-range jumper. Wroten was almost the hero, but his three-pointer rimmed out as time expired.
And just when you thought it was safe to believe in the Huskies again, they stagger through the first three minutes of the five-minute extra period and fall behind 64-61.
Gaddy got them going with a pair of layups and he screamed at teammates to play hard.
However, on the ensuing possession, Hollins got free and sank a layup once again. He finished with 20 points.
Down three, the Huskies got a shot for their best three-point shooter. However, Wilcox’ three attempt rattled out. Not sure why Gant sank a putback rather than kick it back out for another three-point attempt.
At any rate, Washington trailed by a point, but it was out of timeouts and just 3.5 seconds remained. The Huskies got unlucky when Julian Welch missed both free throws. Had he made the second one, it would have been easier for the Huskies to throw the ball in and get a decent look at the rim.
As it were, Gant collected the rebound and dished to Gaddy who failed to get off a shot as time expired.
Game over. Season over.
Strangely enough, this game mirrored Washington’s season. It fell behind early. Played well in the second half, but ultimately came up short in the end.
This game also revealed flaws the Huskies were unable to correct this season.
Minnesota guards constantly got into the lane and made it to the basket and the Huskies just couldn’t stay in front of them. Wroten whiffed on many steal attempts, but Wilcox also was a step slow defensively.
Washington was outscored 44-28 in the paint, which highlights the Huskies’ lack of an inside game. Junior center Aziz N’Diaye was scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting.
Washington shot 62.5 percent (10 of 16) at the free throw line.
Washington did a great job forcing 21 turnovers and scoring 19 points from TOs, but it struggled with its half-court offense. Ross was the lone bright spot in this department.
And even though the Huskies got a good the ball to Wilcox for the second-to-last shot, Washington didn’t execute when it absolutely needed a shot to extend its season.
Now the questions turn to Ross and Wroten, who must decide by April 10 if they’re going to return or declare for the NBA draft.
Romar said he’ll sit down with them and the rest of the players in the coming weeks.
For now, the team goes its separate ways. Romar is off to New Orleans and the NCAA tournament Final Four while the Huskies return home to Seattle short handed.
“We wanted to bring back something special,” Gant said. “But that didn’t happen. We were too immature at times this season. That’s the difference between this team and those other teams. Those teams knew how to win and we never really learned how.
“We did some good things and we had fun, but it didn’t end like we wanted.”

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


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