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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 1, 2014 at 1:53 AM

Too little, too late for Huskies?

nigel vs wsu

In their last two outings, the Washington Huskies have crushed their opponents 158-111.

They’ve committed fewer than 12 turnovers each time and shot better than 50 percent from the field.

And in each of the last three halves, Washington has surrendered fewer than 30 points.

“If you can script it that way, you want to be playing your best by the end of the year,” coach Lorenzo Romar said following Friday’s 72-49 win over Washington State. “I just think we’re playing a lot better basketball. Everyone is comfortable with that they’re doing and with what their roles are. I think we’ve settle in that way as of Feb. 28.

“Thursday (against UCLA) is a whole different night. We got to continue to do what we’ve been doing.”

It’s difficult to know if the Huskies are really peaking – they’ve won 3 of the past 5 games – or if they’re simply benefiting from playing against inferior teams. To be sure, Stanford is likely bound for the NCAA tournament and Washington’s 64-60 win over the Cardinal is certainly a quality win.

But the way the Huskies have dominated in their past two games is just ridiculous. This is the same team that started the month giving up 47 points in the second half during its 72-67 loss at Washington State on Feb. 1.

Twenty-seven days later WSU tallied 49 points, which is season-low for a UW opponent.

Friday’s performance was easily the Huskies best defensive effort this season. They the Cougars to 24 points in the first half and 25 in the second. They allowed just 31.1 percent shooting from the floor and 4 of 23 shooting (17.4 percent) on three-pointers. UW won the rebounding battle 39-27 and held WSU to just 18 points in the paint.

“I just thought we were very alert,” Romar said. “We were doing a lot of switching and there weren’t very many times when we were not organized in our switches and our guys were aggressive with those switches and I thought our help defense was there with active bodies and active hands.”

It must be noted, Washington State entered Friday’s game with the lowest scoring offense in the Pac-12 that was averaging 62.3 points.

MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:

— We’re running out superlatives to describe Nigel Williams-Goss. Perhaps Romar put it best: “He doesn’t play like a freshman.” In other words, Williams-Goss is almost always composed. He’s heady and even-keeled. Williams-Goss gives the Huskies whatever they need. Some nights he’s a big scorer and other games he the consummate pass-first playmaker. Tonight Williams-Goss had a impact on the game via his career-high 12 rebounds. He also had 17 assists on 7-for-12 shooting, four assists, two steals and zero turnovers.

Andrews Andrews played just five minutes and was benched in the second half against Stanford. Since then, he’s been on fire. When asked about Andrews on Thursday, Romar said: “This is the best stretch he’s ever played since he’s been here.” Andrews entered Friday’s game averaging 17.0 points and 7.7 rebounds in the previous three games. Against WSU, he kept rolling. He had 16 points and nine rebounds. He also had four assists and two steals to offset two turnovers.

— WSU’s Jordan Railey was a non-factor in large part due to Perris Blackwell who held the 7-foot center to four points and three rebounds in 17 minutes. Blackwell had a tough night at the charity stripe where he was 0 for 5. He scored eight of his 10 points in the second half.

C.J. Wilcox’s biggest contribution might have been a three-pointer to end the first half and put UW ahead 36-24 at the break. Otherwise, it was a rather quiet night for the Huskies’ leading scorer who had eight points on 3-for-5 shooting.

Desmond Simmons and Shawn Kemp Jr. each had four points

— At the time it seemed like a risk when the Huskies had 6-5 guard Darin Johnson paired up against 6-10 D.J. Shelton for several possessions in the first half. But Johnson responded with his best minutes – especially on the defensive end – in a long time.  On offense, he drained a mid-range jumper and stayed active long enough to score on a layup. It was eight good minutes in the first half. However in the second half, Johnson rushed a short jumper that rimmed out. He missed another shot and never got on track offensively. Still, the coaches trusted him to defend Lacy for a few possessions in the second half and Johnson stepped up to the challenge.

— Solid performance from Mike Anderson who finished with four points on 1-for-2 shooting, and five rebounds in 17 minutes.

— Reserves Gilles Dierickx, Jahmel Taylor, Quinn Sterling and Connor Smith got to play the final four minutes of mop-up duty. Taylor wowed the crowd with a deep three. He was 1 for 3 with four rebounds.

Comments | More in Game recap | Topics: Washington State


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