Here’s three quick impressions after Washington’s 88-65 exhibition win over Division II Saint Martin’s.
Defensively the Huskies look better: Coach Lorenzo Romar talked a lot before the game about playing the type of defense where Washington can impose its will on opponents. That’s something that’s been missing the past two seasons. It’s difficult to know if the Huskies have regained their defensive mojo, but they did some good things Thursday. They held Saint Martin’s to 32.3 percent shooting (10 of 31) in the first half and 34.2 percent (13 of 38) in the second. Of course, the Saints had limited offensive weapons and they were overmatched. But it’s a good start for Washington after allowing opponents to shoot 45.9 percent last season. The Huskies blocked seven shots and dominated the rebounding 52-33. They managed just seven turnovers, but Washington did a good job of playing defense without fouling. SMU attempted just 19 free throws.
A diverse offense is not a bad thing: Not sure if Washington can expect Shawn Kemp Jr. will score 19 points again – his career high is 18 – but he looked incredible Thursday. Physically, he’s changed. He’s leaner and chiseled. And the soft-spoken senior forward is more demonstrative on the court. When he posts up, you can tell he wants the ball and Jarreau and the guards did a nice job of giving him passes he could handle. Washington showed maturity playing inside-out and not panicking when the outside shots didn’t fall. (More on that later.) Darin Johnson did well attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line nine times where he had seven of his 11 points. Andrew Andrews also did well getting to the line, including drawing a foul on a three-pointer. He made the ensuing free throw four a four-point play. He was 6 of 8 at the line and had 13 points. Andrews, who also had five assists and four rebounds, had a solid all-around game. The shots weren’t falling for Nigel Williams-Goss, who finished with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting. However, he tallied nine assists, three steals and three rebounds. Perhaps the biggest surprises were newcomers Donaven Dorsey and Quevyn Winters. Dorsey added 11 points in 13 minutes and it appears as if he’ll be the last man in Washington’s 8-9 man rotation. Meanwhile, Winters (10 points) was the only UW player who looked comfortable behind the arc. He converted 3 of 6 three-pointers for 10 points. Take him away and the Huskies were 2 of 15 from downtown. Washington starters were 1 of 10, including Williams-Goss (0 for 4) and Andrews (1 for 4). Washington was 5 of 21 on three-pointers, which could be a major cause for concern against quality teams.
Don’t worry about Jernard Jarreau and Mike Anderson: Six Huskies scored in double figures, not including starters Jarreau who had four points in his return from a knee injury and Anderson who was scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting. It’s never good when two-thirds of the starting lineup combines for four points, but they impact the games in many ways other than scoring. Anderson had game-high 10 rebounds in 21 minutes. He also had two assists, one block and one steal. Jarreau was nearly as productive. He had five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. They form a fairly intimidating defensive combination in the middle of the floor. Both are ball-hawks and pretty good shot blockers. Throw 6-11 center Robert Upshaw in the mix and Washington is fairly imposing defensively. And speaking of Upshaw, he had seven points, nine rebounds and one block in 16 minutes of his UW debut.