Washington defeated Seattle University 63-48 Friday at KeyArena. Here’s three impressions of the game.
Forget the poor perimeter shooting for a minute, the defense was incredible: Coach Lorenzo Romar joked (maybe he wasn’t joking) the Huskies played the type of defense he expects during just three games last season. I’m thinking they played well defensively in 4-5 games, but why quibble. The point is, at the start of the 2014-15 season Washington has been absolutely amazing defensively. Friday UW held Seattle University to 28.6 percent shooting (20 of 70) from the field and 14.3 percent (3 of 21) on three-pointers. In the opener, Washington limited South Carolina State to 32.9 percent (24 of 73) from the field and 25 percent (5 of 20) on three-pointers. The Huskies also did a good job handcuffing a terrific scorer like SU’s Isiah Umipig, who was averaging 23.5 points. He finished with 10 points on 4-of-19 shooting. Romar singled out Mike Anderson who did a nice job defensively on Umipig, but it was a collective effort. Robert Upshaw was credited with three blocks, but he had at least six. Despite surrendering 21 offensive rebounds, Washington did a great job keeping the Redhawks out of the paint. And the Huskies were able to defend without committing many fouls. SU attempted just nine free throws and made five while UW was 11 of 16.
Time to shorten the rotation by a player or two: Newcomer Quevyn Winters looks as if he found a spot in the rotation because of his long-range marksmanship. He played 21 minutes and finished with a game-high tying 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting. He was 4 of 9 on three-pointers. If not for Winters’ three first-half three-pointers, Washington would have trailed by more than 21-20 at halftime. Not sure if Winters can pass (he didn’t have an assist), rebound (he had two) or defend, but if he can shoot the way he did tonight then he’s invaluable because this is a team desperately needing perimeter shooters. Everyone else is too streaky as evidenced by Andrew Andrews who missed his first three three-pointers before hitting his next three. Aside from Andrews and Winters, no one else has shown they can consistently make shots on the perimeter. Friday the Huskies were 8 for 26 (30.8) on three-pointers. They were 3 of 21 (14.3 percent) in last week’s opener. After two games, Washington is 11 of 47 (.234) on three-pointers. Winters could potentially push sophomore Darin Johnson and freshman Donaven Dorsey to the bench. They were scoreless in the first half Friday and didn’t play the rest of the game. There aren’t many backups who play well on the road, but Winters, a junior-college transfer who spent a year at Dusquesne, is an experienced veteran who doesn’t appear to get rattled. Combined with Upshaw, they’re a solid tandem coming off the bench in a seven-man rotation.
Maybe Shawn Kemp Jr. is for real: Including the exhibition, the man wearing No. 40 has led the Huskies in scoring in every game. Think about that for a second. Kemp notched 19 points in the exhibition, 17 in the opener and 12 Friday. Starting to notice a trend here. And it’s hard not to notice his chiseled physique. He’s all muscle up top. He’s also dunking every chance he gets. And he doesn’t seem to get tired. And he’s rebounding. Against Seattle U, the 6-9 senior forward had seven rebounds against a respectable front line. That’s not nothing. Kemp never had more than six rebounds last season. And it’s the most he’s had since notching his career-high 11 on March 19, 2013 as a sophomore. Equally impressive, Kemp has avoided foul trouble that used to plague him in the past. He played 31 minutes Friday, which is one shy of his personal best. That’s quite an achievement for someone who was diagnosed with Graves’ disease last year.