Washington defeated Pacific 76-69 Sunday at KeyArena.
Here’s three impressions from the game.
1.) Tale of two games for Washington’s big men – Not sure if Shawn Kemp Jr. has ever played better than he has the past three games. Coach Lorenzo Romar believes it’s the best stretch of games Kemp has ever had. He’s led Washington in scoring in each contest. At times he’s been dominant. Other times, he’s just been solid. But the most important thing is Kemp has been consistent. He played a career-high 33 minutes on a night when his understudy Robert Upshaw fouled out in eight minutes. More on that later. Kemp delivered once again. He did it early scoring two quick baskets on a dunk and a layup during UW’s 7-0 start. And he peppered Pacific with a couple of jump hooks in the lane. He finished with a career-high tying 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He also had four rebounds and two blocks. And speaking of blocks, Upshaw woke up Sunday leading the nation averaging seven blocks per game. But he struggled big time against the Tigers. Mainly, he got caught picking up unnecessary fouls, which was surprising considering he hadn’t committed a foul in the two previous games. Romar delivered a terse response when asked about Upshaw’s fouls. He said: “Just out of position. I’ll leave it at that.” But when pressed a little further, Romar added: The thing we talk about is consistency day in and day out. Being able to bring it. That’s acquired over a period of time because of your practice habits. When you practice consistently over a period of time, it will show up in the game. That’s what we try to get our team to do. Sometimes if we don’t do that and you play against a team and they may not be more talented than you but you can get exposed if that doesn’t happen.” Upshaw finished with two points, two rebounds and no blocks.
2.) Perimeter shooting will likely be an issue all season – Newcomer Quevyn Winters looked as if he’d solve Washington’s three-point shooting problems Friday when he drained four three-pointers against Seattle University. However, he was cold (0 for 2) on threes Sunday. The same was true for Nigel Williams-Goss (0 for 2) and Andrew Andrews (1 for 4). Williams-Goss (17 points and six assists) and Andrews (17 points and seven rebounds) were spectacular in other areas, but they had difficulties finding the basket from long range against Pacific’s zone. Washington received a big assist from Mike Anderson who connected on 3 of 5 three pointers and Donaven Dorsey who made 2 of 5 behind the arc. The Huskies were 7 of 21 from downtown, which is progress considering they shot 23.4 percent (11 of 47) in the two previous games.
3. Got to wonder about the maturity of the Huskies – Romar said he thought the UW players got “bored with success” after building a 14-3 lead. I gotta agree. In fairness to Washington, there was absolutely no energy from the fans and zero buzz inside KeyArena. And the Huskies were playing 48 hours after an emotionally charged cross-town showdown with Seattle University. At times it seemed as if Williams-Goss, who was constantly barking orders, was the only one in the building who wanted to be there. Players said the on-court chemistry got altered when the reserves entered the game for the first time. Maybe so, but you kept waiting for a UW run that would put the Tigers away. The Huskies built a 14-point lead (49-35) with 14:08 left, but allowed Pacific to chip away at their lead until the Tigers were down by five (66-61) at the 1:39 mark. Give the Huskies credit for finishing strong and handling Pacific’s press. But it seems as if this victory didn’t need to be so difficult.