Painful loss for the Huskies but progress on the road
Another heartbreaker, or bang your head against the waller depending on how you look at it for the Huskies who fell 79-77 to #14 Marquette in game one of a two game swing at Madison Square Garden.
Coming off the overtime loss to Nevada, a game that was fraught with mistakes and a ridiculously bad end to regulation (and not much better end to that overtime) it would be easy to look at this game, especially the finish and say that the Huskies have made little progress on the road. Sure, the final 30 seconds were just as bad, and we will get to that below but there was plenty of good in this game.
For starters, they were in this game. At times they were in control of this game. This was a battle, a true battle, against a good physical team. It was a good game as opposed to the mistake filled effort against Nevada. They seemed to play up to their opponent, and at times over their opponent on the neutral court. They played them close to the tune of 21 lead changes in the second half.
Terrence Ross lived up to his pre season billing scoring 19 points and pulling down 9 boards. Of those 19 points two came on a ridiculous 360 dunk which no doubt is being edited for the plays of the night as I type this. Two more of his points came to put the Dawgs ahead with just 17 seconds to go.
CJ Wilcox was on with the three early and finished with 15 points and 4 blocks. Aziz N’Diaye had four points and 13 rebounds. Tony Wroten turned the ball over just three times and Desmond Simmons scored 8 points and grabbed 9 boards in just 17 minutes. All good.
Not good was the transition defense and the ability to get to the free throw line and make those free throws. Marquette scored 10 points on the fast break off 16 Huskies turnovers. UW scored none in that fashion. Washington was just 5-10 from the free throw line while Marquette was 19-27.
The free throw disparity is of concern. They simply must play more aggressive particularly on offense. The five starters got to the line just once. I am not sure how that is even possible. It was the third game this season that Ross failed to get to the line and the fourth straight game CJ Wilcox did not take a free throw. Not that either are responsible for this loss, both played very well but showed an aspect of their game that they can improve.
The goat of the game was Abdul Gaddy who scored just 4 points, grabbed 1 board and had 2 turnovers and 2 assists. With 31 seconds to go he turned the ball over on an ill advised pass that left the intended target Ross barking at him as it got by. A costly, bad decision on par with Wroten failing to foul in the final seconds of regulation against Nevada. Both are completely unacceptable but Wroten is a freshman. You do not expect that from your junior point guard.
It doesn’t get any easier with number 5 Duke coming up Saturday but rather than get down about this loss I would guess the Huskies will get angry. They know they played much better and they know they could have won the game. This wasn’t about being on the road, this was about execution. They believe they are better than what they have shown so far. They will need to be Saturday.
Notes…Scott Suggs was originally scheduled to return for this game but yesterday Lorenzo Romar declared him doubtful and he did not play. We should learn later in the week if he will make his season debut Saturday…The team wore “AM” patches on their uniforms in remembrance of former Huskies guard Andrew Moritz who lost his battle with cancer November 26.