Huskies complete the LA sweep with 74-63 win over Bruins

Dec 31, 2010, 5:53 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

By Craig Yamada of Montlake Madness

The Huskies have officially turned a corner and are now playing like
the team they were projected to be. The Huskies completed a sweep on
the road in LA for the first time since 2006 as they disposed of the
UCLA Bruins 74-63
.

The Huskies endured a last ditch effort from the Bruins midway through
the second half as they pulled within 4 points. “We knew their team
would make one last run,” Thomas said. “I’m proud of my teammates that
we weren’t yelling at each other. We stuck together.?

As a team, UW won this game primarily because of their tenacious
defense. Lorenzo Romar was a mastermind in LA this weekend. When his
team got into early foul trouble, he was able to buy time for his
players by switching to the 2-3 zone. The zone defense allowed UW
players to clog the middle of the floor where Reeves Nelson went to
work all night.

They successfully slowed down the Bruins in the late moments of the
game and won the game with their defensive stops and superior
rebounding.

Isaiah Thomas carried his team by being a general on the floor. With
Abdul Gaddy struggling and in early foul trouble, Thomas took over the
point guard position for most of the game. He was able to use his
patented hesitation dribble to get his defender off balance and get
some nice lay ins in the paint.

Once the defense collapsed on him, he was able to kick out to open
three point threats like Terrence Ross, Justin Holiday and Darnell Gant.

Perhaps the biggest factor Thomas played will not show up on any stat
sheet. He was able to draw numerous fouls on UCLA center Josh Smith.
Smith was unable to become a major factor in the game due to foul
trouble. “(Smith) tries to go through everybody”, Bryan-Amaning said.

And Smith?s rugged efforts sent Thomas to the floor and Smith back to
the bench. Thomas finished the game with 17 points and a team high 9
assists.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning?s previous visit to Pauley Pavilion was a game
to be forgotten. On Friday afternoon, Bryan-Amaning dispelled any
notion that he could not compete with bigs in the Pac-10. He arguably
had his best Pac-10 performance of his career as he finished well in
the paint all game and came up with some clutch buckets with his post
moves.

Bryan-Amaning finished with a game high 21 points and 10 rebounds. He
looked much more balanced in the post on Friday as compared to the USC
game, as he made strong moves to the hole and finished off a lot of
dazzling assists by way of Thomas.

Justin Holiday had a solid all around game on Friday afternoon.
Holiday was aggressive in taking a foul plagued Tyler Honeycutt off
the dribble for strong finishes in the paint. He did a lock down job
on Honeycutt in the half court setting as UCLA?s star forward was
unable to establish any kind of rhythm offensively. Holiday finished
with 9 points and 8 boards.

The other X-factor for UW on Friday night had to have been the Husky
fans that traveled to Pauley to watch the game.

“We’ve never had that kind of support in L.A. It was tremendous,” said
Lorenzo Romar. The fans clearly made it a bit easier for the Huskies
to play in hostile territory.

All around, a great win for the Huskies. Let?s take a closer look at
each area of UW?s performance:

Positives:

– **Rebounding*: *For the most part, UW did a good job of winning the war
of the boards on Friday as they out rebounded UCLA 33-30. The ten offensive
rebounds surrendered to UCLA will be something to work on for the
next game.

– **Veteran Leadership: On Wednesday, it was the stellar play of young
Terrence Ross. On Friday, it was the veterans that stepped up huge in all
facets of the game. Thomas, MBA, Holiday and Gant led by example on both
ends of the floor by playing stout defense and making the necessary
offensive plays to win the game.

– **Free Throw Shooting: One of the keys to winning on the road is
converting free throws. Shooting 80% on the road was astounding and UCLA
could never pull even with the Huskies because of it.

– **Defensive Adjustments: Coach Lorenzo Romar has made the necessary
adjustments during key moments of the game to save his players from foul
trouble. Switching to the 2-3 zone was key in both wins for the Huskies in
LA. It forced the opposition to score from the outside and
disabled the bigs from making a huge impact on the game. One has to wonder how UW would have
fared against the likes of Michigan State and Kentucky had they been able
to play the zone defense like it has this week.

– **Sharing the basketball: UW looked as unselfish as I have ever seen
them on Friday. Each player made the extra pass to convert easy buckets.
Thomas and Holiday had great court vision against the Bruins and MBA
flourished as a result. As a team, they dished out 17 assists on Friday.

Negatives:

– **Foul Trouble: The Huskies dug themselves into an early hole due to
foul trouble on Friday. Aziz N’Diaye fouled out for the second consecutive
game. Gant and Bryan-Amaning had to pick up the slack when N?Diaye was out
of the game. N’Diaye will need to learn to be still when he sets a screen
instead of leaning into a smaller player.

Other Notes:

– **Terrence Ross appears to have been promoted to first off the bench
among the swing-man trio for Coach Romar. With Wilcox battling injury, Ross
has been effective in the minutes he has played. He scored 7 first half
points but did not see too much time in the second half as UW
relied on its veterans to finish the game.

– **Abdul Gaddy is starting to regress over the last three games. His
shot is not falling like it was early on the season, but did have a couple
of nice drives this week. Romar seems comfortable relying on senior Venoy
Overton during key stretches of the game.

– **Aziz N’Diaye was plagued with foul trouble all game on Friday.
However he did have a few nice offensive put backs and finished a nice dish
from Isaiah Thomas. If N?Diaye can keep himself in the game, it will
alleviate a lot of pressure off MBA and Gant to handle the rebounding.

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Huskies complete the LA sweep with 74-63 win over Bruins