Huskies roll over McNeese St. 118 – 64
(Thanks again to Craig Yamada, Editor in Chief of Montlake Madness, for another fine analysis piece on the Dawgs 1st game of the season)
Lorenzo Romar could not have asked for a better birthday present as he left Montlake this afternoon. The Washington Huskies cruised to a 118 – 64 win against the Cowboys of McNeese St. Gohuskies.com provided the box score, as well as podcasts of post-game interviews with Romar, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Aziz N’Diaye and Isaiah Thomas.
The Huskies found themselves in a 3 point hole to open up the game following a long range shot from Patrick Richard. Following that score, the Huskies went on a run that lasted for the remainder of the game.
UW opened up the game with high intensity and defensive tenacity anchored by their returning veterans Venoy Overton, Justin Holiday and Darnell Gant. The Huskies deployed a sideline half court trap which forced the Cowboys into plenty of bad decisions this afternoon.
The Huskies were able to force 27 turnovers in this game which led to easy buckets in transition. Romar spoke of their defensive performance.
“I thought we were very active. We did a good job with our positioning on defense; we contested all their shots.”
On the scoring front, UW was led by Bryan-Amaning who finished with 28 points on 11-17 shooting. He also raked in 13 rebounds to cap off an incredible double-double to open up his season. MBA had his way in the post and in transition with a couple of emphatic jams on fast breaks.
MBA looks like an entirely different player than last year. He is playing with confidence and it has reflected in his stat lines. MBA was calling for the ball in the post as he was exploiting a mismatch all game. His moves exhibited in the post are well timed and well executed. Matt really looks like he is coming into his own.
Thomas was able to play more of SG role today with the return of Overton. Isaiah looked to have his stroke in fine order as he tallied 17 points going 4-4 from beyond the arc. One of those threes was an NBA range three scored in transition. He also had 3 assists to go along with his scoring production.
As a team UW rebounded very well, silencing their critics from their lack luster performance against St. Martin’s a week ago. N’Diaye led the team in rebounding today with 15 today. Nine of those came off the offensive glass. Tonight, UW owned the glass. UW tallied a total of 69 rebounds vs. the 32 for McNeese St.
Thomas noted the vast improvement on the boards.
“We rebounded real well. Thatâ€™s how weâ€™re supposed to rebound every game, no matter who itâ€™s against, weâ€™ve gotta hit the boards. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s going to make us the best team possible.”
The Huskies took a 61-19 lead into halftime. The Huskies defense was able to hold McNeese St. to six total field goals at the half to go along with their 18 forced turnovers.
The second half moved rather slowly as UW began to milk the clock as they found holes in the 3-2 zone that McNeese threw at them. They soon found the solution as they looked for Holiday at high post who was able to collapse the defense and dump to MBA down low for easy scores.
CJ Wilcox and Terrence Ross were given larger portions of minutes in the second half with the game well in hand. Wilcox found his shot again in the second half garnering 13 points on 3-4 shooting beyond the arc. Ross was able to find an early three in the first half but struggled to find a shooting rhythm in the second half.
Abdul Gaddy also shined tonight, finishing with 10 points and five flashy assists. One of them led to a big one handed jam by N’Diaye.
Aziz totaled 13 points tonight on 5-7 shooting. He could have easily eclipsed the 20 point mark had he converted from the free throw line. N’Diaye went 3 for 15 from the stripe for a measly 20% FT percentage. Look for Aziz to work on his free throw shooting moving forward as teams may look to deploy a “Hack-a-Shaq” game plan to gain an advantage.
The return of Venoy was definitely well received as he was able to force 3 steals and countless turnovers on the Cowboys. He also had six assists to cap off his night.
The only blemish on the UW blowout tonight was their horrid free throw shooting. They went 47% from the stripe tonight as a team, due largely in part to the struggles of N’Diaye and MBA. The Huskies will need to remedy this before entering into the Maui Classic.
All in all, it was a great season opener for Romar and his Dawgs. Plenty of positive things to take away as the Huskies seem to be figuring out their roles on this team earlier than last year.
Romar said after the game that freshman forward Desmond Simmons from Richmond CA in the Bay Area would red-shirt this season.