Dawgs Take Down ‘Cats, Cougs Lose to ASU, Zags Roll
The Huskies battled a tough, hard-nosed Arizona team down to the wire Thursday night in the Bank of America Arena. Quincy Pondexter put the team on his back and scored a game high 30 points as the Dawgs withstood a ‘Cats comeback late in the game winning 81-75.
The Huskies made this game hard on themselves by having Quincy do much of the work for the majority of the game, while Arizona got great play out of their young stars. Freshmen Lamont “Momo” Jones and Solomon Hill along with sophomore Brendan Lavender put up double digits off the bench for the Wildcats. Jones led the way for ‘Zona with 14 points, followed by starting guard Kyle Fogg with 13.
Hill and senior star guard Nic Wise, who was for the most part bottled up by a strong defensive effort from Venoy Overton and Isaiah Thomas, kicked in 12. Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar acknowledged that by saying, “I thought our guys; Isaiah and Venoy did a great, great job of contesting everything that Nic Wise threw up”.
Lavender scored 11, 9 of them on three straight three pointers that were the better part of an 13-2 run that allowed ‘Zona to go from a 29-24 deficit to a 37-31 lead at half time in the last three minutes of the 1st half.
Pondexter got some help in the scoring column from Scott Suggs (who finished with 13 points) and Venoy Overton with 12. Overton was arguably the difference maker in the win for Washington, as he made 9-10 from the free throw line, including 8-8 in the last 3:51 of the contest when the game was clearly in question for the Dawgs. That said Justin Holiday continues to be a major factor in games for Washington and his blanket coverage of Horne and others was right along side Venoy’s foul shooting down the stretch as you break down Washington’s key winning factors.
Justin also was a factor on offense, not so much in scoring (though he had 5 points), but in making good decisions with the ball and setting up his team mates. He led the Dawgs in assists with 4, all during the key UW run to start off the 2nd half.
Thomas was nowhere to be found in the 1st half and he struggled for the whole game, though his ability to make defensive plays and smart plays within the offensive sets helped UW win the game. Isaiah finished with 7 points 3-10 from the field and 0-4 from the free throw line and committed a major blunder in allowing Kyle Fogg to make a three point play the old fashioned way with the Huskies up 5 and 10 seconds to go.
Washington came out strong in the first ten minutes of the game, forcing turnovers and making the Wildcats look frustrated. Pondexter had 10 points in the first ten minutes, showing his ability to take over a game, while Tyreese Breshers had a good first half scoring and playing defense. Breshers had the crowd on their feet with 2 huge back to back blocks and finished the game with 9 points and 6 rebounds. Quincy led both teams on the glass with 12 boards. Breshers had a good game offensively showing continued signs of improvement.
Arizona didn’t get much help from veteran leader Nic Wise in the first half, but later as the game tightened at the end Wise started finding better looks and helped the ‘Cats to keep it close at the end. Wise scored all of his points in the 2nd half, including a huge three pointer that tied the game with 2:02 to go. Both Head Coach Lorenzo Romar and Sean Miller deserve a ton of credit, but Romar out coached Miller in the game. Washington executed an excellent game plan to force contact and get the young and not as deep ‘Cats in foul trouble, especially across their front line.
Freshman sensation Derrick Williams was plagued with foul trouble, held to 3 points and only played 8 minutes in the game. Jamelle Horne, who set a career high against Washington earlier in the year at Tucson, was held to 2 points in 18 foul trouble plagued minutes. Off the bench Kyryl Natyazhko led the ‘Cats on the glass with 7 boards, but also was sat on the bench for much of the game in foul trouble, as did Hill who had 4 fouls and freshman starting forward Kevin Parrom, who also fouled out with 0:17 to go in the game.
Washington’s strategy worked, but Arizona was able to stay close to the end because of a consistent boost off the bench. Miller showed a lot of why he has people projecting him as Pac-10 coach of the year by getting strong play from his team that is other than Wise and Horne all underclassmen and really other than sophomore Kyle Fogg most of the damage has been and was done last night by freshmen.
“Momo” Jones got to the rim with ease showing an array of difficult shots, Solomon Hill muscled his way to the rim well for an undersized power forward and Kevin Parrom was a tough, mature looking defensive minded player who has enough game to score too when he gets open looks. He may have been a bit too tough though last night as he nearly got technical for a cheap shot to Pondexter in the sternum that looked intentional on film and put Quincy on the deck with the wind knocked out of his chest.
Martial arts are a wonderful discipline, but they have no place on the basketball court. Parrom is going to get his if he continues that sort of play on guys like Pondexter who are the heart of their team and did nothing to warrant that sort of move. I wasn’t born yesterday and I’ve seen a few sneaky punches that knocked guys down when no one was looking and that one was a text book case of a slyly cloaked rabbit punch styled elbow move.
It was also another night the refs seemed like they missed a lot of fouls and made a number of bad calls both ways. Both benches received technical fouls with 7:53 to play in the first half. The Husky fans at best disagreed with the refereeing. A Washington fan threw a plastic water bottle on the court and was escorted out the building.
The game was decided in the 2nd half, as the Huskies outscored and out scrapped the ‘Cats 50-38. It may have been the result of a half-time pep talk as the Dawgs came out the gates with some quick baskets from Breshers and Pondexter and some more quick fouls on Arizona.
Venoy started the 2nd half, which put Thomas on the bench. Romar felt that the team needed to move the ball faster and that Venoy and Abdul Gaddy were the best combination to achieve that.
“We wanted to get the ball moving tonight and Venoy and Abdul probably tonight did a better job at moving the basketball. We were looking for answers in the second half. We came out and I think we had four or five assists in the first four minutes.”
Pondexter got a little help in the second half from Suggs, Overton and Breshers who scored 7 of his 9 points after the intermission. Suggs is looking like a realizable shooter lately and hit some huge shots for the Dawgs.
Pondexter, who played 36 of the 40-minute slugfest, seemed like his fuel was running on empty towards the end and that could have been a factor in the Wildcats ability to not only come back but go ahead bring them within two at 71-69 with 1:19 left and again at 10 seconds to go at 77-75. It was at that point that Overton hit 4-4 free throws to seal the win for the Dawgs.
The Dawgs pulled off the win but it wasn’t so great and they were fortunate in doing so, in no small way indebted to Venoy and Suggs’s ability to seal the deal at the line. Scott also hit a pair to put the Dawgs up five with 18 seconds to go. Though Isaiah carelessly allowed Fogg to score “and one” on the next play, Romar seemed to echo that in his post game comments.
“We didn’t shoot fouls very well until they were needed down the stretch. When the game was on the line our guys did a great job with that. I am just happy to move the chains.”
Arizona was plagued by losing their big man and Wise having a lackluster game and Pondexter had to carry the team on his back literally the whole game. It was a case of two great efforts by two teams contending for a Pac-10 title, but what was also of note was that Arizona did it on the road and UW fans all saw what that same ‘Zona team did to the Huskies at their place.
It was a good win for the Dawgs none the less, but they cannot afford to feel that good about them selves going into a difficult match-up Saturday against the Arizona State Sun Devils at 7:30 PM (PST). ASU defeated the WSU Cougs in Pullman 81-70 and could give the Dawgs fits with their well executed zone defense that give teams that don’t have trouble with zones fits, let alone a Washington team that looked really inept trying to attack it down in Tempe where they lost to Herb Sendek’s team 87-70.
Pondexter seemed to understand where his team is and what they need to do.
“We felt good about ourselves, but not that great because we didn’t play as best as we could. We could have cleaned up some stuff that we did on both ends of the floor. We have a great Arizona State team coming in on Saturday. We can’t be satisfied with anything, especially with the hole that we’re in right now.”
Washington is now 15-7 overall, 5-5 in Pac-10 play and in a tie with USC for 2nd place in the Pac-10 one game behind Arizona, UCLA, Cal and ASU, all tied for 1st at 6-4. Washington has to win Saturday to stay in contention, especially in light of the fact that it must play five of its last seven games on the road where they are 0-5 this season.
Fox Sports Jeff Goodman reported on Thursday that according to sources, “Arizona is expected to self-impose sanctions on its men’s basketball program that includes a loss of a future scholarship as well as a reduction of recruiting days in July and on-campus official visits because of recruiting violations tied to an AAU basketball tournament held on its campus”.
The report was not immediately confirmed by the UA Athletic Department, but they did confirm that a report had been sent to the NCAA, but did not feel it was appropriate to divulge its contents until it had been confirmed that it had been received.
Finally ESPN blogger Diamond Leung reported that Arizona had indeed submitted notice to the NCAA of self-imposed sanctions. Leung reprinted part of the a press release from the Arizona Athletic Department that was circulated later in the day.
“The UA announced it will place its basketball program on probation for the 2010-11 and the 2011-12 seasons, relinquish one scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, reduce the number of days coaches are allowed to recruit for the next two seasons, reduce the number of official campus visits allowed by prospects and reduce the number of coaches allowed to recruit off campus at one time for summer 2010 recruiting. The NCAA may modify these self-imposed sanctions. Additionally, the University has disbanded the Rebounders Board of Directors and undertaken a number of administrative and rules education changes.”
This could be the beginning of a much greater investigation by the NCAA of the Arizona Men’s Basketball program, especially into the area of boosters. Pac-10 fans will now have to wait to see what if anything the NCAA does in response.
Quincy’s Story Featured on ESPN
Pondexter was the subject of a front page story on ESPN.com about him and his family. Both his father Roscoe and his uncle Cliff played hoops for the great Jerry Tarkanian at Long Beach State in the early 70’s and the article focused on the council and support that they have given him in pursuing his hoop dreams.
Quincy is a very smart and talented young man with a boundless future. He entered the UW campus as a freshman with a class that included Spencer Hawes, Adrian Oliver and Phil Nelson. Those three moved on and he stuck it out and seasoned a game that is now grabbing attention from NBA scouts and fans around the country. Spencer left to prematurely pursue an NBA career, a decision which would have proved disastrous for Q, but has worked out OK for Hawes.
I believe that Spence would have made a better choice to play at least one more year, as I feel that his legacy at Washington could have been a great advantage to him in his home town later in life and that his value to the NBA would have been enhanced by more consistent success in college.
Adrian Oliver is setting the WAC on fire at San Jose State, but he arguably made a mistake by leaving a team where he would have to earn his minutes, as Quincy did in a sophomore campaign in which he came off the bench for mush of the time, for a team where he was a big fish in a small pond. Oliver could have helped UW win an outright Pac-10 title last season and his presence during that hard 16-17 year before could have made a very big difference.
He left reportedly because of playing time, but instead of stepping up to the challenge he gave up on UW and being a Dawg. So did Phil Nelson, who has not had as much success as Oliver at Portland State or as Hawes has had (now in his 3rd and most successful year in Sacramento), in the NBA. All that said I wish Phil a speedy recovery from his season ending injury and for he and Adrian to have great senior year.
I also root for Spencer and his former Husky team mate Jon Brockman every time they score a bucket or grab a rebound, but you have to admire the kind of loyalty and acceptance of the responsibility to improve and mature before moving on that Quincy has shown. It is a case of good things happening for those who wait and also grow up and UW fans are very lucky to have witnessed it up close with Pondexter at Washington.
Quincy is now one bucket away from passing James Edwards for 6th on the all-time scoring list for the Dawgs. He is 153 points short of Eldridge Recasner in 5th place, a milestone he should break with at least 9 games remaining. If he does pass Recasner, he will be on a list in which the four guys behind him and the 4 guys ahead of him were all NBA players. I’m pretty sure that Quincy will not only make the league but do very well there, in no small part because of the decision to stick it out in college and especially at Washington.
Husky Recruiting Updates
2010 UW wing recruit Dwayne Polee, according to Rivals, still has offers from Arizona State, Oregon, UNLV and Washington.
Polee seems a bit small for a post player, as Washington in my opinion needs a guy like seven-foot shot blocker and rebounder Aziz N’Diaye or six-foot-nine Terrence Jones who will more easily fall into Quincy’s spot at the 4 next season in terms of size and an ability to play big.
Polee is a phenomenal athlete, but most of what we’re hearing is that Dwayne is more likely to stay down south at UNLV or perhaps ASU if Arizona doesn’t close the deal.
If Polee does end up in the desert, he will not likely be far from where 2010 UW wing recruit Terrence Ross appears to be headed. According to the Washington Post Ross, “Who withdrew from Montrose Christian on Tuesday, likely will enroll next week at Westwind Academy Charter High in Phoenix”.
Leaving his school in Maryland for the west coast was explained yesterday as a step to attempt to fix academic problems, but we are hearing that Ross is not having all that much of a problem academically. Westwind has two teams, one that is for post graduates and one that does not.
The one that does not, according to coach Gary Trousdale has 10 2010 players that should play at a D1 level next year, including Freddy Wilson who has signed with Seattle U. They are 24-2 this season. Trousdale had good things to say about Wilson, stating that he was their starting point guard and his energetic play made everyone on the team better.
The post graduate team played Stoneridge Prep, which beat Westwind in a game that UW center recruit Enes Kanter had 43 points and 16 rebounds. Trousdale said that Kanter, “Was the best player that they faced this year” and that if he keeps developing that he will make it to the NBA. The team that includes post graduates is 22-9 this season.
Deniz Kilicli, a friend of Kanter from Turkey, just debuted at West Virginia after serving a 20 game suspension from the NCAA because of participation in games with pros in Turkey. He scored 9 points in 7 minutes and looked impressive as a six-foot-nine 265 lb. forward.
Kanter, who is close to six-foot-eleven and 260 lbs. from numerous reports has also participated in a very similar way with Turkish pros in games in Europe and could very well be suspended for about the same number of games, unless the rules change for next year as they very well may. There have been numerous reports that these rules about non-paid participation in games with professionals is up on the NCAA docket for review this year.
Scout lists N’Diaye as having offers from Washington, Oregon State, Oklahoma, Loyola Marymount and Colorado and as having interest but no offer from Duke.
We have heard that his team mate Carrick Felix is a Duke lean, but according to this report from last week from Utah, Felix only has an offer to visit Duke and is visiting other interested schools including Utah State. Felix has been getting looks from Washington according to his coaches at CSI.
Cougs Prepare for ‘Cats after Loss to ASU
The impossible dream, forty consecutive minutes of solid basketball, for Cougs basketball remains a dream after the 81-70 loss at home to Arizona State Thursday night. Instead of a second half collapse, like the one against UW, the Cougs got off to a slow start.
WSU was just 11-31 (35.5%) from the field, including just 1-10 from three point range in the first half. That and allowing the Sun Devils to shoot a comfortable 15-24 (62.5%) from the field makes the 40-26 halftime ASU lead looks about right.
Reggie Moore and company kicked it up a notch in the second half, scoring 44 points and shooting 13-26 (50%), but the Cougs couldn’t get over the hump to complete the comeback.
After a Klay Thompson steal turned into a fast-break lay-up for Moore to cut the lead to just four at 53-57, it seemed as though the young WSU squad were ready to kick into another gear. But a deep three by senior guard Derek Glasser to answer for ASU followed by a couple Ty Abbot free throws grew the lead back to nine and the Cougs couldn’t close the gap.
Glasser had been on a bad stretch from beyond the arc in Pac-10 play, shooting just 4-23, but went 3-3 from deep against WSU. He had 15 points total in the game.
“You play the percentages and we played the percentages on that, and he got us”, said Coach Ken Bone on Glasser’s surprising shooting.
While Glasser was lighting it up for the Sun Devils, the Cougs were looking for their shooting spark to get them going. Klay Thompson and Nikola Koprivica combined to shoot 3-16 from three, while the entire team was just 3-18.
“We were trying to get Klay going. We were dying to get Klay openâ€¦unfortunately he just didn’t put those in”, said Coach Bone.
If there is such a thing as a quiet 20 points, Thompson had it Thursday night. Going 6-20 from the field and not hitting his shots consistently, he struggled to make a big impact on the game. Although, he did have a season high six steals.
Apart from poor shooting, the Cougs played reasonably well, forcing 17 turnovers, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds and allowing just four second chance points. But lack of depth once again hurt WSU as they had just five bench points, compared to 25 from ASU.
After high energy guard Marcus Capers amazingly got called for three fouls in three seconds midway through the first half, sophomore Michael Harthun was called into action by Coach Bone. Harthun played hard and hustled on defense, but the length and athleticism of Capers was sorely missed.
“The main thing we have to learn how to do, us being a young team, we have to play forty minutes. That’s what we’ve lacked in a lot of the games that we’ve lost”, said Capers after the loss.
The loss puts the Cougs at 4-6 in conference play, still just two games out of first place after the results Thursday night. There’s now a four way tie for first at 6-4 in the conference between ASU, UCLA, Cal and Washington State’s opponent Saturday night, Arizona.
The Cougs are encouraging everyone going to the game Saturday night (5:30pm PST, on FSN) to “Gray Out Beasley” and wear their gray shirts and Cougar gear.
Arizona is coming off of a 75-81 loss to Washington on Thursday in which they blew a nine point halftime lead and committed 20 turnovers.
The Cougs went down to Tucson about a month ago and won the game on a last second shot (if you could call it that) by DeAngelo Casto, with the score of 78-76. Moore and Thompson had 20 and 19 points respectively as Casto chipped in 16.
It’ll take a complete forty minutes, consistent shooting and solid defense for the Cougs to end their longest losing streak of the season, which currently sits at three. Once again, should the Cougs win and get a little help from other results; a top spot in the Pac-10 could still be within reach.
Zags Shoot Down Pilots
Avoiding their first back-to-back conference loss since the 2000 season, the 13th ranked Bulldogs defeated the Portland Pilots in dominating fashion, 76-49, at McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane.
Senior guard Matt Bouldin led the way for a Gonzaga team who shot 50 percent from the field (29-58) with 20 points on 8-14 shooting, 4-8 from beyond the arc. Young sophomore Demetri Goodson was also a major factor with 12 points in only his second double-digit scoring performance in his last 12 games. 11 different players scored in the game.
With leading scorer Nik Raivio, brother of former Gonzaga standout Derek Raivio, sidelined due to an Achilles strain, Portland didn’t get on the board until four minutes into the game – only the beginning of their scoring troubles. The Pilots were held to 25 points below their season average of 73 points a game, on just 19-53 shooting. Forward Robin Smeulders, although just 4-12 shooting himself, had a team high 12 points.
Despite a sluggish start with five turnovers in their first nine possessions, Gonzaga quickly got back on track and never trailed after the 8:54 mark. A 30-8 Bulldog run closed out the first half which had the scoreboard reading 41-21. The Zags dominated the paint throughout the game with their size advantage and in the first half, led the rebounding battle 22-10.
Freshman Elias Harris, usually a strong inside presence, had nine rebounds but only 10 points. Harris had a strong defensive game however with three steals, highlighted by an acrobatic steal that lead to a break away assist to guard Steven Gray with 14:14 in the second half.
Players that usually don’t get as much playing time got to see some minutes later in the game due to the lop-sided score. Center Will Foster capitalized on the precious minutes as he posted a career high six points. With 1:02 left in the game, the crowd of 6,000 gave a standing ovation to Foster who hit both of his free throws as they were Foster’s first free-throws made of the season. Portland was 5-8 from the line and Gonzaga continued to struggle from the stripe with a 50 percent (11-22) effort.
During the game, Bouldin moved past Casey Calvary for 10th place on Gonzaga’s all-time scoring list with 1,518 points.
The resounding win improves Gonzaga’s overall record to 18-1 and their conference record to 7-1, tying them with Saint Mary’s. Gonzaga will test their five game winning streak against their WCC rival on Thursday February 11th at 8PM (PST) after they face off at Memphis this Saturday at 1PM (PST).
Pac-10 Round Up
UCLA beat Stanford 77-73 in Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night in Westwood, CA. Again it was big Reeves Nelson bulling his way for 18 points for the Bruins, followed by Michael Roll with 16, Nikola Dragovic with 15 and Tyler Honeycutt with 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Landry Fields had a career-high 35 points and Jeremy Green kicked in 18 in the loss for Stanford. UCLA is now tied for 1st, despite its foibles earlier in the year. Andy Katz attempted to explain this in his column today.
The Bruins now face Cal, who lost at USC 66-63. Nikola Vucevic had a game similar to that of Washington’s Venoy Overton, as he made four free throws in the final 8.9 seconds. Senior Dwight Lewis led the way for the Trojans with 13 points, followed by Mike Gerrity with 12 and Alex Stepheson and Vucevic with 10 a piece.
Cal was led by Jerome Randle with 29 points, but only Patrick Christopher scored in double figures for the Bears with 11 points on 1-6 from three.
USC did the job on defense and earned the win. They now face Stanford on Saturday. In the mean time Stan Holt, the team manager who got a technical in Eugene that led to a Duck win was given a 2nd chance by Head Coach Kevin O’Neill.
Oregon had a scuffle break out between sophomore guard Garrett Sim and walk-on John Elorriaga that left Sim getting six stitches.
NCAA tourney bigger, yes or no?
The NCAA continues to debate the question of increasing the NCAA tournament to include 96 participants. The AP ran a feature that fleshes out the debate.