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November 5, 2009

Washington wins handily over Central

The Huskies defeated the Central Washington Wildcats 77-48 Wednesday night at Bank of America Arena. It was the only preseason game for the Huskies, who begin the regular season on Friday, November 13th at home against Wright State.

The least you should know:

The Huskies shot terribly in the first half, but led 43-18 at the break. While the Dawgs only outscored Central by four in the second half, there were a few stretches where the offense looked to be in midseason form behind freshman Abdul Gaddy.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 18 points, and Quincy Pondexter finished with 15. Venoy Overton had 11 points and four steals.

It was an up-and-down debut for Gaddy, who finished with one point, six assists and three turnovers.

Tyreese Breshers turned in a strong 14 minutes, scoring six points and pulling down three rebounds.

The narrative:

Hoping to avoid an exhibition game hiccup like the one suffered by Syracuse last night, the Huskies took the court at Hec Ed against D-II Central Washington. The Huskies used stifling defensive pressure, and their athletic advantage to cruise to a 77-48 victory, but shot poorly from the field and the free throw line.

The Huskies came out with their usual defensive intensity with nine steals and five blocks, holding Central to 23.4% shooting.

"I thought we had a lot of energy," said Coach Lorenzo Romar of the team's defensive effort, "We had our lapses but for two and half weeks of practice I thought we did a pretty good job."

It was the Huskies shooting (38% from the field, and 47% from the line), against a Central Washington team that wasn't playing anything close to Pac-10 level defense, that was the glaring weakness tonight. Of the team's poor showing from the free throw line, Isaiah Thomas said, "I don't know. It might be first game jitters. I missed my first three. I didn't know what was wrong."

Coach Lorenzo Romar mixed up his rotation more than he might once the season begins. All eleven players to check into the game played at least 14 minutes. "If this were a real game that counted, we would have gone small for most of the game. But tonight, we were just playing different combinations," he said.

There were also stretches tonight when all three of the Huskies' point guards played together. "It felt fine with me," said freshman point guard Abdul Gaddy, of sharing the court with Isaiah Thomas and Venoy Overton. "If I get the ball, they will fill the lane and I will find them. They know I will find them every time."

In his much-anticipated competitive debut, Gaddy dished out six assists, and turned the ball over three times. "It's definitely a lot faster than high school. It moves really fast and that is one thing I have to work on," he said.

Playing in his first game in a year-and-a-half, Tyreese Breshers looked like the Huskies best post player tonight, finishing with six points and three rebounds, shooting two for three from the field, and drawing frequent contact near the hoop. Said Husky forward Quincy Pondexter: "He finishes everything around the basket. He's a garbage disposal."

Despite the strong defensive effort, and holding Central to a 23% field goal percentage on the night, the Huskies fouled 26 times. "We fouled too much," Romar said. "We have been preaching such an aggressive style of defense that we can get overzealous at times. . . We can't push up into a guy when he's about to drive."

Darnell Gant and Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 10 rebounds each, but as a team, the Huskies only out-rebounded Central by five, 59-54.

Observations and analysis:

There was a long stretch in the second half when both Elston Turner and C.J. Wilcox were on the floor together. It felt redundant to see them in there at the same time, particularly since neither was doing much of anything besides shooting (C.J. shot 2-6, and Elston 0-4).

Matthew Bryan-Amaning looked no better on offense tonight than in one of his bad games last season. And, I'm not convinced that we'll see such gaudy rebound totals from him or Darnell Gant (10 each) against Division I opponents.

As far as the position "battles" go: Round one of "Venoy vs. Abdul" goes to Venoy, who really looked more in control tonight, despite the obvious passing acumen of Gaddy. Abdul threw a breathtaking pass to a cutting C.J. Wilcox that brought the crowd to its feet.

It was Clarence Trent, though, who had the best highlight of the night on an alley-oop dunk off a pass from C.J. Wilcox. Trent is clearly a forward, regardless of his height. He looked pretty good when he posted up tonight, shooting 3-4 from the field.


On the position battle undercard, CJ Wilcox slightly outplayed Elston Turner, although neither looked particularly strong at all.

At one point, during an early stretch, Central had trouble advancing the ball within 30 feet of their basket thanks to Venoy Overton's pressure on point guard JC Cook.

Tyreese Breshers is a presence, and was easily the Huskies best post player tonight.


Josh Anderson is the publisher of Montlake Madness , a 100 percent free fan site dedicated to University of Washington basketball. UDUBsports.com will be teaming up with Josh for the basketball season to provide even more comprehensive coverage of all the action!



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