“You know, I’ve never been good at sharing”. Darnell Gant couldn’t have said it better following his best game this season in his final homecoming game against USC. Gant’s 14 points and 9 rebounds helped the Dawgs clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 regular season title. A lot is on the line on Saturday. Not only can UW win the conference outright, Washington can also win its’ 15th conference game tomorrow for just the fourth time in program history and first time since Marv Harshman’s 1984 squad.
The outcome was never in doubt on Thursday night, as UW quickly jumped to a 24-11 lead in the opening ten minutes. Terrence Ross led the charge with 11 points and 3 rebounds in the first half. The Huskies absolutely dominated the boards in the opening twenty minutes, heading into the break with a 29-10 edge on the glass and a 40-26 lead on the scoreboard.
USC put up a fight and cut the lead to 49-40 with 13 minutes remaining. Terrence Ross hit a three on the ensuing possession and the Huskies responded with a 7-0 run and ended up cruising to the finish line.
The Trojans showed some signs of hope for the future as Byron Wesley looked like a legitimate Pac-12 basketball player (one of the few on USC’s roster). Wesley finished with a career-high 23 points on 10-18 shooting. How does Maurice Jones lead this team in scoring? Jones struggled getting off any shots inside the arc because of UW’s length. Wesley deserves to take 20 shots a game playing for a team this bad.
Rebounding: USC simply does not have the athletes to hang with UW. The Huskies completely crushed USC in the rebounding battle, finishing with 49 boards to the Trojans’ 23. The Dawgs’ added 18 offensive rebounds while limiting USC to 3. It really doesn’t matter how well a team plays when they hold such a significant rebounding advantage.
Darnell Gant: Pro Game played arguably his best game of the season, going 6-8 from the field (including 2-3 from deep) and finishing with 14 and 9. Gant was aggressive offensively, not passing up open looks when given the opportunity. His postgame interview reassured Husky fans that the Dawgs are hungry and motivated to take out UCLA on Saturday.
Terrence Ross: He has official taken on the leadership role of this team. Who was the guy to answer when USC cut the lead to single digits in the second half? Ross. That’s all that needs to be said. He continues to show why he is the deadliest player in the league.
Abdul Gaddy: This was the stereotypical Gaddy performance against weaker teams as he finished with 12 points and 5 assists. He was aggressive with the ball and showed shooting prowess from the outside. Please translate this to bigger games Abdul.
“Meh”: Notable Average Performances
Tony Wroten: Wroten was all over the board tonight with 7 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. However, he went 2-13 from the field and committed 4 turnovers. Tone manages to produce in other categories when his shot isn’t falling and Dawg fans should be happy that he dished the ball against a team that had no player who could come close to slowing him while driving.
Free Throw Shooting: 12-23. Nobody shot above 50% from the line besides Gaddy, who was 3-4. This won’t get it done come tournament time and is a huge hit to the progress that the Huskies were seemingly making from the line. Tony Wroten is ultimately the X-factor for how UW looks from the line and he went 3-7.
C.J. Wilcox: Wilcox struggled mightily from the field, finishing 3-10 and just 8 points. He was missing his usual automatics from deep and had problems when driving into the lane. On a positive note, Wilcox is continuing to get open shots and he is a serious threat when they go down.
Darnell Gant doesn’t want to share. Lorenzo Romar doesn’t want to share. Hell, nobody outside of Berkeley wants to share. UCLA is up next for the Huskies on Saturday. The Bruins responded to the recent Sports Illustrated article, which essentially tore down their entire program, by dismantling Wazzu 78-46. The Bruins’ emotions are clearly at an all-season high. It’s time for UW to take them down a notch and claim what is rightfully theirs.