Originally written on SeaTown Sports  |  Last updated 2/3/12

Darnell Gant puts the Dawgs on top//Elaine Thompson, Associated Press


Initial (Over)Reactions

First place! The Washington Huskies, who all NCAA analysts have decided to ignore, are in first place! Let us all give a large “THANKS!” to Arizona for knocking off Cal 78-74. UW now sits alone atop the Pac-12 standings at 8-2.

On another note, UCLA simply does not like to win in Seattle, as that makes eight in a row for the Dawgs against the Bruins in the Emerald City. UCLA went up 10 with seven minutes remaining in the second half before ESPN flashed a stat that said, “UCLA has lost previous seven games in Seattle”. Quite the jinx from ESPN.

UW answered by taking out an injured Tony Wroten and force-feeding the ball to Terrence Ross. T-Raw put the Huskies on his back, scoring 10 of UW’s final 12 points and playing up to his potential that everyone in Husky Nation has been waiting for.  He needs the ball more. Him not being aggressive should not be an excuse. Romar, make Ross shoot the ball.

Sadly, the last seven minutes were the lone bright spot for the Huskies. UCLA outplayed Washington for the first 33 minutes before Ross’ explosion. Josh Smith continued to only play good basketball against the Dawgs and manhandled any body UW through at him. Smith finished with 24 points (a career high) and nine rebounds. UCLA’s inability to feed their 300-pound center late cost them the game, as Smith finished with just three points in the last 12 minutes. WOOFS AND WHIMPERS AFTER THE JUMP!

 

Woofs

Terrence Ross: No. 31 played seven minutes of lights out, cold-blooded basketball. We can forget everything that preceded that for now. Let’s just say with 10 minutes left, my friend and I were yelling at the TV things such as “Why the hell does Terrence Ross not want to win?” I’m going to assume he heard us, as he was the biggest reason for the W. I’m going to pretend that Ross isn’t more inconsistent than the Huskies’ road play this season.

Free Throw Shooting: The Huskies went 15-for-20 from the line, 14-for-16 if one discounts Aziz N’Diaye’s trips to the line. At their season average of 65 percent, the Dawgs would make only 13 of 20 on a given night. Those two extra makes were the difference in the game.

Darnell Gant: Gant fought for more minutes in his rotation with Desmond Simmons tonight, finishing with 12 points in 29 minutes (Dez was scoreless in 11 minutes). Darnell kept the Huskies in the game during the first half, scoring 10 points on 4-5 shooting.

The 2-3 Zone: UW went to their zone late in the second half and effectively shut down Josh Smith. UCLA scored four points in the final five minutes, as their offensive seemed to completely shut down against the zone.

 

Whimpers

Inconsistency: I finally had confidence in this team following the Arizona road trip. I felt betrayed tonight. The Dawgs destroyed nearly all of the new confidence I acquired, playing a horrible basketball game from start to finish. Has this team changed?

Rebounding: UCLA came into the game eighth in the Pac-12 in rebounding. Washington was first. The Bruins inexplicably outrebounded UW 34-29, including 11 offensive boards. The one consistent part of this team was exposed tonight, as Josh Smith constantly exploited N’Diaye down low.

Ball Control: UW could not hold onto the ball tonight. Wroten had his usual five-turnover night, but Gaddy and Ross combined to contribute seven turnovers as well. N’Diaye struggled controlling rebounds and should have been blamed for more than just his one turnover in the stat sheet.

Tony Wroten: Miserable performance for Wroten. Tony came up limping multiple times throughout the game and received an x-ray on his thigh after the game. Even before his injuries, Tony played an extremely poor game, turning the ball over five times and choosing poor times to attack the basket. On a more exciting note, Wroten went 5-of-5 from the line. I am convinced he has some shooting stroke in that magical left hand of his.

Aziz N’Diaye: N’Diaye was dominated down low by Josh Smith and seemed to take a step back from his solid performances in Arizona. Smith was able to move N’Diaye at will and N’Diaye seemed rattled by this. Aziz struggled holding onto the ball on rebounds and seemed antsy on the floor.

Finishing Thoughts

8-2. First place. It’s officially time for the Dawgs to start receiving some national attention. Ultimately, a win is a win, especially when that win allows your team to sit alone in first place in the Pac-12. USC comes to Hec Ed on Saturday in search for just their second conference win.

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