Not only was this our worst loss as far as the spread of points (12, with the previous high being – distressingly enough – against the Cougs last Sunday at 7), but it was simply our worst loss period. Most of the time, I feel pretty confident that we have the horses to make any game close. We could be down by 20 at halftime and I know there’s going to be a run in us somewhere. That sense of urgency starts flowing through the players’ bodies and before you know it we’re causing turnovers, running fast breaks, hitting clutch shots, and overtaking that huge deficit.
Well, maybe that’s what we needed last night. There was never any huge lead for the Beavers, until the last couple minutes where they piled on a little bit (not that I’m complaining or anything; just saying that the lead was almost always in the single-digits throughout this game). Since it was so close throughout, maybe that’s why there was no urgency coming from our players. Maybe they thought, “We’re the Huskies, we’re the best team in the Pac-10. They may be up 5, but all we gotta do is hit a couple shots, get a couple stops, and this game is ours.”
Except … we didn’t hit much more than a couple shots. We didn’t get much more than a couple stops. WE SHOT A WHOPPING 32% FROM THE FIELD! AND THEY SHOT 44!
We were out-rebounded by 13, they KILLED us at the free throw line, and we were only better than them in the turnover catagory by 3.
From a player standpoint, nobody did anything well except for Scott Suggs (who’s quickly proving that he’s not the dullard on the road he’s been in the past). Team-high 18 points, with 5 of 11 coming from behind the arc. MBA had a double-double I guess (12 points, 10 boards), and his field goal percentage wasn’t bad by any stretch (5 for 12), but to be honest, those numbers shock and astound me. Because I didn’t even know the guy played! That’s how much of an impact he made for me in this game.
You know who I DID notice? Isaiah Thomas. You know WHY I noticed Isaiah Thomas? Because his assist to turnover ratio was 6:7. Ye GODS. He was 2 for 11, 1 for 6 from three, got 0 steals, and to be quite honest couldn’t have been playing his usual lockdown defense because Jared Cunningham went off for 19 points. Yes, 13 came from the foul line, but guess what? It’s YOUR job to prevent him from dribble-driving into the paint drawing fouls left and right!
This defense was off-the-charts bad last night. I know the home team will usually out-attempt the road team at the foul line, but 38 shots??? Seriously? Most of those did NOT come at the end, by the way. They were spending all day at the stripe. I can’t be completely positive, but I don’t think we went zone one time all game. And that’s all I was thinking as I was watching, “Why not go zone? They’re not out there jacking up threes – they’re not even a good 3-point shooting team to begin with! Make them beat you from the outside!”
Or, in other words, do to them what they’re doing to you. The Dawgs better figure out this zone shit real fucking quick. We’re still in good position (now #2, a full game behind Arizona), but if we don’t find a way to score in bunches against the zone, teams will keep feeding us and feeding us and FEEDING us until our fucking insides burst.
And, really, there’s no excuse. We’re too good a shooting team this year. Next time we run into a game where our three leaders are letting us down, I want to see even MORE shots go to Suggs. I want Wilcox (who appears to be slowly climbing out of his shooting funk) to get more than 8 minutes. I want to see if Terrence Ross can replicate his game against USC.
Our LEADERS – Holiday, Thomas, MBA – need to step the fuck up. Stop pressing (Holiday), stop trying to do so much that you’re dribbling wildly through your legs and splitting double teams only to get stripped (Thomas), START taking over games and dominating other teams’ undersized big men (MBA). I don’t want to see the best team in the Pac-10 suffer an early exit to their season this year.