This was a total team effort; how often could we REALLY say that about the Huskies this year (except for some unfortunate losses)? Four guys in double-figures, nobody scored more than 14 points. Normally, when Thomas has more assists than points, you’re looking at a bad night. Indeed, he didn’t shoot the ball well (2 of 11), but when his assist total is 12, you know he’s getting the rest of the guys involved. I would take a double-double like that from him every game.
Where everything came together for the Dawgs was on the defensive end. We had 5 steals, 4 blocks, and held them to 32% shooting (and a measly 4 of 24 from behind the arc). We held their hottest player – E.J. Singler – to 3 of 9 shooting for only 10 points after he had 20+ in the first two games of the tournament. Our zone came up big, rendering their big man to a fairly impotent 18 points (7 of which came at the free throw line).
We didn’t get a whole lot out of our own senior big man; MBA could only muster 6 points and 7 rebounds. But, he was constantly getting double-teamed, and fortunately our swingmen picked up the slack admirably. With Gant’s 10 rebounds, we out-boarded them 39 to 31.
Everything has gone our way so far this tournament. You might say we lucked into this championship game thanks to Oregon’s upset of UCLA; you knew their hot shooting wouldn’t continue for a third straight night. But, who’s to say we couldn’t have had a similar performance against the Bruins?
All I know is I’m grateful for the chance this afternoon. This is EXACTLY the matchup I’ve been wishing for since we lost by a point in that frustrating game down in Tucson: a neutral floor matchup against a team who got ALL the calls from the refs when they were at home. It’s pretty lucky that we get to test my theory in a few short hours: taking out the overwhelming fan majority, WE are the better of the two teams.
I’ve never wanted a win so bad in my life. Yes, I understand we’re officially a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but you know what? We’re here, we’re in this game, might as well go out there and win it. I want to be able to hold up my middle finger to the rest of the Pac-10 with pride!