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10 Observations from the Washington game

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Washington v Gonzaga Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

I wonder if Lorenzo Romar is waking up today regretting signing back on for this series against Gonzaga. These are two programs that have gone in completely opposite directions during the 10-year break in the rivalry. Here are my thoughts after the drubbing in the Kennel:

  1. All of the Huskies’ deficiencies presented in the first 5 minutes of the game. Poor ball security highlighted by a strip steal Perkins forced in the corner, awful transition defense to concede a wide open 3PA to Jordan Mathews which he made, a bad closeout foul on another Mathews 3PA which he turned into a 4-point play, and poor offensive post play. Yikes.
  2. UW’s offensive post play is shockingly poor. I counted one decent post bucket by Sam Timmins, but other than that, there seemed to be a lot of just throwing up the ball and hoping it goes in. None of their post players seemed to have any type of repertoire of moves in the post they could go to.
  3. Markelle Fultz had 25 points (10-26 shooting), 10 rebounds, and 1 assist. But his stat line rings hollow as he went 3-14 in the first half, and got most of his points in the final 10 minutes with the outcome of the game long-decided. Great defensive effort on him by Gonzaga, as they repeatedly forced him to take difficult shots. Meanwhile, his counterpart in Nigel Williams-Goss was the model of efficiency, scoring 23 points (9-13 shooting) while grabbing 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Excellent restraint by NWG not to try and do too much in a game which surely meant a lot to him.
  4. There were too many occasions when Washington’s defenders got caught ball watching or drifted out of position and away from their man. They were beaten on a lot of backdoor cuts or were not in position to close out on a jump-shooter. Defensive excellence is all about discipline and attention to detail, both were absent from UW’s performance.
  5. UW made its return to this rivalry with a 2-14 start from the field, with both field goals coming from Markelle Fultz (2-6 during that stretch). On the flip side, Gonzaga made 11 straight shots during that same period in the first 9 minutes of the game to build a lead over 20 points. The game was over at that point.
  6. The Zags did not do a great job of keeping UW off the offensive glass, giving up a mind-boggling 29 offensive rebounds. Gonzaga has too many good rebounders to be missing out on that many boards, and I’m sure the coaching staff will have lots of film from this game when they work on rebounding positioning. But, keep in mind, in order to tally 29 offensive rebounds a team has to be missing a TON of shots. UW went 24-79 (30.4%) from the field.
  7. Josh Perkins and Nigel Williams-Goss put on a passing clinic. They did a great job of searching out teammates and hitting them in stride for easy buckets. UW’s defense didn’t put up much of a fight, but great work nonetheless from them. Special mention for Perkins’ pass to Karnowski to set up the big man for a TRANSITION dunk and the and-1. Again, Washington’s transition defense was non-existent.
  8. AWFUL foul call on Zach Collins’s nasty block against Fultz. There was no body contact and the block itself was all leather. The terrible call was compounded by the fact that it fouled Collins out of the game. Regardless, great play by Collins to prevent Fultz from getting a highlight dunk in the Kennel.
  9. Gonzaga ran the same basic set repeatedly throughout the game, with Przemek receiving the ball at the very top of the key and handing it off to the guard who would turn the corner and receive no resistance as he drove to the rim. Nigel Williams-Goss scored off this play multiple times as UW repeatedly failed to impede his path to the basket.
  10. The Huskies are a pick-up team with uniforms. They play with no cohesion on either side of the ball, and look like a bunch of guys who just stepped on the court together for the first time. They logged zero assists in the first half. That’s mind-boggling. I genuinely feel bad for the players because their situation is a failure by the coaching staff. It’s the coaches job to establish a culture, to hold players accountable, to provide offensive and defensive systems and principles for players to fall back on during the game. The absence of all that was evident on the Washington side.