Washington missed point guard Abdul Gaddy Thursday night against Oregon. For about 24 minutes. Then the Huskies finally relaxed.
The Huskies closed out an 87-69 win with a 36-18 run, mostly because they stopped slacking on defense and kept the Ducks from hitting shot after shot. Also, it helped that Isaiah Thomas and Terrence Ross came to play.
Thomas (20 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds) also brought it, but Ross was a revelation. He scored a career-high 25 points, hit 11 of 18 shots and finally looked like he was ready to play, which may be why he logged a career-high 27 minutes. The two aren’t a coincidence.
“What freshmen don’t understand when they’re being recruited and when they end up getting somewhere is that it’s not just your ability to make shots,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said afterward. “If you’re going to play for a program that’s going to be successful, you have to guard, you have to run certain things and get the ball to the right people in the right spots, you have to remember everything that you’re doing offensively and defensively. Oftentimes, it’s entirely different conceptually than anything you’ve ever done.”
So life moves on after Gaddy, right? Maybe not. The Ducks are one of the Pac-10 worst teams, which made it the ideal first Gaddy-less outing for the Huskies. But as David Hess writes on The Audacity of Hoops, life won’t be a breeze without Gaddy, if the +/- numbers are any indication.
UW can adjust by doing two things: Ensuring Thomas embraces the point guard role (Read: No crazy drives/shots) and by having Ross and fellow sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox play enough defense to go with their offense.
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