Saint Martins Exhibition - Beach's Thoughts

The Washington Huskies looked as advertised Saturday evening in their final tune-up before the start of the season next weekend. For the most part, the 97-76 exhibition win over St. Martin's was a successful introduction for the highly touted Huskies, though the performance was far from perfect...

Justin Holiday looked fabulous in 29 minutes of play scoring 18 points to finish second on the team.

The Huskies were a blistering 10 of 17 from beyond the three-point arch, and Holiday drilled four of them. Despite an off night on the glass, his defense was a bright spot in the Huskies' inconsistent team defensive effort. Holiday also grabbed two steals and four rebounds in the effort while coughing up just one turnover.

Isaiah Thomas demonstrated his dedication to the Huskies cause, not by lighting up the scoreboard, but doing the exact opposite. The Husky co-Captain, tallied 11 assists in the effort and didn't attempt a single field goal during the first-half.

Despite some ball-handling miscues, Thomas was obviously going the extra mile to involve his teammates, and the strategy worked as six Huskies scored in double figures. That kind of performance is further evidence of the pint-sized point guard's maturation and growth.

Mathew Bryan-Amaning was a model of efficiency in the post on the offensive end where his quickness proved too much for the Saints. Bryan-Amaning led the Huskies with 20 points in 26 minutes of work before fouling out, going 9 of 12 from the field. However, he was pushed around at times by Blake Poole – the thickly built St. Martins center who scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Saints.

Abdul Gaddy played well overall, though he was out of control at times. His confidence attacking the basket was most notable and he sank both jump shots he attempted. While his defense continues to improve, he still has a ways to go, but on the surface, he appears much more comfortable. He scored 12 points, delivered five assists and grabbed two steals, but also turned over the ball five times over-penetrating the lane.

Newly anointed starter Scott Suggs, showed his impressive offseason was no fluke, though his defensive deficiencies marred an otherwise solid performance. Suggs roared out of the gates draining two quick threes to jumpstart the slow starting Huskies who trailed early. Unfortunately, he consistently found himself out of position on defense, and the Saints were able to take advantage of the confusion.

Suggs managed to score all of his 11 points in the first half, including 3of 4 from beyond the arch.

The game marked the debut of several highly anticipated players, and all four newcomers played major minutes.

Aziz N'Daiye's Washington debut was spoiled by foul trouble, which was not unexpected, but his impact on the floor was immediate.

Washington was much more physicall and dominated from the moment he entered the game,

N'Daiye runs the floor like a guard. Unfortunately, he stops like a freight train and he flattened several opponents as well as our camera woman en route to fouling out in 11 minutes of play. His impact on the season will be determined by his ability to stay on the floor but in his first action since tearing his ACL over a year ago, his debut was a successful one.

Also showing impressive skills was freshman Terrence Ross.

There's no reason to think he won't be one of the Huskies top performers once he settles in. His defense was another bright spot – especially for a youngster playing his first game of organized basketball in over a year. He's got excellent instincts and his quick feet allowed him to stay in front of smaller players. His presence around the hoop was noteworthy as well, especially since the Dawgs got trounced on the glass. Ross netted 6 rebounds and 12 points while surrendering just one turnover in 21 minutes of work. His decision making and shot selection were freshman-esque at times, but solid none-the-less.

CJ Wilcox was effective for a number of reasons and none of them had to do with his vaunted three-point shooting.

Though he connected on 2 of his 5 three-point attempts, it was on defense that he made the biggest impact, nabbing three steals, and showcasing his blazing quickness closing out on shooters, diving for lose balls and jamming passing lanes. He also scored 12 points in his Husky debut.

Desmond Simmons also saw his first collegiate action grabbing two rebounds and a steal in 11 minutes of action.

The Huskies were far from perfect in their one and only exhibition game.

St. Martin's outrebounded the Dawgs 42 to 32, while limiting Washington's second chance opportunities – a hallmark of the Lorenzo Romar system. The Huskies leading rebounders were Bryan-Amaning and Ross, who gathered six boards apiece, followed by Thomas who had five, validating some of the concerns about replacing Quincy Pondexters' presence under the hoop. .

Defensively, the Dawgs were a mixed bag.

While Holiday, Ross, Wilcox and Thomas stood out, the forwards did not, and the Saints took full advantage of Washington's defensive miscues. St Martin's skilled forwards peppered the Huskies with a barrage of short to medium range jumpers, and bulled there way to several put-backs via the offensive glass. At the same time, Washington was without there most intimidating defender in Venoy Overton, who probably could have played tonight had they not decided to give his sore hamstring a little extra rest before the start of the season next Saturday. They'll be a different team when he returns and the teams' overall defensive upside is extraordinarily high assuming Aziz can figure out how to stay in the game.

Washington was especially effective sharing the ball combining for 20 assists on the night. Any concerns of selfish play were quickly erased after watching Thomas pick St. Martins' defense apart. The team clearly understands the value of making the extra pass, and the balanced scoring effort was the result. They shot the ball extremely well, forced 27 turnovers, grabbed 13 steals and blocked 3 shots.

All in all, it was a successful night. They've got some challenges to address, particularly on the glass and defensively to a lesser extent, but the team oozes potential. That much is clear. But they're going to have to come together quickly with the Maui Classic and a date with destiny a little more than two weeks away. Top Stories