Beach's Bits: SPU Breakdown

SEATTLE - While the city of Seattle simmers in anticipation of Saturday's seismic showdown between UW and UO on the gridiron, the Husky basketball team made their own highly anticipated debut against a quality SPU basketball team fresh off an upset victory of No. 16 Arizona. UW made it clear from the start they learned from the Cats' mistakes, proving comparisons between the two teams premature.

With a starting lineup of Abdul Gaddy, Terrence Ross, C.J. Wilcox, Darnell Gant and Desmond Simmons, the veteran lineup made short work of the overwhelmed Falcons during the game's opening minutes. Several items stood out during the game, but none more reassuring than the fact that the Huskies didn't resemble a team playing their first game of the season.

- After a nine-month layoff, Abdul Gaddy returned to the court, and got off to a quick start, hitting two quick buckets via dribble penetration, as the Huskies raced to an early 8-0 point lead. His stabilizing presence on the floor was obvious immediately and there didn't seem to be any lingering injury issues. Gaddy scored 15 points on 6-11 shooting, with four assists and four rebounds on the night.

- Terrence Ross might be generating the national buzz, but C.J. Wilcox looked every bit as eager to make a name for himself. He didn't have a great night shooting from behind the arc but he was the Huskies' most aggressive offensive player, leading all scorers with 19 points - including five three-pointers.

- Ross for the most part, lived up to the early hype and was as effective under the basket as he was with the ball in his hands. He was an efficient 6-8 from the field, led the team with eight rebounds and even dished out three assists. He did all that on top of locking down Falcons' star Jobi Wall, who torched Arizona for 24 points. Against Ross, Wall was only able to notch half that total.

- With center Aziz N'Diaye sidelined due to a concussion, the Dawgs' post responsibilities fell to Darnell Gant and four freshmen – Simmons, Martin Bruenig, Jernard Jerreau and Shawn Kemp, Jr. Gant underwhelmed in his final home debut, managing just three points during an off night.. The Huskies need physicality out of the fifth year senior, and though he grabbed a modest four rebounds he wasn't really a factor in the post offensively.

The freshmen forwards however, lived up to their advanced billing. All of them had several solid moments to accompany the anticipated 'freshman mistakes'. Jarreau blocked three shots in the first half, Bruenig had eight hard-earned points, and Kemp was the Huskies' most physical player available. Simmons, meanwhile, showed why he's so popular among the coaching staff, grabbing six rebounds in just 15 minutes.

- Tony Wroten made his much anticipated Husky debut, and he didn't disappoint. He didn't light up the scoreboard but did make several eye-popping passes while asserting himself on the glass to the tune of six boards, three of them on the offensive end. Defensively, he looked very much the freshmen though, and he's got some room to go in that department. He did have several moments where his heart, length and athleticism impacted the game well beyond the scope of the box score en route to 10 points and four assists on the evening.

- For an exhibition game, the Huskies took care of the basketball, surrendering just 11 turnovers. For a team that debuted seven freshmen during the game, that's more than a little surprising, and Romar will be happy with that number. Gaddy had four assists and no turnovers in 29 minutes. That's midseason form for him. Wroten led the team in turnovers with four, but for a player who has only practiced twice since having his knee cleaned up, he's only going to improve in that regard.

- Defensively, the Huskies did a fabulous job limiting the Falcons stars Jobi Wall and Andy Poling to just 24 points between them. They lit up Arizona for a combined 41 points, and the Husky upperclassmen pretty much shut them down. The Huskies' height added a new flavor to the defensive rotations, and will be a big advantage this season. In the post, things weren't as pretty, but that was to be expected without the presence of N'Diaye in the lineup.

- Washington has shotmakers. Ross and Wilcox did nothing to change the view that they're two of the deadliest scorers in the conference, and that's on a night when neither was really dialed in from downtown. Throw a healthy Scott Suggs into that mix when it's time to play some Pac-12 ball, and get ready for the fireworks.

Overall, after watching the exhibition debuts of Arizona, Kentucky and Louisville, the Huskies' opener was a successful one. In Pac-12 terms, they're ahead of Arizona, who has struggled scoring the ball in their early tuneups. When N'Diaye returns next weekend, many of the team's defensive struggles in the post should clear up, if not evaporate altogether.

Take heart, Dawg fans: This is a team worth paying attention to.


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