Obviously the result isn’t ideal. It’s another game on the road, another loss. But at the same time, it is readily apparent progress was made.
Washington’s level of play against Marquette was as good as it has been all season. Sure there were mistakes, but you will take that effort and the improved execution. Huskies fans should feel better about going into the Duke game, than they did earlier in the week. If the Huskies play like this, they will be in the game.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect was the two mistakes late in the game made by upper classmen.
The first mistake was Abdul Gaddy’s sloppy, soft pass to Terrence Ross with the game tied and a minute left. Ross was trying to screen off his guy to get the pass and Gaddy anticipated and threw kind of a floater that was easily picked off. You expect more from an upper classmen point guard. Gaddy would say the same thing.
And then there was Darnell Gant, a senior, losing track of Jae Crowder on Marquette’s final possession to give up the go-ahead bucket. Yes, Gant ran into Aziz N’Diaye. But if you watch it over a few times (thank you DVR) you can see Gant lost Crowder well before he collided with N’Diaye. You expect more from a senior.
Looking at the four factors, the turnovers are an issue again. Washington probably could have had more. Tony Wroten and Abdul Gaddy both got away with pretty glaring travels and two bad passes, which should have been stolen, from Wroten were deflected but somehow managed up in the Husky hands and resulted in buckets instead.
The good thing is the offensive rebound percentage. Marquette isn't huge up front and N'Diaye made his presence felt on the boards. But Terrence Ross and Desmond Simmons each had four offensive boards apiece.
The free-throw percentage, well, that's usually going to favor the Golden Eagles because they drive to the basket so often. Washington is more of a jumpshooting team. Guys like Ross and C.J. Wilcox can drive, but more often its off of shot fakes, it's not off of breaking someone down 1-on-1. The Huskies' best penetrator - Wroten - is also one of their worst free throw shooters. Another reason it's low is because team's simply don't respect N'Diaye when he sets the high pick. They hard hedge the ball handler and know that the ball handler usually won't throw it to N'Diaye and that he won't do much with it if he does catch it.
Three quick thoughts
1. Terrence Ross is slowly starting to grasp the mantle as - "go-to player." We are seeing it more and more. He scored 19 points, grabbed nine rebounds with three assists. He took 14 shots. A couple may have been forced. But with teams clearly trying to keep C.J. Wilcox from getting squared up looks on the perimeter, Ross should be taking at least 15 shots a game.
2. Tony Wroten had a full game as usual. He scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds with three assists. But he's still a liability on defense (at least three missed defensive rotations and a tendency to reach), at the free-throw line (3-of-7) and decision making (only three turnovers, but a couple of times he just forced situations that weren't there). That being said, he's still young. He's still improving. And this is going to be the case for a while.
3. You will take that effort the Husky big men. N'Diaye had a pretty solid game. He's never going to be a 20-point guy. But if he clean's up around the basket, is a presence inside and grabs boards, that's all you need. Desmond Simmons is so active. He makes things happen - not always good things, but more often than not. Gant made some shots and if you get offense from him it's a bonus.