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December 12, 2009

Hoyas outplay Huskies, 74-66 in Anaheim

The Georgetown Hoyas defeated the Huskies, 74-66, on Saturday afternoon at the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, California.

The least you should know:

The Huskies took care of the basketball terribly tonight, finishing with 25 turnovers.

The Dawgs could've easily lost the game by 20 points had they not gone on an 18-8 run in the final three minutes after the game had, essentially, been decided.

Georgetown's star center, Greg Monroe, was difficult to contend with. But, it was the other Hoya big man, Julian Vaughn, who made a bigger impact with 18 points, two blocks, and all-around stellar defense.

The narrative:

The Huskies must feel very fortunate this afternoon that they play in the Pac-10 and not the Big East.

While a spirited run late in the game allowed the Huskies to avoid a blowout, there was little doubt today that Georgetown, not even considered the best or second-best team in their own conference, was the better team in Anaheim on Saturday at the Wooden Classic.

"I think they're an underrated team, probably," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said of Georgetown. "I think they're a top-10 team."

The Hoyas beat the Huskies, 74-66, in a game more lopsided than the final score would indicate. The Huskies will likely look back on their season-high 25 turnovers, and season-low nine free throw attempts, as two of the key factors leading to the defeat.

The Huskies came out strong and looked like a more dynamic team than the Hoyas during the game's opening minutes. Washington, though, missed too many shots, including a couple of layups, and found themselves tied 15-15 with 10:00 minutes remaining in the first half, despite generally outplaying Georgetown early.

The Hoyas, though, took control after that, outplaying the Dawgs on both sides of the ball, forcing the Huskies into turnovers, and controlling the tempo of the game. Making a small run triggered by reserve guard Scott Suggs, the Huskies fought back and went into the locker room down by only one, 30-29.

The Hoyas, making what looked to be a concerted effort to take more inside shots, started the second half off with a dominating 21-2 run and the Huskies never recovered.

"You have a chance to win the ballgame and you come out flat. It's unacceptable," Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game.

Georgetown played with a double-digit lead for most of the second-half, extending the lead to 20 at one point, but Washington kept up their effort until the game was finished, cutting the lead to six in the final minute.

"I was pleased with the effort at the end," Romar said. "Our guys continued to work hard and we were able to force some turnovers. Make a couple of shots."

Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas scored 23 and 21 points, respectively. No other Husky, though, had more than five, but the team did improve on one recent weakness: The Dawgs shot better (45.2%) than they have in all but two of their contests this season.

Every Georgetown starter scored in double figures. Hoya star, Greg Monroe, went for 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one block. But, it was Georgetown's less-heralded big man, Julian Vaughn, who provided even more interior toughness, scoring 18 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking a couple of Husky shot attempts.

While Washington may still be considered among the top teams in the Pac-10, talk of Final Four aspirations may need to be tempered for the time being.

"I hate to say it, but this game was not as close as the final score," Romar said.

Observations and analysis:

Tough loss. This one looked for 10 minutes like it was going in a very good direction for the Huskies. But, even by halftime, despite only being down one, I had a bad feeling.

Husky of the game: Matthew Bryan-Amaning. MBA knew he had a tough task in trying to score against the Hoya big men, so he limited his shot attempts, and went 2-6 from the field. He finished with five points, seven rebounds, two blocks, and played good defense against Monroe for most of the game.

More on MBA: I loved the hard non-foul he put on Greg Monroe during a first-half fast break. Absolutely atypical for Matthew, who we've all criticized now and then for playing too politely and avoiding contact. Maybe you can take the Britain out the boy, after all. . .

Isaiah committed five turnovers tonight and looked plain out of control at times. He also attempted 10 three-pointers. If I'm an NBA scout, I can't possibly be looking at I.T. as a first-round pick right now. After another couple of seasons? Oh yeah. But, not yet.

Quincy led the team in points (23), steals (5), and free throws made/attempted (3 for 3).

Point guard battle: Abdul Gaddy wins tonight. Venoy Overton played 10 minutes of good defense to start the game and then disappeared, finishing with two points, two steals, two rebounds, three turnovers, and one assist. Abdul Gaddy had two points, three assists, four rebounds, a steal, and three turnovers. I liked the way we looked with Gaddy on the floor at lot more tonight.

It looks to me like the coaches will need to develop Gaddy more quickly to lessen our propensity for turnovers against good teams. I can tolerate the growing pains if it means we'll be a better team come February, but let's start getting him 25 minutes every game and let him get better more quickly.

It'll be interesting to see how far the Huskies fall in the rankings after this one. Depending on how a few other games shake out later today and tomorrow, I'm guessing that they'll still be in the Top 25, but not by much.

Next up for the Dawgs is Portland, which beat the Huskies last season. The game is at Hec Ed at 7 PM next Saturday night.


Josh Anderson is the publisher of Montlake Madness, a 100 percent free fan site dedicated to University of Washington basketball. UDUBsports.com will be teaming up with Josh for the basketball season to provide even more comprehensive coverage of all the action!


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