Don Ruiz of the Tacoma News Tribune has already noted that defense was a major problem for the Washington Huskies in last night's 68-56 road loss to the Oregon State Beavers.
UW Huskies Insider - " Huskies: The killer problem is defense The News Tribune Blogs, Tacoma, WA
On how this loss was like the one at WSU) "One of the issues was defensively again, we weren’t disciplined on defense tonight. We took far too many gambles, far too many chances. We could sit around and talk about what player didn’t get enough shots or what player stepped up. If we’re not disciplined on defense, that is on me.
When looking closely at the numbers, the biggest consequence of the gambles Romar mentioned was putting OSU on the free throw line 38 times. In particular, OSU guard Jared Cunningham's ability to get to the line 17 times is a significant reason why the Beavers won the game. Travis Margoni of Beyond The Beat cited last night's game as something of a statement game for Cunningham.
Hardwood Notebook: Beavers Take Down No. 20 Washington | February
Cunningham Gets Physical: Jared Cunningham led the way with 19 points for the Beavers, shooting 13-17 from the free throw line -- a career high in attempts at the line. He was physical all game, getting into a brief scrum with UW guard Venoy Overton in the second half as the two positioned for an OSU inbound play. After the referees separated the two, Cunningham immediately waived off his teammates and beat Overton off the drive to draw a foul on Bryan-Amaning. Two possessions later, he beat Overton again and drew another foul. This was leadership enacted, a statement moment wherein the young guard refused to be bullied or intimidated on his own court. OSU's program is seeing a star mature this year in Cunningham.
As a team, the Beavers went to the line 38 times compared to the Huskies' 19 attempts. And although OSU only made 63.2 percent of theirs, the Huskies only shot 47.4 percent from the charity stripe.
Even if UW fans were to call into question whether home cooking accounts for such a wide disparity, bad defense has more to do with that than anything else and that was only compounded by UW's inability to capitalize on the attempts they did have in addition to never finding a way to match Cunningham's aggression offensively.
If you're going to shoot 32.3 percent from the field, making free throws and defending better than they did is a must. Last night they did neither and so as bad as the 12 point loss feels today, over time it will make this performance look far better than it actually was.