In between fans and media monitoring the Seattle Seahawks (shocking) playoff win, the Washington Huskies were at Hec Ed handling business in the Pac-10 this time dispatching Oregon State 103-72.
And perhaps this wasn’t quite the way people expected the Washington Huskies to go through the Pac-10 – for the second game in a row, it was a big second half run that helped them defeat an Oregon opponent in a game that was far more intensely fought than the score implies.
OSU’s defensive energy translated to offensive execution as well as a few lucky bankshots and UW found themselves down nine with 3:23 left in the first half.
Then things turned around in the second half.
“I just think we just got comfortable,” said Huskies power forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who had a double-double with game-highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds. “Obviously their zones that they do is different from a lot of people we’ve played against and a lot of people in the country. So I think it was sort of like the Oregon game – we were kind of stifled trying to figure out what they were running and then once we got comfortable we capitalized.”
Once they did get comfortable they simply overwhelmed an Oregon State team that came out aggressively seemed to struggle to adjust after the Huskies came out of the gate in second half with a 14 to 2 run. And although it was certainly an outstanding offensive performance by the Huskies who shot 64.1 percent in the second half their offense was propelled by the defense.
“Everybody looks at the scoreboard and the way we have been scoring and that’s just ’cause we run,” said Bryan-Amaning. “But the only reason we’re gonna run is if we get stops or if we get contested shots, rebounds, and push it. So as long as we keep doing that it’s going to give fire to our offense.”
The Huskies scored 15 points off turnovers in the second half after scoring only two in the second half as well as establishing an 11 to 2 advantage in fast break points in the second half.
On the perimeter, Isaiah Thomas continued to play well as both a distributor and scorer with 19 points and eight assists while only committing one turnover. Thomas and senior guard Venoy Overton – who stepped into the lineup after Abdul Gaddy was lost for the season – did an outstanding job of dissecting the OSU defense and it was arguably Overton’s shot at the end of the half that catalyzed their second half run.
“Momentum – we was down the whole first half,” said Thomas. “And for him to go down on about 10 dudes and make that floater, it was a momentum change and we brought it into the second half.”
For Oregon State, guard Jared Cunningham ended up being the bright spot, finishing with a team-high 21 points on 6-for-13 shooting.