Forward movement or a step backwards
Following their classic battle with Marquette earlier this week, the Washington Huskies stayed in the Big Apple for a weekend tilt with the sixth ranked Duke Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon.
As posted on NWSportsbeat before the NCAA season started, the Huskies matchup with the school from Durham, North Carolina, could play a key role in determining how successful the team will be this season.
When the starting five could not hit the East River if they were standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, the Huskies brash freshman guard, Tony Wroten, showed little effect under the spotlight and the national TV cameras.
Scoring the team’s first six points, Wroten picked up the team and carried them on his young shoulders, draining nine of the Huskies thirteen opening points.
However no matter how hard Wroten worked, a horrid shooting percentage from the field (32%) and less than impressive 4-9 from the line, gave reason for a 40-26 lead for the Blue Devils.
The double digit lead grew to as much as nineteen for Duke throughout the second half, as the saran wrap that covered the Huskies hoop in the first half was apparently switched over at the half, evident by the team’s struggles early in the period.
It appeared that the rout was on and the Dawgs would leave NYC with a mud hole stomped into their backs. However with seven minutes left, the invisible coating came off the rim and the baskets started to fall for the black and purple clad visitors.
Whereas the team was ice cold in the first half, which included nine turnovers, five of which came from Wroten, or Terrence Ross going 0-6 to start the game, the final seven minutes showed the country what this young Huskies team is capable of.
A barrage of layups and free throws by the trio of Tony Wroten Jr., Ross and C.J.Wilcox helped put a scare into the Blue Devils, who managed to hold on long enough to leave Madison Square Garden with an 86-80 victory.
After facing two of the top teams in the NCAA in back to back games on the “world’s biggest stage”, the Huskies know that they are able to stand toe to toe with the elite teams in the NCAA and it is only a matter of time before they fall into that conversation group.
The Huskies will have a five day break until they host five games in the friendly confines of the Alaska Airlines Arena before the calendar flips to 2012.
While the status of big man Aziz N’Diaye remains in question after spraining his knee in the second half against the Blue Devils, the team has found that no matter the lineup on the floor, that they are able to compete with the upper echelon teams in the NCAA.
BOXSCORE | Q’s POST GAME RECAP
Duke 86, Washington 80
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 10, 2011
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Officials: # Roger Ayers, # Karl Hess, # Les Jones