Pac-12 Honors: Week 12Posted by AMurawa on January 31st, 2012
Team of the Week
Washington – The Huskies vaulted themselves into a first place tie in the Pac-12 on the strength of a road sweep of the Arizona schools. For a team that has struggled on the road in recent years (they were 10-15 on the road in the last three seasons, prior to this weekend), this weekend not only kept the Huskies on pace for a conference title, but it should give their young squad (the team is #296 in the nation in terms of years of experience) some much-needed confidence for the road tests that still lie ahead, specifically trips to the Oregon and Los Angeles schools, as well as a jaunt east to face Washington State. The Huskies were far from perfect this weekend, as they nearly coughed up a late lead against Arizona and their six-point win over Arizona State wasn’t exactly inspiring, but simply winning games on the road is a significant accomplishment. Plus, their defensive intensity was fairly consistent and they held their two opponents to just 0.93 points per possession on the road trip. All things considered, it was a strong weekend for the Huskies that not only put them in excellent shape in the Pac-12 race, but also put them back on the radar as far as a potential NCAA at-large bid is concerned.
Player of the Week
Jared Cunningham, Jr, Oregon State – The Beavers only played one game this weekend, but Cunningham was spectacular in it – or, he was spectacular in half of it, at least. After scoring just three points in a lackluster first half that found his team trailing by five with just 23 points on the board, Cunningham got a serious wake-up call at halftime and exploded for 24 points in the second half. He made five of his eight second-half field goal attempts, including two-of-three from deep, and made 12 of 15 free throws, including several down the stretch, to help put away Oregon. Most importantly, he helped his team come away with a win, bringing them back to within a game of .500 on the season, and in doing so, he renewed his candidacy for the conference Player of the Year award.
Newcomer of the Week
Jonathan Gilling, Fr, Arizona State – The 6’7” freshman from Denmark has seen his minutes skyrocket in January with all of the upheaval in the Sun Devil program, and he has done a good job making the most of his opportunity. He helped Arizona State stick around against Washington on Thursday night by hitting five three-pointers and grabbing five boards in 39 minutes of action, then displayed a whole other side to his game in a win against Washington State on Saturday, handing out seven assists and scoring most of his ten points from inside the arc in 38 minutes of action. Given the departure of Rihards Kuksiks, a similar type of player who made significant contributions to the program over four season, Gilling has a good template for his role in Herb Sendek’s program.