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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

December 16, 2011 at 10:46 PM

Tony Wroten Jr. ties UW freshman scoring record

wroten jams vs ucsb.jpg
Tony Wroten Jr. (right) admitted it was important for him to start Washington’s 87-80 win over UC Santa Barbara, but he also wanted to finish the game.
Because his poor free throw shooting made him a liability, he watched most of the final minutes from the bench upset with his inability to produce at the line. Wroten was pleased with the win that snapped UW’s three-game losing streak, but he barely enjoyed his 27-point performance that tied the school’s freshman scoring record held by Isaiah Thomas and Paul Fortier.
“I was frustrated at myself, not at coach (Lorenzo) Romar,” Wroten said. “I don’t blame him. He can’t have me in if I can’t make free throws or the other team would have won. I got to stay in the gym and work on my free throws.”
While Wroten was brilliant at times and thrilled the crowd with an array of dunks, an alley-oop pass and acrobatic layups, admittedly he faltered in the clutch. In addition to a missing the front end of 1-and-1 free throw situation, he committed two turnovers that helped UCSB turn a 10-point deficit with 5:26 left to a 77-77 tie with 3:30 left.
Unlike the defeats at Nevada and against No. 11 Marquette, Washington finished strong and escaped with the victory thanks to timely free throw shooting in the final 2 1/2 minutes from the other starters.
“I take blame for that because I made two crucial turnovers,” Wroten said. “In the huddle, it was calm. Coach Romar was like, ‘Settle down. Just play our game and we’re going to come out of here with a victory,” and we did. Coach says good teams have to be able to close the game out. We gathered the whole team and said that we have to get this win and that’s what we did.”
Despite the game late-game miscues, Wroten was the star. It was also a team effort and a commitment to defense that allowed the Huskies to win.
“Tony Wroten had a monster, monster game obviously,” Romar said. “He scored. He rebounded. He was all over the place. His presence was felt.”
Abdul Gaddy broke out of his so-called slump tonight and played well offensively. Guys like Desmond Simmons and Darnell Gant those guys were unsung heroes.”
Without injured center Aziz N’Diaye (sprained right knee), Romar broke out the four-guard lineup and it struggled at times in the first half. UCSB hurt UW inside with 7-foot-3 senior center Greg Somogyi who helped the Gauchos to a 22-14 rebounding edge at halftime.
Washington trailed 47-44 at the break and made a commitment to defense and rebounding. UW lost the rebounding battle 40-35, but it outscored UCSB 43-33 in the second half.
“They just kept getting to the rim,” Gauchos coach Bob Williams said. “We couldn’t stop the drive in the second half. They probably had three or four post entries this game, but their paint game is off of the dribble. We didn’t do a good job of stopping them there, and we didn’t do a good job keeping them out of the paint on offensive rebounds.”
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:


— Wroten logged a career-high 34 minutes and was in attack mode all night. He took the ball hard at Somogyi on three occasions and scored every time. He was aggressive and under control in the first half when he had just one turnover. He was spectacular on dribble drives and strong finishes. Wroten even made a three-pointer, his fourth of the season. As good as Wroten was, there’s a feeling he can be so much better if he improves on his deficiencies. In the first half he whiffed defensively on a few Gauchos who dribbled freely to the basket. He missed 10 of 21 shots and 5 of 9 free throws. He committed five turnovers and difficultly in the final minutes understanding UW needed to use the clock while creating opportunities for shooters like Wilcox and Ross.
Still in the past two games, Wroten has scored 50 points and he’s slowly imprinting his personality on the team. It’s debatable whether Romar wants one of his point guards finishing with just one assist and taking 21 shots while leading scorer Wilcox has just five attempts. But that’s a concern for another day.
“I can score, but I wouldn’t base my game off scoring,” Wroten said. “Right now I’m just doing what my teammates need. Right now we got a great point guard in Abdul.”
— Gaddy broke out of a five-game slump and tied his career high of 17 points. The junior guard was very efficient. He sank his first four shots and was 6 of 10 from the field, including two three-pointers. Maybe it was the sight of Wroten darting into the lane, but Gaddy was as aggressive as he’s been in a long time. It’s always been odd why he defers so much when he has the size to bully his way to the basket and he’s able to create space for a layup. In 32 minutes, he didn’t commit a turnover.
The question about being a play maker dogs Wroten must also be asked of Gaddy on a night when he takes 10 shots and dishes just one assist.
“I just tried to come out and be really aggressive,” Gaddy said. “I was trying to get to the foul line as much as possible – that’s what we’ve been working on all week, just trying to get more people up to the foul line, like me, Terrence, and CJ. Tony gets to the free throw line a lot. I was trying to get to the foul line and just be really aggressive.”
— Ross scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half. He was perfect at the line connecting on four free throws, collected five rebounds and distributed a team-high two assists. But the best thing Ross did was pester Gauchos guard Orlando Johnson in the second half for many of his six turnovers. Johnson dominated their personal battle in the first half and statistically he had a better outing finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds. However, Ross had a superior second half and was impressive in the final minutes while Johnson appeared to be tired.
“[Coach told us] we needed to step up, step up and take charge and told me to guard Orlando, so I just took that and accepted the challenge,” Ross said. “I guarded him and slowed him down. I’m just happy that I slowed him down.
— Gant was in the right place at the right time when the game was tied 77-77. Ross and Gaddy missed jumpers before Gant secured the rebound and scored on the putback despite being fouled. He hit the ensuing free throw and UW never looked back. Gant held UCSB Jamie Serna to six points and three rebounds. Meanwhile Gant had a season-high eight rebounds – four on the offensive glass – and nine points in 31 minutes. He also took a season-high five free throw attempts and made four.
— Simmons did almost everything Gant did in six fewer minutes. He also had nine points and eight rebounds, including three offensive boards. Like Gant, he drained a three-pointer and was 1 for 1 at the line. He also battled inside despite surrendering size and height to the Gauchos front line. Simmons collected two steals. It doesn’t show up on the box score, his most significant contribution was taking charges. Not sure how many offensive fouls Simmons drew, but he did a good job clogging lanes to the basket with his body.
— The biggest play C.J. Wilcox made was a block in the final minutes that helped seal the victory. He picked up three fouls in the first half and had just one shot attempt after the break in nine second-half minutes. This may be a learning experience for Wilcox. If the point guards are going to put their heads down and drive to the rim, then he may not get many passes.
— After not playing in the previous outing against Duke, Shawn Kemp Jr. logged 10 minutes. He managed just two points and one rebound, but he gave the Huskies another big body to throw at the Gauchos and Somogyi.
— Freshmen Martin Breunig played five scoreless minutes in the first half and Hikeem Stewart logged two scoreless minutes in the second.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, C.J. Wilcox, top 25

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