Thanks to Kyle McCormick for the highlights.
Big win for Washington, which played its third straight game without C.J. Wilcox. The Huskies unveiled something they hadn’t shown all season – toughness.
They were physically dominant in the 76-63 win over Stanford. They beat up the Cardinal on the glass, winning the rebound battle 47-32. They dove for loose balls. They set hard picks. They forced turnovers. They won the 50-50 balls. They forced the tempo and attacked the rim with dribble drive layups and didn’t settle for three-pointers.
Washington can win consistently with this type of effort at home and on the road.
Not sure if this was the Huskies best game of the season, but it was close. I thought they played well against Marquette despite the loss and they were sensational against Oregon.
But that was a different game. The Huskies torched the Ducks with 12 three-point shots.
Today Washington made just five outside the arc. And it was a meager 11 of 24 at the free throw line.
The Huskies simply battered Stanford like a little brother. Tony Wroten Jr. muscled his way to 21 points on a slew of layups. Everyone inside the building knew what was going to happen, but he still was able to rock his defender off balance before slicing to the basket.
But Washington won this game on the defensive end. The Huskies held the Cardinal to 26.5 percent (9 of 34) shooting in the first half and 35.9 percent (23 of 64) in the game. Aside from Josh Owens, who scored 14 points, Stanford had no consistent offensive threat.
During a 10-minute stretch in the first half, Stanford converted just one field goal.
“I thought they were defending well,” Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. “Give credit to how well they played us. I thought we had some good looks that we didn’t make. That’s part of basketball. We didn’t see it go in tonight on some of our looks. A lot of that…give credit to Washington.”
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Co-MVPs today. Let’s start with Wroten. He recognized he had a mismatch almost every time he had the ball and he exploited Stanford’s lack of size in the back court. Wroten converted 9 of 14 shots. He collected five rebounds and had four assists. He also had two steals and a block, which offset three turnovers.
— Got to give a nod to Romar as the other MVP. Not only did he capture win No. 300 and Pac-12 win No. 100, he also made two effective adjustments with the rotations. Romar gave Austin Seferian-Jenkins his first start at home, which put a jolt in the near-sellout crowd. And Romar moved Desmond Simmons to the perimeter at times, to give the guards a rest.
— For the third straight game, Terrence Ross shook off a miserable performance in the first half and came on strong in the end. He was 1 for 8 in the first half before finishing with 18 points.
“After the WSU game these two teams have played me differently so it just takes a little time to figure out what they are giving me,” he said. “I just have to stay patient and find other ways to contribute to the team and be successful.”
— Darnell Gant bounced back in a big way. The senior forward missed a potential game-tying three-pointer on Thursday. Today he responded with 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He also had seven rebounds in 27 minutes.
“I tried to go out there and help be a leader, kind of forget about last game,” Gant said during a post-game radio interview. “It started with offensive rebounds. They weren’t boxing out very well and I got a couple tip ins, a couple cheap ones. After my first shot, I felt like I got a good look, but I came up short like I did in the last game. I had to contribute in other places, so offensive rebounding and had to start hitting my open shots.”
— Admittedly, Seferian-Jenkins knows about 3-4 plays, but that didn’t matter. He knew enough to be effective. ASJ finished with seven rebounds in his first game with the Huskies. He provided UW with a physical presence that included several hard screens. ASJ also had a steal and an assist. He missed his only shot, a mid-range jumper. ASJ also provided 16 quality minutes when Aziz N’Diaye got in foul trouble.
“It was fun out there,” he said. “I had a great time with my teammates. It was cool, it was just like practice.”
— You had the feeling Abdul Gaddy could score 25 points if he wanted to. Like Wroten, Stanford had no one who could keep him out of the paint. It was surprising to see Gaddy commit a season-high five turnovers, but he was being extra aggressive at times. He also had nine points and six rebounds.
“I felt like I could get to the basket every time and make a play for myself or a teammate,” Gaddy said. “I tried to come out and be very aggressive.”
— The statistics don’t reflect what N’Diaye did. Foul trouble limited his minutes (18), but when he was on the floor he was an intimidating presence on the defensive end. He had six rebounds and five points.
— Simmons seemed to be adjusting to his new role and playing alongside Seferian-Jenkisn. At times he was on the perimeter, which didn’t allow him to attack the glass like he normally does. He had just one rebound in 28 minutes. Simmons was effective shooting the ball and converted 3 of 5 shots.