Finally a rout. It’s been awhile since Washington had a bonafide blowout. The last time? A 74-51 win over Cal State Northridge on Dec. 22.
After tonight’s 69-41 victory over USC, the Huskies were able to rest Tony Wroten Jr. and C.J. Wilcox and give reserve walk-ons Brendan Sherer and Alex Wegner their first run in six weeks.
Washington did exactly what it needed to do against an undermanned USC squad. The Huskies simply wore down the Trojans and took control of the game midway in the second half.
At times it was ugly. Both teams combined to shoot 3 of 30 three-pointers. However, Washington was vastly superior inside the arc. The Huskies shot 40 percent in the first half and 57.1 percent in the second, while the Trojans were 30 percent and 27.6.
USC’s 41 points were the fewest a conference team has tallied against UW since the Huskies beat Oregon State 50-40 on Feb. 10, 1996.
Washington finishes the season with five of seven games on the road, including Thursday’s game at Oregon.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said he’s happy the Huskies didn’t begin the season with five of seven games on the road.
“It’s been a work in progress for a while,” he said. “When I looked at the big picture with our schedule, and I saw that we were home-game heavy earlier in the schedule, I thought, with our team, that’s exactly what we needed because I thought we might be able to trick a couple of teams until we started to get better.
“If this would have been reversed, if we would have had five out of seven on the road early, our record would be far different because we weren’t ready for that. But now I think we’re a little more prepared to handle what we’re about to face. I’m not making any predictions; I just think we’re a little more prepared to handle it.
Thanks to Kyle McCormick for the highlights.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Hard to believe Wroten considered sitting out tonight. He said the thigh bruise is still bothering him, but he didn’t appear a step slow against USC. Wroten was quietly dominant. He scored a few times on post ups and finished with 13 points. He connected on 3 of 4 free throws. He hauled in five offensive rebounds and six total. Wroten also doled out a career-high eight assists and had just one turnover in 29 minutes.
Said Romar: “That’s progress. I thought Tony played like a veteran. Good to see that.”
Said Wroten: “(I’m) banged up a lot. It’s still sore and all, but you know, I feel good. Sitting down a lot at half time, it gets stiff. But we got the win and (Monday) during practice, we just got to get back healthy because we have two big road games coming up.
— Terrence Ross was also very good tonight. He didn’t shoot particularly well and was 3 of 9 from the floor, including an air ball. However, the 6-6 guard tied his personal best and collected 14 rebounds. Washington dominated the glass 52-23 thanks to Ross. He also has 10 points and two steals, which offset three turnovers.
— On Thursday Darnell Gant had just one rebound and Saturday he had seven – including three on the offensive glass – in 21 minutes. Gant also had eight points. It’s clear that as the season winds down, he’s being more vocal and making sure everyone is on the same page.
Said Gant: “It’s big [winning tonight] because it shows what our character is. It shows that we’re looking at the big picture and we can’t overlook USC because they’re at the bottom of the Pac-12 right now. We have to take this game just like we played UCLA and take it as we played Arizona. Take them as they’re a team that could potentially knock us off and we don’t want that. We have to keep ourselves in a position where we have a nice cushion.
— Solid efforts from Abdul Gaddy (six points, six assists and four rebounds) and Aziz N’Diaye (nine points and five rebounds). Gaddy missed all four of the three-pointers he attempted and was much better when he muscled his way into the lane for layups. N’Diaye did his best work in transition when he caught the ball while sprinting and finished two transition fast breaks.
— Shawn Kemp Jr. and Desmond Simmons both played 13 minutes, but they had totally different games. For the second straight game, Kemp provided a spark off the bench and produced a highlight dunk. He had six points. Meanwhile Simmons didn’t look for his shot and corralled four rebounds.
— As noted earlier, Wilcox got more time on the bench than he did in the game. He played just 14 minutes, his second fewest this season. Wilcox appeared rusty. He had as many turnovers (four) as he did points. Still it was good to see him impact the game in ways other than scoring. Wilcox had two steals, two blocks and three rebounds.
— Austin Seferian-Jenkins came in late and displayed some nice low post en route to five points and three rebounds in six minutes.
— Hikeem Stewart drained a three- pointer – his second in his career.
— Martin Breunig thrilled the crowd with a two-hand flush in traffic and had four points in six minutes.
— Sherrer and Wegner were the only players who didn’t score.