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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 20, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Huskies down Ducks, bound for New York

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Photo credit: Seattle Times – Dean Rutz
The Huskies may have trouble getting past the NCAA tournament Sweet 16 recently, but they had no difficulties Tuesday navigating a path to the NIT Final Four.
Washington is going to New York and coach Lorenzo Romar began spreading the news – and serenading the Edmundson Pavilion crowd of 9,140 – shortly after a 90-86 win over Oregon in the quarterfinals.
This one had a little bit of everything.
It had 13 lead changes and the score was tied 10 times. It had a near sellout crowd that was vocal, engaged and rowdy. It had slams and jams, bad calls from Pac-12 officials, brilliant performances and a fantastic finish.
It was March Madness on a small dance stage at its zaniest. It was an entertaining game on ESPN and a chance for the Pac-12 to perhaps change its horrible national reputation.
Romar summed up things best when he said: “I would have to say, that was an outstanding basketball game. A total of 15 turnovers between the two teams. I think both teams were playing pretty efficient basketball. A lot of plays, big plays that were made. It was one of those “somebody had to lose” type games. I’m proud of our team and I’m proud that we were the ones that came out on top and we’re headed to New York.”
Not sure how many people really believed Romar last week when he said the NIT was fun. It sure didn’t seem fun when Washington walked through the first 30 minutes of a win against Texas-Arlington.
But the intensity increased last Friday with a victory against Northwestern and Tuesday the atmosphere inside Hec Ed was as good as its been all season. And what a way for the UW fans and the Huskies to say goodbye to each other in the home finale. The crowd was spirited in the opening minutes when Terrence Ross revved up the action with a three to start UW’s scoring and the noise reached a crescendo in the closing moments when Tony Wroten Jr. dropped a dunk that put UW up five with 51 seconds left.
And if it was the final home game for Ross and Wroten, then they gave the crowd something to remember.
Ross scored a game-high 24 points while Wroten added 22.
“It’s good because none of us want our season to end,” Wroten said. “We want to win another trophy. Going to New York, last time we went there, we didn’t win any games. That’s more motivation for us and playing for a national championship for the NIT, that’s even more motivation. We’re so close to doing it. We have a lot on the line, so we just have to stay focused to pull it out.”
If the Huskies continue to play the way they have in the past two games, then they’re likely to return from New York with championship hardware.
On Friday, they overwhelmed Northwestern with a defense that was dialed in and offensively they made extra passing, which allowed Ross and C.J. Wilcox to to provide the scoring.
Corrected: 7:49 p.m.
On Tuesday, Washington won with its defense once again. The Ducks shot 53.3 percent from the field in the first half, but the Huskies held thme to 38.5 percent in the second. Washington took away Oregon’s strengths on the offensive end and was going to live with backup forward Olu Ashaolu scoring a team-high 20 points and Tony Woods chipping in a career-high 15 just as long as it kept tabs on the Ducks’ Big Three of Devoe Joseph, E.J. Singler and Garrett Sim. In the second half they combined for 20 points on 7-for-22 shooting.
Meanwhile, Washington won a game at the free throw for the first time this season. The Huskies shot 8 of 12 at the line in the first half, but in the second half they were 19 of 23 (82.6 percent) at the charity stripe.
Wroten was 10 of 14 on foul shots, Aziz N’Diaye was 3 of 4, Abdul Gaddy 4 of 6 and Austin Seferian-Jenkins 1 of 2. Ross was perfect on three attempts, but no one hit bigger shots than Wilcox who sealed the win with a 6-for-6 performance on UW’s last three possessions.
“Free throws are huge that has been one of our main points all season is making free throws in the last four minutes of the game,” Wilcox said. “We had to do it and it really helps to seal the game.”
Oregon was 17 of 22 at the line and 7 of 10 in the second half. Sim complained about the free throw disparity.
“”We weren’t getting any calls tonight and they were getting all of them,” he said. “Apparently if you flop you get a foul called, for them.”
When it was over Romar addressed the fans for a second straight game and for a second it was as if the UW coach was auditioning for American Idol as he coughed out a line of “New York, New York” despite being hoarse.
Wish I had video of Romar singing, but here’s a clip of ‘ole Blue Eyes belting out the classic.

Madison Square Garden NIT Ticket Information
Fans can purchase NIT semifinal and final tickets now directly from Madison Square Garden. Click here for more ticket information or call 866-858-0008.
If the Huskies win on Tuesday night, semifinal tickets will also go on sale to Husky fans through the Husky Ticket Office Thursday, March 22 at 8:30am.
Please contact the Husky Ticket Office at 206-543-2200 for more NIT ticket information.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:


— Other players had more points, but not sure if anyone had a bigger impact on the game than Gaddy. Remember this game because it’s the measuring stick – at least for now – that he’ll be judged against. This was the game Gaddy fans had been waiting for all season. He’s had more points and rebounds, but he’s never been better than he was tonight. Gaddy finished with 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting. He distributed 10 assists – two shy of his personal best- and had just two turnovers. He collected a career-high tying seven rebounds. And he blocked a shot, just his fifth of the season.
Aside from the block, Gaddy had the defensive assignment to shut down Joseph, Oregon’s leading scorer, and he held him to 4-for-15 shooting and 12 harmless points. He scored five in the final minute when UW wasn’t going to foul anyone and playing shadow defense.
Gaddy also had perhaps the defensive play of the game when he drew a charge on Singler, who picked up his fifth foul with 55 seconds left.
— Ross is averaging 26.3 points in the NIT and thanks to ESPN, he’s making an impression on viewers who may have been unfamiliar with Pac-12 basketball. He scored 12 points in each half and he’s playing with an offensive ease that hadn’t been there this season.
— Wroten surpassed Isaiah Thomas and became UW’s all-time freshman scoring leader. You just knew after attempting five shots in each of the past two games, he was going to be extra-aggressive tonight. And sure enough, Wroten was in attack mode against Sim, Oregon’s zone defense and especially 5-8 guard Jonathan Loyd. That’s the beauty of Romar’s motion/read offense. It allows players like Wroten to adapt. In the past two games, he dished out eight and seven assists and tonight he was more of a scorer than a playmaker. He gook 15 shots and made six. Sim called it flopping, and it’s understandable he’s upset considering Wroten’s 14 free throws. Still not sure if he was flopping or just being aggressive at the rim. Wroten also provided a defensive highlight when he raced down court and blocked Joseph’s jumper.
Romar on Wroten: “I said many times, it [his game] just shows his versatility. He had eight assists in the Arlington game and took maybe five shots and contributed in that way. Tonight, he went to the line and hit 10 out of 14. He rebounded and had a big-time hustle play on the block on the 3-point shot. He just busted his tail like a champion. He got on the floor and did things like that. He just shows a lot of versatility on the floor. Each game presents a different challenge and he’s talented enough to adjust to whatever games he plays.”
— Couldn’t help but to think about the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal game against Oregon State tonight when Wilcox repeatedly went to the line and sealed the game with free throws. Credit Wroten for passing him the ball knowing Oregon was going to foul and UW wanted the ball in the hands of its best FT shooter. If Wilcox and not Wroten had taken those four infamous FT attempts against OSU, then things may be different for the Huskies. Wilcox great performance at the line and he was pretty good behind the arc where he made 3 of 6 en route to 17 points off the bench.
— N’Diaye collected his fourth foul with 8:38 left and Romar left him in the game. Oregon repeatedly went at the 7-foot center and attempted to draw a fifth foul, but N’Diaye played remarkable defense. He contested shots that needed to be contested and he backed away when out of defensive position. N’Diaye’s lack of aggression in the late minutes was part of the reason why Ashaolu scored so much, but the Huskies needed their big guy on the court. He finished with seven rebounds and five points in 20 minutes.
N’Diaye on Romar’s advice after picking up the fourth foul: “He just told me to be smart, because at that time we needed to get stops near the end of the game, but I couldn’t get my fifth foul. I just made sure to stay on my feet and not jump to block shots. He just told me to be smart so that is what I did.”
— The best thing Darnell Gant did was collect five offensive rebounds – seven total – and help with defense on Singler. Gant also had six points on 3-for-five shooting.
Gant on Singler: “I was just trying to take him off the three point line. It was a team effort. We just had to make sure that he didn’t get open looks, because if he gets open and gets going he is pretty hard to stop. He is a good player and when he gets hot he can hit a lot of shots. He is a work horse so we just had to try to slow him down.”
— Seferian-Jenkins smiles and smirks whenever he gets into a collision with someone. It’s as if he enjoys knocking folks around. Because N’Diaye was in foul trouble, ASJ was asked to play 15 important minutes and he had three points, three rebounds and dished out four hard fouls. It’s significant that Romar has placed so much trust in a freshman part-time player. If ASJ were to devote more time and effort into basketball, it would be interesting to see what type of player he’d become. Everyone knows his future is in football, but he thrives in games like this when he’s able to bang in the post. He’s also comfortable catching laser passes from Wroten, but needs to work on finishing in traffic.
Desmond Simmons logged five minutes in the first half and didn’t play in the second.

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

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