The fifth game in the renewed rivalry between Washington and Seattle University ended in a rout like three other ones. The Huskies received a scare last season, but they managed to win by eight after pulled away in the final five minutes.
This one, however, was over early.
Washington led by as much as 27 late in the first half and was never seriously challenged during an 87-74 rout. The Huskies struggled for a few minutes early in the second half when the Redhawks cut their deficit to 13 with 17:43 left. That’s when UW regained control and four minutes later it was ahead by 20 (61-41).
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar called it the most complete game of the season. The 84-73 overtime win against Seton Hall would be a close second. However, this time the Huskies didn’t collapse in the second half. They kept the Redhawks at bay and found ways to break SU’s pesky full-court press.
With backup point guard Andrew Andrews (ankle) on the bench, Seattle U wanted to try and force turnovers and possibly wear down Abdul Gaddy. Turns out the ploy backfired horribly on the Redhawks.
Washington routinely raced through SU’s press with deft passing and aggressive playmaking. Time and again, a UW guard raced down the court with SU players in pursuit and forcing a 1-on-2 situation that either led to Aziz N’Diaye scoring inside or an open shot on the perimeter for one of the trailing players.
In this type of wide open game, the Huskies flourished. They shot 64.3 percent from the field in the first half and took only three three-point attempts. Washington was also very efficient at the line converting 21 of 27 (77.8 percent).
All five starters scored in double figures for the first time this season, including Scott Suggs (above, right) who had a career-high 24 points. Two players (Desmond Simmons and N’Diaye) finished with a double double, which is something that hasn’t happened in at least two seasons.
It’s difficult to know if Washington played good defense when it held SU to 27 first-half points because the Redhawks were so inept offensively. Before halftime they were 11 of 32 from the field (34.4 percent) and 2 of 12 on free throws.
The Huskies surrendered 47 points in the second half, but they were simply trading baskets in the final minutes and trying to run out the clock.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Suggs suffered from cramps that he said made his entire lower body stiff. At times late in the second half, he needed to come out of the game and take rest. Even still, the senior guard had what Romar said was “maybe his best game as a Husky.” Suggs converted 7 of 10 shots, including two three-pointers and all eight free throws. He also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes.
— Simmons had his third straight game of double digit rebounds. Tonight he finished with 12. He’s throwing his body around and it’s becoming infectious. Simmons is constantly diving or falling on the floor and just getting his hands on the basketball. His best play may have been on the defensive end when he chased down a fast break and blocked a layup. Or it may have been the time when he dove out of bounds for a steal. When Simmons hustles teams are forced to foul him and he connected on 7 of 8 free throws en route to 13 points.
— N’Diaye notched his third double double and finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He simply played like a big man and did a nice job finishing plays with layups or dunks. He was 7 of 12.
— Without Andrews, Gaddy was invaluable and he played 40 minutes. Washington could live with his six turnovers as long as he directed the offense and finished with five assists, 11 points and two steals.
— It was somewhat of an off performance from C.J. Wilcox who had 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
— Hikeem Stewart finished with a career-high six points and made all three of his attempts. He played with poise offensively and did a nice job taking care of the ball. Near the end, he took a nasty spill and hyperextended his knee. After the game, Romar said he was fine.
— Shawn Kemp Jr. added five points in 13 minutes.
— Jernard Jarreau played five of his seven minutes in the first half. He had two points and two rebounds.
— Reserves Martin Breunig, Quinn Sterling and Dion Overstreet all made late-game appearances.