C.J. Wilcox (far right) downplayed the importance of Washington’s 72-62 win over Oregon State tonight.
“We can’t get too happy about it because they are an 11th-place team (in the Pac-12),” he said. “But we’ll take it to get off that losing streak. It just feels good to finally get one and get off that streak.”
That three-game losing streak is history thanks to a sensational second-half performance from the Huskies. They trailed 34-32 at the break and was in the process of literally giving the game away to the Beavers. Washington committed 13 turnovers in the first half that 19 points for OSU.
Things changed after halftime.
In the second half, Washington outscored Oregon State 40-28 and held the Beavers to 24.1 percent (7 of 29).
Abdul Gaddy drove and converted a short jumper that put UW ahead 38-36 with 17:25 left and the Huskies never trailed again. They led by as many as seven (48-41) before the Beavers closed to within one point (53-52).
Washington rebuilt its lead to nine (63-54) and OSU cut the margin to six (63-57) when the Huskies converted nine of its final 10 free throws. They were 14 of 19 on foul shots in the game.
If not for the turnovers it might have been the best game for the Huskies since they began the Pac-12 season with a 4-0 record.
They had more rebounds (41-28), more assists (16-11), more blocks (five to two), shot better from the field (50 percent to 33.9 percent) and was more accurate on free throws (73.7 percent to 70.4 percent).
They had everyone play their roles almost perfectly.
Wilcox scored a game-high 24 points. Gaddy delivered a season-high nine assists and Andrews Andrews had six. Scott Suggs played good defense on OSU’s Roberto Nelson and Aziz N’Diaye locked up Joe Burton in the second half. Shawn Kemp Jr. added scoring in the post. Andrews and Jernard Jarreau added a lift off the bench. And Desmond Simmons gave the Huskies an edge in a chippy game that had two flagrant I fouls.
But it’s premature to suggest the Huskies have turned the corner. They snapped a four-game losing streak with a 96-92 win over Arizona State, but followed that victory with three straight defeats.
But as coach Lorenzo Romar noted: “We needed to get a game on the positive side of the score so that we can start to feel some sort of success. You drop seven out of eight, doubt can creep in. We needed to get a win to start thinking the other way.”
MORE NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— The Huskies are 11-4 when Wilcox scores at least 18 points and 3-8 when he doesn’t. Seems like a silly benchmark, but it’s relevant in many ways. Often times Wilcox gets points at the end of games because opponents need to foul and the Huskies try to get the ball in his hands so he’s on the line. Wilcox scoring also puts everyone in their proper place offensively. Gaddy and Andrews are looking to get the shooters involved and the big guys are looking to rebound. Wilcox was nonchalant after the game about his 7-for-14 shooting performance. He was also 3 of 8 on three-pointers. He felt he missed shots that would normally go down. Maybe so. But it was good to see him being aggressive early, driving into the lane and pulling up for short jumpers.
It was his best game since scoring 23 points against OSU on Jan. 23.
Tonight he was also good on the defensive end where he blocked three shots and collected four of his six rebounds.
— Jarreau has never played better this season for the Huskies. If he had played like this early in the season when he started seven games, he might still be in the lineup if not the rotation. He hadn’t played in the past two games and was used sparingly in the four previous contests. The last time he played more than 10 minutes was against the Beavers nearly three weeks ago. Romar said he wanted to get more minutes for Jarreau believing his long wingspan and 6-10 frame could combat OSU’s dangerous front line.
Jarreau delivered. He played 21 minutes, the most since Nov. 28. He made 4 of 5 field goals for eight points He also had seven rebounds, an assist, steal and block.
— After tallying a personal best 17 points on Wednesday, Gaddy returned to his more comfortable role as a playmaker. The Huskies can live with his three turnovers if he’s doling out nine assists in 30 minutes. Gaddy calmly deciphered OSU’s press and zone defense. Most of the night, he made the proper reads, passes and got the ball to Wilcox. Gaddy also helped hold Ahmad Starks to eight points.
— Andrews, the other redshirt freshman, made a significant impact. Must be something about OSU, which brings out the best in him because he matched his career-high six assists that he set in the first game against the Beavers. Andrews also scored 11 points, made all four FTs and collected two steals in 29 minutes.
— While N’Diaye struggled inside, Kemp flourished shine. Especially in the second half when he scored all 10 of his points. He displayed maturity while keeping his composure after registering just one rebound in seven first-half minutes. Kemp wasn’t a factor on the glass, but UW needed his inside scoring.
— Simmons is at his best when he’s toting the line between passionate and maniacal. At home his all-out-hustle antics plays to the crowd and endears him to fans. He got tangled with Eric Moreland that resulted both players crashing to the court and in a flagrant I foul on the OSU forward. Simmons finished with five rebounds – three offensive – and six points in 12 minutes. Can’t beat that kind of production.
— Suggs helped hold Nelson to miss 13 of 16 shots. Otherwise, it was a quiet night offensively for the UW guard who had four points on 2-for-7 shooting in 25 minutes.
— N’Diaye finished with more turnovers (six) than points (five) or rebounds (four). He had difficulty catching passes in the post. When he did get it, he sometimes lost the ball while trying to make a move or making another pass.