For the first time this season, two Washington players scored at least 20 points in a game.
Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox (far right) each had 23 points to lead the Huskies to a 72-68 win over Washington State. It was a brilliant offensive display from the UW tandem, who each made seven field goals.
Suggs did his damage from long range, converting 5 of 8 three-pointers, while Wilcox made 8 of 10 free throws. He also added five rebounds and four steals in 37 minutes.
With Abdul Gaddy contributing six assists and nine points it was the best game this season from Washington’s starting guards. Watching this game, you had a sense that this is what the Huskies were supposed to look like this season.
Suggs and Wilcox were supposed to spread the defense thin. Gaddy was going to orchestrate the offense and the big guys Shawn Kemp Jr. and Aziz N’Diaye were supposed to play defense, grab rebounds and contribute a little scoring.
“Me being the quarterback on the floor, you got to have two wide receivers ready to catch the ball,” Gaddy said. “When Scott gets going the defense has to focus more on him, Then C.J. gets more wide open. And we got guys like Shawn scoring and Aziz. It just opens up the floor that much more for everyone else.”
It worked almost perfectly for the Huskies on Sunday. They shot 53.3 percent from the field, including 7 of 17 (41.2 percent) on three-pointers. They had 11 assists on 24 field goals. They got to the free throw line 27 times and made 17 (63.0 percent). They also committed 13 turnovers, but WSU converted the miscues into just seven points.
Conversely Washington received 25 points from 18 WSU turnovers.
But it wasn’t a flawless performance.
Coach Lorenzo Romar lamented UW mustered just four fast-break points. The Huskies received just 12 points from its front line, which is somewhat understandable because this was a game in which the little guys thrived.
Washington State shot 51.2 percent from the field and made nine three-pointers, but UW played fairly decent defense. The Huskies held Brock Motum in check. He still finished with 18 points, but it could have been worse judging from his start. Motum scored five points on WSU’s first two possessions. He had seven at halftime and 11 in the second half.
The Huskies also collected eight steals, their most in the past five games. They also had four blocks. Strange to note, WSU failed to register a block.
Stranger still that only 8,508 were in attendance at Alaska Airlines Arena. But considering the Huskies are averaging 7,857 fans at home this season, maybe it’s not so strange.
One of the fans in attendance was incoming freshman Nigel Williams-Goss, the McDonald’s All-American point guard from Las Vegas.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Scott Suggs where have you been? He had been in a three-game slump before the Feb. 23 game at Arizona State when he was 5 of 22 from the field and 0 for 7 on three-pointers while not scoring more than four points in each contest. Suggs said he had a talk with Romar who told him to play with intensity and passion. The pep talk seems as if it worked. Suggs scored 16 points against ASU including the clinching three-pointer in the final minute. Today he had 23 points that seemed to come effortlessly.
Suggs made several nice offensive moves in the second half. He had a nice pump fake that drew the defender in the air and allowed him to get a mid-range jumper along the baseline despite being fouled. He also barreled into the lane, which forced defenders to foul and knocking him to the floor. He made the ensuing free throws.
— The week off from games allowed Wilcox, who has been dealing with a foot injury, to get a little more rest. He practiced last week more than he has in about a month. Wilcox attributed the time in workouts for Sunday’s outing. He was 7 of 14 from the field and 8 of 10 at the free throw line. Wilcox said he still doesn’t feel comfortable shooting three-pointers (he was 1 for 5), but he had an impact on both ends of the floor. His two blocks gives him 32 for the season and ties with N’Diaye for the team lead.
— Gaddy finished with a 3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio. He had six dimes and two TOs. He’s had at least four assists in nine of the past 10 games. He also had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting.
— Stat geeks will love this. Simmons finished with a plus-18 plus-minus ratio. That’s really impressive for a guy that scored just two points on 1-for-4 shooting. But the stat reveals Simmons value. It also speaks to his defensive prowess. He didn’t shut down Motum, but he made sure Motum didn’t have a monster outing. Simmons also collected a game-high eight rebounds in 28 minutes.
— Andrew Andrews played solid defense and helped keep the pressure on Royce Woolridge, who committed five turnovers. Andrews got a bit out of control on a first-half dribble drive. But he continued charging into the lane and two other times it led to putbacks because the defense was in scramble mode. He finished with five points, two rebounds, two turnovers and a steal. Andrews left the arena wearing a walking boot.
— Kemp got benched less than two minutes into the game. He played 18 minutes, which was the fewest minutes since he was inserted into the starting lineup nine games ago. Kemp had difficulty keeping up with Motum. He also committed three turnovers.
— Jernard Jarreau finished with four points on 2-for-3 shooting and two rebounds in 18 minutes.
— With his mother Amy watching him play for the first time at UW, N’Diaye had one of his worst outings of the season. He played a season-low 13 minutes. He failed to collect a rebound for the first time in his UW career. He also missed 4 of 6 free throws. Romar said N’Diaye didn’t play much because WSU’s D.J. Shelton, who drained 3 of 6 three-pointers, was a bad matchup for the 7-foot center. N’Diaye also picked up a flagrant 1 foul when he delivered an elbow to Motum’s neck.