Not sure the Huskies knew what they really had in Mike Anderson when he signed this summer. Former assistant Jim Shaw found him at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri, which has produced a handful of NBA players including Mitch Richmond and Gerald Wilkins.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said the Huskies expected Anderson was going to be a playmaker, but he didn’t think Anderson would produce a 19-point, 16-rebound performance in his seventh game to lead Washington to a 92-89 double overtime victory over Long Beach State.
“We just expected Mike to be a jack of all trades,” Romar said. “I wouldn’t have told you he’d go out and get 19 and 16 in a game this early. Junior-college kids a lot of time take a little longer to do that. But he’s been rebounding like crazy. He just gave an Herculean effort for us tonight. And that’s something he did in junior college. He just helped wherever needed.
“He’s playing out of position … and he’s a guy that’s not saying ‘Man you’re messing me up for the league. I’m not a four.’ Mike just wants to play basketball and compete. And it’s something how those guys a lot of times end up coming out on top.”
Anderson played 45 out of a possible 50 minutes. He converted 9 of 12 free throws. He had six offensive rebounds, three steals and a huge steal in the first overtime. Anderson also did a valiant job defending against 6-7 and 220-pound forward David Samuels who finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
When the Huskies were desperate to find someone to replace injured forward Jernard Jarreau in the starting lineup, Anderson, a 6-4 wing, emerged and Washington adopted a four-guard lineup. He entered Saturday’s game averaging 7.0 rebounds, which is second on the team.
Romar admitted he’s just trying to scratch and claw through the early part of the non-conference schedule until Desmond Simmons returns Dec. 29 for the Hartford game and until younger players such as reserve big man Gilles Dierickx gains more experience.
Until then, the Huskies (4-3) have to grind out nail-biters like Saturday’s game that probably should have been an easier win considering Long Beach State (1-7) has lost seven straight games and is one of the worst scoring teams in the nation.
Romar also admitted he’s concerned about UW’s porous defense, which allowed the 49ers to shoot 58.6 percent from the field in the first half and 54.5 percent in the second. He knows that’s not going to cut it when Washington plays good teams like San Diego State on Dec. 8.
“We kind of have to do it with smoke and mirrors until we get Desmond back and until other guys are more experienced and until as a group we understand what we’re trying to do,” Romar said.
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— It was Washington’s first home overtime game since a 73-70 win over Arizona State on Feb. 26, 2009. It was also UW’s first double overtime game since its 88-85 defeat in triple overtime to California on Jan. 10.
— Perris Blackwell has to understand he can’t pick up cheap fouls because when he leaves the floor, the Huskies are a different team. He was hampered in foul trouble for most of the night and played just 27 minutes. Blackwell will miss a few layups every so often, but he also does a good job of scoring on putbacks against taller opponents. He had 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting. He also had nine rebounds and four on the offensive glass.
— Andrew Andrews had his most productive game of the season. He finished with 18 points, three shy of his personal best. He had tied his career-high with eight rebounds and he dished a season-high five assists in 44 minutes.
— Not exactly sure what Long Beach State did to C.J. Wilcox in the second half and the overtimes when he totaled five points. He started the game nailing his first two shots – both three-pointers – and had 10 at the half. But he was 2 for 10 after the break. Wilcox had a bigger impact on defense where he had two big blocks, including a rejection at the end of regulation to force overtime. But fans will likely remember this was the game when Wilcox became Washington’s all-time three-point king. He moved past Ryan Appleby on the school’s career list. Wilcox was 3 for 10 behind the arc on Saturday.
— Quiet game for Nigel Williams-Goss who missed a critical free throw in the final seconds of regulation. Trailing 78-77 with 11 seconds, he made 1 of 2 free throws to tie the score. Williams-Goss entered the game shooting 68.2 percent at the line. He finished with 10 points on 3-for-15 shooting. He also had five assists, two steals and two rebounds to offset three turnovers in 37 minutes.
— Darin Johnson was the sixth UW player to reach double-digit scoring. He converted 3 of 7 shots for 10 points in 23 minutes.
— Shawn Kemp Jr. fouled out in 16 minutes. He had two points and two rebounds.
— Dierickx played a season-high tying 12 minutes. He had two rebounds.