What’s not to like about a 19-point win in which Washington shot 55.2 percent from the field, made 10 of 21 three-pointers, delivered 19 assists, outrebounded their opponent by 10, never trailed after the opening five minutes and played spectacular defense in the final 10 minutes?
Hard to find any fault with Saturday’s performance.
The Huskies did exactly what they had to do in their 85-66 win over Idaho State. They showed improvements on both ends of the court. Against IDSU’s peculiar 1-1-3 zone, Washington scored 46 points in the first half and 39 in the second. They shot better than 53 percent from the field in both halves.
They dominated inside (Perris Blackwell had five offensive rebounds and a career-high 20 points) and outside (C.J. Wilcox drained five three-pointers for 19 points). They did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball (13 turnovers) against a team that was second in the nation in steals per game.
Washington didn’t play as well as it did six days earlier in a 70-63 defeat at San Diego State. However, for the first time this season the Huskies took control of a game early and never let their opponent get back into the game. It was a very mature and satisfying win for a team that has been pushed to the max in every game this season. For the first time, the Huskies cruised to a victory and benched many of their starters in the final minutes to allow the reserves a chance to play.
The Huskies depart for New Orleans on Sunday morning for Tuesday’s game at Tulane. They arrive around midnight ET.
They’ll have Monday to get acclimated to the Big Easy and will have dinner at Jernard Jarreau’s home.
“I can’t wait, I’ll be first in line for that,” Romar said. “We have a little something else planned. We’ll talk about it when we get back. It should be fun.”
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Blackwell downplayed his dominating performance as if his 9-for-11 shooting display was nothing special. Truth be told, he’s never been better. It was a personal best field goals and points for the 6-9 forward. The 11 attempts tied a season high as did his two assists. He collected seven rebounds and two steals, which are the most this season, in 33 minutes. Perhaps his best play was a touch pass on a fast break that led to a layup.
Romar on Blackwell: “For a big guy, he’s pretty skilled. He’s pretty crafty around there, he has good footwork. He knows how to handle himself in most situations on the floor with the ball.”
— You got the feeling that Wilcox could have set a career scoring high if he wanted. The 6-5 guard is in a really good shooting zone lately. He’s made at least two three-pointers in the past six games. Today he was 5 of 9 behind the arc. He’s shooting 45.5 percent on threes. Perhaps it’s nothing, but Wilcox hasn’t been to the free throw line in the past two games. After draining 9 of 10 at the charity stripe against Montana, he’s 2 for 2 in the past three games. Otherwise it was a very good all-around performance for Wilcox. He had three assists, three rebounds, two steals and didn’t commit a foul in 35 minutes. Wilcox also finished with a career-high tying four blocks.
Wilcox (1,487 points) moved into 12th place on UW’s all-time scoring list past Doug Smart (1,478) and Brandon Roy (1,477). Next up: No. 11 Deon Luton (1,488), No. 10 Louie Nelson (1,504) and No. 9 Steve Hawes (1,516).
— Andrew Andrews took more shots than anyone else (15), but he’s going to get a lot of open looks because Wilcox draws so much attention. The Bengals tried a box-and-1 defense on Wilcox, which left Andrews alone on the wing at times. He also did a nice job of stepping into a couple of three-pointers. Andrews finished with 17 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals to offset two turnovers in 30 minutes.
— A couple of weird turnovers marred what would have been a very efficient performance from Nigel Williams-Goss. One of his entry passes sailed over everyone and landed three rows in the stands. He telegraphed another entry pass into the post, which was intercepted. The miscues is a bad trend for UW. In the past three games, Willliams-Goss has had three, four and four turnovers respectively. He was intent on being a playmaker early and had four of his five assists in the first half. He attempted just one shot before the break. After intermission, he started looking for his shot and finished 6 of 7 from the field for 13 points. he also had four rebounds.
— Freshman Jahmel Taylor may have found a small role in the rotation. He played three minutes in the first half and for the second straight game he tallied four minutes. The 6-0 point guard isn’t shy. When he’s on the court, he makes things happen offensively. He probed the defense with his dribble that led to an open shot for a teammate. He also sank a three-pointer at the top of the key for his first collegiate basket. Taylor finished with five points and one rebound.
— Romar said Shawn Kemp Jr.’s strength and energy level aren’t what they used to be ever since the 6-9 junior forward began receiving treatment for Grave’s disease. Kemp has noticeable defensive lapses and hasn’t had more than two rebounds in the past seven games. He’s at his best when he gets the ball down low and finishes with a layup or dunk. Today he had four points on 2-for-3 shooting in 16 minutes.
— For the second straight game, Darin Johnson has been off the mark with his jumper. Against San Diego State he was 2 for 8 and 0 for 2 on three-pointers. Against Idaho State, he was 1 for 8 and 1 for 4 on threes. Johnson made amends with a career-high four assists and three rebounds in 20 minutes.
— Really odd performance from Mike Anderson who didn’t take a shot from the field in 29 minutes. It’s the first time that’s happened this season. His previous low five attempts. Anderson struggled with fouls (four), which hampered his production. Normally, he stuffs the stat box but today he finished with four rebounds and one assists in 29 minutes.
— Gilles Dierickx played three scoreless minutes while walk-ons Quinn Sterling and Conner Smith made their season debuts.