Washington took an early lead and despite a sloppy performance that included a season-high 18 turnovers, the Huskies hung on in the second half for a 73-62 win against Tulane in front of an announced crowd of 1,646 at Devlin Fieldhouse.
“In the second half we couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” coach Lorenzo Romar told the Associated Press. “We had three people in foul trouble in the first half and when we subbed (the offense struggled). We had to mix and match and kind of survive it. … We made it a lot harder than it needed to be.”
It’s the first road victory for Washington, which had been 0-3 away from home, including a pair of neutral-site defeats in New York against Indiana and Boston College. The Huskies also lost at San Diego State.
Tuesday’s contest is the only one for UW that will not be televised.
C.J. Wilcox captured headlines and plenty of attention after eclipsing the 1,500-point plateau. The senior guard moved into 11th place on Washington’s all-time scoring list with 1,502 points. He needs two points to catch No. 10 Louie Nelson (1,504) and 14 to chase down No. 9 Steve Hawes (1,516).
Other than Wilcox’s milestone, Tuesday’s outing was somewhat forgettable.
The Huskies were fantastic at the free throw line (22 of 28) and they held the Green Wave to 39.3 percent shooting, including 1 for 14 (7.1 percent) on three-pointers.
However, Washington’s defense wasn’t always stellar. The Huskies committed 23 fouls, which sent Tulane to the charity stripe 27 times. The Green Wave made 17 at the line. UW’s transition defense was also repeatedly burned and allowed 12 fast break points.
The Huskies led by as much as 12 points, but Tulane closed to within three points in the second half.
“We did a good job on defense early then kind of relaxed,” Wilcox told the AP. “We got in foul trouble and they took advantage. We came out a little flat in the second half and they stayed close.”
Prosperity didn’t come easy for the Huskies who improved to 6-4. They’ll to sharpen up the defense if they’re going to upset No. 10 Connecticut on Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena in a game that could boost their sagging RPI.
MORE NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Even Wilcox struggled. He was 4 of 14 from the field and 2 of 9 on three-pointers for a season-low tying 15 points. He also had six rebounds, two rebounds and two steals to offset two turnovers.
— Perris Blackwell overcame three first-half fouls and finished with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting, three steals and two blocks. He didn’t pick up a foul in the second half.
— Nigel Williams-Goss scored 12 points and collected a personal-best seven rebounds. However, the freshman guard also had seven turnovers.
— Mike Anderson rebounded from a sub-par outing in the previous game when he didn’t take a shot and finished with a season-low two points. On Tuesday, he was 3 for 3 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers for 10 points. Like Blackwell, he had three fouls in the first half and didn’t collect one in the second.
— Shawn Kemp Jr. had foul fouls in 25 minutes. He also had seven points on 4-for-5 shooting and four rebounds.
— Washington desperately needs another dependable three-point shooter to pair with Wilcox and it remains to be seen if Andrew Andrews can fill the role. He’s shooting 37.1 percent (13 of 35), including Tuesday’s 1-for-4 display. Andrews had a less than spectacular night shooting (1 for seven for six points), but he made amends with six rebound, three assists, two steals and no turnovers.
— Darin Johnson played 20 minutes and had six points, four rebounds, two assists and three turnovers.
— Jahmel Taylor played a season-high eight minutes, which doubled his previous high, and scored five points on 2-for-2 shooting, including a three-pointer.
— Gilles Dierickx played three minutes and had a foul. After eight games, he still hasn’t scored and is 0 for 4 from the field. The 7-foot sophomore has four blocks, which shows promise. However, he also has five turnovers, which suggests he’s not a viable option in the decision-making, high post position. He also has more fouls (11) than rebounds (8).