The two biggest stars Sunday went in vastly different directions.
Colorado junior point guard Spencer Dinwiddie crashed to the court late in the first half, limped off the floor and suffered what appears to be a serious left knee injury.
Meanwhile, Washington senior guard C.J. Wilcox soared over and over again while launching a three-point barrage that matched the Alaska Airlines Arena record. He finished with seven three-pointers to tie former UW sharpshooters Ryan Appleby and Justin Dentmon for the most in a single game inside the arena.
Appleby set the record on Dec. 18, 2007 against Portland and Dentmon equaled the mark on Feb. 12, 2009 versus Oregon State.
Considering the opponent – No. 15 Colorado – Wilcox’s performance may have been more important. Certainly, the Huskies needed every bit of his career-high 31 points to shoot down and shutdown the Buffaloes for a convincing 71-54 victory.
Wilcox is tied for second in the UW record book for the most three-pointers in a game. Appleby is first with nine.
Much will be made about Dinwiddie’s injury and it’s impossible to know how much his absence affected the outcome. The 6-6 junior guard is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He leads Colorado in scoring and assists. And he had seven points in 15 minutes before his injury.
Without Dinwiddie, the Huskies made it their mission to negate Askia Booker, CU’s second leading scorer and the reigning Pac-12 player of the week. Booker was held scoreless on 0-for-9 shooting. Last year, he had nine points in a loss at Washington before fouling out.
The Huskies executed perfectly on the defensive end. They smothered and swarmed 6-10 sophomore forward Josh Scott, who finished with a harmless 15 points on 4-foro-9 shooting. And Washington was content to let Wesley Gordon score 11 points as long as it kept Booker and wraps.
Colorado shot 34.4 percent (11 of 32) in the first half, 34.8 percent (8 of 23) in the second half and 34.5 percent (19 of 55) in the game.
The 54 points were a season low for CU and the 20 turnovers were a season high.
“Every week (in December) you could see when we changed defenses we were getting better and better,” Wilcox said. “You could see entering the Pac-12 season (last week) that we were getting better. Now, we are getting the results.”
Perhaps more amazing, Washington held CU to 1 of 12 shooting behind the arc. The Huskies have held four Pac-12 opponents to a combined 6-for-50 (.120) shooting on three-pointers. That’s insane.
“You can see our guys taking more ownership of the defensive end of the floor, every day, every week,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “You can see our guys really believing offensively (in) what we’re doing. And then when you’re rewarded with a win, I think it just continues to increase that attitude and that belief.”
MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:
— Wilcox should receive serious consideration for Pac-12 player of the week honors. Today’s performance is the 16th 30-point outing from Pac-12 player this season. Wilcox has done it twice. His previous scoring best was 30 points. He sank 12 of 18 shots and 7 of 12 three-pointers. Aside from the three-pointers, Wilcox thrilled the crowd with four blocks. He leads the team with 20 rejections. Wilcox also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals to offset three turnovers in 36 minutes. He had 10 points in the first half and 21 in the second when Dinwiddie was in the locker room.
Wilcox on Dinwiddie: “It definitely changed when he went out. I don’t know if it was the dynamic of the team that changed without him, or me being free more without him guarding me. But I got more open looks after that.”
Romar on Wilcox: “When he gets in a zone, he’s pretty special that way.”
—Very efficient and heady game from Nigel Williams-Goss. Perhaps sensing Wilcox had a hot hand, he took just two shots in the second half after scoring 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the first. Williams-Goss finished with 12 points in 35 minutes. He also helped hold Booker scoreless.
Williams-Goss on UW’s offense: “I just think that we have a lot of weapons and we play really unselfishly.”
— Andrew Andrews is fearless and relentless. He bounced back from a 0-for-5 shooting display in the first half and finished with 14 points. Andrews often charges into the post and where he often crashes into bigger players or falls hard to the floor. Andrews is UW’s second leading scorer averaging 13.2 points.
Andrews on Wilcox: “When he draws a lot of attention, it makes it easier for me to get in the lane and find my shots. So every time he gets going, I kind of get happy. I’m probably going to be the recipient of them playing less defense on me.”
— Mike Anderson is struggling offensively. He didn’t attempt a shot and had just three points. However, Anderson offset his lack offensive production with 10 rebounds, including three on the offensive glass. He also did a nice job defensively on Xavier Johnson (eight points).
Romar on Anderson: “Ten rebounds. Just battled in there. Mike did a good job of … if you just allow somebody like Wesley Gordon and Scott to pound you on the inside and don’t make them pay on the other end, it can be tough. But toward the end we kind of adjusted. Mike started to take the ball outside and use that to his advantage. That size disadvantage became his advantage on offense.”
— Tough day for Perris Blackwell, who had two points on 1-for-11 shooting. He had difficulty scoring over Scott and being in foul trouble most of the game didn’t help matters. Blackwell did his best work as a play maker and finished with three assists. He also had five rebounds and two turnovers in 23 minutes.
— Just not sure what you’re going to get from the bench these days. Romar has shortened the rotation to eight, which leaves Darin Johnson Desmond Simmons and Shawn Kemp Jr. as the primary reserves. Johnson looks to score, but he’s got to control his turnovers. He had two Sunday. Simmons and Kemp each had four fouls and two points.