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Husky Men's Basketball

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March 6, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Turnovers, poor defense doom Huskies

Washington's Nigel Williams-Goss, left, drives to the basket as UCLA's Bryce Alford defends in first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Seattle. (Photo credit: Stephen Brashear - AP)

Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss, left, drives to the basket as UCLA’s Bryce Alford defends in first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Seattle. (Photo credit: Stephen Brashear – AP)

Washington scored enough points Thursday night to beat UCLA, especially at home with a late-arriving crowd of 6,894 at Alaska Airlines Arena ready to explode.

The Huskies gave the enthusiastic crowd reasons to cheer during an entertaining first half, in which both teams shot better than 48 percent from the field. Washington led 45-41 at the break, but its porous defense was an ominous sign.

The defense got progressively worse in the second half and the Huskies didn’t make things easy on themselves with nine turnovers after the break that led to 18 points. After an 11-2 UCLA run midway in the half, Washington trailed by nine with 7:37 left and never got closer than four the rest of the way.

The Huskies’ 91-82 loss halts any momentum they might had had going into next week’s Pac-12 Tournament. They were hoping for a fifth seed, but that’s not possible anymore. The best UW can finish is tied for sixth in the standings and hope the tie-breaking scenarios award it with a sixth seed in the conference tourney. Washington can finish no worse than ninth in the standings and it’s guaranteed at least the No. 9 seed in the conference tourney.

But the Huskies have more pressing problems starting with a defense that allowed UCLA to shoot 60.7 percent in the second half and surrendered 31 points to sophomore guard Jordan Adams. It’s the third time this season Washington has given up 30 points to an opponent. Stanford’s Chasson Randle had 33 points and Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson 31.

It’s the first time since 2008, Washington shot higher than 55 percent and lost. The Huskies fell 86-84 against Florida on Nov. 25, 2008 after shooting 58.9 percent from the field.

MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:

C.J. Wilcox fouled out for the first time this season. Before leaving with 45 seconds left, he had 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including four three-pointers. Washington needed his points, but the Huskies could used a better defensive effort from Wilcox who had the primary defensive responsibility on Adams.

Nigel Williams-Goss was two assists shy of his third straight double-double performance. He finished with 17 points and eight assists. Still, he’s got to do a better job at taking care of the ball. He had five turnovers, which is the sixth time this season he’s had at least five.

— A fifth straight standout game from Andrew Andrews, who finished with 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting. However, he scored just two points in the second half. Andrews also had three turnovers.

Perris Blackwell more than held his own inside against UCLA’s front line. He was the recipient of accurate passes from UW guards and did a nice job finishing beneath the rim. Blackwell had 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting and 10 rebounds.

Darin Johnson had a second straight outing in which he scored three baskets. On Thursday, he made two three-pointers for the first time since Nov. 22. Johnson had eight points.

Desmond Simmons and Shawn Kemp Jr. finished with a combined five points, seven rebounds and two assists while their counterparts the Wear twins had six points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

— At times Mike Anderson has been UW’s best defensive player and it seemed as if he could have been the star if he was able to slow down Adams. But Anderson never really got a chance to get paired against the hot-shooting UCLA guard for a long stretch. Offensively, Anderson has struggled since Pac-12 play began. He scored on a gorgeous dribble drive layup, but didn’t take another shot and finished with two points and two rebounds.

Comments | More in Game recap | Topics: UCLA


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