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Husky Men's Basketball

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Category: Washington recap
February 24, 2013 at 3:23 AM

Gaddy, Suggs lead UW in gritty win over ASU

AP Photo – Matt YorP

Fair or unfair, Abdul Gaddy and Scott Suggs (near right) are held up as Exhibit A and Exhibit B when many Washington fans attempt to explain what’s gone wrong with this season.

That’s what happens when you’re senior co-captains. You become a target for criticism. You carry the expectations of a team some believed had NCAA tournament potential.

And when things go wrong, you take the hit. When you lose eight of 10 games, you’re forced to answer difficult questions.

On Saturday when defending regular-season champion Washington was officially eliminated from the Pac-12 title race, Gaddy and Suggs gave a performance that affirmed why some believed the Huskies could have contended for the conference crown again.

They provided the veteran leadership, playmaking and clutch plays that you’d expect from a four-year starter (Gaddy) and a fifth-year senior (Suggs).

And it was fitting they connected on the play that sealed Washington’s 68-59 win at Arizona State.

Leading by three points in the final minute, Gaddy blew past a defender at the top of the key and darted into the lane drawing two more ASU players.

He spotted Suggs standing in the right corner and delivered a perfect pass. Suggs then immediately rose high and drained a three-pointer over sophomore forward Jonathan Gilling who dashed to the corner with his arms extended.

Too late.

Suggs’ splashed through the net. It was his fourth three-pointer and sixth field goal. He finished with 16 points.

For Gaddy it was his seventh assists. He also had 13 points, five rebounds, a steal and zero turnovers in 32 minutes.

And for Washington, it was a much-needed win after Wednesday’s embarrassing defeat at Arizona. The Huskies proved a lot to their critics Saturday.

They proved they haven’t given up on this season or themselves. They proved they could win a closely contested game on the road even if their leading scorer is a non-factor. They proved they can build a 13-point lead in the second half and keep their composure when ASU closes to within a point 57-56 in the final four minutes.

On the next possession, redshirt freshman guard Andrew Andrews drew a foul and made both free throws.

The Huskies received a bit of good fortune when the Sun Devils missed two open three-pointers that would have tied the score.

However, on the next play Andrews delivered one of the unsung plays of the game. Shawn Kemp Jr. missed a hook shot, but UW retained possession because Andrews climbed over a defender and gathered the rebound.

After a timeout, Gaddy used a screen and was matched against 6-10 ASU freshman forward Eric Jacobsen. Gaddy dribbled the ball between his legs and got Jacobsen off balance before dropping a long jumper at the top of the key.

The Sun Devils answered with a Jahii Carson layup and Washington led 61-58 in the final minute with Gaddy back at the top of the key with the ball and the game in his hands.

This time he connected with Suggs, who made perhaps the biggest shot of his UW career.

After Wednesday’s 70-52 defeat at Arizona, it didn’t seem possible the Huskies could win a game like they did Saturday night. They won because they outrebounded the Sun Devils 35-22. They won with great free throw shooting (12 of 16 for 75 percent). They won because they committed just seven turnovers, their fewest since Jan. 9.

Almost every other significant statistic was virtually even.

It remains to be seen if the win will have serious Pac-12 Tournament implications.

Washington (15-13) is tied with Stanford (16-12) for ninth place in the standings with 7-8 records. But the Huskies would get the higher seed over the Cardinal because UW won its only head-to-head battle.

The Huskies are hoping to finish the regular season with wins during their three-game homestand. They’re hoping they can climb to fourth in the standings and receive a first-round conference tournament bye.

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February 17, 2013 at 1:04 AM

C.J. Wilcox, Washington break slump

AP Photo – Elaine Thompson

C.J. Wilcox (far right) downplayed the importance of Washington’s 72-62 win over Oregon State tonight.

“We can’t get too happy about it because they are an 11th-place team (in the Pac-12),” he said. “But we’ll take it to get off that losing streak. It just feels good to finally get one and get off that streak.”

That three-game losing streak is history thanks to a sensational second-half performance from the Huskies. They trailed 34-32 at the break and was in the process of literally giving the game away to the Beavers. Washington committed 13 turnovers in the first half that 19 points for OSU.

Things changed after halftime.

In the second half, Washington outscored Oregon State 40-28 and held the Beavers to 24.1 percent (7 of 29).

Abdul Gaddy drove and converted a short jumper that put UW ahead 38-36 with 17:25 left and the Huskies never trailed again. They led by as many as seven (48-41) before the Beavers closed to within one point (53-52).

Washington rebuilt its lead to nine (63-54) and OSU cut the margin to six (63-57) when the Huskies converted nine of its final 10 free throws. They were 14 of 19 on foul shots in the game.

If not for the turnovers it might have been the best game for the Huskies since they began the Pac-12 season with a 4-0 record.

They had more rebounds (41-28), more assists (16-11), more blocks (five to two), shot better from the field (50 percent to 33.9 percent) and was more accurate on free throws (73.7 percent to 70.4 percent).

They had everyone play their roles almost perfectly.

Wilcox scored a game-high 24 points. Gaddy delivered a season-high nine assists and Andrews Andrews had six. Scott Suggs played good defense on OSU’s Roberto Nelson and Aziz N’Diaye  locked up Joe Burton in the second half. Shawn Kemp Jr. added scoring in the post. Andrews and Jernard Jarreau added a lift off the bench. And Desmond Simmons gave the Huskies an edge in a chippy game that had two flagrant I fouls.

But it’s premature to suggest the Huskies have turned the corner. They snapped a four-game losing streak with a 96-92 win over Arizona State, but followed that victory with three straight defeats.

But as coach Lorenzo Romar noted: “We needed to get a game on the positive side of the score so that we can start to feel some sort of success. You drop seven out of eight, doubt can creep in. We needed to get a win to start thinking the other way.”

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January 17, 2013 at 1:55 AM

Washington sits on top of Pac-12 standings

Seattle Times – Dean Rutz

The Washington Huskies will wake up Thursday morning at the top of the Pac-12 standings.

Who would have predicted that a month ago?

Washington is tied with UCLA at 4-0 for the conference lead. The Bruins will have a chance to recapture sole possession of first place when it hosts Oregon State tonight. Regardless of the outcome in Los Angeles, the Huskies are thrilled with their position.

But then, coach Lorenzo Romar was somewhat evasive when asked if he was happy with the Huskies defensively following Wednesday’s 64-54 win over Colorado in the Pac-12 home opener at Edmundson Pavilion.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress,” he said. “Happier than I was before. Still got to get better though.”

Every game against Washington is a slugfest in basketball shorts. The Huskies would have it no other way. They say they relish stopping opponents from scoring even more than making baskets.

Abdul Gaddy said: “We take pride in our defense. We don’t like it when people score on us.”

He went on and explained how the Huskies enjoy pushing opponents to the point of frustration when “you can here them bickering with each other.”

During its four-game winning streak, Washington has held each opponent under 40 percent shooting, which is the first time since 2010.

If this trend continues, we’ll have to ask if this is Romar’s best coaching performance during his 11 years at Washington. Somehow he’s gotten offensive-minded players like C.J. Wilcox, who admitted earlier this week he never played defense in high school, to buy into a defense-first mentality.

Romar has also gotten players to buy into their roles. Players aren’t complaining about getting more shots, which Romar hinted had been a problem in the past.

“Before the season started I think I had mentioned that this group perhaps was maybe the most coachable and had the best chemistry of any team that we’ve had,” he said. “Any team. Not last year’s, but any team. I didn’t say they were the best team, just chemistry. And I think that’s the reason we’re able to do that. We don’t several guys sulking because they’re not getting more shots and all that. We’re all for one and one for all. … That’s kind of how it is. It makes a difference.”

Colorado coach Tad Boyle took it a step farther and said the loss of Tony Wroten Jr., last season’s Pac-12 freshman of the year who was taken 25th in the NBA draft, is addition by subtraction for the Huskies.

“They are so much better,” Boyle said. “Last year that Wroten kid was out there trying to steal and gamble a lot, but this year they are so much more sound this year. They are so long, so athletic, they’ve got the big guy in the middle, you’ve got to score against Washington and you’ve got to execute against them because nothing is going to come easy.”

Still Washington struggled early this season while finding its identity.

“We always knew we could play good defense,” Wilcox said. “We came into the season saying that’s what we need to do. It took some time to finally get it through our heads that this is the way we need to play.”

In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 8,184 – the largest of the season, Washington stuck to its winning formula. Desmond Simmons and Aziz N’Diaye (above, far right) led the way defensively. Simmons collected 12 rebounds and held CU’s Andre Roberson (10 points and 11 rebounds) relatively in check while N’Diaye collected 11 boards and blocked three shots. He also limited CU forward Josh Scott to eight points.

Washington held Colorado to a season-low 36.2 percent shooting from the field (7 of 24) and just 1 of 10 on three-pointers. The Buffaloes only trey was Roberson’s desperation banked shot from behind the arc that just beat the shot clock. The 54 points was the second fewest for CU.

The Huskies were worse from the field (33.9 percent, 20 of 59), but they were 6 of 20 on treys and 18 of 23 at the free throw line.

Washington also created shots for Wilcox, who scored 25 and Scott Suggs who had 13.

All of it led to an ugly win that looked beautiful in its defensive execution.

“You can color it any way you want to color it,” Romar said. “I just know that when you go out and you play two games in a row and you have single-digit turnovers, you hold four teams to under 40% from the field, you outrebound three out of the four, you’re beginning to do things right. The only “ugly” thing if you want to call it that is that we haven’t been making shots. Two out of the last four games we haven’t made shots. Other than that, I think we’re doing everything else OK.”

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