Photo Credit: Dean Hare/Associated Press
Washington jumped out to a 21-4 lead in the first 11 minutes thanks to tenacious defense by Desmond Simmons on Brock Motum and an aggressive Abdul Gaddy. The Huskies team defense was better than it had been all season while Gaddy and Andrews were able to force WSU to respect their driving ability, leading to three pointers from C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs. During this span Dawg fans saw Shawn Kemp Jr. send home two thunderous left-handed dunks that inspired many comparisons to his father (as we've come to expect from every Kemp Jr. slam). Following this lead, UW slowly sunk back into old ways as the Cougars were able to pull within 7 come halftime. The 6'10 Motum had just 4 points at the break.
WSU continued clawing back at the Huskies, which peaked with a Brock Motum three that gave the Cougars their first lead of the game at 51-50. The second half had become UW's time to show no offensive movement while Ken Bone's team came out of the locker room with much more energy than the Dawgs. Will Dilorio came off the bench for WSU to hit multiple huge threes to aid the Cougar comeback. Every time Wazzu threatened to use their momentum to pull away, the Huskies showed grit and were able to keep the game in check. Aziz N'Diaye hit three big buckets on the block in the final ten minutes to ensure that the game never slipped away. Scott Suggs showed extreme confidence in the final three minutes as he knocked down two jumpers and finished a fastbreak layup to put UW ahead. This culminated in a 64-63 Husky lead late, forcing WSU to foul Andrew Andrews with 22 seconds left. The redshirt freshman calmly knocked down both from the line and proceeded to hit two more with 3 seconds left to ice the game.
Lorenzo Romar: Romar had the Dawgs energized from the start, something that Washington fans had been looking for all season. UW would not have won this game if they did not come out with defensive energy. On a in-game coaching note, WSU was down 3 with 9 seconds left and Romar instructed his team to foul before the Cougars could get a shot off. This plan was completely successful, as Mike Ladd was fouled before getting a shot off and he proceeded to miss the front end of the one-and-one. Romar had been preaching the improvement of team defense over the last week and it seems like he was right. Leading to....
Team Defense on Motum: Dez Simmons locked up Wazzu's leading scorer in the first half, as Motum was held to 4 points on just 2-5 shooting to go along with multiple turnovers. Simmons' air-tight defense clearly flustered Motum and kept him out of rhythm long enough for UW to build their first half lead. Simmons defense also kept Motum from getting any easy looks in the final four minutes of the game. Washington was exceptional with their help-D against Motum.
Old Days?: Washington gave the fans a taste of old Husky basketball in the first eleven minutes of the game by running up and down the court while knocking down threes and throwing down some high-light reel dunks. Can't deny that the beginning of this game had the feel of previous Husky teams that were tournament bound.
Scott Suggs: UW's super-senior stepped up huge in the clutch and may have stolen the spot (from nobody, of course, but nobody held this spot for a long time) as UW's crunch time go-to-guy. Suggs had a stretch from 2:37 to 1:01 left in the 2nd half where he scored six straight points in the midst of a 8-2 run late to give Washington a three point lead.
Abdul Gaddy aka The X-Factor
Gaddy started the game with 4 points and 2 assists as UW built a 9-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game. This goes to show that his driving ability can push the Dawgs' offense to another level. Gaddy scored the first four points for UW before driving and dishing to Aziz for an easy 2 and kicking it to Wilcox for a three. This driving was nearly non-existent past the early period of this game and Washington's offense stalled out, which allowed WSU to make a comeback.
Turnovers: UW turned the ball over 15 times, multiple of which led to easy run-outs for WSU layups in the second half. C.J. Wilcox, despite leading the Huskies with 18 points, had five TOs. Gaddy and Andrew Andrews had three each while combining for 8 assists.
Inconsistent Play: UW put together 11 great minutes of basketball before forgetting that it was necessary to play this well the entire game. Washington went down 4 with five minutes left before a switch flipped in Husky heads that this was a winnable road game.
Washington won a hard-fought road game against a team that they need to beat if they have aspirations of finishing in the top five of the Pac-12. This happened to be the only road win for any Pac-12 team before California picked one up late on Saturday night. Weary Dawg fans did not imagine that this Husky team was capable of being down in the final five minutes of a game and still come away with a victory. This looks to be a monumental win and confidence builder for Romar's squad to kick off conference play.
UW @ California. 8 P.M. ESPN2. Haas Pavilion.