A win is a win. A road win is a road win. I don’t know how many times I have said that this season. The Huskies practically made me scratch out my eyeballs during the first twenty-seven minutes of the game before putting together a half-decent final thirteen. I had almost come to terms with how upset I would be losing to a Washington State team, that’s best player is a ginger, until the Cougars Coug’d it with a stretch in the second half where they went 4-17 from the line. That is reason number one why UW won.
Reason two would have to be Ken Bone’s horrific play calling to end the game. The Cougars were down two when Bone called a timeout with 19.6 seconds remaining. Patrick Simon took the shot for the Cougars (it was actually a good look) and airballed a three from the corner. Wazzu is blessed to have some scoring talent in Motum, Lacey and Moore, yet they went with freaking Patrick Simon for their biggest shot of the game. This guy has made one shot in the last fifteen games for the Cougars. After the game Bone said he would run the same play if he had the chance. The term “Cougin’ it” lives on.
I could go on a rant about how poorly UW played today, or about how this team is still playing extremely inconsistent basketball outside of Seattle when tournament time is right around the corner. But today is a day for celebration; the Huskies won in Pullman and one should never take that for granted.
Free Throw Shooting: The Cougars finished 6-20 from the line in the second half. The Dawgs were 15-19 during that span and finished 17-24. Those nine points in the final twenty minutes decided the game. The Huskies received a large boost from freshman Tony Wroten, who went 9-12 from the stripe. C.J. Wilcox iced it for UW with two huge free throws to put the Dawgs up 4 with under ten seconds to play.
Tony Wroten: Name me one player that can get score in the paint like this kid. Every team gives him the Rondo treatment, yet he still manages to put up 15+ points night in and night out. Wroten successfully put the team on his back tonight with Terrence Ross being limited to just 21 minutes because of foul trouble. The freshman phenom finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
C.J. Wilcox: CJ was incredibly effective off the bench tonight with 16 points on just nine shots. The Cougars were in position to steal all momentum early in the first half before Wilcox hit two threes to tie it 14 apiece. Wilcox was forced to play 33 minutes, his most since returning from his injury, because of foul trouble and did so perfectly, clinching the game with two clutch free throws.
Road Perseverance: The Huskies found themselves down 12 in an extremely hostile road environment and found a way to win. The maturity of this team throughout the season has been stunning. No way UW pulls this one off in December.
Rebounding: The Dawgs were killed by Washington State’s offensive rebounds. The Cougars outrebounded UW 42-35 while collecting 12 offensive rebounds. There were multiple possessions where WSU players had completely wide-open offensive rebounds and putbacks.
Terrence Ross: T-Ross was a non-factor tonight, picking up just 2 points in his 21 minutes of play before fouling out. He was certainly a victim of multiple 50-50 calls, but that does not explain his non-impact. His presence on the floor was important for Wilcox to get open looks, but he did nothing besides that. The fouls certainly toned down his aggressiveness and made him look like the tentative Ross that all Husky fans never want to see again.
Ball Movement: Washington found themselves down twelve in the second half because of zero offensive production. The Huskies scored just four points in the first eight minutes of the second half. Romar’s squad went back to their bad habits of moving the ball around the perimeter with no purpose. It showed how important Terrence Ross is to this team, as without him on the floor all of the penetrating falls on Wroten.
Washington was extremely lucky to sneak away with a win in this one. UW fell behind twelve with 13 minutes left and I was ready to give up hope. Husky Nation should try to block out the first 27 minutes of this game from their memory. Wazzu is definitely a team that UW should not want to face in the first round of the Pac-12 tourney, as they find a way to make the Huskies play horrendous basketball. California faces a tall task in taking on Colorado in Boulder tomorrow as the race for the regular-season conference championship comes to a close. Go Buffaloes!