Monday, January 2, 2012
Wilcox drills six three pointers as Huskies defeat Ducks 76-60
The Washington Huskies(8-5,2-0) defeated the Oregon Ducks(10-4,1-1) 76-60 behind six three pointers by sophomore reserve C.J. Wilcox. For the second straight season and only the third time in the Romar era the Huskies began conference play winning their first two games. In the second when the Ducks had pulled within four points Wilcox carred the Huskies with 15 second half points tying a career high with 24 points. The Huskies had four guys score in double figures as the defense improved holding the Ducks to 32.3% shooting from the field. The Ducks were led by E.J. Singler who scored 20 points but the Huskies had too much scoring power especially from their guards.
The Huskies freshman Tony Wroten continues to take the league by storm as he scored 17 points holding Oregon's senior guard to 1-13 shooting in the process as well. Wroten currently leads the conference in scoring average in conference games as he is cutting down on his turnovers. The Huskies took care of business against the Oregon schools like they have done so well in the Lorenzo Romar era. Romar improves to 9-1 all-time against the Ducks at home as Huskies head coach and will take on the Colorado Buffaloes next thursday for the first time in the Romar era these two teams will square off.
For the Huskies they were led by Wilcox who scored 24 points on 8-11 shooting from the field, six for eight on three pointers to tie a career high. Next was Wroten who scored 17 points on 7-15 shooting with five assists and four rebounds including a steal and a block. Wroten's free throw woes continued making just three for eight but he did have just two turnovers. Also held the Ducks guard Devoe Joseph to 1-13 shooting. Abdul Gaddy scored 12 points on four for five shooting including a perfect three for three on three pointers while dishing out three assists. Terrence Ross provided 11 points against his homestate team on four for nine shooting including three for five from three pointers. Aziz N'Diaye scored eight points on four for seven shooting while grabbing six rebounds and having three block shots. Desmond Simmons off the bench only scored two points but added six rebounds with three assists while playing good defense in the second half on Singler. The Huskies shot 29-54(53.7%) from the field and 12-22(54.5%) from three pointers rebounding from the Orgon State game.
All in all, the Huskies have now won three games in a row and will look to win their first road game of the season as they are 0-2 on the road and 0-4 overall away from Hec Ed. The Huskies continue their dominance of Oregon as they are now 111-33 all-time at home against the Ducks. Romar is now 18-2 in his 10 seasons as Huskies head coach against the Ducks and Beavers at home. The Huskies are starting to come together as a team as they are finally settling on their roles as a team. The free throw shooting especially by Wroten has to be a concern as was all the offensive rebounds the Huskies allowed. The guard play highlighted by Wroten is the best in the conference and one of the best in the nation. The Huskies also feature some of the best shooters in the conference with Wilcox and Ross and two of the better dribblers in Gaddy and Wroten. The Huskies team also has three bigs who defend well and rebound decently. This young talented team hopefully has turned a corner and is finally ready to start beating some teams on the road.
- When the game was getting a little scary as Oregon pulled within 48-44 that is when Wilcox took over. After drilling back to back three pointers to give him 15 points all on three pointers Wilcox took his game inside. He was blowing by defenders for floaters and short shots. For the game Wilcox shot 8-11 and made six three pointers in his second game coming off the bench. For Wilcox it doesn't matter if he starts or not as he'll still receive starters minutes having played the second most minutes in the game with 33. Wilcox tied a career high with 24 which he set last year in that memorable game against UCLA.
For the year now Wilcox is averaging 15.3 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks in 31.6 minutes. He is shooting 45.5% from the field and 45.6% from three pointers making 2.8 per game. He is also knocking down 92.0% of his free throws suggesting he should bring his game more inside for those free points. Wilcox will be competing for Pac-12 player of the week despite coming off the bench. He averaged 19.5 points per game on the week shooting 12-24(50.0%) from the field and 7-13(53.8%) from three pointers making 3.5 per game. Also grabbed 3.5 rebounds per game while adding a steal and two blocks. Wilcox responded well to coming off the bench this week and saved the Huskies when the game started to get scary.
- Tony Wroten once again looked like the best player on the court on both sides of the ball. He shut down Devoe Joseph while driving the lane on the Ducks. Wroten is so quick at least three times a game he kicks it into another gear as he blows by several defenders for to him looks like an easy layup. Wroten could runaway with the Pac-12 freshman of the year and might even win the Pac-12 player of the year. Wroten dominated the first half when the Huskies offense was kind of slow and finished with 17 points on the game with five assists to just two turnovers. Wroten also made several great passes that his big men couldn't handle or his assist total would be even higher. Wroten is starting to take over as the best player on this team while having six other talented guys who are helping out makes the Huskies a tough team to defend.
For the year Wroten is averaging 16.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He is also averaging 1.6 steals a game as he is shooting 50.0% from the field. His free throws are a problem as he is only making 52.8% of them and only making 25.0% of his three point attempts. Wroten has some flaws but his quickness and size overcomes most of that. He'll be competing with Wilcox for Pac-12 player of the week. For the week Wroten averaged 21.5 points per game, 4.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds. He also added two steals and a block shot. He shot 17-31(54.8%) from the field and only averaged 2.0 turnovers a game. Wroten in my opinion might ace out Wilcox for player of the week honors. Wroten has cut down on his turnovers and if he can start making his free throws then he and the Huskies will be unstoppable in Pac-12 play.
I think Romar has found a solid starting lineup that helps the defense and scoring. With Wilcox coming off the bench the Huskies will now have that sixth man ace up his sleeve that he loves to use. Romar is basically only playing seven guys as well and Desmond Simmons minutes keep increasing due to the poor rebounding that has been going on. Of the seven players that Romar is playing they feature one senior, two juniors, two sophomores and two freshman so that is a nice balance that is good for this year and beyond.
In conclusion, I was at the game in person I noticed a few things. I noticed that when a player screws up and is pulled they are immediately asked to sit by assistent coach Paul Fortier as he gives them instructions and then they sit by Gaddy who is basically a player coach. Gaddy and Wroten are starting to play well together as Wroten begins the game taking the ball while driving the opposing team crazy. Then as the game winds down Gaddy takes control and made some big shots down the stretch. With Wilcox coming off the bench now the Huskies are a dangerous team. The three previous times the Huskies started off 2-0 in conference play they won a Pac-10 regular season title and two conference tournament titles. Something to think about as this team just went 2-0 in conference play for only the fourth time in the Romar era. This was a great way to end the year for the Huskies as they hope to end their road woes to start the year 2012 in style on Thursday at Colorado.