Saturday, January 28, 2012
Wroten leads Huskies to road win over Sun Devils 60-54
Tony Wroten led the Washington Huskies(13-7,6-2) into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 win a road win over the struggling Arizona State Sun Devils(6-14,2-6) 60-54 down in Tempe, Arizona. After scoring a season low 22 points in the first half the Huskies overcame that with a strong second half that saw them go on a 13-1 run to begin the half. Wroten also excited everyone with the #1 play on Sportscenters top 10 plays with a dunk after the Sun Devils pulled within four points. Lorenzo Romar also saw his roster gain some depth as C.J. Wilcox returned from injury and football sensation Austin Seferian-Jenkins continued to give the Huskies good minutes. Despite making only one three pointer the entire game the Huskies once again won with defense and hustle which has always been a trademark for Romar teams who have made the NCAA tournament. The Huskies may have defeated a bad team but road wins especially for this young group is hard to come by. Just like that the Huskies have now won two road games in a row and despite everything that went wrong in the non-conference season they have positioned themselves in the first half of the season to be able to contend for a Pac-12 championship which is always the goal.
For the Huskies they also shot 10-29(34.5%) from the field but failed to make a single three pointer in five attempts. They were also just two for six(33.3%) from the free throw line. The Huskies were led by Tony Wroten who scored nine points on four for five shooting while making one of two free throws. Wroten also had four rebounds in the process. Terrence Ross scored eight points on only 4-12 shooting and missed all three three point attemps. Abdul Gaddy also struggled scoring just one point while missing all five field goals including two three point attempts. Gaddy did add four assists as the Huskies offense was terrible in the first half.
For a young team like these Huskies are this was a huge road win. They are now tied for first place in the conference despite their struggles a month ago. This team is starting to have an identity and is gaining some depth with Seferian-Jenkins joining the team. Now if the Huskies can pull off the shocker and defeat Arizona in Arizona(something they haven't done since Brandon Roy was a senior) they could be in the drivers seat for the conference crown. This has been an up and down season for this group. Hopefully winning five of their last six games is the turnaround this team needed moving forward.
When a player joins the team though that means someone's minutes are cut down. I figured Romar would take some from Gant, N'Diaye and Simmons. Instead Desmond Simmons appears to be the odd man out. Against Stanford Simmons scored six points but had just one rebound. Against Arizona State Simmons played just 10 minutes, scoring zero points and grabbing only two rebounds. Still with Seferian-Jenkins on the team that is huge as he is a quality big man unlike Bruenig or Kemp Jr who were just useless out there. With Seferian-Jenkins joining the team the Huskies now have a toughness to them that was left when Tyrese Breshers was forced to retire.
For the year Wroten is averaging 17.1 points per game, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He is shooting 49.6% from the field and he leads the entire Pac-12 in 7.6 free throw attempts per game(only making 54.6% of them). He is averaging a full two steals per game as well. Wroten has been as good as advertised for the Huskies.
Just like this Huskies team has found ways to win three of their last four games despite not shooting well at all in the first half of any of those games. They also won their of their last four conference games with Wilcox playing a combined 10 minutes and failing to make a single field goal. Ross carried them against the Cougars and Wroten has carried them the last two games. This team is starting to play defense which has to make Romar happy as his teams always play defense at least his NCAA tournament calibar teams do. The team that lost to South Dakota State at home in dominating fasion is now tied for first place in the Pac-12 with 10 more games to be played. This team has come a long ways in a month and can go even further in the next two months which is ultimately the goal.