Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Ross & Wroten help Huskies sweep Wildcats 79-70; win fifth straight at home against Wildcats
On senior night Terrence Ross who also might be playing in his final game at home scored a game high 25 points as the Washington Huskies(19-8,12-3) swept the regular season series of the Arizona Wildcats(19-9,10-5) for the first time since 2004. The Huskies have defeated the Wildcats four of five the last two years and have won five years in a row at home against the Wildcats. This was easily the most complete game the Huskies have played all season where their offense at times resembled an NBA all-star game with all the high flying dunks while their defense was stingy. The Huskies controlled the paint, controlled the glass and played smart basketball for a full 40 minutes. Lorenzo Romar improves to 8-2 on senior night home games as Darnell Gant ended his Husky career with a home victory. In the four seasons Gant has been a member of the Huskies they are 64-7(90.1%) at home including 8-0 against the normal powerhouses of the conference Arizona and UCLA. This win also has the Huskies still remain tied for first place but now they are two games up on Oregon and Arizona who are both in fourth place. In the Pac-12 tournament top four seeds get a bye which is so important. Due to Ross scoring 25 and Wroten's 22 the Huskies once again defeated the Wildcats to earn the season sweep.
The Huskies won 79-70 over the Wildcats. The Wildcats shot 22-56(39.3%) from the field, 6-21(28.6%) from three point range and 20-29(69.0%) on free throws. The Wildcats were led by Nick Johnson who scored 20 points on 6-14 shooting with two three pointers and four assists. Solomon Hill who torched the Huskies last time had just 13 points on 2-7 shooting but made 8-13 free throws and collected 10 rebounds.
For the Huskies they shot 28-67(41.8%) from the field, 3-18(16.7%) from three pointers and 20-30(66.7%) from free throws. The Huskies out rebounded the Wildcats 40-35 with 16 offensive rebounds. The Huskies also had seven blocks to the Wildcats four, eight steals to the Wildcats zero and just seven turnovers to the Wildcats 13. This was a total team effort led by Terrence Ross who scored 25 points on 11-19 shooting with a three pointer. Ross also added five rebounds, a block shot and five steals in possibly his final home game as a Husky. Tony Wroten scored 22 points on 8-22 shooting including six for nine on free throws. Wroten added two assists but nine rebounds including five offensive. C.J. Wilcox scored 11 points on three for five shooting including two three pointers and was three for four at the free throw line. Abdul Gaddy scored nine points on two for eight shooting but was five for six at the free throw line. Gaddy also had six assists to zero turnovers. Aziz N'Diaye making the rare appearance off the bench scored eight points on three for eight shooting but grabbed 12 rebounds. He also had four block shots and a steal as he dominated the paint. Darnell Gant playing his final home game scored just three points on one for five shooting but had four rebounds. He also had a steal and two block shots. This was a huge win from Romar's team over the Wildcats.
This was a big win for the Huskies who have won more conference games than they have the last two years with their 12th conference win. This is also the eighth time in the last nine years the Huskies have won at least 19 games in a season. Heading into the year this team had so much hype and promise despite losing their top three leading scorers along with another key player. The Huskies have really grown up from that 5-5 start that saw them drop four out of five games. Since that terrible the stretch the Huskies are 16-3 playing like the team everyone had hoped for. The home schedule is over as the Huskies went 15-2 this year at home meaning this is the seventh season in the last eight years the Huskies have lost two or fewer home games. The Huskies have a true home court advantage like no other in the Pac-12. The Huskies have now swept the season series from the Oregon State Beavers, Arizona State Sun Devils and now the Arizona Wildcats. The Huskies won a crucial game which keeps them tied for first place in the conference as they try to raise their fourth straight conference championship banner.
Wroten should run away with Pac-12 freshman of the year as well as be selected on the first team Pac-12 team. He should also be first-team all-american all-freshman team as well. Wroten is averaging 16.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.5 APG. He is also averaging 2.0 steals per game while shooting 46.5% from the field. He's scored in double figures in 25 of the 27 games he's played in this year. Wroten has surpassed Isaiah Thomas 2008-09 season as best freshman season ever at Washington. Wroten is having a terrific year and if not for teammate Terrence Ross he'd be a strong candidate(still is actually) for Pac-12 player of the year.
Wilcox had a long stretch last season where he slumped but snapped out it late in the year. The Huskies are hoping Wilcox can repeat that once again this year. This is the second straight game he has shot over 50.0% which has to make Husky fans happy. After making just one three pointer in the first four games back from injury Wilcox has now made at least two three pointers in four straight games. For the year Wilcox is averaging 13.7 PPG while making 2.2 three pointers a game at a 40.5% clip. Wilcox is capable of more and I think he is about to breakout for a big game anytime now.
The Huskies out rebounded the Wildcats 40-35 including 16 offensive rebounds. The Huskies also had eight steals to the Wildcats zero and had seven block shots highlighted by four by N'Diaye. N'Diaye was the difference maker on defense in the win with 12 rebounds and four block shots. Solomon Hill who killed the Huskies last game with 28 points and 14 rebounds made just two for seven from field goals. Kyle Fogg was 4-12 shooting including one for six in the second half. The Pac-12's leading three point shooter Brendan Lavender was just two for six from three point range including missing all three in the second half. The defensive intensity for the Huskies was the difference in this game which was led by N'Diaye.
This year in only 25 games so far he has scored in double figures in 10 games(five in conference play). He has grabbed double digit rebounds in seven games. He is averaging 8.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 1.2 blocks in 23.7 minutes per game. As you can see N'Diaye is a vastly improved player from last season which is huge for the Huskies. No other team in conference has a seven footer so that is an advantage the Huskies have over every team this season and should have for next season as well.
For the year Ross who will be named first team all Pac-12 has a chance to be the conference player of the year. Ross is averaging 15.6 PPG, 6.8 rebounds per game. He is also averaging 1.2 steals and a full block per game. He is shooting 45.3% from the field, making 1.8 three pointers a game on 35.8% shooting from beyond the arc and making 74.7% from free throws. Ross when he came to Washington was the "other" Terrence as Terrence Jones and him were supposed to both go to Washington. Instead looking back it was the Huskies who got the better Terrence as Jones might have to come back another season. Ross had a great game against the Wildcats as he is averaging 20.5 PPG and 6.0 RPG. He is averaging four steals and two blocks as well. Ross has finally emerged as the go to guy for the Huskies and has embraced that role. If this was his final home game what a way to go out.
This was a huge win for the Huskies and what made it bigger is the fact the Huskies defeated the Wildcats and there was no surprise. The Huskies have defeated the Bruins eight straight years at home and now the Wildcats five straight years at home. The Huskies have also won four of their last five against the Wildcats while also winning four in a row against the Bruins. The Huskies taking care of the two traditional powers in the conference has paved their way into proving they are a program that isn't going away anytime soon. The Washington-Arizona rivalry is the best in the conference in my opinion as they have produced the best games during this past decade. This game provided a ton of highlight reel dunks by the Huskies as they took care of business. The Huskies win over Arizona and with California defeating the Oregon Ducks means the Pac-12 race went from five teams going for a title to just three with Washington, California and Colorado. Unfortunately for the Huskies both those teams have defeated the Huskies and there will be no rematch either not in the regular season that is. The Huskies now go on the road to finish out their season as they are just 4-6 on the road but have won four out of five on the road since starting off 0-5. The Huskies sent Gant out with a win now it's time for the Huskies to take care of business on the road. Winners take care of business at home while champions win on the road. We'll find out soon if the Huskies are champions. One thing that we do know is that they are definitely winners as this has been the greatest four year stretch in Huskies basketball history.