C.J. Wilcox (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
SEATTLE - Lorenzo Romar didn't just do a double-take; he made sure with several looks at the jumbotron at Alaska Airlines Arena to make sure it was right. It was. Washington had defeated Jackson State 75-67 Saturday night, but it didn't necessarily feel like a win.
"We won," Romar said after the game. "I looked at the score several times when the horn sounded. And I saw the score, so we won."
Washington used balance scoring and timely defense to defeat a pesky Tigers team. C.J. Wilcox scored 21 points, followed by the 17 of Scott Suggs, and 12 each of Abdul Gaddy and Aziz N'Diaye.
Jackson State was led by the 23 points of Kelsey Howard and the 15 points of guard Christian Williams. Both hit four three-pointers to keep the Tigers in the game down the stretch.
After a convincing win Thursday over Seattle University, it felt like the Huskies (6-4) had taken a step forward. But in a game where it felt at times like they were sleepwalking through the motions, Romar admitted there won't be a ton of positives to take from the win, especially against a team like the Tigers (0-8) who haven't won all season.
"I don't know how many positives we'll take from this game," said Romar. "And I'm usually a glass full guy. I don't know if it's back to square one, but we took a step back from the game the other night - that's for sure.
"They say you can't con a con and you can't kid a kid - we didn't try and kid the kids. We told them that (JSU) haven't been as successful right now. That was the first thing that was talked about after the Seattle game."
"We tried to maintain our energy, we weren't trying to look at their record," added Gaddy. "We're not trying to look at anybody's record because we don't have the greatest record."
The game started out well enough for the Huskies, stretching out to a 16-point lead with 9:26 remaining in the first half. But then UW started to get lazy and that's when the shots failed to go in and they lost focus on the defensive end - especially when it came to giving up second chance points.
"You're on a high the other night because your team played with a lot of pride and you feel good about things the first 10 minutes because we continued to do that, and then all of sudden there it went," Romar said. "It was disappointing.
"Once you do that they have a little life. But I thought we were at a point where it could have gone the other way. But we didn't. We had opportunities where we could have capitalized and scored, and we didn't."
Nineteen of Jackson State's 34 points came directly as a result of second chances and Husky miscues. "They would normally get out-rebounded by 17 a game," Suggs said. "They got a lot of second-chance shots. If we would have eliminated that it would have been a different ball game. That's where they scored over half their points in the first half."
The second half was just a lot of sloppy, scrappy play - but the Huskies were able to close out JSU with a couple of timely shots and some deflections defensively that led to steals. Up five with 90 seconds to go, the Tigers decided not to foul, allowing Washington - who were 4-10 in the second half from the free throw line - to run down the clock and ultimately close the game out.
"We'll be alright," said Gaddy after the game. "We just have to shore up some things and continue to play with pride and somehow come out with wins no matter what. We don't care who we play; it could be Jackson State. If you win by one, it's a win. Whether you play North Carolina or Indiana - if you win by one it's a win. We just have to figure out how to win."
Points: Wilcox 21, Suggs 17, N'Diaye 12, Gaddy 12, Simmons 5, Jarreau 4, Kemp 4
Rebounds: Simmons 9, N'Diaye 9, Suggs 6, Gaddy 4, Wilcox 4, TEAM 4, Jarreau 3, Kemp 3, Stewart 1
Assists: Simmons 4, Gaddy 4, Wilcox 4, Suggs 3, Stewart 3
Steals: Gaddy 2, Wilcox 2, Simmons 1, Stewart 1
Blocks: Wilcox 3, Suggs 2, Kemp 2, Simmons 1, N'Diaye 1, Stewart 1