Huskies Win Exhibition, Lose Simmons

C.J. Wilcox (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

SEATTLE - It was a good news, bad news night for the Washington Huskies as they unveiled their 2012/2013 Men's Basketball team. The good news; a 30-point win over Central Washington in their one and only exhibition game. The bad news; they'll miss one of the leaders for the better part of two months with a knee injury.

"Finally got to play one, so…good," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the Huskies' 95-65 win over the Wildcats in front of an announced attendance of 4985 at Alaska Airlines Arena. "Now we can move on and prepare for Sunday for our real opener. Really pleased with the second half and our guys' effort. Our guys continue to play and not play to the score, which I think is very important and showed maturity."

The win was overshadowed a bit by the news post-game that junior forward Desmond Simmons could be out until at least mid-December with knee trouble. It's the same knee Simmons has had issues with in the past.

"Desmond…we were waiting because there was some discussion as to if he could wait, take a little time off and come back, but the medical staff decided he's going to have surgery," Romar said. "Arthroscopic surgery, so he'll be back probably sometime mid-December, third week in December - some time like that. His knee."

So who will step up? In years' past it would have been a legitimate concern, but with 61 combined post points Wednesday it appears there could be viable solutions in hand.

"In terms of those bigs there's four of them where we spread the minutes around," Romar said when asked where they go to in Simmons' absence. "They did a great job tonight. I think Jernard (Jarreau) picked up the slack, had nine boards, almost had a double-double. Mike Anderson had six rebounds in 18 minutes, Andrew Andrews had six rebounds - so the guards helped us on the boards also."

Washington had four players in double-figures, led by senior transfer Perris Blackwell, who had 21 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes. Jernard Jarreau added 17 points and nine rebounds, while C.J. Wilcox and freshman point guard Nigel Williams-Goss got off to a good start with 16 points apiece.

"He doesn't know his age," Romar said of Williams-Goss. "He's not aware of it. All he knows is that we've got to be good - and whatever it takes to be good I'm going to help, I'm going to rally the guys up. That's all he knows."

Central Washington was led by the 30 points of former UW commit Mark McLaughlin. Jordan Russell was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 11.

Much was made going into the game of the new hand-checking rules, but the first hand-check foul was called nine minutes into the game. "I think a lot of guys were focusing on not doing it so we have to find a happy medium," said Wilcox. "We did a good job of playing off guys and not keep your hands on them, but it's still something we're learning."

Overall, it was the Huskies that found themselves at the foul line the most, shooting 37 free throws and making 23.

"That team was a driving team that was going to the basket," Romar said of Central. "We've played teams like that in the past. Although they did get to the basket more than we would have liked, I thought we did a good job of not fouling them as much as we could have with that much penetration coming at us."

The Huskies focused their offensive efforts in the paint, out-scoring Central Washington 60-28 there. Not only did UW's bigs score, they also passed the ball around for easy baskets. Washington had 20 assists on the night and over half of them (11) came from their forwards and centers.

"I love it," Wilcox said of the dominant UW post play. "You can throw it inside and throw it to the high post and you know something good is going to happen. We haven't had that in the past. The offense is going to work more for us this year."

The Huskies also kept the tempo up for nearly the whole game, with 12 players seeing game action and no one playing more than 24 minutes. "There's no doubt this is a different team," Romar said. "For starters, there are just more guys that can make plays. There's more depth. There's more energy. A guy like like Darin Johnson, a freshman who really didn't get the ball to go down - I thought he did a very good job of guarding the ball tonight. His presence is something that would be under-appreciated. Mike Anderson…just his presence defensively. So just more depth, more athletes that we can go to."

The Huskies start their regular season Sunday when they host the Seattle University Redhawks at Alaska Airlines Arena. Tip-off is at 7 pm and the game will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks.
Notes:
Jarreau is finishing strong: During one play the sophomore from New Orleans did a quick flex - a move he said was for their new strength coach Daniel Shapiro. He's listed at 220 pounds now and played aggressively, especially at the hoop. But Romar was most impressed by Jernard's play on the glass. "Nine rebounds…we know he can pass and we've said he's our best playmaker in the high post," Romar said of Jarreau. "He's been finishing in practice, but we've talked to him about rebounding the ball better - and he did tonight. Within the last week he's been like that."

Dierickx shows up: Romar joked that no one in the media asks about Gilles Dierickx, the sophomore transfer from Florida International, but more people are going to be asking about 'G' now. In 20 minutes Dierickx had a modest, yet solid, scoreline: Four points, four rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and no turnovers. "G is a real physical big," Jarreau said. "He plays like he has that physicality to him and Perris too - he's a big load down there. I can pass it to Perris any time and I know it's going to be a bucket."

Kemp another big to add to the mix: Shawn Kemp would normally been off the bench sooner - if not starting - but Romar said the 6-foot-9 junior power forward has been a little under the weather. That didn't stop him from scoring nine points and coming up with three boards in 14 minutes of play. "He's coming along," Romar said of Kemp. "Shawn had been sick a little bit, missed some time. He's still regaining his strength and all that. I think he's further along than at this time last year. Obviously he was injured and came back 6,7 weeks later. I would imagine Shawn is just going to keep getting better and better."
Statistics:
Points: Blackwell 21, Jarreau 17, Williams-Goss 16, Wilcox 16, Kemp 9, Andrews 5, Anderson 5, Dierickx 4, Johnson 2
Rebounds: Blackwell 9, Jarreau 9, Andrews 6, Anderson 6, Williams-Goss 4, Dierickx 4, TEAM 4, Wilcox 3, Kemp 3, Johnson 2, Stewart 1, Taylor 1
Assists: Jarreau 5, Andrews 4, Williams-Goss 3, Dierickx 3, Blackwell 2, Johnson 1, Stewart 1, Kemp 1
Steals: Wilcox 3, Jarreau 1, Andrews 1, Stewart 1, Anderson 1, Taylor 1
Blocks: Jarreau 3, Dierickx 3

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