C.J. Wilcox (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
Paced by four players in double-digit scoring, the Washington Huskies were able to rebound from a tough loss at San Diego State to comfortably defeat the Idaho State Bengals 85-66 in front of a sparse Saturday afternoon crowd at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Perris Blackwell chipped in with 20 points and C.J. Wilcox had 19 and four blocked shots for the Huskies (5-4). Andrew Andrews scored 17 and Nigel Williams-Goss was the final UW player to score in double-digits with 13 points.
Idaho State (3-4) was led by the 14 points apiece from Tomas Sanchez and Jeffrey Solarin.
"Going into this game we knew this game was going to be…this team plays differently than any other team that we've played primarily because of their defense - we haven't faced that type of defense," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game. "We haven't faced that type of zone all year. I thought our guys did a really good job of attacking it. You see we shot 55 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three and 19 assists…give our guys a lot of credit; we attacked it inside and outside, we penetrated and kicked…I just thought our guys did a good job of going up against it. That was really important because you go up against that team and they are able to stifle you with that, you can have problems."
The Huskies and Bengals traded baskets for the most part until Andrews buried a three and was fouled to convert a four-point play with 10:37 remaining in the first half. UW went on an extended 13-4 run, capped off by a Wilcox basket to jump out to a 34-23 lead with 6:52 to half.
Romar said it was their aggressiveness against Idaho State's use of multiple zones that proved to be the difference. "What we have been guilty of a little bit early is walking around, trying to figure it all out…today I thought we attacked," he said. "We weren't really thinking, we were just going out and playing basketball - getting to the places we were supposed to be, setting screens where we were supposed to."
Blackwell was the beneficiary of a lot of that aggressiveness, turning the guard's penetration into easy baskets around the rim. He was 9-11 from the field for the game, and also had seven rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals.
"For a big guy, he's pretty skilled. He's pretty crafty around there, he has good footwork. He knows how to handle himself in most situations on the floor with the ball."
And when the Bengals sagged inside, it allowed Wilcox to spot up in the corners for three-point chances. The senior sharpshooter from Utah was 7-12 on the night, with five of those baskets coming from beyond the arc.
"In the zone, we talked about in practice how it's kind of top heavy and how it looked like they could be vulnerable in the corners and inside - that allowed Perris and early on even Shawn Kemp had a couple buckets. Our guys did a good job of rotating the ball so that we could get in a position to get inside and then get those balls in the corner."
Idaho State, though down 11 at half, kept banging away at it and even got Washington's lead down to five with 7:04 remaining in the game, but then the Huskies used Blackwell, Wilcox and Andrews to go on an extended 11-0 run - the final bucket by Blackwell inside - to make the final margin a comfortable one for the home team.
"In the first half they shot a high percentage but in the second half I thought we settled down and they shot 37 percent," Romar said. "I thought we did a good job that way. We're still not jumping to the ball as much but in terms of giving up layups we've cut that way down the last two games - especially in the San Diego State game."
NOTES: Romar was asked about Tuesday's game at Tulane in New Orleans. It was a game to celebrate the homecoming of UW sophomore Jernard Jarreau, but Jarreau is out for the season after hurting his knee in the first few minutes of the season versus Seattle University.
"We're going to go to Jernard's house and they are going to provide some good old, Louisiana grub for us," Romar said, laying out the team's plan for their trip to the Big Easy. They leave Sunday.
"I can't wait, I'll be first in line for that. We have a little something else planned - we'll talk about it when we get back. It should be fun."
Points: Blackwell 20, Wilcox 19, Andrews 17, Williams-Goss 13, Johnson 5, Taylor 5, Kemp 4, Anderson 2
Rebounds: Blackwell 7, Williams-Goss 4, Anderson 4, TEAM 4, Wilcox 3, Johnson 3, Andrews 2, Kemp 2, Taylor 1, Dierickx 1
Assists: Williams-Goss 5, Johnson 4, Andrews 3, Wilcox 3, Blackwell 2, Anderson 1, Kemp 1
Blocks: Wilcox 4, Blackwell 1
Steals: Blackwell 2, Andrews 2, Wilcox 2, Sterling 1