Huskies close out Hawks

Huskies close out Hawks

Washington needed some tough defense and a solid inbounds play in the final minute to preserve a 73 – 67 win over the visiting Hartford Hawks tonight in Hec Edmondson Pavilion in front of 6,617 fans tonight.

C.J. Wilcox had 18 second-half points, 23 in total, to lead the Huskies to their final win before conference play begins next week.

Wilcox connected on six of 12 from the field, including four of 8 from three-point range, but it was his free throw shooting down the stretch that was the difference. He made 7 of 8 from the line. Andrew Andrews added 19 points but shot just 3 of 12 from the field. Nigel Williams-Goss had 11 as did Desmond Simmons.

Mark Nwakamma had a solid game from the power forward position, pumping in 21 points and making 8 of his 10 field goal attempts and both of his free throws. Nwakamma was a scoring machine inside and out and gave the Huskies fits all night before fouling out in the final two minutes.

Nate Sikma added 16 points and Evan Cooper had 15 for the visitors from Hartford.

Washington struggled once again on defense as their opponents shot 56% from the field against them, but the Huskies overcame that by going to the line 30 times and making 26 of those (87%). Andrew Andrews went 13 times, connecting on 11 of those. Desmond Simmons made 7 of 8 from the line.

The game was tight throughout, as there were 18 lead changes and 11 ties during the game. Hartford's biggest lead was five as was Washington's. The Huskies had 9 fast break points and 15 points off of turnovers while Hartford had 7 off breaks and 11 off of Husky turnovers. It was a pretty clean game as the Huskies only turned it over 7 times compared to the 14 for Hartford.

The game was still in the balance when Hartford's Corban Wroe fouled CJ Wilcox hard with about 5 minutes remaining. Wilcox got up but Wroe chirped at him and then got in his face. Wroe was whistled with a technical foul and sulked off to the bench still flapping his gums.

CJ made both technical free throws and made one of two following that, pushing the Huskies out to a four point lead. From there Hartford was able to jump back into the lead at the 2:32 mark, but that was the last time. Wilcox hit a jumper to tie it and Williams-Goss hit a jumper in transition to push the Huskies out to a 67-65 lead to set up the final minute.

In the final minute, the Huskies amped up the defensive pressure and Hartford's Nate Sikma was unable to connect on two long misses under duress from Blackwell. The Huskies were able to close it out with two free throws by Simmons and Washington had their 8th win of the season.
Running with the Pack – since there was no Dawg Pack section tonight, given that school is not in session, the section behind the two benches that has been mostly barren this year was full of fans that were allowed to move into those areas. It was a nice change seeing that area full, and it made it louder in the arena as a result.

Offensive dawgs: During a stretch in the first half, Washington's offense looked reminiscent of the Bob Bender era in its ineptness. On four consecutive trips, the Huskies managed a CJ Wilcox air ball that Anderson grabbed the rebound on, but since it missed everything the 35-second shot clock had expired. That was followed by an Anderson turnover, a held ball where Anderson got tied up after a bad pass from Nigel Williams-Goss, and then came a Desmond Simmons turnover and foul. It was some of the worst basketball I've seen under Romar. It made me think back to the days when Bryan Brown and Chris Wolcott were starters.

Dead-eyes at the stripe: Washington once again proved that they are an excellent free-throw shooting team, something that is a bit of an eyebrow raiser for a Lorenzo Romar team. After years of gnashing teeth whenever Huskies went to the foul line, this year is a different story. Washington made 26 of 30, good for 87% from the line tonight.

Next up at home: The Utah Utes come to Seattle on Wednesday January 8th for an 8PM tip off here at Hec-Ed.

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