SEATTLE - The Washington Huskies made mistakes, and the UCLA Bruins were good enough to make them…
Wilcox gives Senior Day Salute in Win
"But fortunate today; I thought we came out in the second half and really turned it up defensively for a while. We gave up too much penetration down the stretch, had a couple of turnovers. But I think the way we came out the second half on the defensive end was the difference in the game."
A 15-0 run to start the second half allowed Washington (17-14, 9-9) to fend off a Trojan (11-20) squad eager to finish off their conference campaign on a two-game winning streak. Andrew Andrews had 19 points and Shawn Kemp, Jr. 12 to help Wilcox's offensive tally, while USC was led by the 21 points of Nikola Jovanovic. Byron Wesley added 19 and Pe'Shon Howard 13.
The Huskies will either be the No. 8 or 9 seed for Wednesday's Pac-12 Tournament opening game at noon. If California loses their game with Colorado Saturday, the Huskies and Golden Bears will square off; if Cal wins, the Huskies would face Utah.
"If we go out and we're not distracted on the defensive end, we're sharing the ball and I don't think we have to play at a supernatural manner; we just need to play up to our capabilities - which we have done at times this year," Romar said when asked what it would take for Washington to win four games in a row starting Wednesday. It's the only way the Huskies can make the NCAA Tournament. "If we do that we have just as good of a chance as anybody. If we don't, it'll be very difficult. We don't have to shoot 70 percent from the field every game and all kinds of bad things happen to the other team - just need to play to the best of our abilities, what we're capable of."
Wilcox wanted to start off his Senior Day in style, increasing his activity on the offensive end. Overall Wilcox took 18 shots - 10 from three-point distance - tied the most he's taken the last 13 games.
"You could just see that right away," Romar said of Wilcox's play. "You look at the fact that he had three steals and eight rebounds…it just shows, he was aggressive. He was determined today."
"Last game here, trying to go out with a bang," he said. "Their zone was causing some problems. We were trying to get it into Perris but they did a good job of guarding him - so we were just kind of standing on the outside and didn't get any action in the middle. Second half we figured it out."
Figure it out they did. Down 37-35, Washington strung together some stops on the defensive end and parlayed that work into 15-straight points - capped off by a Wilcox three-pointer with 15:50 remaining in the game.
By that time USC had already called two timeouts to try and stem the tide.
"The first 5-6 minutes we only ran half-court offense one time because we were getting deflections and steals, forcing them to take shots that maybe they didn't want to take," Romar said. "We were off to the races. Shawn Kemp had a heck of a second half just running the floor. Our defense allowed him to be able to do that. Nigel was able to throw him the ball up ahead…that's what happened."
Williams-Goss fouled out with 3:59 left in the game and UW up eight; it was up to Wilcox and Andrew Andrews to lead the Huskies down the stretch. They did, coming up with four points to keep the Trojans at bay.
Andrews missed a three with 1:51 left, and the Huskies were able to retrieve the ball. Then Mike Anderson missed a three, yet the ball was judged to have gone out of bounds off USC. Then Blackwell was fouled and made one free throw to give Washington an 80-73 lead with 55 seconds to go.
Jovanovic was able to drive for a layin with 30 seconds left, but Andrews found Desmond Simmons all alone on the offensive end with a perfect football pass and the junior forward dunked it home to give the Huskies their margin of victory.
"We won the game and there were times where we played right. I don't think we played wrong today; we gave up too much dribble-penetration in the second half. We had a lot of opportunities, I thought, in transition, that we didn't capitalize on, whether we missed a shot or turned the ball over…didn't get that done. By and large, I still think another win still helps us going into the tournament mentally."
Points: Wilcox 24, Andrews 19, Kemp 12, Simmons 8, Blackwell 8, Williams-Goss 7, Johnson 2, Anderson 2
Rebounds: Wilcox 8, Blackwell 8, Williams-Goss 6, Simmons 5, Andrews 5, Johnson 3, TEAM 3, Anderson 2, Kemp 1
Assists: Williams-Goss 9, Andrews 3, Wilcox 2, Johnson 1, Blackwell 1, Anderson 1
Steals: Wilcox 3, Williams-Goss 1, Andrews 1, Johnson 1
Blocks: Wilcox 2, Blackwell 2
Senior Day Introductions
Lorenzo Romar Post-Game Video/Quotes
Andrew Andrews/C.J. Wilcox Post Game Video/Quotes
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