Washington men's basketball rolls to 93-63 win over Portland
Terrence Ross rebounded from a pair of uneven performances and scored a game-high 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including six three-pointers.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Saint Louis, 9 a.m.
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They're as different as fire and ice.
Tony Wroten Jr., the young, exuberant playmaker, burns hot with passion and energy, while the smooth-flowing Abdul Gaddy is a cool, calming influence on the court.
There had been plenty of preseason speculation whether the hometown basketball heroes — Wroten starred at Seattle's Garfield High and Gaddy at Tacoma's Bellarmine Prep — could share the point-guard duties at Washington.
Through the first two games, they coexisted and operated in mutually exclusive areas on the floor in a pair of victories.
But during UW's 93-63 thumping of Portland on Monday, Gaddy and Wroten connected in ways that made it seem as if they'd been playing together their entire lives.
They combined for 11 assists and three turnovers while directing a Husky offense that pummeled Portland into submission.
"Tone hits Abdul for plays, and Abdul hits Tone," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "They connect. They take turns who's bringing the ball up. Who's not. It's been a good thing."
A good thing turned into a great thing late in the first half when the guards collaborated on a play that thrilled the 7,918 at Edmundson Pavilion.
Gaddy spotted Wroten cutting along the baseline and tossed a pass at the rim. The 6-foot-5 freshman sailed over a defender and flushed a dunk despite being fouled.
"It looked open," Gaddy said. "I just knew if I threw it high enough, Tone would go get it."
Seconds later, Wroten returned the favor.
He threw a pass nearly the length of the court to Gaddy, who converted a fast-break layup in traffic after a foul. The junior co-captain sank the ensuing free throw to put Washington ahead 31-18 lead with 5:01 remaining in the first half, and the rout was on.
The Huskies outclassed and dominated the inexperienced Pilots (2-1), turning the World Vision Classic finale into laugher.
"It is a tough matchup, especially when things start to get away from you like they did for us in the first half," Portland coach Eric Reveno said. "We tried to drop into the zone to disrupt them, but they settled down and started making shots.
"At the end of the first half they got really comfortable, and it was hard to get them uncomfortable again."
Terrence Ross rebounded from a pair of uneven performances and scored a game-high 24 points — one shy of his personal best — on 9-for-13 shooting, including six three-pointers.
C.J. Wilcox added 14 points, Aziz N'Diaye had 11 points and seven rebounds, and Darnell Gant chipped in 10 points and six rebounds.
"My first shot, I was open and I made it," Ross said. "I felt like I could get on a roll if I hit another, and that's what happened. I just kept shooting."
While Ross rediscovered his shooting stroke, Washington's point guards improved their on-court chemistry.
Gaddy finished with 15 points, five assists and five rebounds while Wroten had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds.
On Sunday Romar questioned whether the Huskies had the killer instinct to "step on people's throats" when they built early leads. In its two previous games, UW squandered big first-half advantages.
Against Portland, Washington never trailed and never looked back.
Washington led 43-23 at the break, and the Husky highlights came fast and furious in the second half.
• Wroten connected with Ross for an alley-oop windmill dunk.
• N'Diaye blocked a shot that led to Gant's breakaway slam.
• Wroten whipped a no-look pass into the post to N'Diaye for another monster slam.
• With 5:24 left, Wroten stripped Portland guard Tim Douglas in the open court to ignite another break. He finished the sequence with a pass near the basket that Gaddy tipped in for a 79-50 UW lead.
It was a near-complete effort for Washington, which held Portland to 34.2 percent shooting.
Ross starred defensively and shutdown senior forward Nemanja Mitrovic, who entered the game averaging 15.5 points. He finished with five points on 6-for-16 shooting.
Washington's only blemish: 9 for 18 free-throw shooting.
"The guys put forth our best team effort tonight," Romar said. "Not only in terms of sharing the basketball, but in terms of team defense and really trying to help each other out.
"I didn't think anyone had their own agenda. I thought we all just played Husky basketball and those were the results."
• Wilcox was voted the MVP of the World Vision Classic, while Ross and Gaddy were selected along with Florida Atlantic's Greg Gantt, Georgia State's Eric Buckner and Portland's Mitrovic to the all-tournament team.
• Wilcox won the first Pac-12 player of the week award after leading the Huskies in scoring in the pair of weekend victories.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com. On Twitter: @percyallen.
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Attendance: 7,918. Officials: Ruben Ramos, Gregory Nixon, Rick Batsell.
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