Huskies roll to easy victory over Arizona State
Washington stays atop Pac-12 standings by beating ASU, 77-69.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Fight to the finishThe Pac-12 men's basketball race remains a logjam. Remaining games for the top five teams:
11-3 Washington: Arizona, at Washington State, at USC, at UCLA.
11-3 California: Oregon State, at Utah, at Colorado, at Stanford.
10-4 Arizona: at Washington, USC, UCLA, at Arizona State.
9-4 Colorado: at Utah, Stanford, California, at Oregon, at Oregon State.
9-5 Oregon: at Stanford, at Oregon State, Colorado, Utah.
This game couldn't end soon enough.
Washington led by 24 points early in the second half Thursday against Arizona State, which didn't have the ability or the will to mount a meaningful comeback.
Perhaps anticipating the big rematch Saturday with Arizona, the Huskies momentarily lost focus in the second half before regaining control and cruising to a 77-69 rout that turned into a laugher in the final minutes.
"We played well the first half and bad the second half," junior guard Abdul Gaddy said. "It's simple really. We didn't play as physical as we did in the first half.
"We just got bored with success really. We tried to get the game over with. We just got to mature a little better and handle success better."
The Huskies played well in stretches — particularly in the first half, when they led 44-26 at the break — and were up by 24 points early in the second half.
But when they should have cruised to a commanding victory, Washington hit the cruise control button while ASU used a 13-2 run to trim its deficit to 11 at 56-45 with 11:27 left.
"It's like turning the switch on and sometimes you can't play like that," Gaddy said. "You can't be able to just turn the switch on like that. You got to be able to keep it on all the time. For us to do that, that was immature of us."
Washington slowed the Arizona State surge and over the next five minutes rebuilt the lead to 22 points.
Tony Wroten Jr. capped a 15-4 run when he whipped a no-look pass to junior center Aziz N'Diaye, who finished with a dunk that put the Huskies ahead 71-49 with 6:01 remaining.
The pregame scoreboard montage showed Wroten flying over ASU freshman forward Jonathan Gilling for a tomahawk flush, which was the signature moment from their first encounter in January.
In front of 9,820 at Edmundson Pavilion, the Huskies continued the dunkfest.
C.J. Wilcox stole a pass in the open court and raced in for a one-handed jam with 12 minutes left in the first half to give Washington a 17-13 lead.
Just before halftime, senior forward Darnell Gant collected a missed layup and hammered a putback slam over a defender and freshman reserve forward Shawn Kemp Jr. concluded the dunk-a-thon with a one-hand jam.
Terrence Ross finished with a game-high 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting and five rebounds, while Wilcox had 14 points. Wroten added 13 points and six steals, N'Diaye chipped in 12 and Gaddy had a career-high-tying eight assists.
This was the feel-good victory the Huskies needed after they struggled offensively last week.
Washington shot 61.3 percent in the first half and 49.2 for the game. It was a significant improvement over the past two games, when it shot 34.8 and 36.4 percent.
The Huskies also forced 19 turnovers and turned the miscues into 30 points.
"If it weren't for the turnovers we could have been a lot better," said ASU coach Herb Sendek.
Junior guard Trent Lockett led the Sun Devils with 13 points.
The 77 points were the most ASU (8-18, 4-10) had surrendered this season, and the Huskies believed they should have scored more.
By the end of the game, most of the UW starters watched the reserves — including fan favorite Brendan Sherrer — in mop-up duty and were able to smile knowing they remain tied with California in first place in the Pac-12 with four games remaining.
"In the second half, it appeared we lost focus," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We didn't handle that lead as well as we should have. Don't like the way we finished the game, but we came up with another victory. We're one step closer to finishing this up the right way."
Washington (18-8, 11-3) got the victory it so desperately needed to set up the showdown Saturday with Arizona (19-8, 10-4). Each of the past three games between the teams was decided on the final play.
"It's a big game for both teams," Romar said. "If this game is like the last three it should be an exciting game."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @percyallen
|ARIZONA ST. (8-18)|
Attendance: 9,820. Officials: Randy McCall, David Hall, Bill Vinovich.