UW Men's Basketball
Simmons red hot in win
Tre Simmons was so electric he almost made a 9-of-10 shooting night by teammate Jamaal Williams seem like an afterthought.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington guard Tre Simmons broke from his normal game-day routine yesterday, deciding in the afternoon to head to Edmundson Pavilion and get in a little shooting.
Normally, he said he does a personal shoot-around the night before a game. But he couldn't this week because of tests.
But Simmons knew he couldn't just let it rest there. Not when he had gone an unusually tepid 6 of 20 from beyond the three-point line in his past three games — scoring 35 points, about five per game fewer than his season average. And not when the slump had continued in the first two days of practice this week.
So a few hours before tipoff against USC, Simmons found himself alone in the East gym of Hec Ed, shooting 100 jumpers.
"I think that helped me get out of it a little bit," he said.
Simmons came back to Edmundson Pavilion a few hours later and poured in a career-high 29 points to lead UW to a 99-69 win over the Trojans with a performance so electric, he almost turned an equally thrilling game by teammate Jamaal Williams into an afterthought.
Williams hit 9 of 10 shots, including his first seven, to score 21 points. He did most of his damage in the first half when he scored 13 points to light a fire under a UW team that got off to an unusually sluggish start.
The two were so prolific that Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy were needed to score just a combined two points in the first half.
USC actually led 15-10 eight minutes into the game before the Huskies' defense turned it up and Williams began scoring at will in the middle.
Williams scored five in a row to start a 19-3 run that put UW ahead for good. USC crawled to 35-29 before UW scored 12 in a row to end the first half and take a 47-29 lead.
"Our guys picked it up on the defensive end, began to force turnovers, and that's when the game changed," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said.
And then USC, in the midst of a tumultuous season that has included four coaches, appeared to quit.
At least, that's what Lodrick Stewart, a USC sophomore guard and Rainier Beach High grad, said.
"We just, like, give up," said Stewart, who led USC with 13 points. "The other team makes a few baskets, and we give up."
Stewart said it was "embarrassing to come home like this."
Said UW forward Mike Jensen: "I did notice they were bickering amongst each other."
It would have been hard for anyone else to hear above the din, however.
While the Huskies quickly turned the game into a rout in the second half — their largest lead was 41 points — a sellout crowd of 10,000 had plenty to cheer about.
First was seeing whether Williams would ever miss — he finally did on an air ball with 15:08 left.
Then it was seeing whether Simmons could become the first Husky this season to break the 30-point mark.
He had a chance, but he missed two free throws before coming out of the game with 6:23 left.
Simmons had also missed his first shot of the game, a three-pointer that rattled in and out. But feeling a breakout was around the corner, he kept shooting until he had tied a school record with 14 three-point attempts and set a UW season high with 21 attempts.
"That's the most shots anyone's taken since I've been here," teammate Will Conroy said in mock horror. "I don't think Doug Wrenn took that many shots."
At the least, it was the most since the 2002-03 season. Simmons hit six three-pointers, tying his own season and career high and finishing one shy of the UW record.
"I still don't think I had a good game," Simmons said.
It was that kind of night for the Huskies (18-3), who won their 19th straight home game, remained tied atop the Pac-10 with Arizona at 8-2 and recorded their highest shooting percentage of the season at 60 percent, yet seemed to search for things to feel bad about.
Bob Condotta: firstname.lastname@example.org
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