The Greyhounds were supposed to be a tough test for the Huskies (1-0), as they advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year by winning the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), but Washington took a two-point halftime lead and ran away from Loyola with a 52-point second half outburst, including a 9-0 run ending with a Wilcox bomb to put the game completely out of reach at 79-58 with 3:09 remaining in the game.
Besides Wilcox's 22 points, Senior guard Abdul Gaddy chipped in 17 points, while fellow senior Scott Suggs added 15 more for the Huskies. N'Diaye hauled down 16 rebounds to go with his 10 points. Redshirt freshman Andrew Andrews scored nine points for UW, and sophomore forward Desmond Simmons tallied seven more for the winning team. It was the ninth time in Wilcox's career that he's scored 20 or more points for UW.
For Loyola, they were led by junior guard Dylon Cormier, who finished the game with 19 points. MAAC Pre-Season Player of the Year pick Erik Etherly added 15 and eight rebounds for the Greyhounds (0-1)
“Well that game was about whether we won or lost, was about how we predicted, a team that changes defenses, a team that wont beat itself, that’s the team we played tonight, I thought our guys did a really good job," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said.
"We went to the NCAA last year and played Kentucky and were down four at halftime, we’ve been down two at West Virigina, I can’t have a practice half as good as that…that gets us ready," added Loyola Head Coach Jimmy Patsos. "Remember we are in the Mid Major level. We got to win three games in March, we did that last year and we’ll learn from this and I had a couple guys out but the experience was great and the fans were good and it was a great place to play and a great trip. The second half, we got tired, they made threes and we learn from that.”
The Huskies will also learn from their mistakes. Romar noted the quickness of the Loyola players to the basket, which led to a 19-9 offensive rebounding discrepancy for the Greyhounds in the game. Washington ended up out-rebounding the Greyhounds in total 38-34.
“That’s just one of the things we just have not done a good job with and we have to keep working at it, keep getting better and I think tonight was a good wake up call," Romar said. "We don’t like learning from defeat, in victory our guys were able to see this is what happens when we don’t box out, a team like Loyola went to work on us on the offensive glass.”
Washington came out perhaps a little too excited for the season opener, turning the ball over 11 times, but shored that part of their game up in the second half where they only coughed the ball up once. They finished the game with an even assist-to-turnover ratio (12-12).
"First game… whatever you want to call it, I thought we settled down and did a fine job," Romar said. "I don’t think we turned it over in terms of pressure, they are pretty good at that press, that’s their bread and butter. You go on the road and press as much as they do, that’s something they do to get baskets.”
But in beating an NCAA Tournament team by 22, they definitely did some things right. They quietly put up 85 points on a team that only surrendered an average of 64 points a game last year en route to a 24-9 record.
"That was a low possession game in a lot of cases," said Romar. "We shot 54 percent, I thought we had great shots, we shot 73 percent from the foul line, we got to the foul line a lot. I just think that the offense tonight provided great balance to where you are able to make the defense play. Four guys are in double figures, if Andrew Andrews makes a free throw, you have five guys in double figures.”
Points: Wilcox 22, Gaddy 17, Suggs 15, N'Diaye 10, Andrews 9, Simmons 7, Jarreau 4, Breunig 1
Minutes: N'Diaye 32, Gaddy 31, Wilcox 30, Andrews 24, Suggs 23, Simmons 22, Jarreau 18, Stewart 9, Breunig 9, Overstreet 2
Rebounds: N'Diaye 16, Wilcox 6, TEAM 4, Jarreau 3, Suggs 3, Simmons 3, Andrews 2, Gaddy 1
Assists: Suggs 3, Gaddy 2, Andrews 2, Simmons 2, Jarreau 1, Wilcox 1, Breunig 1
Blocks: N'Diaye 3, Gaddy 2, Jarreau 1, Wilcox 1, Andrews 1
Steals: Simmons 2, Jarreau 1, Gaddy 1