Huskies cruise to opening day win

SEATTLE - Heading into Saturday's season-opener, the Washington Huskies were concerned about rebounding. They were out-boarded by 10 in their exhibition win over St. Martin's. They took care of those concerns but good, beating McNeese State 69-32 on the glass and 118-64 on the scoreboard in front of at Hec Ed.

"I would have to say we made progress in over a week's time with some things we wanted to concentrate on…doing a better job on the backboards…were accomplished, I thought," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game.

Matthew Bryan-Amaning's career-best 28 points led seven Huskies in double-digits, and three of them finished with double-doubles - two of them for the first time, including new UW center Aziz N'Diaye, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds. The Huskies simply man-handled McNeese State inside, out-scoring them 56-14 in the paint. Their relentless pressure - especially early - also forced 27 Cowboy turnovers, 18 in the first half, leading to a 42-10 scoring edge off of miscues.

"I thought we were very active," Romar said about the first half. "We did a good job with our positioning on defense; we contested all their shots."

The Cowboys (0-1) went zone to try and confuse Washington (1-0) to start the second half, but the Huskies used a 15-3 run, capped off by a C.J. Wilcox five-point play - a 3-pointer and two foul shots due to a technical foul on McNeese State's Jeremie Mitchell - to extend their lead to 85-39.

"We probably went for about a four or five-minute period where maybe we lost focus a little bit," Romar said.

From that point forward, UW outscored the Cowboys 32-25 the rest of the way, as Romar cleared his bench with a couple minutes to play. Bryan-Amaning's 28 points and 13 rebounds gave him his fifth-career double-double. N'Diaye tallied his first career double-double, and the two would have scored a lot more than that if they hadn't shot a combined 9-27 from the free throw line.

"Aziz had been fine in practice," Romar said. "Without those two I thought we shot pretty good though, and they'll shoot the ball better from the line."

Justin Holiday was the other Husky to put together a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, his first career double-double. Isaiah Thomas chipped in for the cause with 17, while C.J. Wilcox had 13, Scott Suggs 11 and Abdul Gaddy 10 for UW.

Brendan Sherrer, the Huskies' 'Human Victory Cigar', wasn't able to score a point, but he did finish with a rebound.

Patrick Richard led McNeese State with 18 points, while Diego Kapelan had 15 and Stephan Martin 10 for the Cowboys.

After giving up the lead on a Richard 3-point shot to open up the scoring, Washington went on a 12-1 run to take the lead after the under-16 timeout. From that point on, the Huskies applied the pressure defensively and buried their chances in transition as they build a commanding 26-6 advantage at the 11:21 mark of the first half - the final three points of that run coming from guard Terrence Ross' first career 3-pointer.

Washington didn't step off the gas until they had a margin of 54-10, their largest of the first half, at roughly the 4-minute mark. A 3-pointer by Martin got the Cowboys to double-digits with 3:42 left before intermission.

"After they hit their first three and tried to back-door us a couple of times, we settled down and I thought our pressure enabled us to get out and get into transition and score a little easier than we would've if we just had to come down every time and grind it out," Romar said.
Points: Bryan-Amaning 28, Thomas 17, N'Diaye 13, Wilcox 13, Holiday 11, Suggs 11, Gaddy 10, Gant 7, Ross 6, Overton 2
Rebounds: N'Diaye 15, Bryan-Amaning 13, Holiday 12, Wilcox 7, Gant 5, Ross 5, Overton 3, Suggs 3, Gaddy 2, TEAM 2, Thomas 1, Sherrer 1
Assists: Overton 6, Gaddy 5, Holiday 3, Gant 3, Thomas 3, Wilcox 2, Suggs 1, Ross 1
Blocks: N'Diaye 2, Suggs 2, Gant 1
Steals: Overton 3, Bryan-Amaning 2, Holiday 2, N'Diaye 2, Gaddy 1, Thomas 1, Wilcox 1 Top Stories