Guards taking advantage of opportunities

SEATTLE - Although the Washington Huskies will miss the absence of starting point guard Abdul Gaddy, who tore his ACL, wings Scott Suggs and Terrence Ross proved Thursday they are ready to play a bigger role on the team from here on out. With Gaddy out for the year, Ross said everyone on the bench has to play better to fill the starting point guard's void.

Up to this point, both Suggs and Ross were considered to be role players coming off of the bench; however they will be much more valuable than that from the Oregon game going forward.

In the Oregon contest - an 87-69 win for the Huskies - both players found themselves on the court during the most important stages of the game and their presence was felt. Over the course of the game, the two players combined for 38 of Washington's 42 bench points - 25 coming from the true freshman from Portland.

The upperclassmen of the duo, Suggs flashed some clutch shooting throughout the night as he finished with 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field and 3 or 5 shooting from three. When he found himself open on three-pointers, missing wasn't an option. He added one steal and a block on the defensive end.

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said Suggs isn't really flashy, but he is quietly maturing and becoming a very sound defensive player. He also said as Suggs gets more minutes, he should continue to play well.

Often electrifying the crowd, Ross is becoming a go-to player for the Huskies. If it wasn't obvious on UW's recent road trip to Los Angeles, it certainly showed Thursday, when he finished the night with a career-high 25 points on 11 of 18 shooting from the field, including 3 of 7 shooting from three. Beyond that, he picked up four rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.

Over the first three conference games, Ross is averaging 16.7 points on 56.8 percent shooting from the field and 42.1 percent from three. Although he ranks seventh in conference play in points per game, he is No. 1 in points per 40 minutes at 32.3. Just to underscore how efficient Ross has been offensively, Klay Thompson from Washington State is second at 26.7 points per 40 minutes of play.

As for offensive rating, which is points produced divided by individual possessions, multiplied by 100, Ross is fifth at 128.4, just behind Justin Holiday.

"I wouldn't have told you he'd average about 17 during Pac-10 play, I don't know if we've had any freshman do that," Romar said of Ross' offensive prowess. "Isaiah (Thomas) was probably close, but that's pretty good. He's done it on the road; he's done it in tight situations. 

"He's been pretty consistent lately and if he would've played more in the second-half, I'm sure he would've been in double digits against UCLA. He's really come into his own quickly. He's given the coaching staff a lot of confidence in him."

Matthew Bryan-Amaning had a specific message for Ross when the freshman wasn't getting a lot of playing time earlier in the season - his time would come. And it has.

"(I told him) Not to worry about it," Bryan-Amaning said. "Every team has different personnel. Obviously, him playing behind Isaiah [Thomas], one of the best scorers in the country, Scott [Suggs] has been in the system three years now, C.J. [Wilcox] is a redshirt freshman, but he has been through it.

"Obviously Justin [Holiday]is going to be playing on the inside and the perimeter, as well, and he is one of the most versatile players in the country. You've got to understand that we've been through a lot and we know the system like the back of our hands now."

Ross is just starting to learn that same system, but based on his early returns - especially during Pac-10 play - it's going to be hard to keep him out of Romar's rotation.

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