Huskies down Beavers in Pac-12 opener

Tony Wroten had 26 points and 9 boards to pace Washington to a 95-80 Pac-12 lid lifting victory at Hec Edmundson Pavilion this evening. The Huskies hit their stride midway through the first half and built a lead they would never relinquish.

Desmond Simmons was crucial down the stretch, picking up two key rebounds and causing a Beaver turnover in crunch time. Six Huskies scored in double figures with Wroten, as C.J. Wilcox had 15, Simmons and Gaddy had 13 each, Aziz N'Diaye and Terrence Ross had 10 each.

Washington made an amazing 85 percent of their free throws while Oregon State could only manage 52%. The Huskies outrebounded the much bigger Beavers 38-33, and blocked five Beaver shots. The Huskies turned the ball over 9 times to Oregon State's 13, thus the Huskies won nearly every important statistical battle this evening.

Jared Cunningham had 15 points, but only two in the second half as the Huskies clamped down on his dribble penetration. Joe Burton was the real beast for OSU, hitting 9 of 12 shots and scoring 18 points and nabbing 7 boards to lead the visitors in both categories. Australian Angus Brandt had a solid game, chipping in 16 points and grabbing four boards, however he was only able to hit 1 of 4 from three point range.
FIRST HALF: Washington 50, Oregon State 39

Washington got off to a quick start as Darnell Gant hit a turn around banker from 12 feet out. Terrence Ross followed that with a tip in off of a miss and when Tony Wroten stole the ensuing inbounds pass and layed it in, the Huskies were out quickly to a 6-0 lead.

Collier finally got the Beavers on the board four minutes in, but that was quickly answered with an N'Diaye dunk off of a nice Gaddy offering. Gant followed with a short finger roll in the paint and the Dawgs were up 10-2 at the first TV timeout.

Jared Cunningham began to heat up at that point, pouring in four straight Beaver points. When he buried a long three over CJ Wilcox, the Beavers were with in four at 17-13. Wroten answered with a strong driving lay in and converted foul shot. N'Diaye followed a miss with a monster jam to bring the crowd to its feet and give the Huskies a nine point lead.

A Wroten three pushed the lead to 12. Washington had a chance to increase that but Wroten and Ross missed back to back treys. Desmond Simmons hit an ice water-in-his-veins type of baseline jumper over massive Joe Burton, and a Simmons block at the other end led to a Gaddy driving layin to push the lead to 33-18.

When Wroten grabbed a rebound, drove to mid court and hit Abdul Gaddy with a no look pass on the way to the basket, Gaddy acrobatically laid it in to bring the crowd to its feet again and push the lead to 20, their largest lead to that point.

Washington then went cold and the Beavers slowly ate away at the lead, outhustling the Huskies for loose balls and converting them into points. When Ahmad Starks hit two free throws at the 2:42 mark, the Huskies lead was just 11. The Huskies moved back out to a 15 point lead but two straight turnovers lead to the last four points of the half going to the Beavers.

SECOND HALF

The two teams traded baskets for the first four minutes of the half. Angus Brandt hit a three from the top of the key to finally get the Beavers back to within single digits. A Simmons turnover led to a Beaver fast break and the visitors were within seven at the 16:00 mark.

The two teams continued to exchange haymakers as Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks chipped in for the Beavers and Gaddy and Wroten did the damage for the dawgs. N'Diaye and Brandt traded baskets and when Ahmad Starks hit a fade away, the score stood at 77-70 with 6:11 remaining. Neither team could string together more than four points in a row to that point.

When Joe Burton spun in yet another sky hook over N'Diaye, the Beavers were within five. Consecutive misses by the Huskies led to a made Brandt free throw to make it 81-77. Washington finally scored when Wroten found Simmons alone under the hoop with a terrific pass. That was answered by a long three by Starks and it was a 3-point game.

That was when the game was decided.

A Wilcox driver in the lane made it 85-80, and when Wroten took it to the rack hard from midcourt and scored and was fouled by Cunningham, the Huskies were back up by 7 with 2:12 left and the Hec Ed crowd went wild. Wroten hit the free throw, and Simmons caused a turnover when he slapped the ball off of Burton's foot, giving the Huskies an 88-80 lead and the ball. Wroten calmly knocked down the front end of a one-and-one, and when his second attempt spun out, Simmons tracked down the ball and saved it to Gaddy. That resulted in two CJ Wilcox free throws and the Huskies had earned their first Pac-12 victory in their history.
Before tip off, a very touching tribute to the late Andrew Moritz was held. His family was on hand to hoist a framed number 11 jersey.

A decent amount of Oregon State fans made the trip to Hec Ed. It was noticeably the biggest opposing crowd the Huskies had faced this year in their house. As for Husky fans, there were maybe 6,000 tops here. A very sparse turn out.

Aziz N'Diaye got the start at center as CJ Wilcox was brought off the bench tonight. That was likely to combat the rather large Oregon State front line.

Jared Cunningham drew the defensive assignment on Terrence Ross and Ross had difficulty with it.

If there was any doubt that Washington is a football first school, the second time out of the game was when the loudest roar from the crowd happened. It had nothing to do with the action on the floor. It came when the scoreboard screen flashed to the Alamo Bowl and Jermaine Kearse had about a 40-yard catch and run. Then when the time out was over and the screen reverted back to the basketball game, lusty boos were heard. It was really strange. I have a hard time imagining that happening at either Arizona or UCLA.

Dawgman.com Top Stories