ASJ gives Huskies what they need to win

SEATTLE - Is it possible the one UW player that didn't score had the biggest impact in Saturday's 76-63 win over Stanford? It is, after watching Austin Seferian-Jenkins effort defending and getting after rebounds when Washington needed help inside. And that's all they needed in front of a near capacity crowd at Alaska Airlines Arena to keep their Pac-12 dreams alive.

Tony Wroten scored 21 points and Terrence Ross and Darnell Gant added 18 points and 17 points respectively for Washington (12-7, 5-2). But with N'Diaye and Gant saddled with foul difficulty and seemingly no one to match up against Stanford and their fifth-year senior Josh Owens besides N'Diaye, it was the freshman tight end on the football team who saw his first Husky Hoops action with 14:08 remaining in the first half and took hold of the challenge of defending the post and rebounding against any Cardinal player that dared enter.

"We feel like every time he is in the game that he is going to get every rebound," said UW guard Abdul Gaddy.  "He is a big spark for us on defense, and on offense he can score in the post as well."

And what a job he did! In only 16 minutes of work (he did foul out to a raucous mix of cheers and boos with 7:06 left in the game, the boos coming from the fans that felt he didn't commit the final foul), Seferian-Jenkins did everything Romar could have asked of him, except score. He brought down seven rebounds - tied with Ross and Gant for the team lead - and also came up with an assist and a steal.

"He didn't score a point, but with what he does, I think he can be effective in most games," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said.  "He's an energy guy who's strong and physical.  As he learns more and more about what we're doing I think you'll see him go to the foul line a lot more.  Usually physical, aggressive guys do that." 

Owens was still able to get his points. He led the Cardinal (15-5, 5-3) - along with Bellevue grad Aaron Bright - with 14 points, while Dwight Powell added 10 for Stanford, the only other player to score in double-figures.

"The thing we did differently was we played Desmond (Simmons) more on the perimeter to attempt to give (other wing players) more rest," Romar said, noting UW's current lack of depth at the guard position with Scott Suggs redshirting and C.J. Wilcox out with a stress fracture of his femur.  "We got to rest Tony a little more, just a minute or two here or there.  And Desmond on the perimeter allowed us to do that and with Austin, Desmond didn't get worn down.  I think where Austin really helped was when Aziz got in foul trouble. Stanford is a tall, very good rebounding team but when Aziz got in foul trouble, Austin was able to come in a spell him and we didn't regress at all."

With Seferian-Jenkins able to eat up precious minutes trying to limit Owens' effectiveness in the paint, it allowed N'Diaye to be a factor in the second half, free of any foul concerns. His bank finish with 9:12 left gave UW an extended 31-16 win since the beginning of the period and also gave them their largest lead of the game at 22, 63-41. Seferian-Jenkins' presence also helped UW take it to the Cardinal inside, eventually outscoring them 50-36 in the paint.

From that point on it was just a matter of holding onto the ball and playing through whatever Stanford tried to throw at them, including traps, presses, double-teams - you name it. But Gant's three-point shot with less than three minutes left, the one he wanted desperately to go down at the end of the California game, punctuated a solid scoring day for the senior forward and gave the Huskies all the breathing room they needed to close things out in style.

"I really had to bounce back," said Gant. "Last game was tough, it was a big game for first place, but God always has a plan. Cal lost tonight so we are still right in the hunt for first place. I had to put the last game behind me. A lot of things were said to me after last game, a lot of negativity but like you said I just put it behind and focused on this game. I tried to go out there and help be a leader, kind of forget about last game. It started with offensive rebounds. They weren't boxing out very well and I got a couple tip ins, a couple cheap ones. After my first shot, I felt like I got a good look, but I came up short like I did in the last game. I had to contribute in other places, so offensive rebounding and had to start hitting my open shots."

Overall, Washington committed more turnovers than Romar would normally accept - 16 - but they also shared the ball well, coming up with 13 assists. In the first half, the Huskies did a solid job defending, holding Stanford to .265 shooting from the field, including 1-8 from three. They also crushed the Cardinal on the boards - 47-32 - including 16 rebounds on the offensive end that led to 21 second-chance points.

"I thought they were defending well," Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins said. "Give credit to how well they played us. I thought we had some good looks that we didn't make. That's part of basketball. We didn't see it go in tonight on some of our looks. A lot of that…give credit to Washington.

"They did a great job of boxing out. They were very alert on the offensive rebounds and defensively I think they did a great job of crashing the boards themselves. They are a terrific rebounding team and when they put their minds to it, they can rebound with anybody and that showed again tonight. They rebounded well."


Statistics:
Points: Wroten 21, Ross 18, Gant 17, Gaddy 9, Simmons 6, N'Diaye 5
Rebounds: TEAM 8, Ross 7, Seferian-Jenkins 7, Gant 7, Gaddy 6, N'Diaye 6, Wroten 5, Simmons 1
Assists: Wroten 4, Gaddy 3, Ross 3, Simmons 1, Seferian-Jenkins 1, Gant 1
Steals: Wroten 2, N'Diaye 1, Ross 1, Seferian-Jenkins 1
Blocks: N'Diaye 1, Wroten 1


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