Ugly is Beautiful as UW Prevails

The Washington Huskies were able to salvage their Oregon road trip Saturday afternoon, edging the Oregon State Beavers 75-72 at Gill Coliseum Sunday afternoon. Terrence Ross led the way for the Dawgs, scoring 21 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and sinking two clutch free throws with ten seconds left to seal the game.

The win moves Washington to 17-8 overall and 10-3 in the Pac-12, keeping pace with California for the top spot in the conference. For Oregon State, they fall to 10-15 overall and 5-8 in the Pac-12.

Although the game was not pretty - the two teams combined for 42 fouls and 61 free throws - Washington desperately needed a bounce back game after a 25-point debacle to Oregon in Eugene on Thursday.

"Thursday's one of those games where you go five years from now and you win five national championships - but what about what happened Thursday at Oregon?" Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar quipped afterward. "It was just poor, and they were very good - and that's hard to get that out of your mind. But yeah - big picture, we're tied for first place going back home for two more games. Big picture? I'd rather prefer that than the alternative."

It was also a very physical affair: Oregon State's top player, Jared Cunningham, was taken out of the game twice for violent collisions where he got hit in the head and also wrenched his lower back; Washington's Terrence Ross got hit in the second half, and although he scored 12 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, he admitted to not remembering much about the play.

"I just remember spinning back and getting up," said Ross, adding that even during post-game interviews his head was ringing a touch.

Ross had a key defensive rebound for UW, as well as two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to help preserve UW's win. "Terrence is an amazing player," said fellow UW guard C.J. Wilcox. "He can go out and get 30 and 10 every game if he wants to. He's just a talented player and we're lucky to have him on the team."

Romar was hoping to dispose of the Oregon game like a bad exam, and his wish was granted.

"I can say that now," said Romar after the win. "It's in the record books; we can't erase it. It did happen. But we told our team immediately after – we're not watching film of this last game; we're throwing this one out. That was not the Huskies. Let's move on, and I felt like we did a good job of moving on."

"Our backs were against the wall, and we weren't going to lose," added junior guard Abdul Gaddy. Gaddy was the steadying influence for Washington on Sunday. He scored eight points, dished out four assists and had two steals. "I did whatever I could for my team, just like anybody else. We came out to win."

The game was a back and forth affair that included 13 lead changes. Neither team led by more than six points. Gaddy gave the Huskies the lead for good when he knocked down a three-pointer with 5:01 remaining in the game to put UW up 61-58. Multiple times it seemed as though the Huskies would pull away and cruise to a victory, especially in the second half. But the Beavers were relentless behind the scoring of Jared Cunningham – 23 points, Devon Collier 16 points, Ahmad Starks – 14 points, and Angus Brandt – 12 points. These four players accounted for 66 of Oregon State's 72 points.

The Huskies had another poor shooting performance (34.8 percent), but survived by pounding the ball inside and getting to the line where they scored 24 of their 75 points on free throws. Washington only shot 68 percent from the charity stripe, however down the stretch they were able to make clutch free throws, sinking eight of their last ten free throws in the final minute. Redshirt freshman, Desmond Simmons hit the two biggest free throws of his career after Oregon State had closed the lead to just two with 21 seconds left on an Ahmad Starks three-pointer. In the face of a raucous environment, Simmons calmly sank both of his attempts to preserve the win.

"I was confident," said Wilcox of UW's prowess from the stripe at the end of the game. "I'm always confident in my team to finish, especially free throws. We work on them all the time. So I was pretty confident at the end. We knew the stakes of the game."

One note of concern for the Huskies is that Wilcox has clearly not been himself of late. He missed three games over a stretch in January due to a stress fracture in his hip, and the sharpshooter since returning has only made five of his last 22, three-point attempts. He has not been practicing the past few weeks, only playing in games and Wilcox thinks the lack of reps in practice are to blame for the slump.

"My confidence is fine; it's just a matter of repetition and getting comfortable with the ball going in the hole.  I don't get that as much as I normally do, so it's a little bit different that way," said Wilcox, who did end up scoring a very quiet 17 points, including two three-pointers. The sophomore from Utah added that his health is on the upswing.

"It's good," he said of his hip. "The recovery times is getting a lot faster, but after games my hip is always sore."

Wilcox and the rest of the Huskies return home now and close out the home schedule hosting the two Arizona schools with the senior game coming on Saturday against the Wildcats. The Dawgs will honor seniors Darnell Gant and fan-favorite Brendan Sherrer.

Points: Ross 21, Wilcox 17, Wroten 12, Gaddy 8, N'Diaye 6, Kemp 5, Simmons 4, Gant 2
Rebounds: Ross 13, Simmons 9, Wroten 7, Gaddy 5, TEAM 4, Gant 3, N'Diaye 3, Seferian-Jenkins 2, Wilcox 1
Assists: Gaddy 4, Wroten 3, Ross 1, Simmons 1
Steals: Gaddy 2, Wroten 2, Simmons 1, Ross 1, Wilcox 1
Blocks: Ross 2

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