Huskies survive, defeat Utah 59-57

SEATTLE - Andrew Andrews nearly matched his career-high with 19 points as Washington held on to defeat Utah 59-57 Wednesday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. The win avenged a 74-65 home loss to the Utes nearly a year to the day.

The Huskies (10-6, 2-1) were up nine with less than two minutes to play but couldn't make the plays to close out Utah (12-3, 1-2). After an Andrews three-point dagger made the score 59-50 with 1:54 remaining, the Utes went on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a Delon Wright three-pointer - the only one of 15 attempts from beyond the arc - to bring the UW lead to 59-57 with 15 seconds to play.

Wright fouled Andrews, who missed the front end of a 1-1, but the ball went out of bounds and was touched by a Utah player. After a time out, C.J. Wilcox was curling toward the basket and looking for a Mike Anderson pass that he never got to.

"From where we were it seemed like C.J. was getting open and it seemed like maybe his path was impeded by the defense or there may have been a grab," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game. "I'd have to take a look at it. A guy is wide-open and you see it happening and all of a sudden he stops…he just didn't stop; he was held up. That's why we turned the ball over. It wasn't a bad pass. All of a sudden he was held up."

The ball rolled harmlessly out of bounds next to the Washington sideline. Since the ball was never touched, Utah entered the ball from the same spot UW did. The Utes got the ball to Wright in the corner nearest their bench, where he threw up a contested three-point airball. The light on the backboard lit up red half-way through the shot, and even though Dallin Bachynski was able to retrieve the loose ball and tap it back in the game was over.

"You have to be solid," Utah Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak said post-game. "You have to put it all together. I don't think that our offense tonight was as deficient as much as the Huskies' defense was really good. They were stoked up and ready to go. We would have had to be a little better. We did a terrible job in the first half of setting screens, and when you're dealing with that kind of pressure one of our elements is to break some of that pressure is screening, and we whiffed on a number of those and it just compounded that pressure."

Andrews has made a living off the Utes. The sophomore from Benson Tech in Portland had set a career-high with 17 points - 13 in the second half - in Washington's 74-65 loss to Utah last year at Alaska Airlines Arena. This time he came within two points of tying his career-high, set in UW's 2013-2014 season-opener versus Seattle.

He admitted after the game that his pre-game routine was messed up a little bit because of some issues with his contacts, but that didn't slow his game down one bit. "Coach TJ (Otzelberger), he has been stressing me that the more we start playing, the more people are gonna be focusing in on this guy to my left (CJ Wilcox)," Andrews said. "When I'm playing well it will take a little pressure off him and open him up. So eventually toward the end hopefully they are keying in on me a little bit to get him more shots."

Wilcox added 14 and freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss chipped in with 13. "It was good to see Andrew step up," said Romar. "I was really pleased with that offensively. You know we usually talk about our defensive identity and things like that…tonight I would really have to give hats off to him how he came through when we were having trouble scoring the ball.

Wright was a one-man show for the Utes, scoring a career-high 27 points. "He was tremendous," Krystkowiak said. Wright is the younger brother of NBA player Dorell Wright. "He played every minute of the game, and offensively and defensively he was really solid. But especially when you are on the road, you have to be more than one guy with a great game. You have to have contributions from some different guys, and I thought that overall we were pretty deficient in what we were trying to do."

The game was a bit ugly from the start, as both teams shot poorly - especially the Utes. Utah went over 39 minutes before making their first three-point shot and Washington went nearly a span of five minutes in the first half without scoring at all. But UW was able to scrape together enough scores to lead at the half 26-21.

"I think we've been contesting shots," Romar said. "You know there's one thing that if you play really good defense teams feel you. If you're where you need to be and you're contesting most shots, when they finally do get an open one sometimes they don't hit those because you've been there for so long and they haven't been able to get into a rhythm yet. I don't think we allowed them to get into a rhythm where they could get those wide-open threes. They were 0-9 in the first half and they can make threes. They can certainly shoot the three-ball, but our guys are doing a good job in guarding that three-point line."
Points: Andrews 19, Wilcox 14, Williams-Goss 13, Blackwell 6, Anderson 3, Simmons 2, Kemp 2
Rebounds: Blackwell 6, TEAM 4, Williams-Goss 3, Anderson 3, Andrews 3, Wilcox 3, Simmons 3, Kemp 1
Assists: Andrews 2, Blackwell 1, Williams-Goss 1, Anderson 1, Wilcox 1, Simmons 1
Steals: Wilcox 2, Blackwell 1, Williams-Goss 1, Andrews 1, Simmons 1
Blocks: Andrews 1, Wilcox 1, Simmons 1

Lorenzo Romar Post-Game Video/Quotes - HERE
Andrew Andrews Post-Game Video/Quotes - HERE
Utah HC Larry Krystkowiak Post-Game Quotes - HERE Top Stories