Huskies Flip Script, Crush OSU

CORVALLIS - The head coach called it 'inexplicable' and 'preposterous' and mentioned the idea of his team 'checking out'. His players talked about giving up too many easy points. With the Washington Huskies riding a seven-game road losing streak, it would have been easy to think the Huskies would be the ones checking out early, but they didn't.

Instead, the Huskies (15-13, 7-8) used double-digit scoring from six players to overwhelm Oregon State and post a convincing 86-62 win over the Beavers (14-12, 6-8) Saturday to escape the state of Oregon with one win and one loss to finish out the road portion of their Pac-12 calendar.

"First and foremost - I didn't see this coming," OSU Head Coach Craig Robinson said. "It's almost inexplicable. I just thought that at the start of the game it was kind of even and we were playing well - I kind of expected this game to go back and forth. And then all of a sudden it looked like we got the life sucked out of us. I'll try and anticipate your question as to why it happened…I don't know, but if I had to guess I suspect it's the enormity of the situation. That's what I would attribute it to without looking at the tape. We just looked like we were a step slow and a step behind on loose balls. You've seen our teams play for a while now; we usually play with a little more blue-collar grit and we didn't today. That was really disappointing."

"When we played at Colorado we were so dialed in and ready to go," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game. "Against Stanford, the last game that we won, I didn't have a good feeling about our team but then we came out and played fine. Tonight I thought we were focused, but we've been focused before. Tonight it worked out for us. We were really dialed in. We were patient and played at our own pace. We didn't rush anything. We only turned the ball over three times in the first half; second half it got away from us a little bit. I just thought we were focused."

That focus led to some serious stat-sheet stuffing.

C.J. Wilcox led the Huskies with 23 points, while Andrew Andrews scored 15, Nigel Williams-Goss 14, and Perris Blackwell 12. Shawn Kemp and Desmond Simmons scored 10 apiece for UW. Williams-Goss and Simmons both had double-doubles - only the second time that's happened all year for the Huskies, and the first in Pac-12 play.

Oregon State was led by the 17 points of Roberto Nelson, while Angus Brandt and Devon Collier each chipped in 10 for the home team.

Wilcox, a senior from Pleasant Grove, Utah, surpassed Jon Brockman and moved into second all-time on the UW career scoring list. He now has 1814 points, still over 250 points shy of overtaking Christian Welp as Washington's all-time leading scorer.

"With him going the way he was going tonight - again, patient, was hitting shots - that was great to see," Romar said of Wilcox. "It opened up everything else for everyone else."

"It felt good," Wilcox said of his performance. "I kinda forgot what it was like to hit shots that you'd normally make. It's definitely a good feeling."

Washington's point guards - Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews - accounted for 15 assists and only four turnovers. Williams-Goss's 10 dimes is the most credited to any point guard in the Romar era, the next most being the nine dished out by Isaiah Thomas against Florida in Kansas City back on November 25, 2008.

"He came out and played like he was a senior from the opening tip," Romar said of Williams-Goss. "You could just see the focus that he has. He goes out and gets 10 assists and only committed two turnovers and did a great job running our team. It was fun to watch with us coming out with the victory. I thought him and Andrew Andrews - those guys I thought did a great job of running our team tonight and getting us organized."

If there's another frosh out there in the Pac-12 that deserves MVP honors more than Williams-Goss, Romar hasn't seen them.

"I love Aaron Gordon and I know his team is right there near the top, but I don't think there's any freshman in our league that is as valuable to our team as Nigel is," he said. "We're not in first place this time, but if you just go by who is most valuable to their team…there's no question Nigel Williams-Goss."

The game was close early on, with the Beavers controlling things 25-19 with nine minutes left to half. But Washington started getting stops, kept a typically tenacious OSU team off the boards, and started stringing along some runs.

Wilcox ripped off five quick points, and the Huskies finished the half on a 25-8 extended scoring burst. By half the away team had out-rebounded OSU 23-14.

By the end the Beavers had been thoroughly pounded on the glass, 43-23. It was not only Oregon State's worst rebounding effort of the season, it was also the Huskies' best showing so far in league.

"It's so out of character…it's preposterous," Robinson said when asked about the rebounding discrepancy. "I can't tell you the last time we got out-rebounded, let alone…maybe Arizona? But out-rebounded by 20? That's sort of first year stuff. That has everything to do with your mental state, I think."

"We've won the majority of rebounding battles in conference this season…I take responsibility for that," added senior center Brandt. "I let my man get too many rebounds…the front line wasn't doing a good enough job of holding our man off. They were getting easy second-chance points. When you let a team get 20 more rebounds, that equals points on the board."

Life for the Beavers didn't change much in the second half. Washington scored five quick points after intermission and eventually jumped out to a 59-40 lead by the first media timeout.

Oregon State, mostly through the play of Nelson, Collier and Daniel Gomis, cut Washington's lead to 11 but they were never able to pierce the Huskies' double-digit advantage. Blackwell scored on a layin for UW, followed by a Wilcox three and a tip-in from Blackwell off an offensive rebound. Simmons added a layin for the 7-0 knockout run.

Washington would eventually grow their lead to as large as 25 with 5:51 remaining before calling off the Dawgs.

"They've always been an awkward team for us to play against, especially here in this building," said Romar of Oregon State. "For our guys to come out there and have a 20-rebound lead against that team I thought was pretty special. We had 20 assists, I thought that was special. We did a number of good things I thought tonight: six guys in double-figures; 11 turnovers…I just think our guys did a great job. Something I talked about before - we had to play like this in order to beat that team."

Statistics:
Points: Wilcox 23, Andrews 15, Williams-Goss 14, Blackwell 12, Simmons 10, Kemp 10, Smith 2
Rebounds: Simmons 11, Andrews 8, Blackwell 8, TEAM 6, Williams-Goss 2, Wilcox 2, Anderson 2, Sterling 2, Smith 1, Dierickx 1
Assists: Williams-Goss 10, Andrews 5, Wilcox 2, Simmons 1, Blackwell 1, Anderson 1
Steals: Andrews 2, Simmons 1, Williams-Goss 1, Wilcox 1, Anderson 1
Blocks: None

Lorenzo Romar video/quotes - HERE
Craig Robinson video/quotes - HERE
C.J. Wilcox video/quotes - HERE
Angus Brandt/Roberto Nelson video/quotes - HERE


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