Huskies beat Spartans 78-56 in Wooden opener

FULLERTON, Calif. -- Defense is not a problem for the Washington Huskies, especially with Robert Upshaw clogging the paint and swatting away opponents' shots. Upshaw tied his own school record with seven blocks, powering the Huskies to a 78-56 rout of San Jose State on Thursday night in the opening round of the Wooden Legacy tournament.

It was the third time in four games that the 6-foot-11 center blocked seven shots. He didn't have any in the Huskies' previous game, a 76-69 win over Pacific at Key Arena on Sunday.

"Robert has an uncanny ability to wait on the ball to be released and then go after it," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said. "The only time he didn't do that was the last game, where they kind of got him up in the air. But he's got great timing.

"He's not a tall guy who's just tall. He's also athletic and can get up off the floor, which allows him to get to some of those shots that you don't think he can get to. So it's a great luxury to have, especially for our guards. That way they know that if there's a breakdown in the paint, Robert has their back."

Donaven Dorsey scored 17 points for the Huskies (4-0), and Nigel Williams-Goss finished with 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

"I thought our defense set the tone tonight, and that made the difference," Romar said. "The second unit also made a difference. Our guys came off the bench ready to go. Quevyn Winters came in and hit a shot, Donaven Dorsey was very good, and Robert controlled the paint and played aggressively."

Washington built a 40-23 halftime lead, shooting 53.8 percent from the field while holding San Jose State to 28.1 percent (9 for 32).

"I think the difference was the start of the game," Spartans coach Dave Wojcik said. "We just didn't get out of the gates quick enough. That's been sort of our Achilles heel a little bit, and they took advantage of it."

Rashad Muhammad scored 15 to lead the Spartans (1-4) who shot 31 percent from the field. San Jose State also played at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Gym in its previous game, a 70-66 loss to Fullerton last Saturday.

"That was by design, to play that game the way I wanted to play it knowing we'd be coming back today," Wojcik said. "I thought we would be familiar with it and comfortable here, but we didn't come out shooting the ball the way I thought we would."

Muhammad hit a jumper and a 3-pointer 23 seconds apart during an 8-0 spurt that reduced San Jose State's deficit to 26-18 with 4:52 left in the half. But the Huskies responded with a 14-2 run capped by a layup and two free throws by Shawn Kemp Jr., extending it to 40-20 with 1:05 left before intermission.

San Jose State got as close as 47-34 on Muhammad's running jumper with 14:29 remaining, but the Spartans made only one field goal until Jordan Baker's layup with 5:46 to go -- after Washington blew the game open at 66-39 with a 19-5 run.

"Our defense is a lot better than it was last year, and it showed again tonight," Williams-Goss said. "When we're guarding like that, it makes a huge difference. But I know we've still got to shore up some things. We had some unforced turnovers -- and we have to stop giving up as many offensive rebounds as we did (11). So if we tighten up in those two areas, we'll only get better."

San Jose State junior forward Frank Rogers had two points in 18 minutes before fouling out with 8:08 remaining.

"Frank, Jordan and Matt (Pollard) got in foul trouble early, and that's a credit to Washington," Wojcik said. "They really pounded it inside and created those problems for us. But I don't think that really played into it at all, to be honest. Our staff did a good job of rotating guys, but they made shots tonight and we didn't."
TIP-INS
San Jose State: This is the school's ninth in-season tournament and first since last November's NIU Invitational, where the Spartans lost to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Northern Illinois and James Madison. They won the 2011 Elgin Baylor Classic, however. ... The Spartans, who came in leading the Mountain West Conference in rebounding average at 40.8, were outrebounded 48-39. ... The Spartans missed their first six shots before Muhammad connected from 3-point range with 14:46 left in the half.

Washington: Kemp's father didn't play in any college tournaments. He went straight from high school ball to the NBA, where he played for 14 seasons and was a six-time All-Star. ... The Huskies came in averaging 11 turnovers, the fewest in the Pac-12 Conference. They had 14 in this one. ... The Huskies have won all three meetings with San Jose State. ... Williams-Goss hit his first 3-pointer of the season with 12:31 left in the first half after starting the season 0 for 9. Last season he shot 35.6 percent behind the arc (32 for 90). ... Starting F Jernard Jarreau had two points during a foul-plagued 15 minutes -- the third straight game in which he had four fouls. G Andrew Andrews went to the bench just 3:16 into the game after picking up his second foul and finished with four points in 19 minutes.
UP NEXT
San Jose State: Faces Western Michigan on Friday in the consolation semifinals of the Wooden Legacy.

Washington: Faces Long Beach State on Friday in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy. Tipoff is at 8:30 pm PT on ESPN2.
Box Score:
Washington over San Jose Sate 78-56


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