Washington Tames Tigers 86-38

SEATTLE - It wasn't expected to be a test, and in most ways it wasn't. The Washington Huskies kept their pedal to the metal against the Grambling State Tigers, eventually blowing them out by a score of 86-38 in front of a half-empty Alaska Airlines Arena Wednesday night. In a game that was never in doubt, the Huskies came to play from the opening tip, outscoring GSU 22-6 the first 10 minutes.

Shawn Kemp led the Huskies (9-0) with 21 points, while Andrew Andrews tallied 16, Robert Upshaw 15 and Mike Anderson 10. A'torri Shine scored 12 to lead Grambling State (2-7).

Despite the outcome, there was still an opponent out there in front of the Huskies and they had to deal with them. The fact that they took the Tigers out early and made the game a no-doubter from the first few minutes underscores the focus and single-mindedness this team has to fulfill their potential every single time they take the court.

“The score was irrelevant; we’re trying to develop habits,” UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. “And I thought our guys played with great focus tonight. Tonight the score wasn’t close, but at the same time our ability to maintain our concentration and focus was very pleasing, very refreshing.

“Over the years coming into game like this, at some point we have to call time out because we’re going through the motions; because we’re either up 18 or we feel like we’re going to win this game no matter what. You win the game but you leave with not a great feeling about it, even though you won. Somebody that reads the score but didn’t see the game may say you handled those guys pretty good but it’s not a good feeling.

“Tonight was a good feeling - not because of the score, but because of our level of concentration.”

Washington made an effort to maximize their size advantage in the paint from the opening tip, dropping the ball down to Kemp early and often. Between him and sophomore upstart Upshaw, they were credited with nine dunks - seven in the first half, including the first two scores of the game. Upshaw also had 15 rebounds in his 22 minutes of game action as the Huskies out-boarded the smaller Tigers 50-30.

“Not since AAU,” Kemp said when asked the last game he’d played in with so many dunks.

“Or since high school,” added Andrews.

“(Kemp) ran the floor like crazy,” said Romar. He ran the floor the entire time. He’s in great condition; he just doesn’t get tired. He just kept running the floor, running the floor. He did a nice job for us.

“Nigel did a phenomenal job of pushing that ball up ahead; he had 11 assists, he could probably have had 16 or so but we weren’t able to convert at times. Shawn was the recipient of a few of those.”

“We knew this was going to be an easy game,” said Kemp. “We’ve been talking about it; they are a smaller team and all we had to do was throw the ball over the top, pretty much. It was obvious. We knew it was going to be there. It was there for us.”

In Romar’s eyes, however, that didn’t diminish the importance of what the team got out of the contest as they prepare for a neutral site Battle Royale with Oklahoma in Las Vegas Saturday night.

“Over the years coming into game like this, at some point we have to call time out because we’re going through the motions; because we’re either up 18 or we feel like we’re going to win this game no matter what,” said Romar. “You win the game but you leave with not a great feeling about it, even though you won. Somebody that reads the score but didn’t see the game may say you handled those guys pretty good but it’s not a good feeling.

“Tonight was a good feeling - not because of the score, but because of our level of concentration.”

That level of concentration was the main reason the Huskies had such an overwhelming advantage by intermission. For example, Washington nearly scored the Tigers' game scoring average by halftime. The tally at intermission - 45-13 - only told part of the story. UW hadn't committed a foul until there was 5:38 left to half: They outscored GSU in the paint 30-4; off turnovers 12-3; second chance points 14-0; fast break points 8-0; bench points 11-0; They dished out 14 dimes and only turned the ball over four times.

“Everyone stayed focused, and that’s what we’re going to need a lot of when we play Oklahoma,” said Andrews. “They are a tough team, good offensively and defensively, so we’re going to have to be physically ready and mentally ready. This game prepared us mentally, making sure what we need to do on the defensive end and try and keep guys in front - things like that.”

There was only one blemish in what the Huskies would have termed a perfect performance. One of goals on their ‘goals board’ is to limit teams to nine offensive rebounds or less. Even though UW dominated the boards by 20 overall, they gave up 10 on the offensive glass.

“We’ve only held one team to nine or below offensive rebounds this year,” Romar said. “It’s time to start doing a better job of keeping people off the backboards. It’s a goal every game. You’d never know it by what we’ve allowed, but that is our game goal.”

“We knew they weren’t a good rebounding team, but that’s our goal for the year for every team,” added Andrews. “We felt like we did a better job than in the past, as far as them offensive rebounding. We know Oklahoma is a good offensive rebounding team, as well as other teams we play in the Pac-12 Conference.”
NOTES:
Romar praises walk-ons: Lorenzo Romar had nothing but praise for the three walk-ons - Dan Kingma, Greg Bowman, and KJ Garrett - that came in and finished off the last five minutes of the game. Kingma and Bowman both scored a bucket, and for each score the bench - as well as the rest of Hec Ed - went nuts.

“This is one of the best walk-on groups we’ve ever had,” Romar said. “This group is really special. To see them get rewarded and have fun without showboating was great to see. It capped off the night for me.”
Statistics:

Post-Game Videos:
Andrew Andrews and Shawn Kemp

Lorenzo Romar



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