The stumble has been an extended one for Washington.
Going into Saturday’s game against bottom-feeder Oregon State, the Huskies had lost seven of eight and three in a row. Any sense of progress, now matter how incremental, would be received with smiles and relief.
Washington (14-12 overall, 6-7 Pacific-12 Conference) left with upturned mouths and sighs of relief after a 10-2 run late in the second half finally brought some separation against Oregon State (13-13, 3-10) in a 72-62 win at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
“We needed to get a game on the positive side of the score so we could start to feel some kind of success,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We dropped seven out of eight … doubt can creep in. We needed to get a win to start thinking the other way.”
Helping toward that was a one-night resurgence for C.J. Wilcox, who finished with 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 free-throw shooting. It was his 12th time scoring 20 or more points this season, and the first time since the last time the Huskies played Oregon State, Jan. 23 in Corvallis.
“It’s better than what it’s been,” Wilcox said. “There are some shots I usually make that still aren’t going down, but I’ll take it.”
Abdul Gaddy set a season-high with nine assists against three turnovers. Jernard Jarreau came off the bench to contribute a career-high eight points and seven rebounds, playing 21 minutes after playing just 17 minutes the last six games combined. Andrew Andrews scored 11 points and added six assists and six rebounds.
Romar said he decided in Corvallis that he would play Jarreau more the next time Washington faced lengthy Oregon State, and the redshirt freshman delivered his best night of the season.
Wilcox started early on his way to 12 first-half points.
He drove and scored three of his points at the foul line, a place he has not visited much of late. Wilcox had four free-throw attempts in the first half to match his total from the prior three games combined.
The Huskies also blasted the Beavers on the boards in the first half, outrebounding Oregon State 21-10 on the way to a 41-28 rebounding advantage, yet trailed 34-32 at the half. That’s because of turnovers.
The Huskies had problems handling the ball in the first half.
Oregon State’s 1-3-1 full-court trap led to travels and picked-off passes. Washington committed 13 turnovers in the first half, more than it had all game against Oregon on Wednesday, allowing Oregon State to score 19 of its 34 first-half points off Washington turnovers. The Huskies turned the ball over six times in the second half.
While Washington received multiple contributions, Aziz N’Diaye had a dismal night. The big man had more turnovers (six) than points (five) and was called for a flagrant-1 foul when his elbow caught Oregon State center Joe Burton in the chops.
In all, Washington put together a win, which is all that mattered to this desperate team.
“We failed in one area tonight, and that was taking care of the basketball,” Romar said. “We defended pretty much how we want to defend. Offensively, we shot 50 percent. We competed. We outrebounded them.
“We did a lot of things we would want to do in terms of what we’ve been talking about. Let’s get it all together on the same night. If we had taken better care of the basketball, this would have been the night.”
The next chance comes next week at Arizona. The Huskies face the ninth-ranked Wildcats on Wednesday.Todd Dybas firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas