Because he is Washington’s only senior basketball player, the ceremony to honor Andrew Andrews prior to his final regular-season home game featured a bit more pomp and circumstance than usual.
There was a lengthy video of his career highlights. Individual video messages of congratulations from each of his teammates, most of them freshmen, all of them touching — “not enough to make me cry, but it was heartfelt,” Andrews remarked afterward. Also, there was a video message from Andrews’ father, who told his son how proud he was and how much he loved him. A few moments later, Andrews took the court with several family members, including both of his parents, his grandmother and his biological mother, which was important to him, he said.
It was a fitting tribute to UW’s lone senior. But not as fitting as what followed.
Andrews did something at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Wednesday night that will not be soon forgotten by the 7,655 who attended this 99-91 UW victory against Washington State, a rout not as close as the score indicated. It was mostly decided by a 23-8 UW run to end the first half and a 15-6 run to begin the second.
And it was mostly decided by Andrews. He scored 47 points. Forty-seven. He’s the Pac-12’s leading scorer, but he’d never scored that many in a game. No player in coach Lorenzo Romar’s 14 years at UW ever had, either. You have to go back to Jan. 10, 1953 to find the last UW player to have that kind of game, and that was Bob Houbregs, who scored a school-record 49 points that night and now has his jersey hanging from the Hec Ed rafters.
“It was fun to watch a fifth-year senior who’s been so loyal to this program go out like that,” Romar said, “with a win first, and then with such a great offensive performance.
“That was pretty special.”
Only one other player in the country has scored 47 points in a game this season — St. Bonaventure guard Marcus Posley, who, coincidentally, also scored 47 points on Wednesday night.
The Huskies finish the regular season with an overall record of 17-13 and a Pac-12 record of 9-9, a four-game improvement over last year’s 5-13 mark.
They’re off until Wednesday, March 9, when they begin the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas against an opponent still to be determined.
And if Andrews continues to play like this, who knows where he might take the Huskies? It seemed the senior from Portland couldn’t miss Wednesday. He swished long 3-pointers. He drew contact and made 16 of his 17 free-throw attempts. He made 13-of-22 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. He pulled up for jumpers. He stepped back for jumpers. He pulled three shots that could qualify as reckless “heat-check” attempts, and he made two of those, too. And he had six rebounds and four assists.
“When you get into that type of zone,” Andrews said, “you kind of just black out and start playing. I don’t know, it was kind of surreal.”
At one point in the second half, Andrews scored seven consecutive points — on two free throws, a 3-pointer and a step-back jumper. The crowd chanted his name. When Romar pulled him to give him a breather, the crowd chanted “we want Drew,” not ready yet for the show to end.
“I didn’t know the record was 49 until after the game,” Andrews said. “Donaven (Dorsey) and the guys were saying ‘bro, get 50, get 50!’ And I was like, what’s so important about 50? I didn’t know the record was 49.”
Andrews re-entered the game with 4:59 to play, the outcome long decided. When Romar substituted Dan Kingma for him at the 2:59 mark, the crowd bid Andrews farewell with a standing ovation … except Romar decided he had to put him back in the game in the final minute after WSU made a late run to cut UW’s lead to 89-79.
But it was never really close. The Huskies led by as many as 27 points in the second half, running away with this one thanks to several WSU turnovers (13) that led to UW points (14).
WSU (9-21, 1-17) finishes the regular season on a 16-game losing streak. Josh Hawkinson led the Cougars with 23 points, Que Johnson added 20 and Conor Clifford scored 18. Dejounte Murray added 16 for the Huskies.
But this night was all about Andrews.
“He has had a terrific career,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said, “but I am also happy we don’t have to play him again.”
“I think it was just one of those nights where it kind of just goes by so fast and everything’s just clicking and going your way,” Andrews said. “That was one of those I didn’t expect.”
Game in review
Player of the game: Gee, who could it be? Andrew Andrews was as good on Wednesday night as pretty much any UW player has ever been, scoring a career-best 47 points — two shy of the UW single-game record — to lead the Huskies to a feel-good victory in their regular-season finale. Andrews made 5-of-7 from 3-point range, made 16-of-17 from the free-throw line and seemed at times as if he might never miss.
It was over when: The Huskies took a 27-point lead with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the game. WSU chipped away and trimmed the lead down to single digits in the final minute, but never really challenged.
Stat of the game: Simple enough: Andrew Andrews scored 47 points.
Quotable: “I think it was just one of those nights where it kind of just goes by so fast and everything’s just clicking and going your way. That was one of those I didn’t expect.” — Andrews.
What it means: Washington State is the worst team in the Pac-12 and the Huskies were favored to win the game by 13 points, so the victory itself doesn’t mean much. But the way they did it, with Andrews leading the way in record-setting fashion, will likely register as one of this team’s finer memories of the season.
Up next: Washington vs. TBD, Wednesday, March 9, at the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.