UW holds off Stanford, gets a sweep in the Bay Area
With the Washington post players dominating inside, C.J. Wilcox took care of the rest and Washington captured a historic 65-60 win Saturday at Stanford.
Seattle Times staff reporter
STANFORD, Calif. — Aziz N'Diaye didn't miss much Saturday. He made almost every shot he attempted and Desmond Simmons collected nearly every rebound within reach.
With Washington's post players dominating inside, C.J. Wilcox took care of the rest and Washington captured a historic 65-60 win Saturday at Stanford.
The victory extended Washington's winning streak to three games. It's also the first time since 1912 the Huskies began conference play with three road wins.
Washington's perfect Pac-12 start also makes it one of the early favorites to win the conference championship. The Huskies are the defending champions, but they were picked to finish fifth in the preseason media poll.
"If you split on the road, that's pretty good," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "But we were able to sweep three on the road. I'm ecstatic that we were able to do this."
After a 2-3 start, the Huskies have won nine of their past 11 games.
"Now that the conference has started, we know how we have to play and what we have to do," said N'Diaye, who was 5 of 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the foul line for 14 points. "We have a lot of veterans on this team who know how to win these games."
The Huskies displayed poise and maturity in the final minutes of a closely contested game that was tied 10 times and had 15 lead changes.
Washington captured an eight-point advantage (52-44) with 9:57 left but couldn't deliver the knockout blow.
Chasson Randle blew past Wilcox and sank a short jumper with 3:38 left to tie the score at 58.
On UW's next two possessions, N'Diaye and Wilcox canned two free throws each to put Washington ahead 62-58 with 1:41 remaining.
Still, the game wasn't decided until the final seconds.
Trailing by two (62-60), Stanford's Dwight Powell momentarily got around Simmons before running into N'Diaye. The Stanford forward floated a shot that missed badly and Wilcox secured the rebound.
Wilcox was fouled and made just one of two free throws, giving Stanford one last chance.
That's when Cardinal guard Aaron Bright, the former Bellevue High standout, missed a tough layup and Wilcox collected another rebound.
This time he made a made a breakaway layin to secure the win.
"Defense and rebounding," said Wilcox, who finished with a game-high 27 points, just two shy of his career high. He also had nine rebounds.
"We're trying to get a little identity. Playing aggressive and going to the boards as much as possible. The first half we didn't do it too well. The second half, we buckled down and started doing the right things."
N'Diaye scored 14 points and was the only other UW player with double-digit scoring.
The Huskies didn't need many points the way they played defense. They held Stanford to 39 percent shooting. And for a second straight game, a UW opponent had its lowest scoring output of the season. The Huskies limited California to 47 points on Wednesday.
"When we get in these close games and we get in huddles, we just tell each other, 'We're good,' " said Simmons, who had 13 rebounds. "I feel like we have a lot of confidence in ourselves. We handled a lot of adversity early in the season."
Before Saturday's win in front of 4,451 at Maples Pavilion, Washington had played three consecutive games on the road against Connecticut, Washington State and Cal — winning their last two outings. Romar had worried that Washington's recent frequent flying would adversely affect his team.
"Eventually it will take its t.oll," he said this week. "But hopefully we can still be strong enough mentally and have our legs under us to do it one more time and then we're off the road for a week before we get it again."
After cruising to a blowout win Wednesday against the Golden Bears, the Huskies were pushed to the limit by the Cardinal.
"When you look at traveling across country to UConn and then coming back," Romar explained. "Then we were on the road to Wazzu and then getting back at 2 a.m. (Thursday) — flying back from Cal — and then going back."
More than jet lag or fatigue after making its second trip to the Bay Area this week, the Huskies were stymied by a Stanford defense that had allowed an average of 64.6 points and 40.9 percent shooting to opponents before Saturday.
The Cardinal (10-7, 1-3 Pac-12) received 19 points from Powell and Randle added 16.
Washington returns home and plays Colorado Wednesday.
"We're in a good place right now," N'Diaye said. "Not just in the Pac-12, but with how we're playing."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Percentages: FG .471, FT .684. Three-point goals: 4-10, .400 (Wilcox 4-6, Andrews 0-1, Simmons 0-1, Suggs 0-2). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 4 (Wilcox 2, N'Diaye, Suggs). Turnovers: 12 (Simmons 4, Andrews 2, Gaddy 2, N'Diaye 2, Wilcox). Steals: 6 (Andrews 4, Suggs 2). Technical fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .390, FT .786. Three-point goals: 3-17, .176 (Powell 1-2, Harris 1-3, Randle 1-3, Gage 0-1, Brown 0-2, Huestis 0-3, Bright 0-3). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 1 (Huestis). Turnovers: 10 (Brown 2, Powell 2, Allen 2, Randle, Gage, Bright, Huestis). Steals: 5 (Powell 2, Randle, Bright, Huestis). Technical fouls: None.
Attendance: 4,451. Officials: Michael Greenstein, Michael Eggers, Tommy Nunez.