Huskies rally late to win Wooden Legacy men’s basketball tournament
Andrew Andrews led the Huskies with 20 points and made the all-tournament team.
Special to The Seattle Times
ANAHEIM, Calif. — A 13-point lead in the first half nearly proved insufficient in Washington’s attempts to match its best start in five years Sunday night.
But the Huskies repelled UTEP in the final minute for a 68-65 victory that enabled them to win the Wooden Legacy basketball tournament at the Honda Center.
The victory enabled the Huskies (6-0) to equal the 2009-10 squad’s opening record. It also provided added confidence one month before the Pacific-12 Conference schedule starts.
“I feel like we can play with anyone in the country,” guard Nigel Williams-Goss said. “We had played pretty well at home and were 3-0 going into the tournament. We felt this was going to be our first true test to see how well we stacked up against some of the top teams around the country.”
Williams-Goss collected 16 points, six assists and two steals, received the award as the tournament’s most outstanding player and made tournament history.
The sophomore set a tournament record with 26 total assists. Williams-Goss amassed 12 of them Friday night in an 80-70 win against Long Beach State to establish a career high and a single-game standard for the tournament. Andrew Andrews led the Huskies with 20 points and also made the all-tournament team.
“Andrew is not bashful,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “That’s how he plays right now and that’s what you expect from your leaders. When his shot wasn’t falling, he continued to take good, open three-pointers.”
UW built a 13-point lead in the first half but the Miners (4-1) moved ahead, 61-57, with 3:47 to play. Andrews made a three-point basket to narrow the deficit to one point, then UW sophomore Robert Upshaw made a pivotal defensive play on UTEP’s ensuing possession.
Upshaw, a 7-foot sophomore, blocked Matt Willms’ attempted layin and secured the rebound. Williams-Goss followed with a one-handed floater that gave the Huskies a 62-61 lead with 2:27 remaining.
The Miners regained a 63-62 advantage on Julian Washburn’s jumper. But while trying to rebound a missed shot by Williams-Goss, UTEP’s Vince Hunter bounced the ball off his foot and out of bounds with 1:07 left.
Mike Anderson’s two free throws with 48.3 seconds to go put UW ahead, 64-63. Andrews then made his biggest contributions by rebounding Washburn’s missed three-point attempt and converting two ensuing free throws after Hunter fouled him to extend the Huskies’ lead to 66-63 with 24.3 seconds left.
“UTEP is very predictable,” Romar said. “They have a team full of junkyard dogs and they are going to play hard. In the second half, they imposed their will on us early. Our guys did a good job maintaining their composure down the stretch.”
UW’s Jernard Jarreau had 10 points and eight rebounds.
For UTEP, Hunter finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, Washburn contributed 17 points and Cedrick Lang scored 14 points.