Wilcox leads Washington with 19 points
Lorenzo Romar wanted to test his team, but he probably didn’t have this in mind.
Washington faced an early scare from Florida Atlantic, which cut the Huskies’ 15-point second-half lead to four with less than two minutes remaining.
With the outcome still in doubt, Romar turned to his veterans who held off the upset-minded Owls for a 77-71 victory in the World Vision Classic.
“I wouldn’t have scripted it this way,” Romar said. “We had to run clock. We had to get the ball to certain places. We had to try to get stops down the stretch. I’m glad we won, but the silver lining is we got to get a little experience in a close game early in the year.”
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For the second consecutive game, C.J. Wilcox led the Huskies in scoring. He finished with a game-high 19 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
Junior center Aziz N’Diaye tallied 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks while junior guard Abdul Gaddy had 15 points and six assists and sophomore guard Terrence Ross chipped in 14 points.
“We were lucky enough to come out on the positive side,” Gaddy said.
UW was hardly challenged in the 91-74 win Saturday over Georgia State, but FAU nearly came away with the upset Sunday.
“We had a little mental lapse late in the game so that’s something we got to work on,” Gaddy said. “We let up a lot, especially on the defensive end. We just missed a lot of principles. We weren’t in ball position. We weren’t keeping guys in front. We weren’t closing out with our hand up. Just little things like that and rebounding.
“On the road, you can lose with that type of performance.”
Good thing for the Huskies the game was played in front of 7,972 at Edmundson Pavilion where they ran their nonconference home winning streak to 29.
Washington was able to overcome 38.1 percent (24 of 63) shooting from the field and 68.6 percent (24 of 35) free-throw shooting.
But Romar is unsure if the Huskies can win a game like this when they travel.
“The really good teams, they step on people’s throats,” he said. “We missed a lot of easy shots early in the game and sometime, subconsciously, when you don’t see that ball go in the basket a number of times you get deflated.
“We shot 38 percent, but we were playing at home. The really good teams can go on the road and shoot 35 percent and still win the game because they don’t let the ball not going into the basket affect them. They still defend. They still rebound. They still play with intensity. We’re not there yet. We have to get there.”
Whenever it appeared as if UW would turn the game into a rout, Florida Atlantic drained a three-pointer to turn momentum.
Kore White sank an open three-point shot near the FAU bench that cut UW’s lead to 74-70 with 1:22 left.
Gaddy committed a turnover on the ensuing possession and White had a chance to make it a one-possession game, but his three-point attempt rattled out.
UW (2-0) converted three of four free throws down the stretch to win.
“They’re an incredibly talented team,” FAU coach Mike Jarvis said. “Maybe sometimes they might take their talent a little bit for granted and sometimes they get a little carried away with themselves like we all do, but they’re very, very good.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com. On Twitter @percyallen.
Percentages: FG .417, FT .520. Three-point goals: 8-20, .400 (Richardson 3-4, Floyd 1-1, Bertone 1-2, White 1-3, Grier 1-3, Gantt 1-4, Tucker 0-1, Taylor 0-2). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 6 (Penn 3, McCoy, Floyd, White). Turnovers: 19 (Taylor 5, White 3, Penn 2, Tucker 2, McCoy 2, Bertone 2, Mavin 2, Richardson). Steals: 5 (White 2, Bertone, Penn, Tucker). Technical fouls: Bench.
Percentages: FG .381, FT .686. Three-point goals: 5-12, .417 (Wilcox 3-5, Gaddy 1-1, Ross 1-5, Gant 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 7 (N’Diaye 3, Ross 2, Wilcox 2). Turnovers: 17 (Wroten 5, Simmons 3, Gaddy 3, Ross 3, N’Diaye 2, Gant). Steals: 6 (Wilcox 4, Simmons, N’Diaye). Technical fouls: None.
Attendance: 7,972. Officials: Gregory Nixon, Ken Ditty, Bill Kennedy.