C.J. Wilcox scored a career-high 20 points, Isaiah Thomas scored 19 and Matthew Bryan-Amaning made all seven of his field goals as No. 23 Washington rolled past Long Beach State.
C.J. Wilcox didn’t dwell too long on his last outing, a three-minute blur in Hawaii in which he shot an air ball on a three-pointer against No. 6 Michigan State that would have tied the score with five seconds remaining.
“Coach just said put it behind you,” Wilcox said. “He apologized for putting me in a tough position. He said look forward. Turn the page.”
Nearly a week later, the redshirt freshman hardly missed Tuesday against Long Beach State en route to a career-high 20-point performance that led No. 23 Washington in its 102-75 victory.
When asked how the backup guard can play three minutes one game and turn in a career-best outing the next, coach Lorenzo Romar playfully critiqued his decisions with the rotation.
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“How do you go from the dumb coach who only played him three minutes, is that what you’re asking?” he said. “He played more than three minutes tonight.”
It’s a testament to the Huskies’ depth that they could lose a key reserve — Scott Suggs sat out with a strained left MCL — and top the 100-point mark for the third time this season as seven players scored in double figures.
“We got a lot of weapons,” said Isaiah Thomas, who finished with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. “You don’t always got to depend on that one person. We know if somebody comes out of the game, the next guy is just as good as that player and can bring whatever it is to the table.
“We know we’re talented and we know if we play hard we can win a lot of games.”
Wilcox proved early on he had no lasting ill effects from the previous game and came out firing against the undersized 49ers.
He drained four of his first six shots, including three three-pointers.
Whenever he lofted a trey the crowd of 9,223 at Edmundson Pavilion rose to a crescendo and exploded into an applause when the shot went through the net.
Wilcox finished with six three-pointers.
“He’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever played with or against,” Thomas said. “I don’t think he understands how good of a shooter he is. If I was a shooter like that I’d shoot it every time.”
Wilcox attempted just nine shots, connected on seven and Romar said the backup guard was too unselfish at times.
“I just try to make the right basketball play,” Wilcox said. “If that’s me shooting then I’ll shoot. If it passing, then I’ll pass. A lot of guys were open and a lot of guys had a good night.”
Romar tweaked the starting lineup for the first time this season, replacing senior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning with 7-foot junior college transfer Aziz N’Diaye.
Bryan-Amaning responded to the benching and connected on all seven of his shots for 14 points. He also had five rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, N’Diaye struggled and finished with one rebound and one point in 13 minutes.
“I just know I got to bring it,” Bryan-Amaning said. “He (Romar) told me it’s not permanent. It’s nothing for the rest of the season. If I show what I’m supposed to show, then I’ll be back in the starting five.”
The Huskies (4-2) also received 17 points from Abdul Gaddy. Justin Holiday had 11 and Venoy Overton and Darnell Gant each scored 10.
Long Beach State’s Dan Monson, the former Gonzaga coach, brought a veteran team into Seattle that consisted of five starters who have started the past three seasons.
They played at Duke, Kentucky and Texas last season and he had hoped those experiences would prepare the 49ers (3-4) for playing at Hec Ed, where the Huskies have lost just three times in the past three seasons.
Long Beach State, however, might as well have been McNeese State or Eastern Washington, teams Washington steamrolled early this season in a pair of blowout victories.
The Huskies paralyzed the LBSU offense with a ballhawking defense that forced 18 turnovers for 23 points.
At one point, the 49ers had more turnovers (seven) than points (six) while Washington raced out to a 19-6 lead with 11:48 remaining in the first half.
The Huskies led 44-28 at halftime. LBSU never got closer than 13 points (62-49) in the second half and UW led by as many as 31 points.
Casper Ware led the 49ers with 18 points.
“It just feels good to win again,” Wilcox said. “Not just me, but we all needed to get that last game behind us.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com
|LONG BEACH ST. (3-4)|
Percentages: FG .426, FT .600. Three-point goals: 8-19, .421 (Plater 4-11, Ware 3-4, Robinson 1-2, Anderson 0-2). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 2 (Jackson, Phelps). Turnovers: 18 (Ware 7, Robinson 4, Anderson 2, Wilson 2, Phelps 2, Chang). Steals: 7 (Ware 2, Jackson, Wilson, Richardson, Plater, Robinson).
Percentages: FG .612, FT .600. Three-point goals: 14-26, .538 (Wilcox 6-8, Gaddy 3-3, Gant 2-2, Overton 2-4, Holiday 1-1, Ross 0-2, Thomas 0-6). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 7 (Bryan-Amaning 4, Overton, Ross, Gant). Turnovers: 15 (Wilcox 4, Overton 3, Holiday 3, N’Diaye, Gaddy, Bryan-Amaning, Sherrer, Gant). Steals: 10 (Overton 3, Thomas 2, Gant, Holiday, Wilcox, Gaddy, Bryan-Amaning).
|Long Beach St.||28||47||—||75|
Attendance: 9,223. Officials: David Hall, Mike Littlewood, Bob Staffen.