CORVALLIS, Ore. — What’s done is done.
C.J. Wilcox understands there’s no way to change the past and erase the blemishes from Washington’s lackluster men’s basketball record.
After the Huskies crushed Oregon State 86-62 in front of 5,280 spectators at Gill Coliseum on Saturday, he noted the importance of the victory had very little to do with snapping UW’s seven-game road losing streak.
No, these are forward-thinking Huskies, and their focus is on building momentum heading into the Pac-12 tournament.
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“It’s always good to get a win, especially going home with three more games at our place,” Wilcox said. “We’re just trying to get ourselves in a good position for the tournament seeding-wise and try to make a run there.”
Washington (15-13, 7-8 Pac-12) is in seventh place in the conference and two games out of fourth place. The top four teams in the regular season receive a first-round bye in the tournament, which begins March 12 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
If the Huskies are going to make a run in the conference tourney, they had to prove to themselves they could win a game away from home.
It had been nearly two months since their last road victory, and coach Lorenzo Romar said the losing streak had been taxing.
“Having lost on the road and having lost the games we lost lately, doubt can set in,” he said. “For us to finish the road with a win like this — a convincing win — I think it really does wonders for the mental aspect of our team.”
While Romar wasn’t looking for any heroes to pull the Huskies out of their malaise, he received stellar performances from Nigel Williams-Goss (14 points and 10 assists), who carried the offensive load early until Wilcox took over and led a decisive run midway in the first half.
“Great scorers don’t stay in slumps very long,” Williams-Goss said about Wilcox. “I think we all kind of saw him come out of that tonight.”
Wilcox, who had fewer than 10 points in three of the previous four games, finished with a game-high 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting.
Washington trailed 25-19 with 9:19 remaining in the first half when Wilcox sank three consecutive baskets, including a three-pointer, as the Huskies scored 11 consecutive points and surged ahead 30-25. They never trailed again.
“It felt good,” Wilcox said. “I kind of forgot what it was like to hit shots that you normally make.”
Washington closed the half with a 25-8 run and led 44-33 at halftime.
Desmond Simmons scored on a layup that staked UW to a 19-point lead at 59-40 with 16:12 left. Oregon State closed to 64-53, but the Huskies answered with a 16-2 run.
Wilcox capped the spurt with a breakaway dunk that gave UW a 25-point lead, 80-55, with 5:51 remaining.
“I knew we were capable of it,” Wilcox said. “We’ve always known what to do, it was just a matter of doing it for the whole game.
Roberto Nelson finished with 17 points while Devon Collier and Angus Brandt each had 10 for Oregon State (14-12, 6-8). The Beavers are hoping to finish at or above .500 for the first time since 1993.
“We just lost our blue-collar mojo,” OSU coach Craig Robinson said. “I really believe we got caught up in the enormity of the situation. It might have been overwhelming.”
For the first time since Nov. 30, the Huskies had six players score in double figures. Andrew Andrews finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
The 24-point victory was the largest margin of victory this season for the Huskies.
“From start to finish, I don’t know if we played this good in awhile,” Romar said.
• Williams-Goss’ 10 assists were the most by a Washington freshman since Michael McLain also had 10 in March of 1994.
|Top UW scorers|
|Only seven players in the history of the UW men’s basketball program have scored at least 1,700 points.|
|1. Chris Welp||1984-87||2,073|
|2. C.J. Wilcox||2010-14||1,814|
|3. Jon Brockman||2006-09||1,805|
|4. Quincy Pondexter||2007-10||1,786|
|5. Bob Houbregs||1951-53||1,774|
|6. Todd MacCulloch||1996-99||1,743|
|7. Isaiah Thomas||2008-11||1,721|
|8. Eldridge Recasner||1987-90||1,700|
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