C.J. Wilcox climbed into a prominent place in the Washington men’s basketball team’s record books while Nigel Williams-Goss reminded Husky fans that he’s poised for a bright future.
Oregon State diverted its defensive attention toward Wilcox and handcuffed the UW star for most of the game, which allowed Williams-Goss to steal the show with a record-setting performance.
The Huskies overcame a 12-point second-half deficit thanks to a career-high 32 points from its freshman point guard in the 87-81 victory in front of 7,112 at Alaska Airlines Arena.
It was the most points by a UW freshman, eclipsing the record set by Tony Wroten Jr., who had 29 against Oregon State in the 2012 Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal. Freshmen weren’t allowed to play at Washington before 1972.
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“That’s probably one of the best freshman performances maybe we’ve ever seen in this building,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “I can’t go all the way back to know about that, but what a performance he put on.
“He was very, very efficient offensively and defensively.”
Willams-Goss converted 10 of 15 field goals on an array of dribble-drive layups and running floaters. He converted 3 of 4 three-pointers and sank 9 of 10 free throws. He also had five rebounds, three assists and didn’t commit a turnover in 34 minutes.
It was big turnaround for Williams-Goss, who had seven points in 34 minutes Thursday against Oregon.
“I watched the film of the Oregon game with coach and I just felt like I wasn’t my normal self out there,” Williams-Goss said. “I feel like I wasn’t as aggressive out there as I usually am. So I just wanted to be in a more aggressive mindset tonight, and it worked out.”
Oregon State’s defensive game plan centered on stopping Wilcox at all costs.
Langston Morris-Walker, a chiseled 6-foot-5, 216-pound forward, paired against Wilcox at the start and he bumped and pushed the UW sharpshooter.
When Morris-Walker tired, 6-10 shot-blocker Eric Moreland drew the assignment and used his 7-4 wingspan to shut off scoring opportunities.
Wilcox took his first shot at the 9:35 mark in the first half. He 14 finished with points and moved past former UW great Eldridge Recasner for seventh place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,705 points.
“If teams are going to go all out like that to take me out of the offense, then other guys have to step up and make shots and plays, and you saw that tonight in Nigel,” Wilcox said. “He had an amazing game.”
Washington trailed 38-33 at halftime and fell behind 45-33, but Williams-Goss and Mike Anderson led a comeback.
“I figured that I should step up more,” Anderson said. “And that helped. I just had to play harder on D.”
Anderson, a 6-4 junior guard, repeatedly collected rebounds on the defensive end, led fast breaks and found open teammates on the perimeters for three-pointers.
Trailing 48-42 with 15:34 left, Romar credited a lineup that included Williams-Goss, Wilcox, Anderson, Perris Blackwell (10 points) and Shawn Kemp Jr. for turning the game.
“They were just in a zone … defensively,” Romar said.
With that lineup, Washington outscored Oregon State 31-17 to take a 73-65 lead at the 5:02 mark.
Minutes later, Williams-Goss drained a three-pointer, giving the Huskies their biggest lead (76-65) with 3:46 left.
Oregon State cut its deficit to three points, but didn’t get any closer. Roberto Nelson led the Beavers (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12) with 31 points and Devon Collier had 23.
It was Washington’s 11th straight win over OSU, and the Huskies improved to 13-8, 5-3.
Wilcox chuckled when asked who will be the next UW player to score 1,700 points. He considered Williams-Goss, but said: “He might not be here long enough to do it.”
• Lorenzo Romar notched his 250th career victory.
• To raise awareness for cancer research, the Washington and Oregon State coaching staff wore sneakers in the annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” initiative.
• Naismith Hall of Famer Bill Russell and former Sonics great Fred Brown sat courtside together at Saturday’s game.
|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. Jon Brockman||2006-09||1,805|
|3. Quincy Pondexter||2007-10||1,786|
|4. Bob Houbregs||1951-53||1,774|
|5. Todd MacCulloch||1996-99||1,743|
|6. Isaiah Thomas||2008-11||1,721|
|7. C.J. Wilcox||2011-||1,705|
|8. Eldridge Recasner||1987-90||1,700|
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