Stop C.J. Wilcox at all costs and take your chances with everyone else. That's been the game plan of the opponents who have faced the Washington men's basketball team recently.
Stop C.J. Wilcox at all costs, and take your chances with everyone else.
That’s been the game plan of the opponents who have faced the Washington men’s basketball team recently.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Wilcox said. “But it’s been working.”
It worked Sunday for USC and Wednesday for Oregon, which held Wilcox to eight and nine points, respectively, in double-digit victories over the Huskies.
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It’s the first time Washington’s leading scorer has been limited to fewer than 10 points in consecutive games this season.
Wilcox admits he’s in a slump, which began last month after tallying 27 and 25 points in consecutive outings. At the time he averaged 19.4 points.
Over the next eight games, he surpassed his points-per-game average just once and is now averaging 17.3 points.
Each opponent has presented a different set of problems.
Utah and USC glued pint-sized guards to his chest. They chased him all over the court in a box-and-one defensive formation, oblivious to everyone else on the floor.
Wilcox also drew Oregon’s E.J. Singler, Arizona’s Nick Johnson and Arizona State’s Carrick Felix, who are considered some of the Pac-12’s best defenders.
Against Oregon State, Saturday’s opponent at Alaska Airlines Arena, the Beavers (13-12, 3-9) assigned 6-foot-10 shot-blocking specialist Eric Moreland to Wilcox, who finished with 23 points.
“Every game is a different look,” Wilcox said. “You can’t really adjust to any one thing, because the next game it’s going to be something different.”
His scoring slump coincides with Washington’s recent tailspin. The Huskies (13-12, 5-7) have lost seven of their past eight games and have fallen to ninth in the conference standings.
Wilcox, UW’s leading returning scorer, figured he’d receive extra defensive attention. But he hadn’t expected what he’s seen so far.
“I didn’t think it would be like this,” he said. “I knew I would be one of the main guys on the (scouting report), but I didn’t think I would be the main guy that they would change the whole defense to try to keep me from scoring.”
Wilcox also didn’t anticipate having to cope with another injury that didn’t allow him to practice.
Last month he felt discomfort in his left foot, and an MRI last week revealed early signs of a possible stress fracture below his little toe.
The pain is manageable during games. Still, the Huskies limited his participation in practice, which has negatively affected his performances in games.
“I heard it mentioned that foot must be bothering him,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Well, indirectly maybe that’s an issue because he doesn’t get the reps in practice.
“It’s one thing to shoot 100 to 200 shots by yourself, but coming off screens with guys jumping at you, it’s more difficult to simulate.”
Aside from the foot discomfort and inability to practice, Romar believes Wilcox is adjusting to a new starring role this season that requires him to make contributions in several areas.
Wilcox is first on the team with 26 steals, second with 27 blocks and third with 53 assists and a 4.6 rebounding average.
“Everyone is focused on he’s not making baskets, but underneath the surface he’s becoming a heckuva all-around basketball player,” Romar said. “When you go through a period when you’re doing all of those things together, sometimes your offense suffers a little bit.”
It sounds good in theory, but the fact of the matter is UW needs Wilcox to score more than anything else. The Huskies are 10-4 when he gets at least 18 points and 3-8 when he doesn’t.
“I just have to find a way to get more involved,” Wilcox said. “Try to get some shots from my teammates, and hopefully we can get it going.”
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @percyallen
|Here’s a look at the past eight games for Washington’s leading scorer, C.J. Wilcox. Before the stretch of games, he averaged 19.4 points. Now he’s at 17.3.|
|Utah||32||4-11||3-6||3-3||14||L , 74-65|
|at Oregon State||36||9-21||4-11||1-3||23||L, 74-66|
|at Oregon||36||6-14||2-3||0-2||14||L, 81-76|
|Arizona State||36||2-11||0-3||6-6||10||W, 96-92|
|at UCLA||38||7-16||0-6||1-2||15||L, 59-57|
|at USC||36||3-7||2-4||0-0||8||L, 71-60|