Wilcox Helps Huskies Outlast SLU

C.J. Wilcox (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

SEATTLE - Despite being shorthanded, Washington made their shots on offense and were scrappy enough on defense to pull out a much-needed win. Led by the 27 points of junior guard C.J. Wilcox, the Huskies were able to outlast the Saint Louis Billikens 66-61 during a late non-conference game Wednesday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Senior point guard Abdul Gaddy chipped in 16 and center Aziz N'diaye added 14 more as Washington (3-3) was able to pull away with six minutes remaining in the game, withstanding a final Billikens surge while UW missed a couple of 1-and-1 chances at the foul line that would have kept SLU (3-3) further at bay.

"It was good to see our guys out there competing tonight at a higher level than we had in our last game," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said, pointing back to Washington's 73-55 loss to Colorado State, a game where the Huskies were literally run off the boards 45-21. "I thought our guys did a lot of good things. St. Louis, the way they play is really tough to guard with those big guys that can shoot it so well and those guards that are quick coming off those ball screens, but all in all our guys did a good job."

Washington not only were more physical Wednesday night, but they were smart with the basketball too. They out-rebounded Saint Louis 32-30 and tallied their first positive assist-to-turnover ratio of the season (12-11). They did all of this without two contributors - senior guard Scott Suggs and sophomore F/C Shawn Kemp. Losing a double-digit scorer like Suggs meant Wilcox, Gaddy and N'Diaye had to step up even more - and they did. In fact, the junior from Utah's 27 points came on only 13 shots - an incredibly efficient performance.

"I just take it upon myself to be aggressive," Wilcox said afterward. "Especially with Scott out, me and Abdul both have to be aggressive. Tonight was just one of those nights where my shot was just falling."

The Huskies spread SLU out in the second half, going more to their motion look off the high post offense Romar has gone with this year. "They were really bodying us up, grabbing a lot and holding, just really chugging everything," Romar said. "It just kind of slowed us up. When we spread them out we didn't think that they could beat us off the dribble, and that proved to be true. Our guys got into the lane and made plays."

Two Wilcox three-pointers and a thunderous N'Diaye dunk off a nice screen and roll with freshman guard Andrew Andrews highlighted a 10-0 run to give Washington a 59-48 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the game. SLU's Mike McCall, starting for an injured Kwamain Mitchell, hit two three-pointers of his own down the stretch, but the Billikens could only trim the lead to four with 27 seconds to go. By then it was too late.

"He's being really aggressive right now," Romar said of Wilcox. "When all our guys come back we don't want him to change the way he's playing. The only guy who's ever done that who has played here was Tre Simmons—he scored 21 points in 13 minutes I think. But aside from that, it was about as efficient as you can get."
Statistics:
Points: Wilcox 27, Gaddy 16, N'Diaye 14, Jarreau 6, Andrews 3
Rebounds: N'Diaye 8, Jarreau 6, Simmons 5, TEAM 4, Andrews 3, Gaddy 2, Wilcox 2, Stewart 2
Assists: Andrews 5, Gaddy 4, Jarreau 1, Wilcox 1, Stewart 1
Steals: Wilcox 1, Stewart 1
Blocks: N'Diaye 2, Gaddy 1

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