C.J. Wilcox (USA TODAY Sports)
SEATTLE - Led by C.J. Wilcox's 24 points, the Washington Huskies defeated Oregon State 72-62 Saturday night at Alaska Airlines Arena to pick up only their second win in their last nine conference games. Andrew Andrews added 11 and Shawn Kemp's 10 for Washington, who are now 6-7 in league play and 14-12 overall.
Roberto Nelson paced the Beavers (13-13, 3-10) with 19 points, while Joe Burton was the only other OSU player to score in double-figures with 10.
It wasn't the easiest effort for Washington, who allowed Oregon State to stay in the game with points off of turnovers, but did a very good job in nearly all other the other facets to piece together a hard-fought win.
"Because of our turnovers, the game was - for me, at least - was a very draining game," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game. "We never allowed ourselves to pull away. We gave them 19 points in the first half off of turnovers and they scored 34. Aside from that, the second half we really defended, with the exception of a few times in transition. They shot 33 percent for the game. We out-rebounded them. When we didn't turn the ball over we got some good shots at the basket."
Wilcox started out right from the opening tip, scoring on a play that was to go to him. The junior sharpshooter from Utah hasn't been on his normal form of late, shooting only 4-24 from three his last five games leading up to Saturday's contest. But Wilcox battled through the doldrums to connect on 3-8 attempt from deep and 7-14 overall.
"It was better than what it's been," Wilcox said of his night. "There were still some shots that weren't going down, but I'll take it. I'm just trying to stay confident. I was kind of on and off tonight. I just tried to stay aggressive.
"(Coach) Romar made it a point to get me going early. They called the first play for me and I got a good look. That helped me get going."
Wilcox had a balanced scoring night - 12 in the first half and 12 in the second half. Romar knew how important it was to get Wilcox some looks very early in the game to grow his confidence.
"I think that's the case with anyone," he said. "Sometimes we'll call the first play for Aziz because we need him to play well and dominate. I think that's true across the board."
The other player that came in and surprised was Jernard Jarreau, the redshirt freshman from New Orleans. The 6-foot-10 forward matched up well against the Beavers and provided a counter on both ends of the floor. Jarreau had a career-high eight points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes of play.
"After we played them last time I made a decision that the next time we played Oregon State we would play Jernard more because one of things that hurt us before was their length," Romar said. "Well what does Jernard have? Length. To Jernard's credit, he came in ready to play. He did a very good job against a zone on offense and grabbed seven rebounds…I think that's the most he's had in any game. I thought Jernard's did a really nice job for us."
"My phone is pretty much blowing up right now - my Mom and my folks back home, they always watch all my games. I'm pretty sure they are calling to congratulate me," Jarreau said afterward.
Jarreau had only played a combined 10 minutes in Washington's last five games, but according to senior point guard Abdul Gaddy, Jarreau kept his head in the game.
"He stayed ready," Gaddy said of Jarreau. "In practice I told him we need you, no matter what. When your time comes, be prepared. Today he played really good. I'm really happy for him."
"I stayed positive," added Jarreau. "Coach always said that when you get your opportunity to come out and make the most of it and that's what I did. I took advantage of it. I came in the game thinking I had to bring energy, first of all…and confidence. The rebounds were big. I just got my hands on a few of them and snatched 'em."
After so many first half miscues, Washington steadied the ship and outscored Oregon State 40-28, eventually limiting the Beavers to only 34 percent shooting on the night. Burton went scoreless the final 20 minutes.
"He is so clever, really clever," Romar said of the 6-foot-7, 295-pound powerhouse. "Aziz did a good job moving his feet and not letting him turn the corner as much - and when he did I thought we provided great help.
Offensively despite the 19 total turnovers, Washington ended up with a 15-4 assist/turnover ratio from Gaddy and redshirt freshman Andrew Andrews, which is something they can build on heading into the final stretch of conference play.
Washington made the game tougher than it needed to be, but a win is a win - and Romar hopes this is the win to help get the Huskies over the hump with a positive outlook heading in the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.
"I felt like we needed to get a game on the positive side of the score so that we could start to feel some sort of success," Romar said. "You drop seven out of eight, doubt can creep in. We needed to get a win to start thinking the other way, and no time too soon because we hit the road against two tough teams coming up in Arizona."
Points: Wilcox 24, Andrews 11, Kemp 10, Jarreau 8, Simmons 6, N'Diaye 5, Gaddy 4, Suggs 4
Rebounds: Jarreau 7, Wilcox 6, Andrews 6, Simmons 5, N'Diaye 4, Gaddy 4, Suggs 4, TEAM 4, Kemp 1
Assists: Gaddy 9, Andrews 6, Jarreau 1
Blocks: Wilcox 3, Kemp 1, Jarreau 1
Steals: Andrews 2, Gaddy 1, Suggs 1, Jarreau 1