Washington said it wanted a test during its only exhibition game. It got one.
Two late steals and dunks helped the Huskies get past Division II defending national champion Western Washington, 88-78, on Wednesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Western tied the game four times in the second half but never took the lead. With the game squared at 69, Tacoma’s Abdul Gaddy (14 points) made two free throws. C.J. Wilcox followed with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to push Washington in front by five and give it a lead it would not give back. Wilcox led all scorers with 21 points and added seven rebounds.
“We got a lot out of this game,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “I thought our offense was a little ahead of our defense. But, I think that will come with time.”
Washington had trouble containing Western point guard John Allen (17 points), who transferred to the Vikings from Washington State. After switching high on ball picks all night, Washington decided to trap Allen out of a timeout with 1:40 left, and the Huskies leading 82-75. That approach forced a turnover and resulted in dunks on consecutive possessions by Jernard Jarreau and Wilcox to push Washington in front 86-75.
Washington vaulted into the lead behind an 11-0 run midway through the first half following a sluggish start.
But Gaddy picked up his third foul with 5:24 left. That gave redshirt freshman Andrew Andrews an extended opportunity. He scored 12 first-half points on 3-for-5 shooting, including two 3-pointers, helping Washington to a 30-25 halftime lead.
Andrews finished the night with 14 points and was one of four Huskies in double figures. He was also a needed dose of aggression.
Aziz N’Diaye scored nine points and added 10 rebounds. Desmond Simmons started at power forward for Washington but had a mediocre night. Simmons had three points and two rebounds in 21 minutes.
Romar said the first thing the Huskies will work on out of this game is defensive rebounding. Undersized Western had 15 offensive rebounds.
“That is an area of concern,” Romar said. “Somebody’s going to have to emerge.”
Washington opens the regular season Nov. 11 against Loyola (Md.).email@example.com @Todd_Dybas blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports