TEMPE, Ariz. — Snowstorms and doubt swirled around the Washington Huskies men’s basketball team Wednesday. The Huskies had been pulverized at Arizona and their coach had questioned their pride.
Late Saturday night in Tempe, Washington was an invited but unwelcomed guest to Arizona State’s party. The Sun Devils were celebrating senior night with extra pomp and increased circumstance from one of the largest crowds of the season.
Washington countered with a grown-up performance with few mistakes and featuring multiple clutch plays.
The Huskies beat Arizona State, 68-59, in Wells Fargo Arena to sweep the season series against the Sun Devils.
“I thought this team doesn’t have much margin for error and we didn’t make many errors,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “It
was much needed.”
The game helped lift the Huskies from the doldrums, and much of it was because of an exquisite performance by Bellarmine Prep graduate Abdul Gaddy.
His line was filled with pluses: 13 points, seven assists, five rebounds and zero turnovers. Gaddy’s 17-footer with 1 minute. 44 seconds to go put Washington (15-13 overall, 7-8 Pacific-12 Conference) in front, 61-56.
“He was playing off of me,” Gaddy said of his defender. “I just shot it with confidence and knew I could knock it down.”
On the Huskies’ next possession, he set up Scott Suggs (game-high 16 points) for a corner 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining that put Washington up 64-58 and sealed the season sweep of the Sun Devils (20-8, 9-6).
Washington’s start to the second half allowed it to hang on. Andrew Andrews powered into the lane and scored over 7-foot-2 Jordan Bachynski. The next play down, he drove and shifted the ball in mid-air to score with his left hand before hitting the deck and putting Washington up, 47-37.
Gaddy hit a left-elbow jumper to boost Washington’s lead to 49-37 with 12:28 remaining. Arizona State called timeout after the Huskies’ 7-for-11 start from the field.
Then came the downswing. Arizona State’s fans stood while Washington’s lead fell.
The Sun Devils battered Washington’s 13-point second-half lead down to 57-56 with 3:49 to go. Luckily for the Huskies, the under-four minute television timeout came for Washington after Jahii Carson fouled Andrews, whom Carson could not handle all game.
Andrews made two free throws to stabilize Washington with 3:32 to go before Gaddy and Suggs struck down the stretch.
After having a splendid night in Seattle when he scored 32 points in the first game against the Huskies, Washington slowed the springy Carson in the rematch. He was held to 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field.
“I thought our guys did a good job of trying to being physical and getting up on the ball screens and not letting him have his way and turn the corner,” Romar said.
Suggs carried Washington in the first half. He hit a couple deep jumpers, drove and scored, and came with a temperament not often seen from him this season.
He had 10 points at halftime, helping UW take a 32-28 lead and survive an 0-for-6 start from C.J. Wilcox, who finished 2-for-12 from the field.
Also helping was Washington clobbering Arizona State on the boards. At the half, UW held a 19-10 rebounding edge and finished the game up 33-19. UW outrebounded ASU 33-17 in Seattle.
Which all led to Saturday’s win as a quick fix to Wednesday’s debacle.
“That was a tough loss to take for us,” Gaddy said. “I’ve never lost faith and our team has never lost faith. Coach always says we’re one or two weekends away from being right back in it.”email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas