The University of Washington remained undefeated after a 78-56 rout of San Jose State in Thursday night’s first round of the Wooden Legacy men’s basketball tournament at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Gym.
The Huskies (4-0) will face Long Beach State in Friday night’s second round at 8:30 p.m. The 49ers defeated Western Michigan on Thursday night, 73-55.
“I was really proud of the way we went about our business,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Our guys came off the bench ready to go and it made the difference, along with our defense. I thought our defense set the tone.”
One player who made a difference in both areas was 7-foot sophomore Robert Upshaw, who came off the bench to score 12 points and tie the school’s single-game record for blocked shots with seven for the third time this season.
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“Robert controlled the paint and played aggressively,” Romar said. “It’s a great luxury to have, especially for our guards, to know that if there is a breakdown, he’s got your back down there in the paint.”
UW freshman Donaven Dorsey, another reserve from Lacey’s Timberline High School, led all scorers with 17 points.
Huskies guard Nigel Williams-Goss — who finished with 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds — elaborated on Upshaw’s impact.
“Last year, we were playing a whole different style of defense,” Williams-Goss said. “We were denying the passing lanes more and we also didn’t have the rim protection with Rob down there. This year, our guards are more free to pressure and put more heat on the ball than we were able to do last year.”
After four games, the Huskies are conceding only 58 points per contest. On Thursday night, they forced San Jose State to shoot 28.1 percent in the first half and 30.6 percent for the game.
UW built an 8-0 lead in the first 4 minutes, 4 seconds while keeping San Jose State (1-4) scoreless for the first 5:14. The Huskies dominated despite committing four fouls in the first 3:25 and four turnovers in the first five minutes.
But after UW extended its advantage to 26-9, the Spartans used a 9-0 surge to narrow their deficit to 26-18 with 4:51 left in the first half.
The Huskies responded with a 10-0 spree that lengthened the margin to 36-18 with 2:09 remaining before halftime. Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews led the blitz with four points apiece.
Then after San Jose State’s Jaleel Williams made an inside jumper, Shawn Kemp Jr. converted a layup and two free throws in a 32-second span to give the Huskies a 40-20 lead with 1:05 left in the half. The Spartans got no closer than 13 points after that.
Kemp finished with 11 points and Mike Anderson grabbed 10 rebounds. Rashad Muhammad led San Jose State with 15 points.