The Washington Huskies won a road game. Let that sink in a little. Realistically, it's a game they should win. If Washington were to play Utah 10 times in the Huntsman center, the Huskies should win nine with six of them being comfortable wins.
Washington is significantly more talented than Utah. It's a fact. The Utes under new head coach Larry Krystkowiak are a team in transition. With local transfers Aaron Dotson and Glen Dean sitting out this season, and five players signed to next year's recruiting class, most of the players on the team the Huskies faced on Saturday will be gone next season.
And yet, the Huskies only won by four points. Credit Utah for grinding down the pace of play to crawl and playing pretty good defense. But also credit Washington for winning that type of game on the road.
From my game story in today's TNT ...
But it was a 3-point shot that Ross buried with just under three minutes left that may have been the most important shot of the game.
Up 50-47, with the shot clock under 10 seconds, Gaddy found himself caught on the baseline after a drive. He fired a pass out to Desmond Simmons. Simmons had an open 17-foot jump shot. But instead, he fired the ball to Ross, who buried a shot from beyond the arc with one second left on the shot clock. It pushed the lead back to six.
“I knew I had time for a real quick pass and I knew Terrence had time to get the shot off,” Simmons said. “I knew Terrence was open, so in my mind as I soon as I get this, ‘Terrence is money.’”
Ross was a little surprised by the pass.
“I was spotting up so he had an outlet,” said Ross, who was the only Washington player in double figures with 14 points. “I’m just happy Dez saw me when he did.”
It was one big play, but a larger indication in a change of thinking in the Huskies offense. Coach Lorenzo Romar has pleaded with his team to make the extra pass. It’s something they had done at home, but haven’t on the road. That changed Saturday.
Washington (9-6, 3-1 Pacific-12 Conference) showed patience in a game in which Utah grinded the tempo down to possession by possession.
“If we would have played the way we played in our other road games, meaning offensively rushing shots and taking quick shots, we probably would have gone down,” Romar said. “We were as patient as we have been on the road all year. I think that was the difference in the game.”
And Simmons’ unselfishness was a perfect example.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Romar said. “It was a learning process. I’m glad we were able to learn something in a win and not a loss.”Apparently I didn't forget my video camera. But it took forever to download the video to our system. So here's some video of Terrence Ross and Desmond Simmons postgame.
Over at the Salt Lake Tribune, fellow University of Montana alum and budding poker star Bill Oram wrote a pair of stories.
For the Utes and first-year coach Larry Krystkowiak, there is a fine line between the expected and accepted. Krystkowiak lamented early in the season his team’s need to be reminded to give maximum effort.
He hopes the Utes are past that. For the first time this season, he said, he did not write "play hard" on the board in the locker room.
"I can always handle it when we play hard," Krystkowiak said. "That’s not to say we don’t have a lot of things to work on. There’s going to be different challenges. I think we all know how it feels when you get shellacked and you’re not playing hard."
On the effort side of the ball — defense — Utah held Washington to its fewest points of the season and the Huskies shot just 32.3 percent from the field in the first half.He also filed this story on the Utes improved defense.