The junior-college transfer has 19 points, 16 rebounds with a huge steal and then offensive rebound late, as Washington (4-3) rallies to win the first double-overtime game at home in four years.
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE – Whew!
Better yet ... Mike Anderson!
The versatile, selfless, junior-college transfer playing his seventh game for the Huskies did everything Saturday to beat Long Beach State.
He scored 19 points. He grabbed 16 rebounds. He made two huge, hustle plays in each overtime. That is why Washington rallied from eight points down with 6 minutes left to outlast the 49ers 92-89 in the first double-overtime game at Alaska Airlines Arena in four years.
"Mike Anderson was just sensational. Sensational," coach Lorenzo Romar said, in the midst of what he acknowledged has been his most trying seven-game start to any of his 12 seasons leading the Huskies.
Romar noted Anderson's 13 rebounds after halftime while the usual "two" guard again played the "four," or small-forward position for the banged-up, adjusting-on-the-fly Huskies and said: "He gave a Herculean effort."
Perris Blackwell had 18 points and eight rebounds -- including a mammoth offensive one halfway through the second overtime -- despite getting his fourth foul with 15 minutes left in regulation. His put back off that while fouled was the 3-point play that tied the game for the 11th and final time, then gave the Huskies an 88-87 lead that ultimately never lost.
Andrew Andrews had 18 points and eight rebounds from his guard spot outside. His defensive rebound and free throw with 17 seconds left kept UW ahead by two, 91-89.
But it was the 6-foot-4 guard from Moberly Area Community College in Missouri and Hartford, Conn., that was biggest -- and best for Washington (4-3)
Anderson had the key defensive play in the first overtime. He ran around his man from behind in low post to tap the ball away, then he raced into the corner at the Long Beach bench to save it from going out of bounds. His long pass to Andrew Andrews started a fast break that ended with Andrews' alley-oop pass for Darin Johnson. Johnson's rousing slam had UW up 85-80 with a minute left and the announced crowd of 6,032 roaring.
"I was just anticipating the pass," Anderson said, shrugging off the play as no big deal. "I saw he was passing to his right hand, so I anticipated that."
But Long Beach State’s Mike Caffey scored the last five points of the first overtime, unanswered. His drive and score with 4 seconds left tied it. That forced a rushed heave from C.J. Wilcox at the buzzer that was well short.
So the game became the first one to reach multiple overtimes at ol' Hec Ed since Jan. 10, 2009, a three-overtime loss to California.
Wilcox, who finished with 15 points on 5-for-17 shooting, made just his second bucket in 28 minutes spanning the second half and both overtimes, a baseline, pull-up jumper. That gave the Huskies a 90-87 lead with 1:38 left in the second, 5-minute extra period.
Caffey missed with Long Beach (1-7) trailing by one. Then point guard Andrews, all 6 foot 2 of him, grabbed his eighth rebound, a long one on which he raced to the wing and dived to the floor to beat the 49ers to it.
It was the kind of rugged, want-to play he used to do in his former sport.
"Just being in the right place in the right time," said Andrews, a cornerback, safety and linebacker in football during his freshman and senior seasons at Benson Tech High School in Portland, Ore.
Andrews was immediately fouled after his big, scrappy rebound.
"Andrew Andrews went out and competed," Romar said. "The last loose ball, he just wanted it."
He made the first, ensuing free throw but missed the second. Yet Anderson was huge yet again, grabbing the offensive rebound with 14.2 seconds left and UW up 91-89.
Anderson made one of two free throws – UW started 20 of 21 from the line but made only five of its last nine foul shots. Caffey then missed a 3 from the right wing that would have tied the game just before the final buzzer finally ended it.
It wasn't pretty. It was scary, even. But these Huskies will take it heading into their next game, Sunday Dec. 8 at San Diego State.Even before its first game Washington lost 6-10 Jernard Jarreau for the season to reconstructive knee surgery and invaluable, 6-7 scrapper and rebounder Desmond Simmons until an expected debut Dec. 29 against Hartford. A third inside presence, Shawn Kemp Jr., is playing while trying to find the right mix of medications to control Graves Disease in his thyroid that has robbed him of zest. And reserve guard Hikeem Stewart decided last week to transfer, further thinning Romar's bench.
In response, Romar last week changed his defense from a man-to-man that denies aggressively out on the wings to one more packed into the lane to deny drives -- though Long Beach drove at will Saturday early in the second half to open its eight-point lead.
Asked where they are with the new defense after five days and two games -- narrow wins over Montana and now Long Beach State -- with it, Blackwell and Wilcox answered in unison chuckles: "It still needs some work."
Offensively, the second-year of the high-post system has turned into more free-wheeling, guard-motion, improvisational plays with a lineup of four guards plus Blackwell as the lone big man. The result has been Wilcox drifting in and out of scoring involvement for wild swings of games, with Andrews, Williams-Goss and Johnson taking turns driving inside in search of scores or fouls.
Not exactly how it was designed all offseason.
That's how Anderson has become a 6-4 forward scrapping for rebounds and huge, winning plays that had become Simmons' calling card the last two seasons.
"I'm just here to compete," Anderson said. "It just that having Jernard out, having Desmond out, I figure I can help inside.
"I'm just holding down the team until Desmond comes back."
Asked if he was surprised by how much playing time he's getting: 40 minutes Saturday, after 30 and 38 in his first two career starts the previous two games, Anderson smiled.
"Yeah," he said of Romar, "sometimes he never takes me out."
No wonder. Anderson has become that indispensible already, seven games into his Huskies career.
Asked if this was his most trying seven-game start to a season at UW, Romar said, "I think so. We're not playing good basketball right now ... Here we thought we had something and it's been taken away from us.
"We've never had a situation like this where we've had to improvise on the fly."
Wilcox made his first two shots Saturday, both 3-pointers, to set the Washington record for career 3-point field goals. The 232nd of his career came 2:15 into the game. That’s one more than Ryan Appleby had from 2005-09. And it left Wilcox 13 for 17 (76 percent) from deep in his last three games.
But after 10 points on seven shots in the first half, Wilcox mysteriously disappeared for the first 12 minutes after halftime. The Huskies found themselves down by seven before Wilcox scored his first points of the second half, a corner 3-pointer after he had passed up a 10 footer in the lane. That 3, on Wilcox’s third shot in 13 minutes, pulled Washington within 65-61.
Wilcox missed off a pump fake and spin from 15 feet at the top of the lane with a minute left in regulation. But Blackwell grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. His free throw tied the game.
With the Huskies down one in the final seconds of regulation, freshman Nigel Williams-Goss played like a senior. He took the ball near half court and drove the left side of the lane, forcing contact and getting fouled. But he only made one of the two free throws, so the game was tied for Long Beach’s final possession of regulation.
Caffey, who scored 28 points, drove the left side at UW freshman Darin Johnson. Caffey’s shot was short. Long Beach State’s Kris Gulley grabbed the offensive rebound, but Wilcox swatted his shot away just before time expired to send the game to the first overtime.
"Just move the chains," Romar said, knowing his team will take any and all wins at this point of a rocky first weeks of the season."As we are getting healthier, mentally, physically, this is a great character win for us to pull it out."