Wilcox, Wroten Keep UW Above Fray in Win Over SU
Jan. 10, 2012
By Gregg Bell
SEATTLE - Lorenzo Romar wanted physicality.
He got the basketball equivalent of an MMA match.
All that was missing in another wild alley fight with his city rival, good friend and protégé, Seattle University coach Cameron Dollar was a steel cage.
A Redhawk slammed Tony Wroten to the floor on a drive to the basket, elbow and tailbone first. Two minutes later, usually mild-mannered Huskies point guard Abdul Gaddy yanked a SU player to the wood under the basket for a matching flagrant foul.
Ultimately, C.J. Wilcox rose above the fray - and took his Huskies with him.
Wilcox's career-high 25 points off the bench and Wroten's 24 points, six assists and four rebounds repelled a frantic Seattle U. rally in Washington's intense, foul-filled, 91-83 win Tuesday night before 8,618 screaming fans at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Seven-foot center Aziz N'Diaye had a season-high 14 points with 13 rebounds in 27 minutes for the Huskies, who blew all of a 14-point lead in a second-half free-for-all.
Wilcox then made a pair of 3-pointers and free throws to put the Huskies back in front for good.
"The veterans, we came together and said, `We are not going to lose this game. ... We are not going to lose to Seattle U. We want the bragging rights in this game,'" Gaddy said, describing a timeout huddle late.
The junior point guard's 7-for-10 foul shooting and cool handling of Seattle's constant, swiping press helped seal Romar's fourth win in four tries over Dollar since he left UW and renewed the city series that had been dormant for 29 years.
Wroten could barely walk during parts of the pulsating second half.
"Yeah, it was physical," said Wroten, fourth among all Division-I freshmen at 16.5 points per game entering Tuesday. "That's OK. I don't like that soft stuff. It's cool. I got hurt. That happens."
Wroten said his elbow and lower back were still throbbing from falling back-first onto the floor after soaring to the rim and getting fouled hard by T.J. Diop with 16:20 left.
But when asked what the chances he wouldn't play when the Huskies (10-6, 3-1 Pac-12) host Washington State (9-7, 1-3) on Sunday, Wroten said: "Negative seven."
That's a positive.
So is this: Washington won for the second time in three days playing someone else's way.
Saturday, the highest-scoring team in the Pac-12 won a slowdown slog at Utah for its first road win. Tuesday the Huskies won despite Dollar, Romar's former top assistant at Pepperdine, Saint Louis and UW, sending waves of Redhawks to attack them.
Five Seattle players fouled out as officials called 61 fouls in all. But, hey, at least Dollar had enough players to field a full team on the end, unlike two years ago in his hack-a-thon against UW.
"I don't know if it against their grain," Romar said of his run-and-gun Dawgs winning this way. "I think if it was then we wouldn't have been able to win. I'd like to think that we made progress tonight, rather than it being we were out of our comfort zone."
The 37 fouls by Seattle U. (3-11) netted 59 free throws for Washington. That was the second most attempts in school history, two fewer than what the Huskies got against Seattle U. two seasons ago.
The Huskies made 37 of their 59 Tuesday (63 percent) - and won for the 23rd time in the 27 all-time meetings between city schools four miles apart.
"There were a lot of fouls out of the gate. You may not believe this, but that was not by design," Dollar said, laughing.
"There were excited to be reffing, let's just say it like that. ... At least I didn't have to go to my four-man set today."
The Huskies led 55-41 with 17 minutes remaining on a layup by the constantly driving Wroten, who was coming off his most quiet game of his freshman season: eight points on a season-low six shots at Utah.
But Seattle U. went on a 21-7 run fueled by UW's mistakes against the relentless press; 11 of the Huskies' 16 turnovers came in the second half.
The score was tied again at 70 with 6:49 left on a jump shot by SU's Aaron Broussard, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Then Diop went after Terrence Ross, pushing him with two hands in the chest as the Huskies' sophomore guard soared to the rim on a break. Diop got a flagrant foul. Wroten got a technical for joining a woofing standoff with multiple Redhawks in the lane after the whistle.
With the arena roaring, Wroten made a shot and Wilcox hit a 3 to keep Washington ahead. Then Gaddy chased down Jarrell Flora on a Seattle U. break and pulled him to the floor. That flagrant foul allowed Flora to re-tie the game at 76 with a free throw and 4:53 to go.
But Seattle then failed twice on chances to take its first lead since the game's opening basket. Wilcox scored the next six points - one on another 3 pointer with 3:22 remaining. Then four free throws by Gaddy and two by Wroten had the Huskies up 90-81.
And the home arena exhaling.
"You have to stay composed. Usually in games like that we fall apart," Wilcox said. "Tonight, we didn't."
That's progress - even if it was hard to see through all the bodies flying.
QUICK SHOTS: Seattle U. last beat Washington on Nov. 28, 1978. That was the year Romar transferred to UW from Cerritos Community College in California to join Marv Harshman's Huskies. ... Romar brought out his once-a-season, Arsenio Hall-style purple sports coat for the city rivalry. ... Most of N'Diaye's production came at the end of Wroten or Gaddy breaking the press with passes to the middle. N'Diaye finished one point short of his career best against Seattle U. last season, and two short of his career high in rebounds from November 2010 against McNeese State.