Ross Is The Boss! His 26 in 2nd Half Rallies UW
Jan. 15, 2012
By Gregg Bell
SEATTLE - C.J. Wilcox was out injured.
So Terrence Ross played out of his mind.
Cold start? Whatever. Ross instantly went from 1 for 9 to wondrous by exploding for 26 points in 18 minutes of the second half - more than his previous career high for an entire game. His consecutive 3-pointers keyed a 26-6 Huskies run after a rare technical foul to coach Lorenzo Romar. And his alley-ooop dunk sent Washington off to a rollicking, 75-65 win over its stunned archrival Washington State on Sunday.
"Any little moment, I could just explode," Ross said, almost shrugging after his 30 points and 14 rebounds while playing all but 1 minute of the game. "So ... "
He led his Huskies back from 10 down with 12:16 left.
Freshman Tony Wroten, known for his own scoring outburst, just shook his head at Ross' night and exclaimed: "He was crazy!"
Admittedly angered by the charging foul that got Romar his technical, the usually mild-mannered, 6-foot-6 sophomore soared for dunks. He stepped back for 3's over a WSU zone that had flummoxed UW for the first 25 minutes. Once, with the shot clock expiring, Ross ran away from the low post to the wing with his back to the basket, turned and fired a 3-pointer while barely looking at the rim.
That, like four of his other six shots from deep after halftime, swished.
"It's a crazy thing like that. But that's how gifted he is," said junior point guard Abdul Gaddy, who had a team-high six assists.
"What he did today, it was shocking to you all. But he does it in practice every day," Wroten added.
Ross has always been streaky, but never like this. He finished with season highs for any Husky in points and in rebounds.
It was more than Ross can remember scoring in any game other that pickup ones.
"In rec leagues, summer leagues, yeah. But not when there's any defense," said Ross, who grew up in Vancouver, Wash., and played at Jefferson High School across the Columbia in Portland, Ore.
Ross' scoring offset the loss of Wilcox, who may not play again until two weeks at Arizona State and Arizona, if then. The sharpshooting guard has a stress fracture high in his femur that needs rest.
Romar says Wilcox is "highly doubtful" for Thursday and Saturday, when Washington (11-6, 4-1 Pac-12) hosts California (15-4, 5-1) and Stanford (15-4, 5-1) for the league lead.
UW is 10-1 at Alaska Airlines Arena, which was sold out for the first time this season Sunday to see Ross' breakout.
How great was Ross? He reached this era's mark of an instant superstar: He was trending worldwide on Twitter before the game even ended.
"Coach told me before the game, 'We really need you tonight. You've got to step up,'" he said, knowing how much Wilcox would be missed shooting over the Cougars' 2-3 zone that focused on denying drives by Wroten.
"The first half it just wasn't going for me. I knew I had to keep going."
Alaska Airlines Arena was roaring like it hadn't months - or years - after Romar tried unsuccessfully and comically to rip the brown sports coat off his shoulders while arguing a charging call on Ross with 12:16 to go. That awkward act earned the veteran UW coach his first technical of the season.
Faisal Aden, who led WSU (9-8, 1-4) with 18 points, made the subsequent foul shots to leave the Huskies down 47-37. Washington then scored 15 of the game's next 17 points. Seven of those came from a 3-pointer and then consecutive, rousing dunks by Darnell Gant.
"Sometimes, you just have to defend your team," Romar said. "If sometimes officials are upset for you defending your team, that's where you are."
Gant had 10 of his 13 points in the frenzied second half for the Huskies. But the senior's greatest contribution made have been gathering his team immediately after Romar's T.
"This is our home floor! We can't lose again on our home floor!" Gant barked at his fellow Dawgs amid the crowd noise.
They barked back.
The Huskies outscored WSU 38-18 over the final 12:16 after the technical, with Romar citing increased defensive intensity that sparked the avalanche of points on offense.
"Darnell Gant showed great, great leadership," Romar said.
Washington missed 22 of its first 31 shots against the Cougars' zone and was just 4 for 10 from the foul line in the first half while falling behind by 11. Then Romar had Wroten move from the wing into the high post at the foul line on offense for the first time this season, in the middle of that zone.
The Cougars, who had been extending their defense to challenge Wroten and everyone else outside, packed it in to defend Wroten, the third-highest scoring freshman in the country at 17 points per game entering the weekend. That left Ross free outside to thaw from his early deep freeze.
Ross was 5 for 7 from 3-point range and 8 for 12 overall in the second half - after going 1 for 9 before halftime.
He is the first Husky to score 30 since Matthew Bryan-Amaning did it Jan. 22, 2011, against Arizona State.
Ross missed 10 of his first 12 shots until he swished consecutive 3's. The second one had Washington within 41-35 with 13:24 left - and had the home crowd roaring with a "GO HUSKIES!" chant alternating off each side of the arena.
They never stopped roaring as Washington doubled its meager 25-point output in the first half over the final, thrilling 20 minutes.
"That's the first time this year I heard our crowd like that," Romar said. "When our crowd is like that, it's an unbelievable experience."
The Huskies shot just 29 percent from the field and 40 percent of the line in the sloppy, sputtering first half. Wroten, who finished with 13 points, four assists and four turnovers, was 2 for 8 from the field. Ross was that 1 for 9. Yet UW trailed by only six at the break.
"We were shooting 29 percent, weren't playing defense they way we want to play it, and we were only down six," Romar said. "I thought because of that, we had a chance.
"We've had some big wins in this building over the years, but that that's going to be a win I don't forget - because of how we want about our business."
And because of how Ross cold-bloodedly went about his.
QUICK SHOT: Aziz N'Diaye asserted himself more in the zone in the second half, and then when WSU was forced into man-to-man defense late. The junior 7-footer finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. ... Romar's stunt wasn't the only one by a coach. Minutes later, former Huskies assistant Ken Bone charged towards the floor to protest a call - and slipped on his backside onto the floor. The home crowd roared as Bone collected himself and fixed his hair sheepishly on the bench. The mark left a seven-foot long black streak on the floor from Bone's black-soled dress shoes that remained well after the game. "I just think he was trying to demonstrate for his team how to get on the floor for loose balls," said Romar, who is so close with Bone the two's families shared summer time at WSU's coaches home recently. Then Romar added with a deadpan tone and look, "I'm not going to ever bring that up."