Wroten Leads Huskies Past Oregon State, 95-80
Dec. 29, 2011
Todd Dybas, Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) - Tony Wroten thought this was the going to be the game with zero turnovers.
Then, he slipped and threw a pass away on Washington's first possession.
"The very first play, I was like, `Oh no, here we go again Tony,'" Wroten said.
Wroten turned it over just once more, powering Washington past Oregon State 95-80 with 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the Pac-12 opener for both teams Thursday night.
It was Wroten's most efficient night in college. Wroten, a true freshman, entered the game with 49 turnovers and 35 assists. Thursday was just his second game with more assists than turnovers.
"Tony was very good," Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said. "He rebounded the ball, he scored the ball, and he took care of the ball. He did a nice job for us."
After controlling the start of the game, things became tight toward the end for Washington (7-5, 1-0).
Oregon State's Ahmad Starks cut Washington's lead to 83-80 when he hit a deep 3-pointer.
Following an Oregon State (10-3, 0-1) miss, Wroten baited a defender into thinking he was merely walking the ball up the court. Instead, he blew past a defender and scored while being fouled by Jared Cunningham. His free throw put Washington up 88-80 with 2:12 to go.
"When we cut the lead to three I thought we were a couple of hustle plays away from making them nervous, but then they made a couple of really good plays and that opened it up again," Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said.
Wilcox finished with 15 points for Washington.
Joe Burton scored 18 points for the Beavers. Cunningham, the Pac-12's leading scorer, finished with 15 points. Cunningham was held to just two second-half points.
Roberto Nelson hit a 3-pointer to shave Washington's lead to 66-60 earlier in the half. Wroten answered with a drive to the basket and a score while being fouled. Wroten's free throw lengthened Washington's lead to 69-60 with 11:57 remaining.
Wroten asserted himself throughout the game. On consecutive possessions, he rebounded his owns misses and put them back in.
Wroten, with his typical flair, zipped a no-look pass on the break to Abdul Gaddy for a layup that put Washington up 40-20 with 5:40 left in the first half.
"They got to the basket whenever they wanted to, and they are probably the first team to do that to us on a consistent basis," Robinson said. "To our guys, (on) defense, we got off to our first bad start, and then I thought that we played them pretty evenly the whole game. We had every reason to close shop and move on, but these guys have no quit in them, and I was happy about that."
Washington took excellent care of the ball against the Beavers' defense. Oregon State came into the game ranked fifth in the nation in steals (10.4). But the Huskies had committed just one turnover, which came on Wroten's first foray, while building the 20-point lead. Washington finished with nine turnovers and also connected on 17 of 20 free throws.
"We turn the ball over a few more times or miss half of those foul shots, maybe it's a different game," Romar said.
The Beavers were able to get back into the game when Washington became sloppier with the ball at the end of the first half. Lay-ins from Burton and a turnover that led to a layup for Nelson left Washington up 50-39 at the half.