LAHAINA, Hawaii –Virginia coach Tony Bennett waved two hands at Jontel Evans though his point guard was looking for an offensive play.
Bennett was frustrated and knew it was a lost cause. Curious thing, it was still the first half.
Washington stomped Virginia 106-63 in its Maui Invitational opener on Monday, setting up the matchup many came for, a second-day summit meeting with fresh nemesis Kentucky.
Monday was obscene. Washington tied a school record with 17 made 3-pointers. The last flew off the left fingers of walk-on Antoine Hosley, who, along with walk-on Brendan Sherrer made unexpected appearances in one of the country’s marquee tournaments.
Those two played in the Tiffany’s box-sized gym labeled Lahaina Civic Center because Washington spent the day outworking, outscrapping and harassing Virginia. Accurate shots helped, as well.
It’s an elemental change for this team. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has managed the prototype — long, athletic, versatile — since he arrived at Montlake. Shooters? Well, they were just that.
No longer. Absurd in the first half — Washington was 8-for-9 from behind the 3-point line — and efficient throughout, Washington decimated Virginia. The Huskies turned the game manic within two minutes, dusting Virginia from there on.
A revelatory bench extended the beating. Redshirt freshman C.J. Wilcox scored 17 points. Epitomizing the evolution of deep balance on the team, Wilcox made four 3-pointers, provided four assists and drove baseline for a two-handed jam.
Bennett said Sunday he thought this was the team Romar had been waiting for. Even the winning coach was surprised.
“There’s no way I would have predicted we would score that many points against that kind of system,” Romar said.
The past between Bennett and Romar provided base familiarity. Yet Bennett’s young Cavaliers were incapable of resistance. The lead was 24 at the half, Washington fans booed an unfortunate in an Oregon hat, and Isaiah Thomas was left to manipulate his nails on the bench. It was over. Early.
“We held them to two points under their season average, so that’s something, isn’t it?” Bennett said.
Due credit to Washington co-captain Thomas. He began the plundering, emerging from a wayward walk against Eastern Washington last week. Under bright lights in a little town, Thomas came with an embracing strut. His 18 points led the team, his six rebounds were second-most.
There were many swollen numbers that were indicative of 13th-ranked Washington’s move to 3-0. But two small ones were most representative of what occurred Monday. In the lower right corner of a printed box score were two categories.
Score tied: One time.
Lead changed: One time.