For some, it was Black Friday, a day of madness. For the Washington Huskies basketball team, it was a return to normal.
Launching with a 19-0 run late the first half, the Huskies clobbered over-matched Houston Baptist 88-65 Friday afternoon for their 31st consecutive non-conference home win at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The first game after a 77-64 road whipping by Saint Louis, Washington (4-1) showed some recovery, although the caliber of opponent — Houston Baptist (2-4), a school of 2,200 in only its fourth season of Division I play, was 5-26 last season — reduced the chance to view real progress.
C.J. Wilcox showed no effects from a mild concussion sustained against Saint Louis, leading Washington with 19 points, including five of nine three-pointers. Tony Wroten Jr. had 14 points off the bench and balanced his six turnovers with six steals. Terrence Ross had 13 points and career highs in rebounds (13) and blocks (4). HB was led by Marcus Davis with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
An announced crowd of 9,273 saw a competitive game for the first dozen minutes, the HB Huskies trailing only 24-20 as the UW Huskies plodded. But the run of 19 unanswered points, many off forced turnovers, decided the afternoon’s outcome.
“Whenever we make a run, it’s usually because we put our foot down on defense,” said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. “That was what happened today.”
Besides Wroten, Washington’s deeper bench overwhelmed their HB counterparts. Freshman Shawn Kemp Jr. scored the team’s first four points — and his first two field goals as a Husky — as UW’s reserves piled up a 35-9 advantage.
Romar said he looked upon the game — the only home contest between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 — as a dress rehearsal for three games against higher caliber opponents. Washington plays Nevada at Reno at 8 p.m. Friday, then heads to New York for games against nationally ranked Marquette and Duke.
“We talked to our team prior to the game about what was going to happen after this game,” Romar said. “This should be a game that we approach from a business-like standpoint because in the next two or three weeks, were going to be playing (opponents) that will be comparable for league play. We need to be prepared for that. For the most part, I thought our guys did a pretty good job (with that).”
The big picture for UW, he said, remains a work in progress.
“We’re still trying to figure out,” he said, “which is the tree and which is the sun.”
Romar said that injured swingman Scott Suggs has been cleared to begin running, and could be ready for the Dec. 6 game against Marquette.