Lorenzo Romar collected his 300th win as a college head coach and his 100th as a Pac-10/12 coach, and Washington avoided its first two-game conference losing streak at home since 2008, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins provided the treat of the day in the Huskies’ 76-63 victory over Stanford Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena.
With his football coach, Steve Sarkisian, and quarterback, Keith Price, watching, Seferian-Jenkins made his UW basketball debut a memorable one. Although he failed to score a point, going 0-for-1, he provided a huge lift for the Huskies by coming off the bench in the first half and applying some major muscle inside against the Cardinal.
When Seferian-Jenkins, a freshman tight end on the UW football team, fouled out midway through the second half on a ticky-tack call with seven rebounds and five hard fouls, it marked one of the most unpopular exits in recent UW hoops history.
“He really helped us,” said Romar. “When he came in, we kept it simple. We decided we were going to give him a few minutes, and it looked good, and that was good because Aziz (N’Diaye) was in foul trouble. He was a presence on the defensive end.”
“Coach Romar is all about physicality and he (Seferian-Jenkins) is all about physicalness,” said senior Darnell Gant. “He really came through for us.”
With his debut against Stanford, Seferian-Jenkins became just the fifth Husky athlete to have represented UW in football and basketball. Nate Robinson was the last in 2002-03. Before Robinson, Charles Frederick, a kick returner from 2001-04, played in six 2002 basketball games. Before Frederick, defensive tackle Reggie Rogers (1984-86) played two basketball seasons under Marv Harshman (1983-85).
Apart from the novelty — and effectiveness — of Seferian-Jenkins’ debut, the Huskies won by playing aggressively in the first half (which they had not done in previous outings against Washington State and California), by penetrating to the basket throughout the contest and, finally, by going on a 19-2 run midway through the second half that put Stanford away.
“I thought we came out with focus and we were dialed in,” said Romar. “If we can do that from here on out we can finish pretty strongly. When we are focused, that’s what we can do.”
Washington, which heads to the desert next week to take on Arizona and Arizona State, improved to 12-7 overall and 5-2 in the Pac-12. The Huskies, for the third consecutive game, did not have the services of C.J. Wilcox.
“I made my presence known,” said Gant. “They weren’t boxing out very good, and things worked out for us.”
Although Abdul Gaddy didn’t put up big numbers — 9 points, 3 assists — he orchestrated Washington’s up-tempo offense for a 32-25 lead at the end of the half, and blow the game open in the second. The Huskies had a 15-5 edge in second-effort points before intermission.
Washington delivered one of its best defensive performances of the season, limiting the Cardinal to 26.5 percent shot-making in the first half and 36.5 percent for the game. Stanford, losing back-to-back for the first time this season, made just 3 of 19 3-point attempts.
The Huskies play at Arizona and Arizona State next week.
“We’re going to be real ready,” said Gant. “We had that win over Utah, which I think got us over the hump. We know what we have to do to get over the hump. We know we don’t have a lot of margin for error.”