Every bit the trudge as forecasted against undermanned Arizona State, Washington rode Tony Wroten’s 22 points to win its second road game this season, 60-54, Thursday night in Tempe.
The Huskies, a poor free throw shooting team, hit 12 of their final 15 shots from the line to hold off the Sun Devils, who hung in despite he absence of Trent Lockett, their best player who missed his third consecutive game with an ankle injury.
Wroten was dazzling, hitting nine of 12 field goal attempts against ASU’s stifling zone. Included was a highlight-show, down-the-lane dunk over ASU’s leading scorer, Jonathan Gilling, who fouled while getting posterized.
Wroten’s three-point play with the free throw gave Washington a 46-39 lead and took some momentum away from the Sun Devils, who never came closer than four points the rest of the way.
“Can you ever remember a game when a guard plays so many minutes and scores so many points against a zone and none of them came from outside?” said coach Lorenzo Romar. “On that dunk, I wished I was sitting in the stands (to enjoy it) instead of getting our next defense ready.
“Tony is pretty fearless, like Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas, except he’s seven or eight inches taller.”
The Huskies welcomed back C.J. Wilcox, who received s pre-game medical clearance after sitting out three games with a stress fracture. Wilcox, obviously rusty, played just 10 mintues and missed all three field goal attempts, but hit all four of his free throws row in the final 30 seconds to maintain UW’s control of the game.
Getting Wilcox some action was probably more important for the next game at Arizona Saturday in a nationally televised game. The Wildcats won big against Washington State Thursday night.
“He got in the game, he gave us some minutes, and he was a threat, as he showed hitting hitting those free throws down the stretch,” Romar said.
ASUs 2-3 matchup zone gave Washington trouble in the first half, after which the Huskies trailed 24-22 at the break. The Huskies missed all three trey attempts in the first half, and finished 1-for-8, which was Wroten’s cue to take over.
“Our good scorers, C.J. and Terrence (Ross), weren’t scoring as usual, so I tried to take up the slack,” said Wroten, who also had six rebounds, three assists, two steals and two turnovers. “Every Pac-12 game is going to be tougher and tougher because of scouting. I just have to adjust and find the holes.”
“They have a very difficult match-up zone. But we kept trying to be patient. We were moving the ball and as the 35-second clock ran out, we had a lot of layups.”
Gilling, a 6-7 freshman forward from Denmark, led the Sun Devils with 20 points. Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins scored four points, his first since joining the team following football, and fouled out in 16 minutes for the second game in a row. Center Aziz N’Diaye also fouled out, but not before getting five points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes.