Seniors Abdul Gaddy and Scott Suggs said they were excited to compete in the National Invitational Tournament. And they played like it, as Washington put together one of its more complete games of the season. But a spirited effort at the Marriott Center in Provo, UT., went unrewarded Tuesday night as Brigham Young — no, Tyler Haws — bounced the Huskies from the tournament and their mediocre season, 90-79.
The Huskies did not have an answer for the sophomore guard. Haws (37 points, 15-24 shooting) broke the Cougars’ NIT scoring record and was most against the Huskies this season. Nearly all of Haws’ damage came in transition and from within the arc.
Washington (18-16, 9-9), which tied for sixth in the Pac-12, failed to reach 20 wins for the first time since the 2007-08 season. That year the the Huskies finished eighth in the former Pac-10 with a mark of 16-17, 7-11.
After trailing by as much as seven in the first half, Washington grabbed a 35-33 lead going into the locker room on a C.J. Wilcox three-ball with three seconds left.
Wilcox was a non-factor in the first half, scoring six points on 2-7 shooting. In possibly his last game in a Husky uniform — he is undecided about the NBA draft — Wilcox loosened up, hitting 5 of 11 shots to lead UW with 20 points.
Shawn Kemp Jr. tied the game at 45 at the 14:19 mark with a jumper from the elbow. Kemp (15 points, 11 rebounds) missed just two of nine shost. Then BYU took the lead for good with a 13-2 run over the next 2½ minutes. Haws scored six.
The Huskies responded with a 9-2 run to pull within four with nine minutes remaining.
The rally was sparked largely by the passing of Desmond Simmons (6 points, 4 assists). Simmons assisted a Wilcox three-ball and two Kemp jumpers in three straight possessions before ending the run with two free throws. It was as close as the Huskies would get.
After Haws carried the load in the first half, Brandon Davies (22 points, 9 rebounds) and Matt Carlino (20 points, 4-8 three-point shooting) helped in the second half. All of Carlino’s three-pointers came in the final half.
In his final game as a Husky, Gaddy (9 points, 9 assists) commanded an efficient offense. Gaddy’s 469 career assists were second all-time in UW history behind Will Conroy. Washington tied a season high with 18 assists.
Washington’s freshman backup at the point, Andrew Andrews, finished with 12 points. His four assists were matched with four turnovers.
BYU, which drew a little more than 7,000, plays the winner between Tennessee and Mercer in the second round.
For whatever reason, Coach Romar’s message was never received by this group. The inconsistency of last season carried over into this season. If history repeats itself though, like the 07-08 team they could bounce back and hopefully match the 26-9 record of the 08-09 season and maybe even at least reach the Sweet Sixteen like the 09-10 team. I’d like to see them focus more on the defensive side of the ball for next season as well start the season strong. The past couple seasons have had sluggish starts which seemed to have set the tone of the season.
Watching the Iowa State Cyclones drub Notre Dame brought back memories of the good old days of Dawg basketball. Coach Romar, your fast, tenacious, athletic teams were golden! Bring em back!