Freshman Nigel Williams-Goss scored a career-high 32 points, Washington made an astonishing 20 layups, and the Huskies rallied from 12 points down in the second half to defeat Oregon State 87-81 Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena. UW extended its winning streak over the Beavers in the building to 11 games and improved to 13-8 overall and 5-3 in Pac-12 play.
C.J. Wilcox, Washington’s leading scorer, managed just 14 points, 10 in the second half, and became the eighth player in program history to surpass 1,700 career points, but Williams-Goss stole the show. He made 10 of 15 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and directed the Huskies’ second-half comeback.
“We just feel like this is a really big win for us,” said Williams-Goss. “We could go to 5-3 (in conference play) or we could go back to .500, so this was a big one. It felt really good to get this one. For me, there were openings in the middle and I was going to attack until they stopped me. I was able to finish through contact. We got behind by 12, but we rallied around each other and said, ‘let’s do this.'”
With all of those layups, Washington outscored Oregon State 52-34 in the paint and also outrebounded the Beavers 34-27, becoming the first team this season to finish with an edge over Oregon State on the boards.
The 32 points by Williams-Goss, a season-high for a Washington player, offset 31 by OSU’s Roberto Nelson, the Pac-12’s leading scorer, and helped head coach Lorenzo Romar notch his 250th victory at Washington.
“What we did was beautiful to see,” Romar said of Washington’s rally from 12 points down. “We rebounded, defended, and rallied around one another. It was just great to see. A lot of guys chipped in and helped out when C.J. wasn’t able to go off. I’m thankful we came forth with the effort we had.”
Williams-Goss had plenty of help. In addition to the 14 by Wilcox, Andrew Andrews had 11 points and three rebounds and Perris Blackwell 10 points and seven rebounds. Mike Anderson added eight points, five rebounds and five assists as Washington completed a sweep of the Oregon schools in Alaska Airlines Arena.
“Roberto Nelson is so good that if you get out of position he can score 35 or 40 points,”added Romar. “I thought Mike (Anderson) did a great job on him.”
Nelson scored 15 points in the first half and Washington got sloppy in the final four minutes as the Beavers took a 38-33 edge at intermission. The two remarkable features of the first half were UW’s 11 layups against the much taller Beavers and Wilcox’s lack of offense. Wilcox did not take a shot in the first seven minutes, didn’t score until 5:34 remained and finished with four points after taking five shots.
Washington fell behind by 12 in the second half but began its comeback when Williams-Goss converted a basket and free throw to make it 47-42. That became part of a 23-5 Washington run that enabled the Huskies to take the lead for good. Washington maintained its lead the rest of the way. Wilcox scored 10 points in a six-minute span and the Huskies finally pushed their lead to double digits midway through the second half.
Oregon State cut Washington’s lead to 78-75 at the 1:07 mark, but Williams-Goss dropped a runner and a free throw for an 81-75 UW lead with 44.8 seconds left and the Huskies milked the clock for the win.
Washington shot 50 percent from the floor, but only 4-for-12 from beyond the arc. Wilcox did not make a 3-pointer, but Williams-Goss converted 3-for-4.
NEXT: Washington is idle until Saturday when the Huskies travel to Pullman to face Washington State.