SEATTLE – University of Washington freshman guard Tony Wroten has been piling up turnovers in big numbers this season – almost 4.5 per game, more than double any other teammate – so on Thursday night he was determined to do better.
Alas, it took Wroten all of 7 seconds to commit his first turnover in Washington’s Pac-12 opener against Oregon State. And at that point, he admitted later, “it was like, ‘Here we go again.’ ”
Instead, Wroten shrugged off the early miscue and went on to play perhaps his best all-around game as a collegian. He scored 26 points (one shy of his season high) and tacked on a team-best nine rebounds to go with four assists and a steal in Washington’s 95-80 victory over the visiting Beavers.
Wroten’s only other turnover came midway through the second half when he was cited for an offensive foul.
“Tony Wroten was very good,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. “He rebounded the ball, he took care of the ball, he scored the ball. He did a nice job for us.”
With Oregon State making a late rally, Wroten stepped up to score 12 points in the game’s final 12 minutes. Twice he scored with putbacks of his own missed shots near the baskets. Twice he converted three-point plays, including a pivotal layin and free throw with 2:12 remaining that lifted Washington to an eight-point lead.
Wroten was one of six players to score in double figures for the Huskies, who improved their season record to 7-5. The point total was a UW season high, topping the 93 points Washington scored versus Portland on Nov. 14.
The Huskies led from the outset after scoring the game’s first six points, and they pushed the lead to double digits midway through the first half. The margin reached 40-20 with 5:37 before halftime on a fast break layup by guard Abdul Gaddy before the Beavers began to chip away at the deficit.
Oregon State closed the half with six straight points, including two fast-break baskets set up by steals, but the Huskies still led 50-39 at the break. The margin remained close to 10 points through much of the second half, but in the late minutes Oregon State went on a 14-6 scoring burst to pull within 83-80 with 2:47 to play.
But Washington kept the Beavers scoreless the rest of the way – the Huskies switched to a zone defense that seemed to bother the visitors – while scoring six of its final eight points at the free throw line.
Romar was clearly pleased and relieved with the outcome.
“That’s a dangerous offensive team,” he said of the Beavers. “There’s no one they put on the floor that can’t do something offensively. … I commend our guys that we were able to come out and persevere.”
The Huskies also addressed two areas of obvious concern. They committed just nine turnovers (about five below their season average) and converted 17 of 20 attempts at the free-throw line (Washington came in with a .621 season percentage)
Oregon St. (10-3, 0-1)—Burton 9-12 0-2 18, Collier 3-6 2-4 8, Brandt 7-12 1-2 16, Cunningham 6-9 2-3 15, Starks 5-15 2-2 14, McShane 0-0 0-0 0, Barton 0-1 0-0 0, Moreland 0-3 0-2 0, Nelson 3-8 2-2 9. Totals 33-66 9-17 80.
Washington (7-5, 1-0)—Gant 3-6 0-0 6, N’Diaye 5-7 0-0 10, Gaddy 6-10 0-0 13, Wroten 10-16 5-7 26, Ross 4-11 2-3 10, Breunig 0-0 0-0 0, Wilcox 4-13 6-6 15, Simmons 5-9 2-2 13, Kemp Jr. 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 37-72 17-20 95.
Halftime—Washington 50-39. 3-Point Goals—Oregon St. 5-17 (Starks 2-7, Cunningham 1-2, Nelson 1-3, Brandt 1-4, Barton 0-1), Washington 4-18 (Simmons 1-3, Gaddy 1-3, Wroten 1-3, Wilcox 1-5, Gant 0-1, Ross 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Oregon St. 33 (Burton, Nelson 7), Washington 38 (Wroten 9). Assists—Oregon St. 13 (Burton, Collier 3), Washington 15 (Gaddy 6). Total Fouls—Oregon St. 18, Washington 19. A—9,592.