SEATTLE – It’s not inaccurate to say Terrence Ross stole the show Sunday afternoon, sparking a second-half burst that helped Washington run Washington State out of Hec Edmundson Pavilion in a 75-65 Huskies win.
But Ross – UW’s sophomore guard who scored 26 of his career-high 30 points in the second half – and his teammates took something else from the Cougars, too.
Rebounds. A whole lot of them.
It was the Huskies’ work on the glass that kept them in the game in a first half that saw WSU force UW to shoot just 29 percent from the field and commit eight turnovers.
And ultimately, Washington outrebounded the Cougs 46-24 – 22 of those coming on the offensive end – and that’s what had WSU (9-8, 1-4 Pac-12) so frustrated after a game it controlled for roughly 28 minutes.
“They hit a lot of shots,” WSU guard Faisal Aden said of the Huskies’ 50-point second half. “But 22 offensive rebounds is way too much. They were out there playing volleyball with the ball.”
That’s part of why the Cougars led only 31-25 at halftime despite outplaying the Huskies in every other facet of the game. WSU’s 2-3 zone seemed to confuse Washington, which was playing without sharp-shooting guard C.J. Wilcox.
“Our zone was pretty effective in the first half, and a lot of the reason why was just the fact they missed shots, whether it was our zone or them missing shots,” coach Ken Bone said. “It was the same exact zone we were using in the second half and then they hit shots.”
The Huskies (11-6, 4-1) made just nine of their 31 field-goal attempts before halftime, and only three of their 13 3-pointers. They settled for jumpers and had trouble getting to the paint, just the result WSU was looking for.
Except, of course, for all those offensive rebounds. Even in the first half, the Huskies grabbed 10 of them to keep themselves in it.
“In the zone, it’s hard because you’re not matched up specifically with a player,” said WSU forward Brock Motum, who scored 17 points. “Sometimes they’d just throw up an air ball and a guy would come baseline and no one would box him out; he’d just finish it. That seemed to be their best offense, just offensive rebounds.”
Still, WSU had everything going its way when UW coach Lorenzo Romar picked up a technical foul with 12:10 remaining in the game. Aden, who led WSU with 18 points off the bench, made both free throws to give the Cougars a 47-37 lead.
That’s when Ross – and the crowd, not coincidentally – came alive. Washington ripped off a 23-4 run following the technical, and WSU made just one field goal from the 10:47 mark until D.J. Shelton’s bucket with 4:24 to go cut the UW lead to 63-56.
Ross, who also snagged 14 boards, scored 16 points in the final 11:50. Darnell Gant dunked twice on run-out baskets and made a pair of 3-pointers during the run. The Cougars became the ones settling for long jumpers, and they didn’t go in like they did in the first half when WSU made 5 of 13 from long range and shot 46.2 percent from the field.
“I thought their defensive intensity stepped up,” Bone said, “and the fact that they were scoring so many times on a high percentage of possessions … it kind of deflated us and it hurt our offensive flow.”
That, and the fact that WSU couldn’t get the ball back even when it forced the Huskies to miss.
“It’s hard to bounce back if they’re hitting shots and rebounding,” said freshman guard DaVonte Lacy, who chipped in 10 points in 29 minutes, “because if they miss it, they just get another shot.”