Wilcox scores 18 of his 23 points in second half
SEATTLE – C.J. Wilcox’s second-half patience as well as his pacifism helped the Washington Huskies break away from stubborn Hartford for a 73-67 victory Sunday night.
Wilcox, the Huskies senior guard, scored 23 points, 18 in the second half, and the Huskies (8-5) made 13 of 15 free throws over the final 7:30 to pull out the narrow victory.
“I just stayed patient. I stayed aggressive and (not) dropping my head if I missed a couple,” said Wilcox, who scored just five points in the first half. “Luckily, I was able to knock ’em down, and my teammates helped me.”
The Huskies also got some help from an unlikely source – Hartford guard Corban Wroe.
With 5:01 left, Wroe fouled Wilcox then chased after him and started yelling. Wilcox ignored him. Wroe was pulled away and given a technical foul for taunting.
“He was trying to fight, I guess,” Wilcox said. “I was trying to look him off. I don’t really know what he was mad about. I was clueless to the fact.”
Wilcox, an 89.7 percent free-throw shooter, then made 3 of 4 attempts for a 61-57 lead, matching the Huskies largest lead to that point.
“I thought it (technical) opened up, gave us a little breathing room at that point,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “C.J. makes three out of the four and put us up four. It was the first time in a while there was any distance, on our end, from Hartford.”
The Hawks (5-9) bounced back and took a 65-63 lead with 2:28 left on Evan Cooper’s fast-break lay-in.
Wilcox and Nigel Williams-Goss followed with back-to-back 18-footers to give the Huskies a 67-65 lead with 1:12 left.
Coming out of a timeout with 19.1 seconds left and the Huskies leading 69-67, Wilcox caught the ball on the run and was fouled on an attempted layup. He made both free throws.
After Cooper missed on the other end, Desmond Simmons was fouled and he made both free throws to end it.
The Huskies, fourth in the nation coming in with 76.5 percent free-throw shooting, connected on 26 of 30 free throws (86.7 percent). Hartford made 10 of 13.
Wilcox has now scored at least 15 points in 15 straight games and 58 times in his career. He moved into eighth spot on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,559 points. He passed James Edwards (1974-77). Andrew Andrews added 19 for the Huskies.
Mark Nwakamma led the Hartford with 21 points. Nate Sikma, who grew up in Seattle and is the son of former Sonic center Jack Sikma, had 16 points.