With Washington’s top scorer C.J. Wilcox bottled up by Oregon State’s aggressive defense, Nigel Williams-Goss took over with one of the best performances by a freshman in UW history.
Williams-Goss scored a career-high 32 points as Washington (13-8, 5-3) rallied from 12 points down in the second half to beat Oregon State 87-81 on Saturday in Seattle.
Williams-Goss’ point total was the most by a freshman at Washington since the NCAA made freshmen eligible in 1972 and the most scored by any Husky this season. He also didn’t have a turnover despite often working as the team’s primary ball handler, and held off a late rally by the Beavers (11-8, 3-4) when he was fouled on a drive and converted a three-point play in the final minute.
“I think that’s probably one of the best freshman performances we’ve seen in this building,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “He was just very, very efficient offensively and defensively.”
Williams-Goss was 10 for 15 from the field, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers, and 9 for 10 on free throws. He also added five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
“We’re a really unselfish team and we want everyone to play well, and when someone has a hot hand we feed them,” Williams-Goss said. “But at the same time, we try to play together no matter what so it was just a really good team effort.”
Wilcox added 14 points to pass the 1,700 career-point milestone and move into No. 7 on the school’s all-time scoring list despite being held in check most of the game as the Beavers had 6-foot-10 forward Eric Moreland covering the 6-5 guard.
Washington trailed by 12 points with 18 minutes to go before taking control with a big run midway through the second half. The Huskies led by 11 with less than four minutes to play, but Oregon State cut it to 78-75 with a minute to go.
Williams-Goss put the game mostly out of reach when he converted the three-point play with 44.8 seconds left, and Washington closed the game by making six free throws in the final 32 seconds.
Roberto Nelson led the Beavers with 31 points, and Devon Collier had 23 points and six rebounds.
Nelson came into the game as the Pac-12’s top scorer with 21.7 points a game, and Wilcox was No. 2 at 19.9. In the battle between the two, Nelson held the upper hand except during the Huskies’ crucial run.
With NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell watching courtside, Wilcox and the Huskies got off to a slow start again in the second half. The Beavers scored the first seven points of the half to take their largest lead of the game, 45-33.
Arizona State 72, Colorado 51: Jahii Carson had 18 points and Jonathan Gilling added 12, leading the Sun Devils past the Buffaloes at Tempe, Ariz.
Arizona State (15-5, 4-3) picked up a big win over Utah in its last game and rolled past Colorado after struggling with turnovers early. The Sun Devils led by 11 in the first half and turned it into a blowout in the opening minutes of the second.
Xavier Johnson had 12 points for the Buffaloes (15-6, 4-4).