In perhaps their most complete performance, the Huskies did something they hadn’t done this season – grab a lead, gain momentum and put a team away.
About three minutes into the second half, the Huskies started an 11-5 run that had the 9,794 fans in Alaska Airlines Arena on the brink of hysteria.
The sequence featured three buckets from senior Darnell Gant, who didn’t make a single shot in a loss to California on Thursday night.
But it was his 3-pointer from almost the identical spot he missed a potential game-tying bucket two days earlier that forced Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins to call a timeout with 13 minutes, 7 seconds to play in the game to try to quell the Huskies’ momentum.
“I wasn’t going to go through that for another night,” said Gant, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. “In the second half, the shots just ended up falling.”
Earlier in the season, a timeout might have been enough to slow the Huskies. But it didn’t work this time. After Chasson Randle scored a driving bucket to cause a momentary pause in the frenzy, the Huskies came right back.
Tony Wroten threw a perfect lob pass to Terrence Ross for a crowd-pleasing alley-oop. The highlight-reel play began a 15-1 run that pushed the lead to 63-41. Not even another timeout by Dawkins could make it stop.
“We got going and we are dangerous when that happens,” Gaddy said.
With over nine minutes remaining, the game was basically over. Stanford simply didn’t have the firepower to come back.
“I thought that was a huge potential turning point for our team because that hasn’t happened very often this year,” Romar said. “We’d get a 10-point (lead), then it goes down to six or five and maybe we win by one or two, or we lose the game.”
Obviously the debut of Austin Seferian-Jenkins had people buzzing. The big tight end got seven boards, dished out an assist and delivered about 22 bruises to opposing players on screens and box outs. TNT columnist John McGrath was on hand to write about Seferian-Jenkins’ impact.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ college basketball career was, oh, maybe five seconds old on Saturday when the Huskies’ freshman set a pick on Stanford’s Jarrett Mann.
Seferian-Jenkins is 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. Mann is 6-4 and 195. Seferian-Jenkins doesn’t yet grasp his team’s offensive sets, but he played enough basketball at Gig Harbor High to know that you don’t need the ball to make good use of a 65-pound weight advantage.
“I wanted,” he said, “to hit somebody really hard.”
The Huskies’ 76-63 victory found them talking afterward about finding their identity. It can’t be a coincidence that on the afternoon they appeared to find their identity, Seferian-Jenkins found the floor.
The Washington tight end, who two weeks ago decided to turn basketball from an offseason hobby into a serious pursuit, played 16 minutes Saturday. And while Seferian-Jenkins’ unfamiliarity with Huskies’ offense prevented him from scoring – he took only one shot – he was as subtle in the lane as an 18-wheel semi, grabbing seven rebounds before picking up five fouls.
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW also wrote a column on Seferian-Jenkins
Scott Johnson of the Everrett Herald wrote about Tony Wroten playing one of his best games.
Hmm, Stanford is one of the best rebounding teams in the conference. You wouldn’t know it there. The Huskies beat them up on the boards. Even Darnell Gant had seven rebounds in the game. Stanford is long, but they lack physicality, and Washington was able to be more physical – something the Huskies have failed to do this season.
I know Stanford is supposed to be able shoot the basketball, but they shot it horribly this weekend. The were 5-33 from 3-point range against WSU and 3-19 against Washington. UW made things tougher by actually defending Josh Owens relatively well.
But Stanford’s guard Aaron Bright and Chasson Randle did not play exceptionally well. The stats won’t show some of the poor decision making. But they’re young. One thing that was noticeable was that neither could handle Tony Wroten. He was just too big, too strong, too aggressive for them to handle off the dribble drive. Then again, they were for some reason playing way up on him (more on that later).