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Career Night For Wilcox Earns UW First Ranked Win Since 2011

Behind a career night from CJ Wilcox, the Washington Huskies upset the #15 Colorado Buffaloes 71-54 Sunday Afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

"Big time players make big time plays in big time games." This quote held true for UW senior CJ Wilcox, who scored a career high 31, 21 of it coming in the second half, leading the Huskies to a 71-54 upset over #15 Colorado.

When it rains it pours, and this was the case for Wilcox tonight, who caught fire in the second half. "When he gets in a zone he’s pretty special that way," Romar told reporters after the game. The senior sharpshooter set another career high with seven three pointers, helping the Huskies outscore Colorado 45-25 in the second half.

Three Wilcox three pointers to begin the second half put Washington on a 12-5 run and by the time the run was over, Wilcox had made six straight from downtown.

Unfortunately, Colorado’s leading scorer, Spencer Dinwiddie, crumpled to the floor after taking an awkward step and buckling his knee near the end of the first half. Dinwiddie appeared to be in serious pain and walked off the floor with help from his teammates. The status of his injury is uncertain and an MRI on his knee will be preformed tomorrow. Dinwiddie scored seven points in the fifteen minutes he played.

Missing its leading scorer and point guard, the Buffaloes failed to get much offense going in the second half. Askia Booker, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week, finished the game with zero points on 0-9 scoring.  "When Ski (Askia) plays well, we play really well, when he is down, we struggle," Dinwiddie told the Daily Camera earlier this week, and this certainly held true tonight. Watching from the student section, it looked as if Booker didn’t care during the game, showing no emotion and taking no leadership role when Dinwiddie left the court.

Sophomore Josh Scott led all scorers for Colorado, going 4-9 from the field, including 7-7 from the free throw line, for 15 points

Andrew Andrews scored 14 and Nigel Williams Goss added 12 as the Huskies three headed guard monster continue to shine. Perris Blackwell, Shawn Kemp Jr., and Desmond Simmons scored just six points combined. Wilcox filled the whole stat sheet tonight, adding 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 4 blocks on 12-18 shooting.

The win improves the Huskies to 3-1 in the PAC-12 and is their first over a ranked opponent since the 2011 Pac-10 conference tournament, when Isaiah Thomas "Cold-Blooded" on Arizona.  Washington had lost 12 straight against ranked teams until beating the Buffs today.

Washington (3-1 conference, 11-6 overall) hits the road to face California on Wednesday before finishing the trip against Stanford on Saturday. The Huskies next home comes against Oregon on Thursday Jan. 23.

Game Observation Dots

  • Those who have complained about Romar’s offense definitely have been put to silence. The UW offense looks much improved in the second year of the high post system, as the Huskies have been using an array of screens and cuts to get Wilcox and the rest of the guards open. Most of Wilcox’s jumpers came off screens and through the offense, not off one on one moves or contested jumpers, so kudos to Romar, Brad Jackson, and the rest of the coaching staff.
  • After looking horrible to start the season, the UW defense has clearly made some adjustments that have led to their recent success. Dribble penetration was a constant problem to start the season, and since the Huskies lack a shot blocker, Romar has decided to make teams beat the Huskies from the outside. The Huskies don’t shy away from denying passing lanes and going for steals, but they definitely put an emphasis on staying in front of their man, even if it means having to give up some space. So far in conference play teams are shooting 6-53 (11%) against the Huskies from three point range, and are scoring only 61.75 points per game. Coming off a non-conference season where the Huskies where one of the worst defensive teams in the conference, it’s definitely more exciting seeing UW play defense like they are now
  • Not to take anything away from the UW’s performance but it’s hard not to think about how this game would’ve been different if Dinwiddie hadn't gone down at the end of the first half. Dinwiddie was assigned with guarding Wilcox, and while Wilcox didn’t struggle in the first half, he may not have gotten as many clean looks in the second half had Dinwiddie been in the game. When Dinwiddie went down, Colorado lacked leadership on the court and had no go-to scorer on offense. The Huskies outscored the Huskies 49-29 once Dinwiddie went down.

Leave your thoughts and comments on the game in the comments section below. Go Dawgs!