The Washington men's basketball team didn't look pretty but grinded to a 90-80 win over Long Beach State on Friday night in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy Tournament.
Nigel Williams-Goss recorded a near triple-double once again, tallying 21 points and 12 assists, both game highs, and seven rebounds to lead the Huskies, who will face UTEP for the tournament championship at 7 p.m. on Sunday. The Huskies are now 5-0.
The Huskies trailed by as many as nine in the second half until a 12-3 run tied the game the game with 9:30 remaining. Mike Anderson capped the run with one of his three 3-pointers. He proceeded to give the Huskies their first lead of the half, 58-57, with a free throw with 8:23 remaining. Anderson finished the game with 16 points and five boards, and his shown the biggest improvements on the offensive end among all Huskies this season.
The two teams proceeded to trade buckets for the rest of the half until Andrew Andrews sparked the Huskies with back-to-back 3-pointers after starting the game 1-for-9 from the field. Andrews knocked down the first long ball with 2:45 remaining to put the Huskies up 69-65 with 2:47 remaining. He drew an offensive foul on the next possession and on the next possession after a loose ball scramble, put the Huskies up 72-65 with his second 3-pointer.
Andrews doesn't lack any confidence but sure has struggled shooting the ball through the first five games of the season. He finished the game with 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Shawn Kemp Jr. had his worst game of the season, finishing with just two points and two rebounds. He was plagued by foul trouble, something that had killed his minutes during the first three years of his career, for the first time this season. It's unfortunate Kemp Jr. was ineffective in the first true test for the Huskies but I wouldn't get too discouraged just yet.
Fortunately the Huskies were given a boost in the post once again by Robert Upshaw, who finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocks on 5-for-5 shooting. Its obvious the Huskies are a different team on both ends of the floor with Upshaw on the court and even though he is playing well in his role off the bench, I wouldn't be surprised to see him starting by Pac-12 play. And call me nitpicky but I would like to see Upshaw rebound better on the defensive end.
For the second straight night Donaven Dorsey gave the Huskies much needed 3-point shooting off the bench, knocking down all three of his field goals from beyond the arc. The freshman is still a little slow on the defensive end but is a versatile option off the bench as both a guard and a forward.
Guard Mike Caffey led Long Beach State with 18 points and six assists. Temidayo Yussuf and Deontae North each added 16. Williams-Goss spent a lot of the game matched up on former UCLA guard Tyler Lamb, who shot just 2-of-8 from the field for nine points.
Jernard Jarreau had his best game of the season, finishing with eight points, five rebounds and three assists. The Huskies finished the game 28-of-59 (47.5%) from the field, 11-of-26 on 3-pointers and 13-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Will the Huskies take home the championship on Sunday? Is this team starting to get you excited? Leave your answers and thoughts from tonight's game in the comments section below, and don't forget to follow Erik on Twitter for more UW hoops news.