University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar was impressed, proud, even a tad exasperated Sunday after his team rallied to beat Seattle University without a trio of injured players.
When looking at strengths before the season, most pointed to the Huskies frontcourt. Yet, there they were in the first game, forced to a guard-heavy lineup against likely the best Redhawks team since they returned to Division I.
What made the win?
Player of the night: C.J Wilcox snapped out of a zero for five start to drop 22 points and dish five assists while playing out of position for most of the game. He went two of seven behind the arc, a stat that will surely get better, but he provided leadership and filled a void.
When it turned: The first 14 minutes were ugly because the Huskies settled for jacking up contested threes against Seattle U’s creative zone defense. When UW started feeding effectively Shawn Kemp Jr. with 5:17 left, Seattle U’s 10-point lead evaporated. The perimeter opened for Wilcox to knock down a pair of threes, for Andrews to use his quickness to penetrate and for freshman Darin Johnson to make an impact (16 points, seven rebounds and one assist). The Huskies ended the first half on a 24-5 run.
Telling stat: There were two. First, the Huskies knocked down 80.5 percent of their free throws (33 of 41). Last season, they converted 68 percent. That discrepancy is huge considering the Redhawks shot better than the UW from the field (44.8 percent to 41 percent). The Redhawks made only 11 of 19 attempts (58 percent) from the line.
Second, the Huskies out-scored the Redhawks 14-7 in fast-break points. The seven-point differential may not seem large, but it was telling in a game where both teams looked to push the ball on nearly every possession.
Thumbs down: This one goes to Seattle U guard Isiah Umipig, who finished with a team-high 22 points and three assists.
He also turned the ball over six times, shot 24 times, making only seven and genuinely appeared allergic to passing.
Umipig was enemy No. 1 for the UW student section, rightfully so. He undercut power forward Jernard Jarreau less than two minutes into the game, committing a strange flagrant foul where he barely contacted Jarreau. Still, he had no reason to run under him and didn’t make a play on the ball.
“What did I think of it? It was a flagrant,” Romar said afterward. “They called it a flagrant.”