Washington took a 3-2 lead in the first minute on Mike Anderson’s 3-pointer and led by as many as 12 on the way to a 73-62 victory over the Tulane Green Wave Tuesday night at Devlin Fieldhouse in New Orleans. Washington improved to 6-4 with a date against No. 10 Connecticut looming Sunday (12:30 p.m., PT) at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Playing in New Orleans in a homecoming game for redshirt sophomore Jernard Jarreau, out for the season with a knee injury, the Huskies surged to a nine-point halftime lead, saw that advantage dwindle to three midway through the second half, and prevailed on free throws down the stretch.
C.J. Wilcox, Washington’s leading scorer (21.6), led the Huskies with 15 points but did not score a basket in the second half. However, he drained a 49-foot shot just before halftime to give the Huskies a nine-point lead and nailed five free throws down the stretch to ensure Washington’s first true road victory of the season.
As they have all season, the Huskies feasted at the foul line, making 22 of 28 to Tulane’s 17 for 27. The Huskies also overcame an absurd 18 turnovers, seven by freshman Nigel Williams-Goss.
“I would venture to say that will never happen again,” said head coach Lorenzo R0mar of his highly touted freshman point guard.
“Practice pays off,” Wilcox said of his 49-foot bomb. “We came out early and did a good job on defense and were able to get to the free throw line a lot. We’re glad we won, and now it’s on to the next one. This was a good tuneup game for that.”
In addition to excellent free throw shooting — Washington leads the Pac-12 in that category — the Huskies won the battle of the boards, 37-27, for the fifth consecutive game. Williams-Goss and senior Perris Blackwell added 12 points each for the Huskies and Wilcox and Andrew Andrews each had six rebounds.
Jonathan Stark of the Green Wave led all scorers with 25 points and Louis Dabney added 16.
“We had far too many turnovers, that’s just unacceptable,” Romar said of his team’s 18 miscues. “We got sloppy, but we were able to come out with a victory. We had foul problems in the first half. In the second, we couldn’t put the ball in the basket. So many fouls were called that it affected our game. We made it harder than it needed to be.”
Quiet much of the first half, Wilcox drained his 49-foot shot at the halftime buzzer to give Washington a 41-32 intermission lead. The Huskies jumped out to a 15-6 lead as Anderson scored five points, but got into foul trouble — three on Blackwell and three on Andrews — and couldn’t gain significant separation.
Washington, which had seven fouls in the first 12 minutes, played sloppily for the first 20 minutes, but went 6-for-12 from 3-point range and held off Tulane, which went 1-for-9. Washington shot 56 percent in the first half and held the Green Wave to 32.1 percent, despite Stark’s 17.
Washington lost its edge in the second half by becoming careless in transition and saw its lead trimmed to three at 50-47 with 11:22 to play. But Williams-Goss scored five points in a two-minute span to help put the Huskies ahead by double figures. They kept Tulane at bay with free throws the rest of the game, which attracted only about 500 spectators to Devlin Fieldhouse.