After winning the first three games easily and scoring 100+ points in their last two, the Washington Huskies found themselves too young and outclassed to handle No. 10-ranked Gonzaga Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas (box). In the first meeting between the schools since Dec. 8, 2006, Kyle Wiltjer (24) and Domantas Sabonis (17) combined for 41 points as the Bulldogs overwhelmed UW, 80-64. Washington shot a horrendous 25.7 percent.
Had the Huskies (3-1) not collected 22 offensive rebounds and forced 17 turnovers, they would have been blown out by far more than 16 points. As it was, they allowed Gonzaga (3-0) 42 points in the paint while scoring only 24.
After falling behind by 18 with 6:03 remaining in the first half, the Huskies sliced Gonzaga’s lead to 12 at the 3:36 mark. But the Bulldogs ran their lead back up to 17 at the break (44-27). Washington then cut a 22-point deficit to 13 with 6:26 to play, but couldn’t get enough shots to drop to make a game of it.
The Huskies made 19 of 74 shots from 2-point range and 4 of 20 (20 percent) from 3-point range. Guard Andrew Andrews, 0-for-8 in the first half, finished 4-for-17. He added 13 free throws and scored 21 points, same as Dejounte Murray, who made 7 of 19.
Washington’s starting frontcourt — Noah Dickerson (5), Marquese Chriss (4) and Matisse Thybulle (0) — combined for nine points on 4-for-14 shooting.
Wiltjer, who had a double-double by halftime, added 11 rebounds and two assists to go with his 24 points. The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Sabonis grabbed nine rebounds and had two assists. Przemek Karnowski, 7-1 and 287 pounds, added 12 for the Zags.
The Huskies, who had been averaging 57.3 rebounds per game, best in the nation, finished with 45. Murray, Andrews and Malik Dime each had 11, with nine of Dime’s coming on the offensive end.
Washington held its first three opponents to less than 35 percent field goal shooting, but Gonzaga made 50 percent (24 of 48).
“Our team didn’t quit and we didn’t put our heads down. Gonzaga just hit us hard early. They kept coming at us with their big guys. You have to tip your hat to them. They bothered us a lot at the rim” — Lorenzo Romar, UW coach.
“The good thing about our team was that we stuck together the whole time. We definitely are going to use this game to get better. We’ll turn the page. Tomorrow is a new start” — Dime
“We’re just sharing the ball. We have a good mixture of guards and a great front line. We just hope to get better throughout the year” — Wiltjer
Washington leads all-time series with Gonzaga 29-15 but the Zags have won nine of the past 10 meetings . . . Washington’s last win: Dec. 4, 2005 . . . UW’s Devenir Duruisseau fouled out in only eight minutes . . . The teams combined for 59 fouls, 31 by Washington.
The Huskies play their second game of the tournament Thursday at 4 p.m., PT against the loser of the Texas-Texas A&M game.