The Washington Huskies controlled their NIT fate when they became a #1 seed in the tournament. They were able to have three scheduled home games in hopes to get to Madison Square Garden. The last one being against their heated rival, the Oregon Ducks.
These two teams split during the season, each winning on their own court and the rubber match was played tonight and won at Alaska Airlines Arena 90-86 by the Huskies. A game that was back and forth, each team having an opportunity to lead during the game, and wasn’t decided until the final minute when CJ Wilcox was able to hit four free throws in a row.
The win came on the shoulders of the UW guards, Abdul Gaddy nearly had a triple-double (10 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds), Terrence Ross had 24 points, Tony Wroten had 22 points and 7 rebounds, and finally Wilcox had 17 points. They also were able to handle Devoe Joseph, the Ducks leading scorer on the season, as he was held to only 12 points and much of it coming in the final minutes.
This game wasn’t an easy win for the Huskies, in fact, it looked as if Washington would lose, to their rivals of the south, at half-time down 46-42. The Ducks were shooting 53% and there was no defensive pressure and UW’s defense struggled in transition. If the Huskies didn’t adjust at half-time, the game would be Oregon’s to win or lose.
At half-time, Coach Lorenzo Romar readjusted the plan, put Senior Darnell Gant on hot shooting EJ Singler and affectively silenced him in the second half. Romar also adjusted how they switched after they scored on the offensive end. The Ducks weren’t able to adjust and the Huskies scored 48 points in the second half. That sealed the win and advanced Washington on in the NIT tournament.
The Huskies will now travel to New York to play in the Final Four of the NIT Tournament in Madison Square Garden. They play the winner of Middle Tennessee and Minnesota, who play tomorrow at 4 p.m. PT.