Wilcox Passes 1,500-point Plateau, UW Beats Tulane 73-62
The Huskies get 15 points from Wilcox and 12 from Perris Blackwell and Nigel Williams-Goss to win in New Orleans despite tons of foul trouble. Then they ate dinner at James Carville's house. Up next for UW (6-4): Sunday at home vs. No. 10 UConn.
By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
NEW ORLEANS – C.J. Wilcox moved further up the Huskies' all-time scoring charts, just a bucket away from the top 10.
Yet it is the guy whom Wilcox passed at No. 13 that still has the senior sharpshooter shaking his head.
"Hearing you passed Brandon Roy doesn't even seem real," Wilcox said Tuesday night after he scored 15 points in UW's slogging, 73-62 victory at Tulane to leave him with 1,502 in his Huskies career.
"It's pretty cool."
Wilcox passed that 1,500 plateau with flair in this first-ever meeting of Washington and Tulane, and in doing so he got Lorenzo Romar to join Marv Harshman in Husky annuals.
Wilcox swished a shot from a step behind the halfcourt line just as the halftime buzzer sounded to send his team into the break up by nine points, 41-32. After halftime of this foul-a-thon at Devlin Fieldhouse he became the fourth player under Romar to pass 1,500 points for a Husky career. He needs three points to pass Louie Nelson (1971-73) for 10th all-time at UW.
"Whenever C.J. accomplishes things I just think of the skinny guy from Pleasant Grove (Utah) that decided to come to Washington when no one knew who he was," Romar said. "And now, he's going to be one of the top five, top 10 scorers in the history of this program.
"It's just special to see him develop and see the things he's done over his career. And he still has a lot left."
Wilcox’s free throws late – he was 0 for 5 from the field in the second half and 4 for 14 overall – leave him with 1,502 points in his Washington career.
Romar joined the late Harshman, his mentor and former Husky coach, as the only ones to coach four different 1,500-point scorers in their tenures at Washington.
Asked about that, Romar shrugged and said, "If you stay long enough, I guess ... "
Nigel Williams-Goss overcame seven turnovers to score 12 points with seven pesky rebounds. Perris Blackwell scored a dozen points despite three early fouls for Washington (6-4), which had 18 turnovers -- many unforced and puzzling.
"The fouls forced us to do some different rotations, guys playing different positions they'd never really played before," Wilcox said, referring to freshman guard Jahmel Taylor chasing small forwards and 6-4 Mike Anderson on some of Tulane's bigs when Blackwell was sitting. "It definitely hurt us a little bit."
After this win, the Huskies boarded their team bus for a 5-minute ride across the west New Orleans' Uptown neighborhood to the home of James Carville. The national Democratic strategist, outspoken political commentator and former top manager of Bill Clinton's campaign to the presidency has known UW athletic director Scott Woodward since Woodward was six years old. Woodward's father was the 69-year-old Carville's dentist in Baton Rouge.
The Huskies ate -- make that, feasted on -- crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice, gumbo and white chocolate bread pudding. Romar presented Carville with a UW polo shirt -- "purple, like LSU," the Louisiana State grad said, approvingly -- a Husky basketball T-shirt and players-style, oversized game shorts, "for when you go to the gym and call, 'I got next!'" Romar told his host.
Carville then told the entire Huskies team gathered around him on couches and padded chairs in his living room some advice he heard Clinton once give in the White House to the mother of a girl who said she wanted to be president some day.
"Study hard," Carville told the Huskies. "And meet as many people as you can that are not like you."
(Read about the rest of the team's evening at Carville's house here.)
Wednesday morning, the Huskies will leave their remarkable three days here to return home for Sunday afternoon’s marquee game against 10th-ranked Connecticut at Alaska Airlines Arena. The 12:30 showdown could go a long way to erasing early season losses such as the ones to UC-Irvine at home and Boston College in New York.
The Huskies will have a reawakening Shawn Kemp Jr. for that big one. The power forward, slowed for months by Graves Disease and thyroid medication that has subsequently slowed him, made three of his four shots and had four rebounds in 25 productive minutes. Kemp even hit a 17 footer from behind the free-throw line when Tulane left him open out there, a shot that Wilcox noted Kemp makes in practices but rarely attempts in games.
The Dawgs had 16 fouls called on them in the first 19 minutes, as seemingly every Husky in the tiny gym except radio color analyst and former UW guard Jason Hamilton had one. Blackwell, Andrew Andrews and Taylor off the bench each had three fouls almost right away. Eventually, Blackwell had to shy away from comfronting ball screens, a big part of UW's defense in the lane. That's how freshman Jonathan Stark kept getting free on drives for his game-high 25 points.
Yet the rest of Tulane (5-6) couldn’t hit a shot early; it was in the mid-20-percent range in shooting for most of the first half. Then it did almost nothing but drive late, because it missed 13 of its 14 3-point attempts. That kept the Huskies ahead.
Romar scheduled this first-ever meeting with Tulane on its shady, beautiful campus in the Uptown district on the city’s west side, for Jernard Jarreau. The 6-foot-11 redshirt sophomore, recovering from season-ending knee surgery, was born and raised in New Orleans. These well-fed Huskies had a Cajun feast at his family home on the city’s east side Monday night.
Forty-two of Jarreau's family and friends watched from behind the Huskies' bench as Wilcox let the final shot of the first half go from about 48 feet out in front of the scorer’s table. The rainbow splashed sweetly through the net just as the halftime buzzer sounded, sent Washington into the locker room at quaint, small Devlin Fieldhouse with a 41-32 lead.
Wilcox made three baskets late in the half to finish it with 10 points, after seven points early by Anderson and six from Blackwell.
Washington let Tulane get within three points early in the second half following a series of unforced turnovers, bad passes to no one or entry passes that rolled through the post out of bounds instead of bouncing into the hands of a big man. Williams-Goss had four of his seven turnovers after halftime.
"I thought we were sloppy tonight," Romar said, "but I feel so much better about our team than I did a couple weeks ago.
"Something that might go under the radar (Tuesday) is that Shawn Kemp played in a way that showed he is now making progress. He was a live body out there. He had an impact on the game. He was good on the defensive. That bodes well for the future, the immediate future of our team.
"And Desmond Simmons (arthroscopic knee surgery) will be coming back soon.
"I like the direction that we are headed."