2016 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament: Andrew Andrews flirts with triple-double as Washington beats Stanford
LAS VEGAS – Exactly a week ago, Andrew Andrews was dropping a necessary 47 points to help the Washington Huskies hold off rival Washington State in their regular season finale.
On Wednesday, holding off the Stanford Cardinal in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament was hardly necessary. The Hukies won 91-68 and led by as many as 29 points in the MGM Grand Garden Arena thanks to 10 early minutes of in-sync team defense leading to a classic up-tempo Washington offense.
But like it was a week ago, the team elder, Andrews, set the tone for his young team, which after maybe its most impressive win of the year readies for No. 1 seed Oregon on Thursday at noon PT/1 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network.
This time, it wasn't about Andrews getting buckets.
“Andrew scored 47 points in our last game and I didn't think, at all, he came out and said, 'Now I know how to get 47, I'm going to get 50 this time,'” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. “He just went out and played basketball, he ran the team. I think that's a real sign of maturity and credit to Andrew to come out and do what he did and set the table for us.”
[Related video: Washington routs Stanford to open Pac-12 Tournament (Highlights)]
Andrews scored 14, but flirted with a triple double, finishing with nine assists and nine rebounds.
Meanwhile, Stanford didn't score a field goal until Michael Humphrey caught an entry lob for a layup with 11 minutes to play in the first half. The Cardinal shot 29 percent in the first 20 minutes and Washington forced 11 first-half turnovers.
“When we play defense that we're capable of, you'll see when that ball is passed, five guys moving at once,” Romar said. “We saw that a lot.”
And that allowed the Huskies to turn out an efficient offensive effort once they got into transition.
Washington, which had played and beaten Stanford once this season, learned from an ugly first half of that 64-53 victory on Feb. 20.
It's no surprise Romar said that Andrews was the catalyst in that game, getting the offense into a rhythm that carried over to the Huskies' second meeting with the Cardinal. His teammates followed the senior's lead moving the ball with assertiveness after pump-faking or breaking down the Cardinal defense.
Freshman guard Dejounte Murray continued penetrating and kicking against the Cardinal zone, finishing with 25 points and four assists, and forward Marquese Chriss added 18 points and 10 rebounds – all while defending leading Stanford scorer Rosco Allen
“There's not much he can't do on the basketball court,” Andrews said of Chriss. “You see a guy like him (at power forward) who's stepping out hitting threes, he can take it off the glass, push the ball. He switches 1 through 5. For us, he contributes to us in so many ways. He puts out so many fires.”
Aside from the scorched the nets, there weren't many visible flames for Washington.
So was the win, the school's largest margin of victory in a Pac-12 Tournament game, the Huskies' best performance of the year?
“I don't know if it was the best,” Romar said. “Haven't played like that in a long time, maybe I forgot. But in terms of lately, I think we were dialed in and as efficient as we've been. I thought today we could have beat a lot of teams playing that way.
“I've continued to say our team has improved and become a better team, but we don't have the wins to show it,” he added. “We've just been very close and today was a day where we kind of put it all together.”