The Washington Huskies discovered a novel strategy on Sunday night at Edmundson Pavilion. Give it to the best guy on your team, and he will take you home.
In the first half against the Washington St. Cougars, UW suffered a tumultuous battle between Tony Wroten, Jr. and Abdul Gaddy about who could out-horrible the other. Wroten and Gaddy missed their first six or so shots and had about four more turnovers. Gaddy and Wroten finished a lovely 5 for 24 from the field (Wroten 7 of 13 from the line), as the eternal debate. Terrence Ross seemed to suffer the most from this lack of cohesion, shooting 1 for 9 in the first half and making only one of his four free throw attempts.
And then the potential first round pick turned up his game.
After missing two of his next three shots to start the second, Ross went off and hit his next seven. Two free throws and two threes helped cut a WSU double-digit lead to six. Darnell Gant came out and hit three quick shots to swing the lead back to Washington, and then Ross unleashed a barrage of threes to put Washington up 15 in a matter of minutes.
By the time he was done, Ross had a 30 point, 14 rebound night, his best of the season. He showed everyone why the scouts were so high on him, as Ross has struggled to get touches from the more inefficient Wroten. Ross can nail his outside shot and crash the boards, making him a very difficult cover for even the most athletic swingmen in the conference.
Washington is going to need that Terrence Ross if they expect to make it to the NCAA Tournament again. It's clear that the more Lorenzo Romar tries to rely on Gaddy and Wroten, the worse his team looks. With C.J. Wilcox out for a spell and the Bay Area schools coming to town, it's critical that Washington look to Ross as their primary option and make him create more as well as use his great athleticism to get rebounds and defend opposing swingmen.
Right now, UW has all the talent. Will they learn how to use it right?