No. 13 Washington 99, Southern California 69
SEATTLE (AP)—Washington’s recipe for success was Tre Simmons from the outside and Jamaal Williams on the inside.
Southern California had no answers for the tandem and No. 13 Washington rolled to a 99-69 victory Thursday night.
The win gave the Huskies (18-3, 8-2 Pac-10) its best start in nearly three decades. They are just off the pace of the 1975-76 team that started 19-2.
“Our guys did a great job of sharing the ball,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Thirty-two assists for us on 42 field goals is outstanding.”
Washington shot 62.5 percent from the field and it didn’t matter that the Trojans had a 42-34 rebound advantage. The Huskies were just too hot.
Simmons scored a career-high 29 points by knocking down shots from the outside, on the fastbreak and by driving down the lane. He was 11-of-21 from the field—including six 3-pointers—and had six rebounds and three assists.
“He caught fire at the end and really began to shoot the ball,” Romar said. “Our guys understand that when Tre starts hitting, he’s capable of doing what he did tonight.”
Midway through the second half, Simmons made a 3-pointer on three consecutive possessions, helping Washington push the lead to as many as 41 points.
Williams was effective in the paint and finished 9-of-10 from the field. His gaudy shooting numbers came in only 16 minutes of action.
“Jamaal is like Tre. They are instant offense,” said Washington guard Will Conroy, who posted his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 assists. “One does it on the inside and the other on the outside.”
Lodrick Stewart had 13 points for the Trojans (9-12, 2-8), who have lost three straight.
Southern California played the first 8 minutes of the game like they were ready to exact revenge for the 25-point drubbing they took from Washington in early January. Things quickly changed, however, and the Trojans showed no composure. They were sloppy with the ball, and the Huskies made them pay for their mistakes.
“Our game plan was good for about 7 or 8 minutes and then their defensive pressure tired us out,” said Southern California interim head coach Jim Saia, who has led his team to a 7-10 record since taking over for the fired Henry Bibby. “We are a passing offensive team and we just don’t match up with these guys at all.”
Aggressive pressure defense forced Southern Cal into 24 turnovers. The Trojans have turned it over 43 times the past two games.
“We were right there. We came out strong,” Saia said. “We just started to turn it over and we are just not disciplined enough to stay with what we do. That has been the story this year. We just collapsed a little bit earlier than normal.”
The Trojans led by five points when Williams took over in the paint and led the Huskies on a 21-5 run. He had nine points in the spurt that gave Washington a 31-20 lead with 6:25 to play in the half.
Saia said that Williams was unstoppable in the first half.
“He just scored every time that he touched the ball, and they are just a really good team that competes hard,” he said.
Southern Cal cut the lead to four points, but Washington ended the half with a dunk-filled 16-2 run that made it 47-29 at halftime.
Next up for Washington is a rematch with UCLA on Saturday. The Bruins rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat the Huskies earlier this season. UCLA is the last team to beat the Huskies on their home floor. Washington’s 19-game home winning streak dates to Jan. 10, 2004.