"It was better than it has been," Wilcox said. "There are still shots I would normally make that are still not going down, but I will take it."
Slumping Washington will take it too.
Wilcox broke out of a shooting skid with 24 points, Shawn Kemp Jr., added all 10 of his points in the second half, and Washington pulled away late for a 72-62 win over Oregon State on Saturday night.
The Huskies (14-12, 6-7 Pac-12) had lost three straight and dropped seven of eight overall, coinciding with Wilcox's slump. The Huskies' leading scorer had scored more than 20 points just once in the previous eight games.
He finally reached that plateau again on Saturday by hitting 7 of 14 shots and going 7 of 8 at the free-throw line. Wilcox has been bothered by a left foot injury that has limited his practice time, and his shooting has fallen off. Wilcox came in averaging 17.3 points on the season, but he shot just 35 percent and averaged 13 points over the previous eight games.
But he hit his first two shots, a sign that he was in for a far more productive night offensively. During his slump, the only time Wilcox topped 20 points was in a loss to the Beavers on Jan. 23.
"The whole time I'm trying to stay confident and knowing that I'm going to make a few in a row," Wilcox said. "Sometimes that doesn't happen, and I was on and off tonight but I was trying to stay aggressive."
Kemp's points gave Washington an inside presence, but just as important was the season-high eight points and seven rebounds off the bench by Jernard Jarreau. After the first matchup against Oregon State, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar decided when the teams next met, the 6-foot-10 Jarreau would get some more minutes because of his length and athleticism.
That decision paid off, making up for an off night from center Aziz N'Diaye.
"One of the things that hurt us before was their length," Romar said. "What does Jernard have? Length. To Jernard's credit, he came in ready to play."
Roberto Nelson led Oregon State (13-13, 3-10) with 19 points. Joe Burton added 10 points but was shut out in the second half.
Washington started the second half on a 14-5 run, taking the lead on Abdul Gaddy's floater in the lane and extending it with a pair of 3-pointers from Wilcox. The lead grew to seven when Kemp slammed a lob from Andrew Andrews, but it was down to 49-47 after Nelson hit a pair of free throws with 10:54 left.
Washington answered with consecutive baskets and had a chance to push the lead to eight, but N'Diaye missed underneath the basket on a fast break. Challe Barton scored for the Beavers, and after a five-second count against Washington on the inbounds play, Nelson was fouled shooting a 3 and made all three shots to trim the lead to 53-52 with 8:51 left.
Wilcox scored on a drive, and after the Huskies twice missed a chance to extend the lead, Kemp and Gaddy scored on consecutive possessions to push the lead to 59-53 with less than 5 minutes remaining.
Devon Collier twice split free throws for the Beavers, but Jarreau and Kemp both scored to give Washington its biggest lead at 63-54 with 3:34 left.
Washington committed consecutive turnovers, and a three-point possession for the Beavers got them back within six points. Nelson was open for a 3, but Wilcox closed quickly and got a piece of the shot. The Huskies then hit 10 of 11 free throws in the final 90 seconds.
Andrews added 11 points, and Gaddy had nine assists for the Huskies. Washington could have made the victory more comfortable if not for 13 turnovers in the first half and 19 for the game.
"It's a shame we didn't take better care of the basketball because they kind of got in the way of what I thought was a much better performance by us," Romar said.
Oregon State was aiming for its first sweep of Washington since 2003, but Nelson continued to struggle against the Huskies. He was just 3 of 14 shooting when the teams played last month and 3 of 16 on Saturday, with most of his points coming at the free-throw line.
The Beavers shot just 34 percent.
"There were too many mistakes. It felt like we were out of sync right from the beginning. There were loose balls, turnovers, and to be quite honest with you, at halftime I was surprised we were right there," Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said. "I mean, it was a lot of turnovers and a lot of missed plays. It just felt like we were out of sync, and I haven't had this feeling at all this year."
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