TARRAGONA, Spain - The Washington Huskies outscored Tarragona 35-25 in the second half to rally from an eight point halftime deficit and win 68-65 in the first of seven games during their 16-day foreign tour on Monday evening.
Abdul Gaddy and Scott Suggs scored 16 points each and C.J. Wilcox added 12 to pace the Huskies' offensive efforts.
The Huskies were able to overcome a sluggish start and 28 turnovers - 14 in each half - to rally past Tarragona, a third division pro team in Spain. The Huskies came out cold from the field, making just 13 of their 37 shots in the first half (35.1%), including just one of seven 3-point field goals.
Gaddy, who also ended the game with 6 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists and 7 turnovers, kept the Huskies in the game offensively in the first half with 9 points. But the Huskies, for the most part, had trouble adjusting to the European style of play. The Huskies committed numerous traveling violations as they struggled to get their footing on the slick court and adjust to the international traveling rules.
The second half was a different story for the Huskies. Suggs (7) and Wilcox (5) combined to score 12 of the team's first 14 points and by the 3:50 mark in the third quarter, the Huskies trailed only by one, 47-46. A Gaddy three-point play the hard way gave the Huskies their first lead since early in the second quarter and spurred an 11-0 run over the final 4:10 of the third quarter.
The Huskies had a 54-47 advantage entering the final 10-minute frame, but saw their lead evaporate quickly. Tarragona outscored the Huskies 14-6 in the first 3:28 of the fourth quarter to recapture the lead, but a Wilcox jumper followed by a desperation 3-point bucket from 33-feet out as the 24-second shot clock expired on the next possession gave UW the lead back for good, 65-61.
Tarragona went without a field goal over the final 6:32, making just four free throws during that span, but Washington was almost equally cold from the field. A Shawn Kemp turnaround jump hook from the right side of the key at 1:45 gave the Huskies a 67-63 advantage and was the last field goal for either team.
Things got tense for the Huskies near the end of the game, when the ball slipped through Kemp's hands near the 3-point line as his team tried to burn time off the clock. Kemp compounded the problem when he was whistled for an intentional foul and the Tarragona player converted both free throws to make it 67-65 with 50.7 seconds remaining.
Wilcox would steal the ball on the ensuing Tarragona possession and dish the ball to Andrew Andrews who was fouled trying to escape down the court with 20.9 seconds remaining. Andrews converted the first of two free throws to give Washington a 68-65 advantage, but missed the second.
It appeared the Huskies would escape with the win from there when Tarragona turned the ball over and had to foul Suggs, one of UW's better free throw shooters, with 4.7 seconds left in the game. But, Suggs uncharacteristically missed both free throws, giving Tarragona both the ball and life.
The host team raced to mid-court, but their desperation shot harmlessly hammered off the backboard without touching rim.
"I thought we shared the ball well, which is a positive," Husky Coach Lorenzo Romar said following his team's win. "On the flipside, I thought we had some lapses defensively, but to have only had 10 practices and still get 16 steals -- that's a lot. I thought it forced them out of their offense."
"We missed a lot of easy shots," Romar added, "given the circumstances of traveling the day before, having to play a game so quickly, the hour bus ride ... I thought we did a lot of positive things."
Washington finished the game 26-of-65 (40%) from the field, 4-of-12 (33%) from the 3-point line and made 12 of 21 (57.1%) from the free throw line.
Martin Breunig led Washington with 7 of the Huskies 41 rebounds.
Tarragona stats were unavailable following the game.
The Huskies are off on Tuesday and will return to action on Wednesday when they play Zaragoza at 6:00 p.m.