BERKELEY, CALIF. - The Washington Huskies made a change at one of their starting guard spots Sunday night.
However, Isaiah Thomas remained at the other guard spot. And that was the personnel issue that mattered most as Thomas erupted for a season-high 27 points and a career-high 13 assists in leading the Huskies to a 92-71 win over California at Haas Pavilion.
Thomas broke through for 18 points in the first half – the most by any Husky in a half this season. In the second half, Cal coach Mike Montgomery moved all-Pacific-10 defensive team selection Jorge Gutierrez onto Thomas, who is 6 inches shorter. However, Thomas picked his spots in the second half and continued to contribute.
The other starting guard spot went to junior Scott Suggs, who got his first career start in place of Venoy Overton. Overton had started the previous three games since point guard Abdul Gaddy went down with a season-ending knee injury.
The game was up-tempo from the start. The teams jockeyed for position until Thomas and Matthew Bryan-Amaning fueled a late run that put UW ahead at halftime, 48-33.
Justin Holiday opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers, and the Huskies were off and running with California (9-8 overall, 2-3 Pac-10) unable to get back into the game thereafter.
Holiday finished with 23 points and Bryan-Amaning added 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Huskies.
With the win, Washington (13-4,5-1) moved back into the conference lead, a half-game ahead of Arizona.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports