SEATTLE (AP) - The tallest NCAA player had a rather quiet first two games at the college basketball level, averaging just 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds as a freshman at UC Irvine. But the only numbers that mattered to 7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndiaye heading into Thursday night was the Anteaters' 0-2 record.
Ndiaye, a Senegal native who attended prep school in Southern California, nearly had a triple-double in helping to lead UCI to an 86-72 upset of Washington on Thursday night. He scored 18 points and added nine blocked shots and eight rebounds as the Anteaters earned their first win of the season.
"It was a big game for us," Ndiaye said. "We lost our first two games, and I kind of felt bad for how I played. I needed to get better."
Ndiaye closed out Thursday's first half with a traditional three-point play to put UCI (1-2) ahead 38-36, then he had an emphatic dunk to spark a 19-3 run over the opening 5 1/2 minutes of the second half.
"He was an incredible factor in the game," UCI coach Russell Turner said. "He really performed tonight."
After closing out the first half on an 8-0 run, the Anteaters eventually outscored Washington 27-3 in a span of less than seven minutes.
"Coach talked to us, and we picked up the defensive intensity," said UCI junior Will Davis, who had a team-high 22 points for the Anteaters.
Said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar: "I felt that in the second half, we came out really, really flat. The second game of the season, that shouldn't happen."
UCI shot 59.6 percent (34 of 57) from the field and outrebounded Washington 42-36. The Huskies shot 37.5 percent.
Washington's C.J. Wilcox had a game-high 24 points in the losing effort. The Huskies (1-1) were playing without 6-foot-10 post player Jernard Jarreau, who suffered a season-ending knee injury over the weekend, and Washington had no answer for Ndiaye.
Ndiaye scored most of his points on interior passes over a Washington defender, which he continually put in on dunks or easy layups. He was a force at the back of UCI's zone defense while altering several shots without picking up a foul until almost seven minutes into the second half.
Washington senior Perris Blackwell, a 6-foot-9 transfer from the University of San Francisco, said the Huskies will have to play better interior defense in Jarreau's absence.
"Somebody else is going to step up, and we're going to change it," he said. "It's just one game."
Ndaiye capped off the 8-0 run late in the first half with a layup with 0.2 seconds left, giving the Anteaters their first lead in more than 11 minutes. Then he added a free throw to complete the traditional three-point play and a 38-36 halftime lead.
Washington's Wilcox hit three 3-pointers on the way to 13 first-half points, while Ndiaye and Luke Nelson scored eight apiece for UCI.
"That gave us momentum going into halftime," UCI's Davis said. "We came out strong and took it from there."
The Huskies tied the score on a Nigel Williams-Goss shot 20 seconds into the second half, but UCI promptly went on a 19-1 run over the next five-plus minutes to take control of the game. The lead got as big as 21 points, and Washington never got closer than 13 points over the final 15 minutes.
Washington had gone three years without losing a non-conference home game heading into the 2010-11 season but has now lost five times in a span of three years.
UC Irvine is now 2-0 all-time against the Huskies.
"Any win would have been significant for us after two losses," UCI's Turner said. "But to come in here and get it against a quality team that's well-coached, in a place like this, that's big for us."
Washington played without starters Desmond Simmons and Jarreau, both of whom were out with knee injuries. Jarreau suffered a season-ending ligament tear in the season opener, while Simmons is expected to be out 6-8 weeks.
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