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Information in this article, originally published December 17, has been corrected. A previous version of this story contained an error. The time of the Washington men's basketball game Friday against Lehigh is 5 p.m., not 3 p.m. as listed Saturday in an information box.
UW Men's Basketball
Roy ratchets up game for Pac-10 play
Seattle Times staff reporter
Brandon Roy is hearing the footsteps of Pac-10 teams approaching, light as they may be considering the conference's surprisingly subpar start.
But Roy doesn't care. He senses them coming — the conference opener is two games away now, Dec. 29 against Arizona State — and knows that means it's time to stop being quite so altruistic.
"In my own mind, I know it's time to start tuning it up to get ready for Pac-10 play," Roy said.
Turning thought into action, he helped tune out Eastern Washington on Friday night, scoring 25 points as Washington cruised to a 91-74 win over the Eagles in front of 9,876 at Edmundson Pavilion.
"Tonight I had to be more aggressive because in bigger games, guys are going to look to me to be more aggressive," said Roy, who tied a season high with 16 shots. "So I have to start preparing myself now mentally and physically to be doing that."
Jamaal Williams started preparing himself for that from the first minute of the season. So it was of little surprise that even on a night when Roy tried to take over, he still had to share the spotlight with Williams.
Williams scored UW's first eight points and finished with a career-high 26, continuing a recent hot streak in which he has averaged 23.3 points and hit 32 of 50 shots in the last three games.
Lehigh at UW men, 5 p.m., FSN
"He has been able to be in the game longer because he is in better condition," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. "And he is playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Combined with a little help from Jon Brockman, who had his best game in almost a month (16 points, 10 rebounds), they made sure the Huskies never had any real trouble with the Eagles.
Washington, ranked No. 11 in this week's Associated Press poll, is now 9-0 — its best start since a 14-0 beginning in 1975-76 — and increased its school-record home-winning streak to 30, which continues to be the longest in the nation.
Eastern, which had won three in a row, hung around for the first 10 minutes, trailing just 24-20 midway through the first half.
But the Huskies ripped off a 20-4 run over the next six minutes to open up an insurmountable advantage.
"Any time you've got local guys coming home, you know they want to prove they could have been Huskies, so we had to put the hammer down early," Roy said.
Washington led 49-30 at halftime and by as many as 29 midway through the second half before turning on the cruise control.
Kentwood High grad Rodney Stuckey, a freshman who came in averaging 20.3 points per game, led the Eagles with 17 points but hit just 6 of 20 shots and committed six of Eastern's 18 turnovers.
"We had kind of a deer-in-the-headlights look at times," said EWU coach Mike Burns.
That's not an ailment that afflicts these Huskies anymore.
For all the talk of the new players on this team, the Huskies are keyed by their three seniors — Roy, Williams and Bobby Jones, limited to just six minutes Friday night after tweaking an ankle injury suffered Saturday against New Mexico.
"In Pac-10 play, me and Jamaal are going to have to be two of the big players for us offensively," Roy said.
They started to do that Friday night, which was the first time this season that only three Huskies hit double figures.
It was equally telling that Roy tied a season low with two assists. He came into this season highly hyped after spurning a chance to leave early for the NBA. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said fans would be "shocked" at how good Roy is.
But through the team's first eight games, Roy often played a voluntary second fiddle. Only in a tight game against Air Force had he forced the action as he did Friday night, scoring a season-high 27 points. He intended to against Gonzaga, but got waylaid by early foul trouble.
"I'm a patient player," Roy said. "At times maybe I've been a little too patient. At the same time, guys have been playing well, and the important thing was to try to develop Jon and Justin [Dentmon] and Ryan [Appleby], and then when it gets closer to Pac-10 play it's time to start forcing the issue a little bit.
"People say, 'Brandon's not doing this or not doing that.' But we are 9-0, No. 10 in the country [in the ESPN poll]. ... But my time will come."
It looked like it began Friday night.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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