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Huskies Notes: Smith finds some court time
Seattle Times staff reporter
EUGENE, Ore. — Joel Smith had played just eight minutes in Washington's last three games, getting the dreaded "did not play" in two of them.
But when the game was on the line Thursday night in Washington's 75-72 win over Oregon at McArthur Court, Smith was on the floor.
He was out there primarily in defensive situations, called on to put the clamps on Oregon sharpshooter Chamberlain Oguchi, who led Oregon with 21 points but went scoreless in the last 10 minutes.
Part of it was necessity: Bobby Jones was in foul trouble all night and eventually fouled out.
But UW coach Lorenzo Romar also said he thought Smith would match up well against Oguchi and Malik Hairston.
"We felt he would do a good job on them, and he did," Romar said. "He got a couple of steals, some key rebounds and did a nice job."
Smith officially had three rebounds and two steals in eight minutes, his most significant playing time in a non-blowout situation since a loss at Cal on Jan. 26, when he committed a costly foul late. That play seemed indicative of what has been a sometimes frustrating sophomore season for Smith, who saw action in every game a year ago.
Player of the game: UW freshman forward Jon Brockman had one of his best games, scoring 14 points — his most since getting 17 against Cornell on Jan. 2 — and grabbing seven rebounds and leading a UW front that outrebounded Oregon 36-17.
Turning point: With the score tied at 70, Brockman grabbed a Brandon Roy shot that had been blocked off the backboard by Chamberlain Oguchi and put it back in to put the Huskies ahead for good with 42 seconds left.
By the numbers:
5: UW's winning streak against Oregon, the longest since a similar five-game stretch from 1980 to 1982.
35: The combined margin by which UW outrebounded Oregon in two games this year — 36-17 Thursday night and 42-26 in a Jan. 21 game in Seattle.
Next: at Oregon State, 7 p.m. Saturday, FSN.
Smith said part of the reason for his lack of playing time was a lack of "hustling and effort."
"Me and coach talked about it to make sure I bring that effort and get on the floor," Smith said.
Said Romar: "He was great in practice this week."
Despite his struggles, Smith said he hasn't grown disgruntled.
"It's more a learning process than frustrating," Smith said. "It's not that big of a deal. As long as we keep doing our stuff as Huskies, that individual stuff can go out the window."
Washington was outrebounded 36-28 by UCLA last week, one of the few times all season it didn't win the war on the boards. But the Huskies came back to outrebound Oregon 36-17.
"We're leading the league in rebounding," Romar said. "This is more how we've been."
Attendance: 8904. Officials: Randy McCall, Mike Littlewood, Tom Spitznagel.Technical fouls: Oregon-Johnson, Ivan.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company