Huskies find plenty of power vs. Eastern
There was no band, no cheerleaders, and only about 1,500 fans willing to brave the elements to get to Edmundson Pavilion Saturday night...
Seattle Times staff reporter
There was no band, no cheerleaders, and only about 1,500 fans willing to brave the elements to get to Edmundson Pavilion Saturday night.
No matter for the Washington Huskies, who after a few sluggish moments in the first 10 minutes supplied their own energy to rout Eastern Washington 83-50.
"We didn't know how many people would be here because of the snow, we didn't know what the turnout would be," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar in his postgame radio comments. "But still in all, that shouldn't matter. You should have a standard way of playing basketball and I thought our guys for the most part went out and played with intensity."
Attendance was officially listed at 7,401 but most didn't bother using their tickets — and the school didn't bother to charge for parking, giving the attendants the night off, and then inviting all fans to move down to the lower bowl.
"We knew we had to find [energy] from ourselves because the crowd [was so small]," guard Justin Dentmon said in a postgame radio interview. "Before we came out that's what we told each other we had to do and that's what we did."
The Huskies improved to 7-3 with their fifth consecutive win. Eastern fell to 6-5 with its third straight loss.
The score was tied at 15 with 10:59 to go when the Huskies took over, going on a 21-3 run over the next eight minutes to take a 36-18 lead, which grew to 42-22 at halftime.
Freshman guard Isaiah Thomas led the Huskies with 12 points in the first half, making all three of his shots. He had two three-pointers in the early going, one that turned into a four-point play when he was fouled.
Defense, however, led the Huskies as UW had a season-high 13 steals and eight blocked shots.
The Huskies made 15 of 27 shots in the first half despite senior forward Jon Brockman going just 2 of 7 in appearing a little rusty after missing a game last Sunday with a sprained right ankle and sitting out a few practices this week.
Brockman, who started the game, seemed to find his rhythm in the second half, ending with a game-high 17 points before taking a seat with 8:56 left. He now has 1,450 points in his career and passed Detlef Schrempf for 11th on the school's all-time scoring list. Next up is Brandon Roy with 1,477 points.
Eastern's cause in the first half wasn't helped by the absence of leading scorer Benny Valentine, apparently benched for disciplinary reasons by coach Kirk Earlywine. Valentine, a 5-foot-7 guard averaging 16.8 points per game, was back in the lineup for the second half.
Eastern scored eight in a row early in the second half to cut the lead to 48-34 and briefly revive memories of UW's second-half collapse against Portland State last week.
But the Huskies then went on a 23-4 run to turn the game into a laugher.
"I thought we were very aggressive getting the ball inside to Jon [Brockman, who hit 7 of 10 free throws] and we only took 11 three-point shots, which is good for us," Romar said.
Freshman forward Tyreese Breshers, recovering from offseason shin surgery, again sat out and appears headed to a redshirt season.
Romar could find little to complain about in a game in which all 12 Huskies scored for the first time this season.
Players said that indicated a growing awareness of how the team needs to play.
"Everyone is starting to find their roles now, be comfortable with their roles, which is good heading into [Pac-10] conference play," Dentmon said.
|EASTERN WASHINGTON (6-5)|
Attendance: 7,401. Officials: Ken Ditty (R), Deron White, Quinton Reece.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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