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Originally published Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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UW men's basketball sluggish, yet 6-0

The weather and its accompanying driving problems apparently kept away a number of Huskies fans from Washington's game against Idaho on...

Seattle Times staff reporter

The weather and its accompanying driving problems apparently kept away a number of Huskies fans from Washington's 87-66 win over Idaho on Wednesday night.

There was an announced crowd of 9,562 at Edmundson Pavilion, but actually several thousand fewer in the stands.

Among those who thought better of making the trip was Roscoe Pondexter, the father of UW forward Quincy Pondexter. He had made the journey from Fresno, Calif., for every Huskies game so far this season but declined this one after hearing of snow and ice in Seattle.

In response, Quincy Pondexter shaved his head bald on Wednesday.

"I thought I'd cut my hair even more in memory of him," Pondexter said of his father, who sports a similarly shaven head.

Pondexter's game was equally slick as he led the Huskies with a career-high 25 points, hitting 9 of 14 shots, including two three-pointers and a variety of inside hoops.

"It just opened up," Pondexter said. "It was nothing I did extra. I was just playing. [Idaho] was really sucking in on [UW center] Spencer [Hawes] and I was just out there."

Pondexter's output made up for sluggish offensive performances from many of his teammates — the rest of the Huskies shot 20 of 61 from the field.

The Huskies were just 14 of 42 in the first half in again coming out a little slow against an undermanned foe. UW also struggled early with Sacramento State and Eastern Washington in its previous two games.

The Huskies trailed 27-24 with 8:08 remaining in the first half before going on a 14-2 run to take a 38-29 lead.

But coach Lorenzo Romar pointed to a season-low 12 turnovers and season-high plus-24 rebounding margin (50-26) and said he wasn't concerned by Washington's inability to put away the Vandals until the second half.

"I thought that we made progress tonight," Romar said. "I am very pleased that we had only 12 turnovers and I thought we did a great job of attacking the glass."

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Jon Brockman led the board effort with a career-high 14, offsetting a 3-for-9 night from the field.

"It didn't seem like anything else was going right so I decided to go after every rebound," Brockman said.

Romar's only real complaint was some offensive impatience in the first half that he felt led to the poor shooting numbers. Washington tried 16 three-pointers in the first half, hitting five, as the Vandals were often in a zone.

"I thought that in the first half we had some questionable shot selections and that we took too many quick shots that were contested," Romar said. "We settled down after that and began to move the ball more."

Washington scored the first seven points, but let Idaho back in the game before reasserting control near the end of the half.

Pondexter, who had eight points at the half, opened the second half with a pull-up 4-footer and then a three-pointer to give the Huskies their first double-digit lead.

Pondexter, one of UW's acclaimed four freshmen, is averaging 20.7 points in UW's past three games, something Romar says is pleasing but not a surprise.

"We have watched Quincy play so many times that we have seen him do all of these things," Romar said, adding that he thinks there's a lot more left. "I don't think that we have really seen his athleticism yet."

The Huskies (6-0) are ranked No. 13 in this week's Associated Press poll, even if they often didn't look like it against an Idaho team that was 4-25 last season and is rebuilding under first-year coach George Pfeifer.

Idaho is 1-5, all five of its defeats coming by 13 points or more, the most recent before Wednesday a 76-51 loss at Gonzaga.

Asked to compare UW and Gonzaga, however, Pfeifer laughed. "Utilizing us as any kind of test animal, I wouldn't do that," he said.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. Read his blogs on Washington football and basketball at www.seattletimes.com/huskies.

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