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Originally published Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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More misery for Huskies men

The Washington Huskies were unable to knit together a win Saturday, once again unraveling at the end. Or maybe that should be NIT, since...

Seattle Times staff reporter

BERKELEY, Calif. — The Washington Huskies were unable to knit together a win Saturday, once again unraveling at the end.

Or maybe that should be NIT. That's where this season suddenly appears headed after the Huskies fell to 1-5 in Pac-10 games (11-6 overall) thanks to a 77-69 men's basketball loss in overtime to the California Golden Bears.

"It's starting to get kind of frustrating," said sophomore guard Justin Dentmon. "You get to a point where you just get tired of it. We need to pull together and everybody needs to be tired of it, just be tired of losing."

If not, a Huskies team that once seemed a lock for the NCAA tournament could find itself settling for the NIT come March.

Dentmon could have saved the day, as he was fouled with the Huskies trailing by one with 0.2 seconds left in regulation. Instead, he made just one free throw, missing the first, then making the second to force overtime. Cal dominated the extra session as UW lost for the fifth time in five road games.

Adding injury to insult, freshman Quincy Pondexter suffered a sprained ankle early in the second half and didn't return. The official word was that he will be OK, but he wore a boot afterward and said he couldn't walk on his own.

"I just felt like I let the team down," Dentmon said.

But as everyone else was quick to point out, the Huskies lost this one in all kinds of other areas. Most notably, a Huskies team that hadn't been outrebounded all season allowed Cal to have a 47-36 advantage even though the Bears are last in the Pac-10 in rebounding and are playing without two of their key big men, notably 6-foot-11 DeVon Hardin.

"Cal just came out tonight and outscrapped us and that was the difference in the game," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. "For some reason, we didn't seem to have our legs or seem to have a lot of emotion."

Romar had been worried about that. The Huskies lost by one point at Stanford on Thursday, had lost in double overtime at USC on Dec. 28, and were routed at UCLA on Dec. 31.

But Saturday the Huskies never showed any urgency.

"They just came out and played like they wanted it more than we did," said freshman center Spencer Hawes.

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It figured the Huskies could win by dumping the ball in to Hawes and forward Jon Brockman to take advantage of Cal's hole in the middle.

But Hawes, continued to struggle with a flu bug he caught almost two weeks ago and has caused him to lose at least 10 pounds. He was outplayed all game by Cal freshman Ryan Anderson, who led the Bears (11-6, 3-2) with 18 points and 14 rebounds. And Brockman had only 11 points and six rebounds, the latter number his lowest in conference games.

"I just didn't play the way I usually play tonight," he said. "I don't know why."

Still, the Huskies hung around in a game that had little flow. The Bears helped keep UW in it by shooting 37.9 percent overall (25 for 66 overall and 24.1 percent on three-pointers (7 for 29).

There were 20 lead changes and 14 ties. Washington never led by more than three and Cal never by more than eight.

Cal took a 67-66 lead with 8.8 seconds left on a three-pointer by Eric Vierneisel.

Washington didn't call a timeout and Dentmon brought the ball downcourt and missed a shot in the lane with about four seconds left. The ball caromed into the corner, and Dentmon came up with the rebound, then was fouled by Anderson as Dentmon tried to shoot at 0.02. Coincidentally, that was the same time on the clock as when Dentmon fouled Stanford's Chris Hernandez about 12 months ago just a little farther south.

Cal guard Ayinde Ubaka chatted up Dentmon, telling him all the pressure he was under, as he stood at the line. But Dentmon, who entered the game 38 for 45 on free throws , said that wasn't why he missed.

"I just shot it a little too hard," he said. "I misjudged how far I had to shoot it. My first miss earlier in the game, I kind of shot it short, so I wanted to put a little more arc on it."

Dentmon swished the second one to force the overtime, but all that did was delay the inevitable.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

UW's road woes
Washington is 1-5 in Pac-10 games after losing its fourth consecutive conference road game Saturday. Three of the defeats have been in OT or the final seconds of regulation:
Date Opponent Result
Dec. 28 At USC L, 86-79 (OT)
Dec. 31 At UCLA L, 96-74
Jan. 11 At Stanford L, 78-77
Jan. 13 At California L, 77-69 (OT)

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