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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

January 21, 2006 at 11:06 PM

A victory to quack about

OK, so that’s a really bad pun.
But this was definitely a night for good feeling at Edmundson Pavilion as the Huskies recorded what I think was as impressive a win as they have had all season.
Obviously, they’ve beaten better teams (Gonzaga, UCLA at UCLA), so maybe this isn’t the best win. But the way the Huskies dismantled what is a pretty talented Oregon team says a lot about how good Washington can be.
The Huskies are 16-2, the same record they had at the 18-game mark last year.
And suddenly, comparisons to last year don’t seem too outlandish.
Jamaal Williams said “I think so” when asked if this team could be as good as last year’s, which advanced to the Sweet 16. “If we play defense like we did tonight, we can do a lot of things like that team did,” Williams said.
What this game showed is that the Huskies are learning to win in ways other than just outscoring their opponent.
Washington shot the ball well – 51.6 percent after the 33-percent debacle Thursday night – but they won this one primarily by outrebounding Oregon 42-26, holding Oregon to 39 percent shooting, and generally being the tougher and more aggressive team.
The Huskies also got good games from all three senior starters – Williams, Bobby Jones and Brandon Roy – not something that has happened every game this season.
That’s a real positive, however, as it shows that this team may be finding the same kind of chemistry that last year’s did, when Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons and Will Conroy would often trade off playing the leading role.
Still, there’s no question Roy is the go-to guy on this team, as he showed when he scored 15 points in the first half when the Huskies essentially won the game.
“Roy is a pro guy who can take over a game,” said Oregon coach Ernie Kent. “Boy, he stepped and made some big buckets for them when we had great stops and he would spin and get to the hole. He’s a guy you can throw the ball to and count on him getting you 20. He’s becoming an Ike Diogu-type player or a David Lucas-type player.”
Tough road ahead: Obviously, it all gets a lot tougher for the Huskies now as they have to play three in a row on the road and seven of their final 11 before postseason.
In fact, it seems hard to believe there are just four home games left after they have played 15 at home so far.
Roy said the obvious, that the Huskies have to just try to win each one as it comes instead of trying to win all seven at once.
None will be easy. California is the first test Thursday and the Bears are a big team that will pose some matchup problems for the Huskies. But the sweep in Los Angeles last weekend showed that simply being on the road won’t intimidate these guys. It’s now simply a matter of playing well enough.
Hitting the boards: UW’s rebounding total on Oregon is especially impressive when you consider that Oregon was second in the Pac-10 in rebounding margin to the Huskies at plus-6.2 in the Ducks’ previous six Pac-10 games.
Here are some other random thoughts:

  • Joel Smith played just nine minutes this weekend after playing so well on the L.A. trip. He’s losing time with the re-emergence of Brandon Burmeister. But Romar does a good job of keeping everybody involved and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Smith is called on in key times this week.

  • Washington’s margin of victory against Oregon is that much more impressive considering that Ryan Appleby was 1 for 5 on three-pointers, appearing to have good looks on every miss. He won’t shoot that poorly often.

  • Mike Jensen had a nice game with eight points and four rebounds in 15 minutes, but I think his chances of supplanting Jon Brockman in the starting lineup this season are just about over.
    Brockman looks more comfortable offensively all the time. He scored just six against Oregon – taking only six shots – but had 10 rebounds and played some tough defense inside.

    Comments | Topics: UCLA


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