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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 4, 2006 at 11:23 PM

What a finish

OK, so it would have been nice if UCLA had lost at Stanford.
But Brandon Roy echoed the thoughts of many of his teammates in saying that he really didn’t expect the Bruins to lose with a chance at the Pac-10 title on the line.
So the Huskies instead decided to take care of their own business.
And that they did in another game that seems to indicate that this team could be set for another deep run into March.
In fact, this team seems to be playing better now at this point in the season than was last year’s, which had been beaten fairly handily in two of its last six games — losses at Oregon State and then Stanford on the last day of the regular season.
“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” Roy said.
The win over Arizona seemed to show just that as the Huskies again won with a total team effort.
Roy was sensational with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five assists — all totals that led the team.
But he was far from alone — Ryan Appleby hit 4-5 3-pointers and had 14 points and has now scored in double digits in four of UW’s last five games; Justin Dentmon had the two huge steals at the end of the game and the big free throws and scored 13 points overall, which included hitting 3-6 3-pointers, a rapidly improving part of his game; Jamaal Williams did his usual “instant offense” deal off the bench with 12 points in 22 minutes; and Jon Brockman quietly added eight points and eight rebounds.
“We’re playing more as a team now,” Roy said when asked the difference between now and the three-game losing streak at mid-season.
Now comes tournament time. UW will play either Oregon or Washington State in the quarterfinal round Thursday at the Staples Center. The only bad news is that UW drew the dreaded 8:50 p.m. tipoff, which doesn’t seem like much of a reward for finishing second.
Obviously, a third try at beating the Cougars would be interesting and any UW athletic event against Oregon holds some drama, so this will be a fun first game in the tournament.
If UW gets by that, it would be either Cal or USC in the semi-final round and another Roy-Leon Powe battle — or another look at Lodrick Stewart and a Trojan team that I think could be a real sleeper in this thing.
UCLA probably awaits in the final if UW can get that far.
Here are a few other notes and observations:
• Maybe the most unheralded reason UW won this game? A 39-27 rebounding edge. UW also outboarded Arizona 50-40 in the game in Seattle. If rebounding is an indication of effort, we know where UW’s was in these games.
• Appleby has hit 14-of-22 three-pointers in UW’s last four games and is increasingly becoming a consistent weapon. He also had just one turnover in 27 minutes Saturday in showing that he is getting better and better at handling the ball.
• UW was almost a seven-man team in this one with Joel Smith the only other reserve to play — and that just for eight minutes. But that won’t work as well in the Pac-10 tournament, when the Huskies would have to win three games in what would be roughly 40 hours or so.
• Man it was loud here today — by far the loudest arena UW has played in this season. That the Huskies didn’t lose their composure, especially the younger players, is a great sign for the post-season, when it will now be all neutral courts.
• UW swept three Pac-10 road trips this year and finished 6-3 on the road putting to rest all those “can they win on the road” questions we were all asking two months ago.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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