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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 9, 2006 at 12:13 AM

Tournament tidbits

Of course it would be Oregon that would mess everything up.
Though most of them wouldn’t say so, I’m pretty sure most Husky players — and most fans, as well — wanted a third shot at beating Washington State.
But this one was over in a hurry as the Ducks hit seven three-pointers in the first 14 minutes of the game and went on to beat the Cougars pretty easily, 66-55.
That means the Huskies will play Oregon Thursday at 8:50 p.m. in the quarterfinal round.
Oregon sophomore guard Chamberlain Oguchi hit six of those three-pointers and will definitely be a key for the Ducks tomorrow. He was a non-factor when UW beat Oregon in Seattle 78-59. But his playing time increased after guard Bryce Taylor was injured and Oguchi led the Ducks with 21 in UW’s 75-72 win over Oregon in Eugene Feb. 16.
But the real key in UW’s two wins over Oregon was rebounding.
The Huskies outrebounded the Ducks 42-26 in Seattle and an even more amazing 36-17 in Eugene, a game in which the Huskies had 19 offensive rebounds.
“Obviously, it is going to be a dog fight,” said Oregon guard Malik Hairston. “They play hard for 40 minutes, and we have to try hard to match their intensity and then exceed it as best we can. We just have to play as hard as we possibly can and take care of the basketball. I think we have a great chance of winning the basketball game.”
Maybe, if they shoot again as they did against the Huskies in Eugene. Remember that Oregon made 26-of-49 shots in that game (53.1 percent) with only UW’s rebounding turning the game in Washington’s favor. Only WSU in the game in Seattle shot better at 53.6 percent.
• One other factor, however, will be the health of Oregon guard Aaron Brooks, who has a touch of the flu. That’s why he played just 16 minutes as Oregon coach Ernie Kent was trying to rest him and preserve his strength for the Huskies.
UW fans, however, should thank the Cougars for at least playing hard to the end. Kent obviously wanted to rest all of his players as much as he could, but he couldn’t do it as the Cougars cut a 21-point deficit to seven with about five minutes left.
Still, only Oguchi (36 minutes) played more than 30 minutes. And considering he didn’t play a lot at the beginning of the season, he can probably handle it.
• Asked about the Huskies afterward, Ernie Kent dropped only platitudes on UW. “We are going to have to play hard every single possession because that’s what they are going to do,” he said.
• The Husky players watched the first half of the WSU-Oregon game from the stands before returning to their hotel. The most interesting sight was Artem Wallace’s newly shaved head. One observer jokingly said, “I’m not sure it’s his best look.” You can be the judge should Wallace get in the game tomorrow.
• Washington officials say they expect the number of Huskies fans here will be greater than the past two years, saying the tournament is beginning to catch on. It certainly appeared that way Wednesday night as there were a lot of fans already wearing purple..
• Here’s a link to an annual survey of Pac-10 writers on a number of topics, conducted by Bay Area writer Jeff Farudo.
The survey yielded yet another vote for Brandon Roy as the Pac-10’s Player of the Year. But maybe more interesting than that might have been the response to the question of where Gonzaga would finish if the Bulldogs were in the Pac-10. I’ll admit I’m one of those 15 writers who said Gonzaga would finish third. I don’t think they’d escape all those close ones in the Pac-10 the way they have in the West Coast Conference, especially playing in McKale and Pauley and Maples, etc.



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