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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 11, 2007 at 8:34 PM

Hawes and defense key win

The talk after UW’s 64-52 win over Stanford was about the team’s defense and the return to form of Spencer Hawes.
The Huskies held Stanford to 52 points, only Weber State (51) has scored fewer against UW this year, and 38 percent shooting.
Hawes, meanwhile, scored 18 points despite being guarded most of the game by Stanford’s Robin Lopez, the Pac-10 leader in blocked shots.
“It was good tonight to see him playing like the normal Spencer,” said UW forward Jon Brockman.
If the Huskies continue to get those two things — defense and solid play from Hawes — a run at the NCAA Tournament isn’t out of the question.
UW has six games left and wins in four of them might actually be enough to get them in. That would put the Huskies at 20-10 overall before the Pac-10 tournament, which would give an opportunity for another win or two (or three or four depending on how it unfolds).
And if all four of their remaining regular-season wins came in Pac-10 play, UW would finish 10-8, which might also be enough (though much still depends, in terms of perception, on how competitive the Huskies are against Pitt Saturday).
Just as important, doing that would give the Huskies a solid record in their last 10 games, which is one of the key factors the NCAA Tournament considers.
UW’s RPI was 77 heading into today’s game, which obviously isn’t very good. But as I detailed in a story talking with some bracketologists last week, UW’s RPI isn’t a huge issue. If they win the games they need to win the rest of the way, the RPI will rise enough to make it good enough.
As for the defense, UW players said afterward it’s mostly an issue of finally understanding its importance.
“We put together a very good defensive effort tonight,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. “I thought, as a group, we did what we were supposed to do. It was just great to see guys go out and compete together as a team at a high level.”
“Our guys did a prety good job of containing everyone and we really did a good job of being alert and rotating,” Romar continued. “I thought, in the first half, we got almost every loose ball.”
The Huskies weren’t great on offense, shooting just 38.2 percent themselves, but they at least had the right guys shooting most of the time. Hawes and Brockman were a combined 11-24 and Ryan Appleby and Quincy Pondexter took the majority of the rest of the shots. In fact, those four were 19-41. The rest of the team was 2-14.
Justin Dentmon had a subpar game, but was hampered by two early fouls that had him on the bench for all but six minutes in the first half, and he then spent most of the second half trying to get the ball inside as the Huskies made a more concerted effort to do that after the break. Dentmon was 0-4 with three points, two turnovers and no assists in 19 minutes.
“We turned the ball over too many times in the first half (7),” Romar said. “But until the last minute or two, we did a good job of taking care of the ball in the second half.”



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