Lots of heroes in this one.
The obvious is Jon Brockman, whose 31 points and 18 rebounds are each career-highs.
“I just don’t know how much more he could have done,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
Others who stood out were:
— Justin Dentmon, scoring 16 points in seeming to thrive in his new two-guard role, including four in a row in the final two minutes to spark UW’s 9-0 run that put the game away;
— Justin Holiday, who played the last 11 minutes and helped shut down Utah’s Stephen Weigh, who led the Utes with 21 but had just two in the final 10 minutes. Romar said afterward that Holiday would be “‘the other guy to get a game ball. … He came in the game and you could just tell his ultimate desire was for us to win and what he could do to help us win. It was ‘how do I help win this game?”’
— Venoy Overton, who had some foul trouble in the second half but got UW rolling in the first half when he had five of his six assists.
— Joel Smith, who had 11 points, all seeming to come at key times when Utah was making a run.
The Huskies also showed some grit in rallying late after losing an 11-point lead early in the second half, pulling off the kind of late-game heroics that often eluded them a year ago.
“It was a really hard-fought battle and a hard-fought win for our team,” Romar said. “When we got up 10 or 11 and it appeared that they were on the ropes, I felt like if we could’ve got a couple of stops and taken care of the ball we could have distanced ourselves. But that didn’t happen. To their credit, they continued to play and continued to fight. But when it appeared that we might be on the ropes, we did the same thing.”
Here are a few quotes from Brockman:
On how he scored going against Utah’s 7-1 Luke Nevill: “I knew I could reverse pivot and fake at him and get him leaning one way and kind of use my strength to keep him off. So I did that a little bit and he ended up sinking back and giving me room and I just kind of took the shot. … I play as if I have the six inches, people are always well he’s 6-7, lets play and go at it and see what happens.”
On the importance of getting to New York: “When it comes down to it, we wanted to go to New York. It was something that we had put on our calenders and wanted to do.”
Here are some quotes from Utah coach Jim Boylen.
First, on the last two minutes: “You’ve got to give Washington credit. They hung in there and they made plays at the end and we didn’t. At this level, you’ve got to make the plays at the end. We missed seven free throws throughout the game and that hurt us. We had some shots at the end that you’ve got to make.
On rebounding: “We got killed on the boards, 14-2 on the offensive boards. You’ve got to give them credit for that. They played hard. But you know, you let the other team shoot 37 free throws on the road and you are going to have a hard time winning.
Lots of heroes in this one.
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