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Husky Men's Basketball

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

November 23, 2007 at 6:25 PM

Kelley comments from N.Y.

Random thoughts after Washington’s 91-85 loss to Syracuse in the consolaton game of the NIT tournament:
Coach Lorenzo Romar made the right move changing the starting lineup, replacing 6-foot-4 Joel Smith with 6-9 freshman Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Washington needs more size up front to take some pressure off Jon Brockman and, although Brockman played with foul problems and Bryan-Amaning had only eight points and five rebounds, the move gave sophomore Quincy Pondexter more touches and more confidence.
Bryan-Amaning is raw, but I think, by February, he’s going to be a force inside.
Still, Washington didn’t answer any questions on this 0-2 trip to New York. They’re still turning over the ball too much. They had 15 turnovers in the first half against Syracuse and 21 for the game. Smith had six, including three in a key stretch in the first half, when Washington was outscored 15-0 and fell behind 31-25.
Washington still is committing too many silly fouls. The Huskies committed 35 fouls to Syracuse’s 17. Three starters – Pondexter, Brockman and Venoy Overton – and backup big man Joel Wolfinger fouled out. Brockman got his second less than five minutes into the game and played only 21 minutes. For the Huskies to win, Brockman and Overton have to be on the floor 35-plus minutes.
Romar received his first technical foul call of the year, objecting to the fourth foul call on Brockman with 17:48 left and the Huskies trailing 52-46. “Yes, I deserved it,” Romar said of the T. “If raising my voice at an official asking him, or saying loudly, ‘Come on,’ or something, with the new rules, I probably deserved it.”
If he can stay out of foul trouble,Wolfinger can become an offensive threat, both inside and out. That, however is a big if.
The freshman point guard duel between Overton and Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn should be declared a draw. Overton had 11 points, four assists and a turnover in 27 minutes. Flynn had 16 points, two assists and two turnovers in 29 minutes.
Among those impressed with Overton was former Huskies quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who was wearing purple behind the UW bench. Tuiasosopo is the New York Jets’ No. 3 quarterback and, although he said the 2-9 season on the bench has been discouraging, “I still love this game and I’m going to keep playing it until somebody tells me, enough. I’m just waiting for another chance somewhere. A lot of this is timing.”
Representing Syracuse was HBO and NBC’s Bob Costas, a Syracuse alum who sat in back of the Orange bench.
Asked what he learned about his team from this trip to New York, Romar said, “I’m encouraged. How in the world can you be encouraged when we didn’t win a game? Because I think that things that we didn’t do well to allow us to win the games are fixable. And there are some other things that we were able to do here in these two games that we can go play against anybody and I think we’ll have a chance to win. So that’s encouraging.”
Romar still is trying to figure out substitution rotations before conference play begins in Janary, but the team does have an important RPI stretch in December with games at Oklahoma State and LSU and at home against Pitt. The Huskies learned last year that they can’t depend on their conference’s strength to get them into the NCAA tournament. And they’re going to have to win games on the road.
The Huskies will be much better when Ryan Appleby and his three-point shooting return in mid- December.
“He’s a big piece off what we do,” said Brockman, who was limited to 10 points and nine rebounds because of foul trouble. “Defenses have to respect him. Tonight the [Syracuse] lead was three points and five points and when you’ve got a shooter like Ryan, who shoots threes like they’re layups, those leads can go away real quick.”

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