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Husky Men's Basketball

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

December 29, 2007 at 5:17 PM

A breakthrough win?

That’s what the Huskies are hoping after getting their most significant road win since the 2005-06 season.
In fact, it’s just the second win since that season, which was the end of the Brandon Roy era, as UW beat LSU 73-65 here today in Baton Rouge.
Most impressive was how UW did it, falling behind 41-25 and then outscoring the Tigers 48-24 the rest of the way.
“To be able to come back on the road aganjst this team and come back with a victory and score 46 points in the second half on the road makes you feel good,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. “‘It makes you feel better than when we were on the road last time, put it like that.” That was a 96-71 loss at Oklahoma State, a team that had barely beaten this same LSU squad in the Maui Invitational in November.
“This is great timing, this game, for where we are at this season,” said UW forward Jon Brockman. “We have one more non-conference game at home (against Idaho State Monday) before we start Pac-10s and then it’s on the road every other week, so it was a great game and great timing for going into Pac-10 play.”
— The biggest adjustment for the Huskies was simply playing harder and better. “We got more intense, played a little harder, more aggressive,” said guard Joel Smith. Brockman, meanwhile, said “we just played stupid” in the first half. it was apparently a pretty intense halftime with Brockman saying “even before the coaches came in and started yelling at us we were yelling at each other because we knew exactly what we needed to do. And then they came in and got on us a little more.”
But don’t overlook some coaching moves, either. After often using two big men in the first half to combat LSU’s size inside, the Huskies went small in the second half, with Brockman and Quincy Pondexter at forwards alongside three guards. Artem Wallace played six minutes in the second half but Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Joe Wolfinger, on the floor a combined 13 minutes in the first half, weren’t on the floor at all in the second half.
Romar said he decided to try combating LSU’s size with quickness, noting that the LSU big players didn’t post up much so the lack of height wasn’t the disadvantage it could have been.
“That made a big difference,” Brockman said, noting that Pondexter was able to use his athleticism and strength to guard the big guys and drive on them on the other end.
— The Huskies also went with experience in the second half, particularly in the backcourt — Tim Morris played 16 minutes in the second half and Justin Dentmon 13 while Venoy Overton played just two. UW’s backcourt players lost only five turnovers.
— If you want some LSU player and coach quotes, you can get some here (as well as a few from Romar).
— Morris said the mask he wore to protect his broken nose took a little getting used to, impacting his peripherial vision a bit. But he said he got more comfortable with it as the game wore on. He said he’ll probably have to wear the mask another month or so.
Ryan Appleby was just 2-5 on three-pointers but was 4-8 overall as he twice drove from the three-point line and into the lane to hit runners near the hoop. He said he wasn’t 100 percent while dealing with back spams and also was hounded by LSU’s guards. He finished with 12 points in 30 minutes.
“They did a decent job on him,” Romar said. “But again pick your poison. They were that spread out and we were continually able to get guys to the basket because they always had one guy out there with him. In team defense, if one guy is removed, sooner or later there will be an opening there that you can take advantage of.”
— The player of the game for UW had to be Pondexter, who had 17 points on 8-15 shooting along with five rebounds and some stout defense. He had some interesting things to say afterward about how his trip home for Christmas helped get him in the right state of mind which you’ll be able to read in the paper tomorrow and in our on-line coverage a little later.
“They reminded me me of what type of player I am and opened up my eyes to seeing what my team needed and what kind of player I am and what we need to win,” he said.



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