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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 1, 2008 at 7:34 PM

Cal post-game

Like the Huskies, I have a flight to catch tonight, so I’ll give you what I can now and maybe more a little later.
My connection isn’t as tight as Washington’s, however. The game here tipped at 3 p.m. and the Huskies were scheduled for a 7:30 flight out of San Francisco. When Cal rallied late and overtime seemed a possibility, it only made sense that maybe those plans would go awry, since so much often has here in the Bay Area.
Instead, UW held on for a feel-good 87-84 win, and they got to the aiport in time, only to then find that they were on the same flight as the Washington State Cougars.
“We’re meeting them a week earlier than planned,” quipped one UW official, a reference to the game in Pullman next Saturday.
It will be a happy flight back for a Husky team that is playing some of its best basketball of the season.
“We’re playing more the way we know we can play,” said Jon Brockman. “It’s good to see. Any team, if you could pick a time to be playing your best basketball, it’s right now, in March. This is when we want to do it.”
If that sounds like Brockman still has the NCAA Tournament on his mind, you’d be right. At 16-14, the Huskies aren’t going to get an at-large bid. But having beaten UCLA and played Stanford tight in Palo Alto this weekend, the Huskies think they can do some damage at the Pac-10 Tournament.
“If we can all play like that on the same night, we are a really dangerous team,” said Brockman of performances UW got Saturday from fellow underclass big men Joe Wolfinger and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. “And guys are only going to get better.”
Wolfinger was the obvious revelation on this trip, scoring 29 points in two games here, hitting 11-16 shots and six-of-10 three-pointers. The threes were a big part of his game, but Wolfinger also finished on two shots close to the basket, the kind of thing he’s struggled with in the past and which will make him only that much more of a threat.
But this was a true team effort today.
Consider:
— UW won Saturday despite just 10 points and four rebounds from a foul-plagued Brockman, each season-lows.
— UW had just six turnovers, and only one in the first half. That’s the fewest in at least two seasons and possibly the fewest since the Huskies committed a school-record low of three in 2005 against Arizona State. It helped that Cal isn’t a very good defensive team and doesn’t pressure the ball much. Still, UW did a good job taking care of the ball.
Quincy Pondexter also had 31 points for the weekend and led UW with seven rebounds and four assists Saturday while losing just one turnover in 31 minutes. He also went hard to the hoop at one point, showing an aggression that has been missing at some times this season, landing hard on his back on a dunk attempt. He got the wind knocked out of him but returned to play.
Justin Dentmon continunes to play well, scoring 24 points in two games here — 12 in each — with three assists and no turnovers against Cal.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning had six points and five rebounds in 20 minutes, spending much of that time guarding Ryan Anderson, who the Huskies kept in relative check — 19 points compared to the 33 he had in Seattle. The Huskies changed up their scheme on Anderson a bit, doing away with the trapping they used in Seattle, that too often resulted in guys not rotating quickly enough back onto Anderson and allowing him open looks.
Joel Smith had just two points in four minutes, but they were a critical two as he was fouled on the play by Cal’s DeVon Hardin, which was his fourth at the 13:47 marl. Hardin then sat for about five minutes. “That was huge,” Romar said.
Ryan Appleby had a solid game with 16 points in a team-high 35 minutes.
The big picture is a win that assures at least a .500 record by the end of the Pac-10 tournament, and a big step toward getting post-season of some kind. And at the least, regaining some momentum heading into the off-season.
UPDATE — Should mention that Bryan-Amaning tweaked his ankle on a scrum for a rebound of a missed free throw. Romar joked that it was that play “where 15 people fell over.” Bryan-Amaning said it’s not serious.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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