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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 8, 2008 at 11:23 PM

WSU post-game

So this is the kind of day it was for the Huskies.
After playing their hearts out, and getting their hearts ripped out, they showed up to the Pullman airport only to find they were getting one of those new Horizon planes painted in the colors and logos of the Northwest Pac-10 schools. And guess which one the Huskies got? Yep, the Cougar plane.
But on a night when the Huskies seemed to lose a lot — a game, and maybe their leader —- it also felt like they gained a lot, as well. (Here’s my game story which has a lot of the nuts and bolts of what happened in the game so I won’t repeat a lot of that here).
Sure, it was a seventh straight defeat to rival Washington State, a record for this series. And I know that causes a lot of frustration among a lot of you out there.
And no doubt, the other harsh reality is that the Huskies finish at 7-11 in Pac-10 play, their worst record since the 2002-03 season, Lorenzo Romar’s first, and in eighth place (also the worst since that season).
But you also had to like a lot of what you saw tonight.
I thought this might have been the grittiest performance by a Husky team since the Brandon Roy days considering the opponent, the venue and the Senior Day setting.
UW dominated the boards, 47-29, and came right back every time it seemed the Cougars were on the verge of pulling away.
Quincy Pondexter battled back from a scoreless first half to score 12 in the second and power a UW comeback; Venoy Overton kept aggressively pushing the ball and finished with six assists; and Ryan Appleby finally find some open looks against the Cougars and finished with 16 points.
“We battled for the whole time,” said Overton. “We never gave up.”
That’s not something that could always be said the last two years, and I know that can sound like moral victory kind of stuff.
But it’s also something that’s too often been an issue for this group of players, one they appear to be solving given the way the last half of the Pac-10 season has gone. Of the last eight games, only the loss at Oregon and the home defeat to Arizona State have had tinges of the bad moments of the last two years.
“We are getting to the point now where we are coming into games and everyone is ready to play,” said UW forward Jon Brockman. “I think we are playing our best basketball right now.”
Unfortunately, UW may have to go on without Brockman for the immediate future. Playing back the tape of what he said afterward and his comments sounded a little worse. He said of the ankle that “it turned about all the way over that it could.”
He also called it “a pretty good sprain” and said it’s worse than anything he has had in college.
Romar said it may take 48 hours to really assess the damage, though Brockman will see doctors again Sunday for further examination. But Romar also pointed out that such sprains routinely hold guys out two weeks.
So this could mean Brockman is done for the season, or at least nowhere near 100 percent for the rest of the season. Here’s more on Brockman’s injury from our notebook.
Surely he would have felt a little better had the Huskies pulled this one out, and it seemed several times like all the Huskies needed was one more play. Maybe if Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who continues to emerge, had made that shot with just under a minute left in regulation. Or maybe if UW had made a few more free throws in the first overtime — UW was pretty good most of the game, going 14-20. But Overton and Brockman each went 1-2 in the last 2:13 of the first OT, points that proved critical.
Or maybe if UW hadn’t lost a season-high 22 turnovers, which Romar said “probably cost us the game.”
I’m sure some of you also rue that UW was called for 26 fouls and had two guys fouled out compared to WSU’s 19 fouls. But for the record, no one on the UW side complained much about the officiating. Overton said a foul probably could have been called on his drive to the hoop at the end of the first overtime but that “I’m not complaning about it. That was a smart play. One player showed his hands to the ref and the other player kind of got his hands in there.”
As Brockman said: “They are a great basketball team and we gave them a couple of opportunities we shouldn’t have given them. But both teams really fought hard tonight.”
The question now will be whether the Huskies can take that fight with them to Los Angeles if they have to play without Brockman.

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