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Husky Men's Basketball

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

November 18, 2008 at 10:24 PM

Cleveland State post-game

it was a night for messages at Hec Ed, and the one the Huskies ultimately sent is that maybe they won’t be so bad after all as they beat Cleveland State 78-63.
The loss at Portland raised all kinds of fears about this team, and turns out that UW coach Lorenzo Romar was a little more unnerved than he let on publicly.
The coach decided that he needed to quell some bad habits in a hurry and put his players on what Jon Brockman called “a little bit of a tighter leash.”
Indeed, bad shots, sloppy play and lax defense were all met with quick hooks, with players shuttling in and out like drummers in Spinal Tap.
Brockman explained later that players were well aware that if they didn’t adhere to what had been emphasized “that there will be consequences.”
For most of the night, the Huskies paid heed, playing tighter defense, more together on offense and hitting the boards to an astounding 60-34 edge.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, however, the Huskies who played in Portland returned, and what might have been one of the biggest collapses in team history was in the offing as UW’s lead was cut from 24 to 3.
“We came out flat, which is something we need to solve,” Romar said. “We need to be able to come out with the same intensity.”
But as Brockman said, the good news is that the Huskies survived it and beat a team that’s picked to win the Horizon League this year pretty easily. Remember, the Vikings last week beat the same Oakland team that just went into Mac Court and beat Oregon.
“I think this Washington team plays defense really hard and that is one of their strengths,” said CSU coach Gary Waters. “The big guy (Brockman) is a man amongst boys and I thought that he was a major key to the game because they got a lot of second-chance shots from him.”
A few other notes and thoughts:
Isaiah Thomas, as noted in the game thread, didn’t start after showing up a minute late for the pregame warmup while getting his ankles taped. He still played 29 minutes but was just 2-11 for eight points and is 6-20 for the season. He did, however, hit a critical three-pointer that was part of a five-point play that turned the game back UW’s way in the second half. Romar said he thought Thomas simply “missed some shots” and didn’t seem too concerned.
Justin Holiday was the real revelation of the night, finally showing the all-around skills that coaches have been raving about, with 11 rebounds and six points and some stellar defense in 25 minutes. He’s also playing with a sore Achilles. “He provided some energy for us,” Romar said.
Quincy Pondexter had a nice bounceback game with 15 points and nine boards, 13 points in the first half. “He really came out and played well in the first half,” Romar said.
Joe Wolfinger also had a good game with 12 points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. “He did a good job playing his role for us,” Romar said.
— Overton got the start and earned praise from Romar for his on-ball defense early on. But he also got in foul trouble and ended up fouling out in 15 minutes and had just three points.
Darnell Gant earned his second start and while he was 1-6 shooting with just two points, he also had seven rebounds in 16 minutes.
Justin Dentmon took the early brunt of Romar’s new-found hard line when he was taken out less than a minute into the game for a wild shot on a drive. He finished with nine points in 28 minutes along with a game-high six turnovers.
Artem Wallace didn’t play for what was a coach’s decision — he’s fine physically. Scott Suggs also didn’t see action and has not moved off the bench in either of the first two games.
— Possible issues? UW was 2-12 on three-pointers and is now 5-28 for the season. The Huskies also had 18 turnovers, led by the six of Dentmon.
— Here’s the last word from CSU coach Waters: “I think our kids came out a little shell-shocked and our veterans were struggling so when the younger guys were looking to the veterans and not finding a lot, they were a little shell-shocked. At halftime, I told them to come out in the second half and just play and I thought for a while we did that and we were successful.”
UW is back at it on Thursday against Florida International.

Comments | Topics: Scott Suggs

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