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Husky Men's Basketball

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January 17, 2009 at 10:11 PM

Oregon State post-game

When it was 17-10 Beavers midway through the first half, tonight’s game at Oregon State looked like it would be a street fight.
Then, suddenly, it turned into a cakewalk as the Huskies blew out Oregon State 85-59 at Gill Coliseum.
And when it was done, UW had won over at least one observer — OSU coach Craig Robinson.
“That is a very good team,” he said. “I’m surprised they are not ranked. They have good athletes, good execution, fast, athletic.
“We’ve played some good teams (including UCLA and Arizona State) and they are right up there with them. I wouldn’t say they are the best, only because I can’t make that (kind of) statement. But when you think about it, they are the team that handled us the best. Even UCLA, when we lost that game, we played them evenly in the second half. This was the game where it just seemed like we were overmatched.”
Another courtside observer, who has followed Oregon State all season and saw the Beavs play Arizona State last week, said “I like their talent as much as ASU’s.”
Indeed, it was that kind of performance for the Huskies as they dominated in every area, simply — as Robinson said — overmatching the Beavers everywhere.
UW outboarded OSU 46-19, taking advantage of the holes in the zone defense to crash the boards, shot 58.6 percent, and even made 12-15 free throws.
UW has now won three straight road conference games by a combined 63 points.
Along the way, they have displayed a maturity and togetherness missing from the teams of the last two seasons.
“We’re completely more cohesive,” said junior swingman Quincy Pondexter. “We’ve been playing a lot better as a team. We hang out a lot more (off the court). I’m really excited to see how this season plays out.”
UW fans should be, as well, as suddenly this looks like a team ready to go dancing in March.
The win tonight moved UW into a tie for first-place in the Pac-10, and while it’s early, it’s obviously also what good teams do — take care of business and get themselves in good position for the stretch run. UW can add some legitimacy to their standing next weekend when it hosts USC and UCLA at home.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar, after watching highly-hyped teams flail into mediocrity the last two seasons, likes what he has seen so far, and thinks the Huskies are turning a corner while noting that the Pac-10 season is not yet one-third over.
“Success breeds confidence and I think that’s what we are possibly seeing,” he said. “But we’ve played fivve conference games. We’ve got 13 more to go, It’s a long season. In this conference, you can be as high as a kite one week, be as low as low the next. So we know we’ve got to take it one game at a time.”
— So how good was this team feeling after this one? Artem Wallace walked out of the locker room afterward, spied a couple of reporters, and said with a smile that “I called bank on that first one.” That was a reference to his free throw adventure late in the game when he hit one of two — banking in one while shooting an airball on the second one. The second one, Wallace said, slipped out of his hand. The team greeted Wallace with a standing ovation after the airball as a sign of support. Pondexter said that Wallace who has notoriously struggled from the line in his UW career, has been practicing banking in free throws of late and that the make wasn’t an accident. “We let him bank the shots now,” Pondexter said. “As long as he makes one we are happy. But he’s got to keep that up.”
Matthew Bryan-Amaning led UW’s dominating rebounding effort with nine a week after he had zero in 36 minutes against Cal. Asked how MBA got zero against Cal, Romar said “I wish I knew. But he did a much better job tonight.” Romar said the Cal game was a motivating force for MBA. “I’m sure it was. He’s a proud man and he’s aware of that. So he went out and made sure to attack the glass.”
— UW’s early struggles were due largely to being tentative against OSU’s 1-3-1 zone defense. But eventually, UW solved it, outscoring the Beavers 50-26 in the pain. “It took us a little bit to kind of get in a rhythm,” said Jon Brockman. “As soon as we figured it out, we knew where to get the ball, we worked pretty well in it., Our guys did a great job of moving that ball around and getting it down low.”
— Romar said he was impressed his players didn’t just settle for taking three-pointers. UW shot 17 making a timely five. “The first half of the first half, we were kind of feeling them out,” Romar said. “But once we settled down, realized what was going on, we did a great job of getting the ball inside. We were smart defensively, got good shots, were really patient. I was pleased with how we handled our business tonight.”
The road home awaits, so all for now.

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