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Husky Men's Basketball

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

January 22, 2009 at 11:08 PM

USC post-game

B-Roy was back in the house, and it felt a little like not-really-so-old times tonight at Hec Ed, didn’t it?
The Huskies weren’t pretty —- with 18 turnovers and hitting just 20-54 shots — but they gutted this one out, doing so in some unlikely ways, hitting 32-40 free throws to hold off USC 78-73.
“When you go out and turn the ball over 18 times like we did and you shoot 37 percent like we did and you still win — that is something I am very proud of in our guys,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said.
Indeed, it was just that much more evidence that this is a tougher, grittier team than the squads of the last two years, not apt to fold at the first sign of trouble.
“It came down to who wanted it more and who was tougher,” said guard Isaiah Thomas. “We, obviously, were tougher and wanted it more than they did.”
The Huskies did catch some breaks — USC’s leading scorer, Dwight Lewis, missed the game with a sprained ankle and his replacement, freshman Leonard Washington, looked awed by the atmosphere all night long, hitting just 1-8 shots before fouling out.
And the Trojans made about eight or so really dumb plays that helped UW’s cause, as well.
But the Huskies also simply had more shotmakers than the Trojans did — and that’s despite a hard-to-believe game from Jon Brockman, who was 0-8 from the floor, missing a wide-open layin in the final minute.
“We’ve got so many different weapons on this team this year,” Thomas said. “We stepped it up for him and got the win for our team.”
UW trailed by three early in the second half when it took control led by Justin Dentmon, who scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, and Thomas, who had 15 of his 17 in the second half.
Dentmon noticed that USC’s defense changed once the Trojans got in foul trouble, knocking them out of some of their gimmick zones and back into more man-to-man.
Thomas said he simply had to find the right times to pick his spots.
“Coach just kept telling me to be patient and the shots will come,” he said.
Now UW’s time has come to step back into the college basketball spotlight. The Huskies are now tied for the Pac-10 lead with UCLA at 5-1 — and thanks to Cal’s shocking loss at home to Oregon State — with the Bruins coming Saturday to Hec Ed, where they have lost four straight. It’s still not even halfway through the conference season yet, so the game will mean only so much. Still, win that game and the Huskies would not only lead the Pac-10 but likely find themselves ranked.
A fitting re-emergence for a night when Roy was the guest of honor.
“It was weird just knowing he was getting his jersey retired,’’ Thomas said. “We’ve got to win the game just because of that, so that was big. It got us hyped up to win and we came out and played hard.”
A FEW MORE NOTES
— The game featured the first sell-out of the season (officially, 10,000) and Romar said “the crowd was the best it has been all year. Today, the crowd was sensational and that really helped us.”
— The game featured one of the oddest calls anyone has ever seen when one official whistled a block and another a charge when USC’s Washington ran over Thomas. Asked about it later, Romar playfully tried to beg off: “Why are you trying to get me in trouble?” He said the whole thing was “way too complicated” for him. “I’m just a coach.”
— Are UW’s free throw trpoubles over? UW has now hit 80 percent of its free throws in each of its last two games and has made 75 percent or better in four of the last seven games, and never lower than 61 percent in that span.
Quincy Pondexter quietly had a nice game with 11 points and a game-high five assists.
— Romar praised the defensive play of Darnell Gant and Justin Holiday.
Venoy Overton was 3-15 on three-pointers before tonight but hit both of his attempts against the Trojans, typifying how the Huskies seem to keep confounding their numbers when it comes to outside shooting.
— Count Matthew Bryan-Amaning among the improving free throw shooters as he was 6-6.
— Said USC coach Tim Floyd: “We played a good team. If you had told me going into the game that we were going to make eight more field goals than they were, and shoot 47 percent, and they were going to shoot 37 percent, I would tell you we were going to win.” But Floyd said “we fouled too much to win on the road” and that “they have a fine team. We just gave up too many free throws.”
— Asked about the celebration for Roy, Romar said “I just sit back and marvel” at how he handles himself. “It was great to win this, to make Brandon’s celebration complete.”
All for tonight.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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