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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 3, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Huskies going Bear hunting?

UW’s next action is Thursday night at 7:30 in Berkeley against the Cal Bears.
UW players and coaches don’t need reminding what happened the last time these two teams met — a triple-overtime loss to the Bears in Seattle in which Cal led only at the very beginning and end of the game.
The obvious thought is that the Huskies will be foaming at the mouth to get back at the Bears.
But players and coaches disputed that today, saying revenge isn’t really all that important, but that staying at the top of the Pac-10 Conference is.
“I wouldn’t say we have a revenge-type thought,” said UW forward Jon Brockman. “There’s no real bad blood between us and Cal.”
Said UW coach Lorenzo Romar: “Obviously, no one has forgotten that game. At the same time, we’ve played a half-dozen games since then. Both teams have moved on. We’re in a dogfight to try to finish as high as we can. So that’s the most motivation, not avenging a loss.”
The thought when that game ended is that it might take a while for UW to rebound while the victory might propel Cal to even greater heights.
Instead, the opposite has happened as UW has gone 5-1 since then while Cal is 1-4.
Brockman admitted that the loss was initially tough, saying “it took a little while to get back, But we got back.”
Cal coach Mike Montgomery said today that his team’s fast start “might have been the worst thing for us because everybody started looking at us and everything changed a little.”
But the reality is also that Cal’s schedule hasn’t been easy. The Bears lost a rivalry game at Stanford, suffered an upset at home to Oregon State, then lost at UCLA and USC, a trip where a lot of teams will struggle this year.
“That’s just a testament to how competitive our league is,” Brockman said, looking at what’s happened to the Bears since the game in Seattle.
Romar added that “I’m not sure they are shooting the ball as well as they did early. Early on, they were really, really shooting the ball.”
Indeed, Cal was shooting above 50 percent on three-pointers early in Pac-10 play. Now the Bears are at 40.4 percent, barely ahead of UW (38.2).
Here are a few other notes from today:
— Romar said the team is fine physically. The only player with any real issue is Matthew Bryan-Amaning’s sore toe. Romar said “I’m sure there is some pain, some discomfort” but that he doesn’t think that was a real factor in MBA’s off games in Arizona. “He just went through a tough weekend,” Romar said.
— Romar said he’s not sure UW needs to do a lot different against Cal this time from the last game other than finish it better. “For a long part of that game I thought we did a pretty good job, so there’s not a whole lot to change,” he said.
— Romar said he expects teams may begin to defend Justin Dentmon a little differently but that “he’s not just a spot-up shooter. He can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot.” He also said that the good thing about this team is that it has “a lot of scoring threats” so that if teams do try to focus on Dentmon, others can take advantage. “It’s a little more difficult to key on one or two guys,” he said.
— The Huskies don’t have any players among the top 10 in the Pac-10 in minutes played due to a nine-man rotation. Romar said he thinks that’s already helped UW down the stretch of a few games. “Maybe we were a little fresher as a result of being able to play nine guys,” he said.
— Romar talked a little about Dentmon’s improved shooting and said Dentmon changed his shot this year, jumping straight up and releasing the ball at the top of his jump as opposed to lunging in more of a broad-jump type style the last few years.
— Romar and Dentmon each also mentioned his improved physical conditioning, thanks to some changes made by new strength coach Matt Ludwig. In particular, Dentmon said he is doing more squats and that has improved his leg strength. I wrote a little about Ludwig’s influence on the team last October.
All for now.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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