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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 8, 2009 at 6:22 PM

Stanford post-game

Maybe other than Isaiah Thomas’ floating runner in traffic with just over two minutes left, this wasn’t a thing of beauty for the Washington Huskies.
But then, when you’ve lost 15 games in a row in one place, you don’t argue much about style.
On paper, this will go down as a a most beautiful win for the Huskies, not only finally ending that 15-game losing streak here, but also giving the Huskies a split of this trip, a split of their four-game road swing the past two weeks, and keeping them within a half-game of first place in the Pac-10. (Here’s my game story with some detail on Thomas’ big shot).
“This game really left us with a good shot to be in the title race,” said UW forward Jon Brockman. “That’s something that hasn’t been done for a long time. So we’ve got to go home and really take advantage of our home court.”
Indeed, with Oregon State and Oregon coming in next week, the immediate future looks bright for the Huskies.
The present looked dim a few times Sunday, however, particularly when Stanford grabbed a 25-15 lead midway through the first half. But Venoy Overton, forced into heavy action due to foul trouble to Justin Dentmon, played one of his best games of the year, and keyed a comeback with some intense pressure defense that helped force Stanford into 16 turnovers for the game, 11 in the first half.
“He was the MVP,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar. “He brought us a lot of energy.”
Said Overton: “I just went out there and played. JD got in foul trouble and he’s really been coming up big for us and I just wanted to pick up the slack and help out our team as much as I could.”
Overton almost immediately forced Stanford backup PG Drew Shiller into two turnovers, and Shiller played only four minutes the entire game.
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins thought that turnaround one of the keys to the game.
“I thought we had our moments of playing very well, especially in the first half,” he said. “I think they weathered that storm. We got up by about 10 points and they forced us into some turnovers and were able to get out and get some easy baskets. More importantly, I think it gave them a sense that they can play and be successful. It was more of a mindset that changed I think after probably the first 10 minutes of the game, when we turned it over and gave them opportunities.”
UW then scored the first nine points of the second half en route to taking a 15-point lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
But as should have been expected considering UW’s history here. Stanford rallied and cut the lead to three before Thomas hit as big a shot as the Huskies have had this season with 2:02 left, starting a 9-0 Husky run that ended suspense.
“We just tried to get him a ball screen and get him in space,” Romar said of the Thomas play, which came after a Husky time out. “Sometimes, the better the player, the less you have to do to put him in a situation where they have room to operate.”
Said Thomas: “I just had to create something. … that’s a normal thing. I’ve just got to get it over the big guys.”
Romar said he thought that shot “energized” his team and keyed the game-ending run that put it away.
“This team dug down down the stretch,” he said. “I thought we did a good job of getting them to shoot from the perimeter with the exception of a couple of leaks on defense. I thought our guards did a great job of controlling the game down the stretch.”
If you read any of the dispatches the past couple days, you’re aware Romar didn’t much care about talking about the streak, so he apparently never told his players about it beforehand, and mentioned it only briefly afterward just to let his players know it was now over.
Depending on the player, however, it was a bigger deal.
“It definitely feels great to get that monkey off our back,” said Quincy Pondexter. “It’s a little similar to the Washington State game but we were a lot more quiet about it. We didn’t talk about this streak here. Some of the guys didn’t know exactly how long it was. It feels good to get it over.”
Brockman is one of three seniors who can now leave having won at least once in every other Pac-10 arena.
“Man. it’s good to just kind of get it out of the way,” he said. “Especially for (the younger) guys. I won’t ever play here again. But (they) can say ‘all right now, it’s not in our minds’ anymore and we can kind of start a streak of our own.”
SOME OTHER NOTES:
— After a slow start, Brockman was 5-7 shooting and finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, the 53rd double-double of his career, which leads the nation.
— Pondexter had 20 points, on top of the 21 at Cal, for one of his best weekends as a Husky. Much of his family was here for both games, today including uncle Cliff, who hasn’t made it to all that many. “I’ve just turned over a new leaf, kind of,” Pondexter said. “Everything is starting to fall in place and I’m just coming out and trying to play as hard as I can.” He hit 13-27 shots in the two games down here with 14 rebounds in 57 minutes.
— Overton’s five assists were the most for any Husky since Justin Holiday had six against UCLA.
— Thomas finished with 17, hititing 6-11 shots.
— The Huskies again started out strong to begin the second half, something they have done often this season. “I think we are fortunate to have good depth and we are still fresh in the second half,” Romar said.
— After four in a row on the road, UW returns home for not only five of the last seven conference games but six of eight overall including the recently-added Seattle U game. “I’m proud of our guys,” Romar said. “They have done a really good job with this schedule. We’ve just had a couple of games where we’ve slipped up and didn’t bring the intensity for 40 mintues and do what we are supposed to do. But for the most part, our guys have done a good job.”
— Should also add that this was another game where UW had a decided FT advantage, hitting 21-28 for the game and 13-15 in the second half, to Stanford’s 9-17 for the game, which included a few misses on the front ends of one-and-ones.
All for now.

Comments | Topics: top 25, UCLA

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