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Husky Men's Basketball

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

February 26, 2009 at 11:42 PM

ASU post-game UPDATED

(And if you read this last night, check it out again as I added lots of stuff at the bottom, including a few links).
It’s oh so close now, isn’t it?
After another gutcheck game that UW answered in the affirmative, the Huskies are now just a win away from at least a share of the Pac-10 title, two from winning it outright.
But after 45 minutes of intense basketball, the Huskies hardly felt like celebrating.
“Right now I’m jumping up and down inside, but maybe I’m just a little drained from the game,” said Lorenzo Romar, who looked like he’d gone 15 rounds.
Indeed, UW got this one mostly just by outworking the Sun Devils, forcing turnovers, getting steals, diving for loose balls. That was the theme of my game story — that the Huskies are forging an identity for winning games through toughness and tenacity.
“I thought our intensity was at a high level,” Romar said.
So was that of the crowd throughout as this was a fevered-pitch night, something columnist Steve Kelley wrote about here.
The Huskies weren’t pretty, shooting 23-60, 38.5 percent, their fourth-worth shooting night of the season.
Justin Dentmon was 4-14, Isaiah Thomas 3-13 (and they were a combined 2-13 from three). But Jon Brockman was 8-12 and Quincy Pondexter 5-9, and the Huskies, as Romar said. “we were able to somehow find a way to win.”
I’ll be back with more a little later.
First off, sorry for the lax material earlier. But I’ll add some more post-game notes and quotes now..
Bud Withers of our staff wrote a nice column about UW’s defensive plan on James Harden. Harden had 15 points at halftime and finished with 19 thanks to the team effort of Darnell Gant, Justin Holiday and Quincy Pondexter.
Percy Allen of our staff had a nice sidebar on Dentmon going from goat to hero to goat to hero. His story has a good explanation of what happened on the turnover in the final seconds of regulation that forced OT, so I won’t repeat it here.
— Here’s the view from the Arizona Republic including a quote from ASU coach Herb Sendek saying his team “battled like crazy” and Harden criticizing the call on which he fouled out.
— Here’s more of what Sendek said later: “I don’t think we ran out of gas. I think our guys battled like crazy and I think it could have gone either way. … We gave every ounce that we had.” Of Washington he said: “They’re a deep, talented team. They have more depth than we do. They do a great job with their pressure defense.”
— I think the last two comments from Sendek may have hit it on the head. In a three-point 45-minute game, there are lots of turning points. But one no doubt was when Venoy Overton entered in the first half and the game was tied and he applied heavy pressure on Derek Glasser and sparked a run that suddenly had UW up 21-8. “Venoy Overton gave us a great lift and spark in the first half,” Romar said.
— And depth was also key. UW outscored ASU 14-2 from the bench including what might have been the best game from Matthew Bryan-Amaning in a month. He played only nine minutes (I think mostly because he didn’t have an obvious defensive matchup if he played alongside Brockman as ASU is on the small side) but hit 3-5 shots and scored six points with four rebounds along with two blocks. I don’t have the exact quote but Romar noted later what a big nine minutes MBA played —- all but three in the first half.
— Brockman was obviously huge with 21 and 12 — interestingly, just his third 20-point plus game since November. The Huskies were smart in OT to go right to Brockman and take advantage of the fact that Jeff Pendergraph had four fouls. Brockman said later that was exactly the plan. “We knew he was going to do whatever he could to stay in the game,” Brockman said, which meant he wouldn’t heavily contest those shots.
— Don’t discount the game Pondexter had with 10 points on 5-9 shooting and a team-high 12 rebounds. Coaches want Pondexter to be efficient and he didn’t force things tonight.
— Is Isaiah Thomas hitting the freshman wall? It’s a question worth asking after he went 3-13 tonight. He’s now 10-34 in his last three games, averaging nine points a game in that span, and 1-8 on three-pointers.
— And you have to praise Dentmon’s resilience to come back from an 0-6 first half to score 16 points. Asked what the problem was early he said: “I tried to get a rhythm but it wasn’t falling for me.” But after settling for too many jumpers early, he adjusted to penetrate more and was 7-10 from the foul line, the most free throws of anyone in the game.
— One of you asked me if the refs did in Arizona State. I don’t know. UW was 10-11 on free throws in the first half, ASU 8-10. UW finished 25-31 to ASU’s 9-13 which is quite the difference. But I thought UW was more aggressive in the second half, penetrating and getting into the lane. Also, ASU began fouling with about a minute-and-a-half to go in the OT. UW was 8-10 on FTs in the second half to ASU’s 0-1, accounting for a large share of the difference.
— Here are the Pac-10 standings:
Washington 12-4
ASU 10-5
UCLA 10-5
Cal 10-5
Arizona 8-7
USC 7-8
Oregon State 7-8
WSU 7-9
Stanford 4-11
Oregon 1-14
As you can see, all the edges are in UW’s favor now. Win just one of the last two and it’s at least a share of a conference title. But don’t discount how tough that WSU game could be. WSU has beaten UCLA on the road and beaten Arizona by 16 in its last two games — as impressive a two-game stretch as just about anybody in the conference has had all year. UW players realize that well. “We can’t slouch now,” Pondexter said. “We have to come ready and get prepared for Saturday.”
— Oh, and thanks again for the sign.
All for now.

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