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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 12, 2009 at 7:16 PM

Stanford post-game

I’m seeing a lot of you mention that this looks like a stale environment here at the Staples Center. Have to admit it seems fairly fresh at the moment as I watch Cal try to come back on USC. The most energy of the weekend so far, though this place is so big it just takes a lot to give it some juice.
To try to answer the question one more time of the tournament and being here at Staples, it’s due mostly to the contract with FSN which is based in LA and when the tournament was reborn in 2002 had a sizeable ownership stake in this arena, so it was looking for both events to place here and TV programming. The Pac-10 also liked the idea of a permanent site to try to create both tradition and the idea of a destination for fans and with Disneyland and everything else there is to do here, hoped it would become something of a vacation-type of deal for fans in the spring. The contract runs through 2012 so nothing is changing anytime soon.
As for the Huskies, I think they will be involved in a pretty high-energy game tomorrow against ASU, as well.
“It’ll be a war,” said forward Quincy Pondexter. “A battle.”
Indeed, ASU will no doubt want to prove that it can beat the Huskies after losing two hotly contested games in the regular season that ultimately were the difference in UW winning the Pac-10 and ASU finishing tied for third.
Said ASU forward Jeff Pendergraph: “I think it would be a nice little redemption game to get another shot at them. That would be a nice thing to have. The games we played against them, it wasn’t like they were blowouts or we didn’t belong on the court,. We hung with them and they were to-the-wire games. So I think if the ball bounces our way one more time, the games would be different.”
Certainly, UW will have to play better than it did tonight to beat ASU a third time.
Washington’s 21 turnovers were its second-most of the year behind only the 23 of the season-opener at Portland.
It also took UW a while to get its offense going, shooting 13-37 in the first half. But a lot of that was due to a combined 0-10 from Isaiah Thomas (0-6) and Pondexter (0-4).
Thomas admitted he was a little in awe playing at Staples, where he’s watched Kobe Bryant and the Lakers play so many games on TV.
“It was weird,” he said. “I mean, the thing is thinking Kobe plays here, Shaq plays here and I looked up at all the banners.”
Pondexter also said he was thrown off a little by the tourney format that leaves only 30 minutes for a pre-game warmup when teams play the second game of a double-header.
“I was a little tentative,” he said. “It was just a little unsettling because I wasn’t really adjust to playing here. I’m one of those players who likes to come in early and get up a lot of shots get a real feel for the game and the gym. I just didn’t play well in the first half.”
But both got going in the second half as UW pulled away, Thomas scoring 14 and Pondexter 11.
Said Thomas: “I just tried to get easy buckets in transition. I felt like I could get easy buckets and they would start coming to me and I started feeling it a little bit.”
Said Pondexter: “It was a little tough for me but coach talked to me at halftime and I responded pretty well after that.”
A FEW MORE NOTES. …
— My game story focused a bit on the pace of the game and how that favored the Huskies, so I won’t repeat much of that here except to say it seemed like it didn’t make a lot of sense that Stanford just kept jacking up shots five seconds into just about every possession. “Venoy (Overton) came to me in the middle of the game and was like ‘they are playing our pace,”’ said Justin Dentmon. “That’s what we wanted them to do.”
Elston Turner’s nine points were his most since 11 at Arizona in January. “They were huge,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said of his three three-pointers. “We were having trouble taking care of the basketball and not having a rhythm offensively and those gave us some breathing room.”
— Thomas led UW with a career-high nine rebounds, though he said he had no idea until told by an assistant after the game. Thomas said most of boards came on long caroms of Stanford misses as the Cardinal was just 8-28 on three-pointers. “They came off long and I was out there and took the opportunity,” he said. “It’s not like I was Jon (Brockman) going after them. But they came to me so I just took it.”
— Romar said he felt confident at halftime because he felt UW had simply missed a lot of shots it normally makes,. “I think we specifically told our guys during a time out that we are missing some easy ones but that those are going to start going down for us,” he said.
— Credit the Huskies with another solid defensive performance as Stanford was 26-73 overall and 8-28 on three-pointers. “I thought we did a good job contesting their threes,” Romar said.
— Dentmon was 3-9 and is 15-52 in his last five games against Pac-10 teams.
— UW’s 12 steals were the most in a Pac-10 game other than 13 in the first Oregon game.
All for now.

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