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Husky Men's Basketball

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

March 19, 2009 at 7:11 PM

On to the second round

Well, that proved a lot easier than everybody thought, didn’t it?
Jarvis Varnado was pretty much a non-factor, as was thought that there might be a bunch of Oregon fans in the crowd rooting against the Huskies.
Instead, as Justin Dentmon said “it felt like we was back at home. It was almost louder (than home), well I wouldn’t say it was louder, but it was up there.”
And why not?
If any game showed UW might have some staying power it was this one.
Dentmon and Isaiah Thomas went 4-20 and Jon Brockman sat out almost 10 minutes of the first half with foul trouble. Yet the Huskies won going away against what many regarded as one of the more dangerous 13 seeds in recent memory.
“Today I thought we played to our potential because we were a team in every sense of the word,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
Indeed, the Huskies got a season-high 23 points from Quincy Pondexter, who is quickly showing its unwise to consider him the team’s fourth option. They got some timely offense from Elston Turner and Darnell Gant. And they got more good defense from everyone in holding MSU to 20-59 shooting.
“That’s kind of been what’s been happening with our team the second half of the year,” Romar said of how the Huskies always seem to find a way. “Others have really stepped up and helped us out. It was no different today.”
For my revised game story, I focused quite a bit on the game turned in by Pondexter, who said he was motivated by what he felt was a snubbing by the Pac-10 coaches to tail to at least give him honorable mention for the all-conference team.
For his column, Jerry Brewer wrote about the team effort it took to get the job done.
And if you want all the official quotes from the podium sessions, here they are.
As you can see, MSU coach Rick Stansbury was the latest UW opponent to marvel at UWs defensive pressure.
“We never got a consistent rhythm, I thought, offensively or defensively,” he said. “Again, they had a lot to do with that. They pressured us.”
In particular, the Huskies smothered MSU freshman PG Dee Bost, who was 1-10 with two turnovers and five points and had one frustration offensive foul on Venoy Overton.
“They pressure our point guard,” said MSU guard Barry Stewart. “They got into him a l ot and he had to work to get the ball to the floor every time.”
Also pretty much a non-factor was Varnado, who had five blocked shots but only one in the first half and had foul trouble all game long. The hope was that the Huskies could outphysical him and that proved to be the case.
“Playing without Jarvis definitely affected our rhythm,” Stansbury said.
All of that helped UW win despite shooting just 43.5 percent, the seventh time in the last eight games UW has shot 46 percent or lower — the Seattle U game being the only exception.
Romar said later that may not be something UW will be able to continue forever.
“There’s going to come a time, it may be Saturday, when we need to be clicking on all cylinders,” he said. “Because of our ability to defend here in the last stretch we’ve been able to overcome poor shooting nights by some of our players and tonight was no different.”
Points won’t come as easily Saturday against a Purdue team that is 11th in the nation in field goal percentage defense at 38.9 and is also 17th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio.
“They will not hand us the game, that’s for sure,” Romar said, comparing Purdue to the recent Washington State teams in style. “They’re the type of team that you’re going to have to take it, put your arms around it and take it. They will not beat themselves. They’re as fundamentally sound as any team we’ve played all year. They’re very physical. They’re strong. They’re tough. They don’t take bad shots. They just pass the fundamental test in all aspects.”
As if that isn’t enough, Purdue also has President Barack Obama on its side.
For a night, though, the Huskies can revel in getting to the second round of the tournament for the third time in five years, adding that much more legitimacy to the team’s uprising this season.

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