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Topic: Montana

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November 26, 2013 at 11:01 PM

Washington overcomes early deficit, late Montana rally for narrow win

University of Washington's guard C.J. Wilcox grabs some air for a layup in a scrum of players from both teams in the second half. (Lindsey Wasson - Seattle Times)

University of Washington’s guard C.J. Wilcox grabs some air for a layup in a scrum of players from both teams in the second half. (Lindsey Wasson – Seattle Times)

C.J. Wilcox said the Huskies can learn a few things about themselves after close wins like Tuesday’s 83-79 nail-biter over Montana.

Washington certainly made things interesting in the first half and in the final minutes when they appeared out of sync defensively against at home against the Big Sky powerhouse who was nearly unstoppable early on.

The Huskies trailed by eight (29-21) in the first half. They got their first lead nearly 27 minutes into the game. They led by nine points and were up by eight (80-72) with 1:29 left before the offense stalled and the defense nearly buckled.

But in the end, Washington made the plays that mattered to improve to 3-2.

The Huskies were helped by a pair of missed UM free throws in the final 12 seconds, which might have made things very interesting. But Washington was also able to rely on its strong free-throw shooting and rebounding to pull out the win.

The Huskies made 24 of 31 at the line. They also dominated the glass 34-14, allowing Montana just one offensive rebound. Washington had 11 offensive rebounds and outscored UM 13-2 on second-chance points.

However, the game was noteworthy because coach Lorenzo Romar said afterwards the Huskies have tweaked their trademark, ball-hawking defense due to the NCAA new rules, which prohibit hand checking and allows offensive players greater freedom on the perimeter.

Washington will no longer extend its defense and try to deny passes and go for steals. Without a bonafide shot-blocker inside, the Huskies are intent on packing in their defense to restrict driving lanes to the basket.

Romar installed the offense Sunday after the team’s 0-2 showing last week in New York. The Huskies had two days to work out the kinks, which were still very evident in the first half Tuesday.

“For me I’ve been doing one way for five years,” said Wilcox, a fifth-year senior. “It’s more packed in and I find myself going out further than I was supposed to. We’re just trying to contain the drive. We’re giving up way too many open layups and we’re trying to pack it in more.”

Said Romar: “We are trying to protect the paint more. Because of the rules, I just found that maybe we play a little tentative outside. Maybe now we are more in the driving lanes instead of the passing lanes.”

More Huskies inside equaled more rebounds. However, Washington had difficulty finding UM shooters on the perimeter. The Grizzlies made 9 of 15 three-pointers in the first half and 11 of 23 in the game.

That was an impressive, impressive display of shooting early on,” Romar said. “We had some scout errors, some miscues and broken-down coverages and that kind of got them in a rhythm.

“In the second half we did a much better job of defending their shooters. … We did a better job of defending the three.”

Still, Washington has plenty of work to do and you  have to wonder if the Huskies can continue with a seven-man rotation in which every starter plays at least 32 minutes.

“We’ve been through a lot of adversity,” Wilcox said. “I think we’ve handled it well. Obviously it would be a different story if we had some of our guys, but we’ve been sticking together knowing we have to play harder and do more than we normally would.

“This year, we’ve been learning on the fly since the season started. We just have to keep learning and hopefully get it down by Pac-12.”

MORE NOTES, QUOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:

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November 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Guess the UW Score contest: Montana

Washington returns from a miserable trip to New York last week where the Huskies stumbled in two games at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic.

They lost 89-78 to Boston College last Friday, however, there were two winners in the Guess the UW Score contest.

The Dawg Whisperer and skeetss both predicted an 88-80 BC win.

Congrats guys. Contact me via email (pallen@seattletimes.com) or Twitter to claim your prize.

Alright, let’s move on.

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE:

California (5-0) vs. No. 8 Syracuse (5-0), 4 p.m. ………….. ESPN

Montana (1-2) at Washington (2-3), 6 p.m. …………………. Pac-12 Networks

Stanford (5-1) vs. Pittsburgh (5-0), 6:30 p.m. ……………… ESPNU

SIU Edwardsville (1-5) at Oregon State (2-1), 8 p.m. …… Pac-12 Networks

Picks: Syracuse, Pittsburgh and OSU

Season tally: 39-8

AND THE UW-MONTANA WINNER IS …

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November 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Scouting report: Montana

kareem jamar

Returning Big Sky player of the year Kareem Jamar is back for Montana. (Nelson Chenault – USA TODAY Sports)

Scouting report: Montana
Game info: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).

TV: Pac-12 Networks (Rich Waltz and Ernie Kent).
Radio: 950-AM KJR (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).

Record: 1-2.
2012-13 record: 25-7 overall, 19-1 (first in Big Sky).

Stats/schedule: Click here.

Game notes: Montana and Washington.

Coach: Wayne Tinkle has a 141-76 record in his eighth with the Grizzlies. He ranks third on the school’s all-time career wins list.  Tinkle has taken the Griz to the NCAA Tournament three times. He served as an assistant five years at Montana before taking over in 2006. Tinkle, 48, was a standout forward for the Griz from 1985-89 and a three-time All-Big Sky pick. He’s ranked fourth in UM history in career rebounds with 836 and sixth in career points with 1,500. Tinkle had a 12-year professional playing career in the CBA and overseas.

Prediction: The Grizzlies were picked to finish second in the 11-team Big Sky preseason media poll and third in the coaches poll.

Series: Washington leads 42-9, which includes a three-game winning streak. Before the Huskies’ latest run of victories, Montana won three in a row.

Last meeting: No. 14 Washington overcame a 12-point, second half deficit to pull out a 63-59 win on Nov. 29, 2009 at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies needed a last-second block from Venoy Overton to seal the victory. He was benched at the start being 30 minutes late to a morning shootaround, but he came off the bench and had 10 points and four assists. Overton made a block on a potential game-tying three-pointer with six seconds left. He also sank a clinching free throw with 4.1 seconds remaining. The Huskies struggled with Montana’s 2-3 zone and shot 30.8 percent (20 of 65) from the field. Isaiah Thomas led UW with 13 points.

Previous game: Montana lost 75-74 at home to San Francisco. The Grizzlies were dominated inside while surrendering 30 points in the paint.

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