Huskies Beat Stanford, Face Bears in Pac-10 Title Game
Washington’s pressure defense blew out Stanford on the floor, but their bricklaying and missed “gimmees” allowed the Cardinal to stay close in the 1st half as the Dawgs only scored only 28 points on 29% from the floor before halftime. Stanford only scored 19 points in a 1st half plagued by turnovers, foul trouble and poor shooting of their own, also shooting 29% from the field. In the 2nd half both teams improved, but Washington was able to get its shots to fall at a 52% clip, while Stanford stayed in the mud at 32% and the Huskies won going away 79-64.
Isaiah Thomas admitted that the Huskies couldn’t find the hoop in the 1st half.
“We missed some easy ones that we usually make. We missed a lot of lay-ups. But we also played great defense. That was the key.”
UW coach Lorenzo Romar alluded to John Wooden in the telecast at halftime saying that his team needed to play quick, but not in a hurry and added to that in his post game comments.
“Early on in the game we were real aggressive, but we were too much in a hurry. We missed a lot of easy baskets, we settled down and I thought defensively we did a really nice job.”
Quincy Pondexter led the way for UW with 19 points, followed by Thomas with 17 as the Husky leaders finished at their usual pace after a 1st half in which they combined for 12 points. Justin Holiday had a great game slowing down Stanford star Landry Fields, who scored 20 points but only shot 6-15 from the field, while scoring 11 points of his own. Holiday is really starting to look more and more like Husky great Bobby Jones.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning also made his presence known with 11 boards to go with 9 points. MBA had two blocks and led a Husky defense that blocked 7 shots to none for the Cardinal. Darnell Gant had a nice outing with 8 points in 13 minutes, though much of his scoring were wide open dunks after the Dawgs beat the Cardinals futile full-court press as Stanford tried to come back from a double digit deficit only to see it double it again.
Scott Suggs and Venoy Overton added 7 a piece for the Dawgs. Stanford again got remarkable offensive production from senior former walk-on guard Emmanuel Igbinosa with 11 points, but Thomas once again took Stanford sharpshooter Jeremy Green out of the game. Green finished with 7 points on 2-14 from the field and 1-7 from three.
The Dawgs now face Cal in the Pac-10 Tournament Final at 3 PM (PST).
Pondexter said that it made sense that these two preseason conference favorites should have a final chance to settle things on the court.
“It feels like it’s appropriate that we’re playing Cal for the title, because we won the Pac-10 (regular-season) title last year and they won it this year. It seems like we’ve both been teams that people have talked about this year and this is how it should end. Hopefully, we can end on top.”
It would appear that UW is clearly on the inside of the bubble with the win over Stanford at 23-9 and 14-7 in Pac-10 play. Yahoo agrees, but alludes to the game against Cal being extra insurance.
Husky Recruiting Corner
The Oregonian spoke with UW 2010 forward recruit Terrence Jones and he denied reports that he had committed to either Washington or Kentucky. Husky Digest has some very inside sources on this story and is sticking with its report from Thursday that involved Jones.
2010 UW forward recruit Dwayne Polee is listing Washington, Georgia and UNL|V as his top favorites, according to an update by the Georgia Rivals site.
Bears in Conference Final
Cal beat UCLA 82-75 to advance to the Pac-10 Tournament Final against the Dawgs. Jerome Randle once again was the leader for the Bears with 24 points and 6 assists. Theo Robertson followed with 20 points for Cal, while Patrick Christopher kicked in 16 points and a game leading 6 boards. Jamal Boykin rounded out the senior quartet with 10 points as Cal basically out-shot the Bruins 60% to 48% to advance. All Pac-10 1st team selection Michael Roll went out in style with a career high 27 points while Jerime Anderson finished out his year on a promising note with 15.
The off-season should be a major challenge for Ben Howland and his highly criticized staff, as there has been recent talk of star sophomore guard Malcolm Lee declaring for the draft, star freshman Tyler Honeycutt is reportedly “Frustrated” by Howland’s system. If things weren’t topsy-turvy enough Bruin Nation reported on Saturday that freshman Mike Moser and sophomore “Bobo” Morgan, both highly ranked prospects coming out of high school, are likely to transfer out.