Feb. 21, 2009
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Quincy Pondexter scored a season-high 22 points and the Huskies (20-7, 11-4) bounced back from a conference loss to defeat USC 60-51 Saturday and stay atop the conference standings.
Justin Dentmon had eight points and Overton added seven.
While Venoy Overton was busy hassling players on defense, Pondexter was sinking shots. The junior was 10-for-13 from the field and had eight points in the last 5 1/2 minutes to help Washington reach 20 wins for the first time since 2005-06 when they were eliminated by Connecticut in the NCAA regional semifinals.
Pondexter's layup with 4:58 left tied the score at 50, and his turnaround jumper 22 seconds later gave Washington the lead for good.
The Trojans (16-10, 7-7), who lost at home for only the second time this season, couldn't find an answer.
"He really took over the game at the 10-minute mark and we just couldn't stop him," USC coach Tim Floyd said. "We tried to go back and go double if he got down on the block but so much came back at the 15-, 17-foot mark. We stayed with him and we just couldn't get him stopped."
Pondexter carried the load offensively for the Huskies, who have won the last 18 of their 22 games.
No other Washington starter scored in double digits and Isaiah Thomas, the conference's leading freshman scorer with 16.3 points per game, was held to a season-low four points on 2-for-7 shooting.
Dentmon went 2-for-10 and also had trouble finding his shot.
Thomas was subbed out with 6:20 and Overton was left to handle the Trojans' Daniel Hackett.
"I was just trying to make him feel as uncomfortable as possible. I knew he had that little international flop thing but I just tried to pressure him the best I could," Overton said.
"Venoy was the catalyst today," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
Hackett, who was emotional after the loss, said that Overton's aggressive play was a bit distracting.
"He turned the pressure up a little bit but we needed better execution down the stretch," Hackett said. "It's not like he was ripping me left and right out there. He just turned the pressure up. We just stunk it up on the offensive end."
Hackett and Dwight Lewis had 11 points apiece for USC, which led by four with 5:52 left but scored just one point the rest of the way.
Hackett, who fouled out with :52 seconds remaining, missed two free throws down the stretch that would have tied the score at 48.
"It all came down to execution and we didn't get it done," forward Taj Gibson said. "They played really tough defense on us towards the end of the game and we just couldn't get a call."
The Trojans had trouble grabbing rebounds in the second half, too. Washington edged USC 19-12 on the boards and Gibson finished with a season-low two rebounds.
Forward Jon Brockman, whose 54 career double-doubles is the most of any active player in college basketball, posted 14 rebounds.
Washington started the game off slow and USC took an 18-9 lead on Lewis' fastbreak with 14:12 left in the first half.
But the Huskies bounced back.
Overton, who came off the bench, had seven points during an 18-2 run that helped Washington take a 31-28 lead at halftime. Pondexter had six during that span and had ten in the first half.