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Huskies Have Urgency To Assert Themselves
Release: 12/21/2010
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Dec. 21, 2010

UW-Nevada Game Coverage
Gametracker Live Audio
TV: FSN-NW Radio: Washington ISP Sports Network (950 AM-Seattle)

Weekly Release: Huskies Face Nevada In Non-Conference Home Finale Get Acrobat Reader
Lorenzo Romar Monday Press Conference

By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing

SEATTLE - The Huskies had urgency in rebounding - literally - from a loss when they routed San Francisco last weekend.

They have urgency to begin the Pac-10 season next week, to prove their status as the favorite to win the conference.

"We want to get it really rolling," leading scorer Isaiah Thomas said of league play.

But will Washington (7-3) have urgency Wednesday night when it stays on a campus largely deserted by students on holiday break to host depleted Nevada (3-8) at Hec Edmundson Pavilion? After their final nonconference game, the Huskies get a couple days off over Christmas to see family before they return to prepare for long-awaited conference games at USC and UCLA Dec. 29 and 31.

"We should (have urgency)," senior co-captain Justin Holiday said following practice Monday, at the same hour the football team was scattering for its pre-bowl game break. "Us being here year after year, we know how our schedule is around the holidays. But who knows?

"I don't think we're exactly where we need to be. We still need to work on knowing we have to crash the boards and box out every time. I think we're getting better. Playing a full game, 40 minutes, that's our goal."

Coach Lorenzo Romar thought his Huskies were a 4-minute lapse in the second half away from a complete game in Saturday's 80-52 brush off of San Francisco. It was Washington's seventh win in seven home games this season. The average margin of those victories at Hec Ed is 31 points.

Romar was particularly pleased with the 40 rebounds UW grabbed against the Dons, the second-most of the season behind the opener against McNeese State last month.

Pleased, but not satisfied.

"We still need to work on our rebounding," Romar said.

That is why he will pair 7-foot rebounding monger Aziz N'Diaye with 6-9 Matthew Bryan-Amaning in the starting lineup for the second consecutive time Wednesday. The 6:04 p.m. tipoff will be broadcast by Fox Sports Northwest, with the radio call on the Washington IMG Sports Network. GoHuskies.com will have a live game chat, live statistics and streaming audio.

The pairing of Washington's two tallest players led to Bryan-Amaning having four of the Dawgs' 10 offensive rebounds in the first half against USF, and a game-high nine in all.

And the lineup change may stick well into conference play. Romar said the only upcoming opponent that might be too quick and perimeter-oriented to start N'Diaye and Bryan-Amaning against could be Arizona. The Huskies don't play the Wildcats until Jan. 20, seven games into the Pac-10 season.

Bryan-Amaning, UW's second leading scorer at 13.7 points per game, had been coming off the bench in the previous four games while N'Diaye joined the starters.

Romar thinks their rebound-first mentality is rubbing off, even on guards such as Venoy Overton. He had a season-high six rebounds against USF.

"Last game, I think there more a sense of urgency from everyone to rebound," Romar said on the eve of his first meeting with Nevada in 15 seasons as a head coach. He says now that N'Diaye's sore knee is healthy enough for him to play more than 20 minutes per night, "it will be interesting to see how we rebound from here on out."

Nevada isn't the NCAA tournament team it has been in recent seasons - at least not yet. The Wolf Pack lost its top four scorers from last season's 21-13 team, including NBA early entrants Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson. Nevada's 1-7 start this fall was its worst since the 1990-91 season.

But Romar sees potential danger in the recent addition of Olek Czyz, a 6-7 forward and transfer from Duke who debuted for Nevada with 10 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes last week in a 78-75 home loss to Arizona State. Czyz had five points and five rebounds in 28 minutes while Indiana-transfer Malik Story scored 20 points to rally Nevada past Portland State Monday night 79-73.

That danger will be far less of a concern for Washington if Saturday's San Francisco game proves to be more than a one-night change.

"Just continue to hit the rebounding hard," Romar said of his goal for the pre-holiday Wednesday night. "And sharing the basketball and playing hard for 40 minutes."

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