Dec. 4, 2005
SEATTLE - The Washington head coach could barely find words to explain how his freshman took over in the last 10 minutes of the latest thriller at Bank of America Arena.
When Justin Dentmon was fouled with 9:40 left in the game, hitting both free throws to cut the Gonzaga lead to two, few knew that he was about to change the entire game. On the next two Washington possessions, Dentmon found junior Ryan Appleby on the left wing for 3-pointers that had 10,000 fans in the sold-out arena flying out of their seats.
He then proceeded to score nine points in the last seven minutes to lead Washington over Gonzaga for the first time nearly eight years.
Then it was Dentmon again, driving between two defenders for a lay-up and a foul to force a Gonzaga timeout and cause a wild celebration to begin in the stands.
And it was Dentmon, the freshman playing in his first big game in an environment he admitted to never being in before, that showed ice in his veins going 9-of-9 from the free throw line.
Add that to six assists, four rebounds and six steals and you've got the key player from one of the best games in recent Washington history.
"He's a great competitor and he stepped up big tonight," Roy said. "The freshmen are very good."
It was Roy that Dentmon was picking up as the senior was in foul trouble for most of the game. When Roy fouled out with 2:20 left in the game, after playing only 21 minutes, Dentmon was ready for the task.
"When he went out I felt like I had to step up," Dentmon said. "I had to do what a point guard does and that is lead your team."
He did indeed step up, thrilling the capacity crowd that included his mother who made her first visit to Seattle.
She'll likely be back for more.
* Sunday's game marked the only the second time since he played in the state championship game against current Oregon guard and Franklin High School grad Aaron Brooks, that Gonzaga's Adam Morrison played in Western Washington. The Mead grad made the most of it, pouring in 43 points, including several highly contested and seemingly impossible shot. At the beginning of post-game address, Romar said of Morrison, "If I could just help all of you out, help you understand something you don't understand...Adam Morrison is really good."
* The Huskies have excelled at holding their opponent's 3-point shooting down this season, and Sunday was no exception. UW foes are hitting just 26 percent (29-of-110) of their treys. Gonzaga has historically been a good shooting team, but with sharp-shooter Derek Ravio leaving early in the game, the Bulldogs shot only 1-of-15 from beyond the arc, just seven percent.