March 3, 2009
SEATTLE (AP) -- Jon Brockman had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 16 Washington to an easy win over old city rival Seattle 87-60 on Tuesday night.
Isaiah Thomas added 12 points and Justin Dentmon had 11 for Washington (23-7), which turned this recently scheduled makeup game into a glorified practice before it hosts Washington State on Saturday with the Pac-10 title on the line.
A win against the Cougars--or a loss by UCLA on Thursday at home to Oregon State--would give Washington its first outright conference title since 1953.
Aaron Broussard scored 13 points for Seattle (19-8), which is located 10 minutes from UW but hadn't played the Huskies since Jan. 29, 1980.
The Redhawks are beginning a transition back to Division I this season.
They agreed to fill canceled game for the Huskies, after a snowstorm kept Lehigh from getting to a game at Washington in December.
The Huskies continually fed passes to Brockman at open spots inside Seattle's zone defense. And the rugged star kept bulling through Redhawks, until Washington coach Lorenzo Romar pulled his starters for good about midway through the second half.
Seattle, which received a hefty payday for accommodating its powerful neighbor, tied it early at 4 but missed 18 of its first 21 shots to quickly fall out of the game. The last three misses of that horrid start were an airball 3-pointer, a jumper that hit glass and nothing else and another shot that hit only the backboard.
This game the Huskies insisted on rescheduling--to please season-ticket holders and to get an extra win when it appeared one may be necessary to make the NCAA tournament--looked like a bad idea with 4:17 left in the first half.
Huskies guard Venoy Overton was open for a layup off one of 21 Seattle turnovers, but instead threw an unnecessary lob pass under the basket to Quincy Pondexter, who was well covered by Chris Gweth. Pondexter, who was averaging 11.5 points per game coming in and has been huge in keeping Washington atop the Pac-10 recently, leaped over Gweth and awkwardly tapped the ball through the hoop before he landed hard on his right side.
As he lay prone and in pain, Romar rushed to his side on the baseline with a stunned look at his face while realizing his worst fears of losing a starter to injury in this extra game. Pondexter shuffled directly into the locker room with two trainers on either side of him, and the game suddenly took on an even more secondary feel than it already had with Washington leading 33-13.
The lead grew to 42-19 at halftime when Thomas made a 3-pointer just before the period ended. Then Pondexter, bruised ribs and all, returned to begin the second half.
The crowd roared. Pondexter smiled. The rout continued.
And the Huskies' wondrous season was back on.