Feb. 14, 2007
by Benton Strong
With Washington needing to find a clear go-to player to lead them down the stretch, two guys stepped up from the opening tip and took control. Expect to see this a lot more this season and beyond.
Sophomore Jon Brockman and freshman Spencer Hawes combined for 37 points and 19 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to stop the Washington State Cougars from beating the Huskies for the fourth straight time, 65-61, Wednesday night at Bank of America Arena.
It was Brockman's high-flying slam that turned the 10,000-seat arena into a madhouse early in the ballgame. Then a layup and another bruising rebound.
Then it was Hawes' turn, an easy layin followed by a bank-shot jumper and a pair of free throws. All night long the ball found its way down low, even with the Cougars double-teaming the post on every possession. All night long Washington found ways to score down there. On this night it just wasn't enough.
"Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes were dynamic," said head coach Lorenzo Romar. "I was proud of our effort and if we continue in these last few games to put forth that type of effort, we can hold our heads up high."
What this game plan may lead to, both now and in the future, is more wins.
Washington had to slow the game down against the best defensive team in the conference in Washington State. The Huskies were bigger, so getting into a system where they worked the ball in the paint made perfect sense, and they executed it.
The duo played a total of 75 minutes with Brockman collecting his 12th double-double of the season. They kept the Huskies in the game, hitting big shot after big shot. But in this game Washington dropped to 10-5 when both players score in double figures.
That doesn't mean that this will not continue to be the way the Huskies play. They will continue to run the floor like they used to, but they will do it in a system and these two players continued to show that tonight. The Huskies are becoming one of the tough teams that grinds games out in the post.
"We just need to make sure that we continue to go inside," coach Romar said. "There was a point in the game where we could've taken the lead by continuing to do what had gotten us to that point, which was go inside, and we didn't do that."
They will be doing that. It is the system now.
And that go-to player is named Jon Brockman, but right on his heels is his friend and teammate Hawes.