Jan. 8, 2009
Washington's star relentlessly pounds as much as he gets pounded inside during his rugged games, which usually look more like thankless shifts in a coal mine or steel mill. Yet there was the nation's leading returning rebounder Thursday night, inexplicably left alone beneath the basket by Stanford with 5 seconds left in a one-point game as teammate Matthew Bryan-Amaning was missing a tough shot.
Brockman overcame his anxiousness at being so open to make the easy put-back with 4.6 seconds remaining. The last of his 19 points and 18 rebounds beat the stunned Cardinal 84-83 for Washington's ninth consecutive victory.
"That play seemed to take about 30 minutes. The ball was in the air forever," Brockman said, smiling. "I saw Matt taking the shot from the right, kind of mid-post. I just had a feeling it was going to come off the back side and I kind of went in and wedged myself in, and luckily it came right to me."
It was Brockman's only field goal of the second half _ and his first game-winning shot since the Huskies' senior leader made a 75-footer as a star senior at Snohomish, Wash., High School, against Mount Vernon.
Isaiah Thomas added 18 points for the Huskies (11-3, 2-0 Pac-10), who rallied from eight points down early in the second half for their first 2-0 start in the conference since 2005 entering Saturday's home game against California (14-2, 3-0).
Brockman's winning shot set the crowd roaring _ and the Huskies believing this may be their rebound season after consecutive absences from the NCAA tournament and then losses to Kansas and Florida that left them 2-3 in November.
"After the Washington State game, the challenge would be to bounce back," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said of sustaining the effort and focus of a 20-point victory at archrival Washington State last weekend, which eased some doubts over the other wins of this streak being at home against soft competition. "I would have been surprised if we didn't."
Stanford (11-2, 1-2) squandered its chance for the game-winning shot when Landry Fields caught a three-quarters-court pass but stumbled into the lane while driving at Washington's Justin Holiday. Fields lost the ball out of bounds with 2.2 seconds left.
The Cardinal lost for the second time in three games. It was only their third trip outside the Bay Area this season.
"Our guy made a great play. He made the catch. We have to be strong and finish in that situation," Stanford first-year coach Johnny Dawkins said. "We had our chances."
Anthony Goods scored 19 points for the Cardinal, including the long jumper that briefly gave them the lead with 14.4 seconds to go, and Lawrence Hill added 16.
The thrilling, seesaw game was tied four times in the last seven minutes. Six players were on the floor with four fouls each at the end.
Washington took an 82-80 lead with 1:41 left on two free throws by Quincy Pondexter. Then Josh Owens made one of two free throws for Stanford before Thomas missed a left-handed flip with under 30 seconds left for Washington.
Goods then swished his long jumper at the other end and screamed to punctuate Stanford's 83-82 lead.
Brockman scored 16 points in the first half while enjoying his first game in three years free of Stanford's Lopez twins, who are gone to the NBA. But then Brockman missed his first six shots and got his fourth foul in the second period. Many of his misses were on follow shots as easy as the one that won the game.
"Just trying to pad my rebounding stats," he said with a grin. "No, I was frustrated."
The Cardinal, transformed into a freewheeling team without the Lopez twins, took their largest lead with 15:56 left when Hill hopped around Brockman inside, scored and got fouled by the Huskies' star. Hill's 3-point play made it 59-51.
But Washington scored 17 of the next 25 points, with Thomas making circus layups and Brockman sitting for more than 3 minutes. Justin Dentmon, who had missed six of seven shots, finally made one from the wing for 3. Dentmon then struck a triumphant, exaggerated pose with his right hand on his shot's follow-through.
The crowd screamed again as the Huskies took a 68-67 lead with 9 1/2 minutes remaining, setting up the tense finish.