Dec. 23, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) -The victory over No. 12 LSU showed how good Washington can be. The win over Weber State two nights later showed how young the 17th-ranked Huskies still are.
Freshman Spencer Hawes scored 23 points to tie his season high from two nights earlier and sophomore Jon Brockman had 18 points and 12 rebounds as Washington woke up from a sleepy start to beat Weber State 80-51 on Friday night.
The Huskies (10-1) trailed 21-10 and missed 14 of their first 18 shots. Coach Lorenzo Romar briefly benched a wild, flailing Brockman - to tell the team captain to "wake up," Romar said.
Then Washington went on a 14-0 run to get things back to normal.
"We were weird," Romar said of the start. "Goofy."
The Huskies' slow beginning to their 27th consecutive nonconference home win dating to 2003 wasn't as bizarre as it was almost expected.
"Coming in, we knew there was a danger of that happening," Brockman said.
Washington's intense thrashing of LSU on Wednesday was by far its best game of the season. Hawes and Brockman, in particular, throttled Tigers' All-America Glen Davis in 16-point win.
Then came ho-hum Weber State, a game that was the only thing between the eight freshmen and sophomores on Washington's 12-man roster and trips home for a two-day Christmas vacation. After that, the Huskies begin something far beyond the Big Sky Conference - an opening Pac-10 road trip next weekend to Southern California and top-ranked UCLA.
"We just came out flat. No energy. No real organization. The flex offense (Weber State was) running, we'd been defending it since fifth grade," Brockman said.
So the rugged leader huddled his team on the floor after a timeout midway through the first half and led his own, players-only wakeup call.
"We all said, 'We can't do this. This is an embarrassment to the entire team,"' Brockman said.
Dezmon Harris and Dan Henry each scored 13 points for Weber State (7-6), which took full advantage of the only opportunity Washington gave them. The Wildcats started the game 7-of-13 from the field. But they made just two of its final 14 shots in the opening half to fall behind 38-30.
"We had a great start. The kids came out with confidence," Wildcats coach Randy Rahe said. "The bottom line is, we didn't maintain it."
David Patten, the Wildcats' leading scorer coming in, had just three points in the decisive first half and eight for the game.
The Wildcats went scoreless for 8:40 of the second half while the Huskies romped away. Washington out-muscled Weber State for a mammoth 47-24 rebounding edge. Brockman and Hawes had nine each.
"They are piranhas on the glass," Rahe said of the nation's second-best rebounding margin team (plus-13) entering Friday.
Brockman and Hawes highlighted the otherwise ugly second half, in which Washington outscored bumbling Weber State 42-21.
Brockman was wearing a bandage under his left eye to cover a scrape sustained banging with Davis underneath on Wednesday. He threw down a thunderous dunk off a lob pass from Adrian Oliver behind Weber State's zone defense 3 1/2 minutes after halftime. Brockman then led a fastbreak off a turnover, spun and got fouled while scoring in the lane. His eight successive, celebratory fist pumps symbolically pounded Weber State away - his subsequent free throw put Washington up 52-40.
"He's beginning to replace Bobby Jones in terms of the energy he brings," Romar said, referring to Washington's departed senior considered the soul of last season's team that reached the round of 16.
Hawes followed Brockman's surge with six consecutive points, including a rousing, right-handed dunk. Last spring's high school All-America from Seattle made a jumper in the lane to end a four-minute stretch of neither team scoring to give the Huskies a 58-42 lead.
Another three-point play by Brockman - a dunk off another lob pass from Oliver - put Washington up 63-42 and delighted the sold-out home crowd.
Those folks were mumbling and gasping when Harris banked in a jump shot to put Weber State up 21-10 after 9 1/2 minutes. But Washington woke up on Hawes' five consecutive points. When freshman Quincy Pondexter beat two Wildcats off the dribble and soared across the baseline for a rousing dunk, Washington had its first lead since 2-0.
"I think we're in a real good position," Hawes said. "We have one loss (97-77 at Gonzaga on Dec. 9), and we learned a lot from that. We're heading in the right direction heading down to California."