Nov. 29, 2008
SEATTLE (AP) - While Washington's success this season revolves around senior forward Jon Brockman, his teammates understand there will be times when he can't carry the load.
Quincy Pondexter recognized that Saturday was one of those times when he needed to share the burden. The 6-foot-6 junior forward stepped up against Pacific, nullifying the Tigers' double team on Brockman with his third career double-double as the Huskies (3-3) rolled in the second half for a 72-54 victory.
Pondexter had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Justin Dentmon added 15 points.
Brockman, who entered the game with a team-leading 18 points and 12.6 rebounds per game, was held to 13 points and just six rebounds against Pacific's sagging zone.
Terrell Smith led a balanced Pacific (2-2) attack with 12 points. Nine different players scored for the Tigers.
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Pondexter, who has had an uneven start, said he was encouraged after a talk with coach Lorenzo Romar during the week.
"He just told me to go out and have fun. 'You've worked too hard to have a little bump in the road,"' Pondexter said. "This week was our first chance to sit down and figure out what was wrong."
He said the glitch was ball movement: There wasn't enough of it.
"When you loosen up the defense it opens up the driving lanes for me a lot," he said. "We worked on that as a team and we're getting better at it. We're not great, but we're getting better at it. And then just take the shots you can make."
Pondexter "played as solid an all-around game as he's played since he's been here," Romar said. "He rebounded, he took good shots, he played within himself.
"I think sometimes he's really hard on himself. Sometimes he's his own worst critic and sometimes he over-thinks. He went out today and kind of got lost in the game."
The Huskies were sloppy early with seven turnovers in the first seven minutes. They settled down and had just two turnovers for the rest of the first half. Both teams finished with 19 turnovers.
The Huskies had particular difficulty getting the ball to Brockman in the first half. He had just one basket and one rebound for most of the half. He went nearly 9 1/2 minutes between baskets and by intermission had just four points and one rebound.
But the Huskies finally built a cushion late in the half by scoring the final seven points to take a 36-26 lead into the locker rooms. The Tigers did not score over the final three minutes.
The Huskies then came out and built their lead to 47-30 with 14:16 to go. The Tigers closed to within 48-39, but the Huskies broke out on a 16-8 run for a 64-47 lead with 5:02 left. Dentmon finished the run with a steal, then fed the ball to freshman Isaiah Thomas for a fast-break basket.
"We have one good stretch in the second half where we got it to 10 and that is where you're either going to close the gap or not," Pacific coach Bob Thomason said. "And they did an unbelievable job of rebounding the basketball then. We couldn't really get a rebound the rest of the game. They pressed us really hard and played really tough and they deserved to win the game."
The Huskies grabbed 26 of their 46 rebounds in the second half.
"I think our guys have learned to play off Jon, and Jon has learned to feed those guys," Romar added. "When Jon throws that ball out of there, we know how to make the play and make a team pay for trying to take him out of the game.
"Right now, we're playing as well as we've played in our six games. We're still a long ways from getting to where we need to be. But we're making progress."