Nov. 23, 2005
SEATTLE (AP) - Washington refuses to look ahead to its game with cross-state rival Gonzaga.
The 25th-ranked Huskies clearly were focused on Idaho on Tuesday night in a 90-67 victory. Jamal Williams scored 14 of his 16 points in the rout-sparking first half of what became the Huskies' national-best 27th straight home win.
Washington (5-0) scored the first 11 points, led by 22 at halftime and as many as 37 midway through the second half over an Idaho team (0-2) that led mighty - though cold-shooting - Gonzaga by three early in the second half last week.
The Vandals, who have lost 10 straight dating to last Feb. 5, eventually lost to Gonzaga by nine in Spokane.
The Huskies and Zags play at Bank of America Arena Dec. 4 - part of Washington having 10 of 11 non-conference games at home. The showdown will be the young, retooled Huskies' only huge test before Pac-10 play.
While Washington refused to look towards the showdown, Idaho players were happy to compare the two teams.
"Washington is more athletic, more up-and-down (the floor)," said Idaho's Tanoris Shepard , who had 14 points in the loss. "Gonzaga can run, but they like to run their half-court sets, to get (star Adam) Morrison open.
"They are way different teams. Washington is way more up tempo."
The Huskies looked like a more motivated team than the one American challenged through the first half on Saturday, before Washington finally pulled away to win by 17. Different, too, from the team that trailed Air Force by 12 last Tuesday before rallying to win the Black Coaches Association Classic it hosted.
Husky players credited lighter practices Sunday and Monday for the new spark Tuesday. And coach Lorenzo Romar said to expect the same over the next two days before Washington hosts Loyola Marymount Friday.
"We'd been playing a lot of games," senior Bobby Jones said after scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds. "Those practices had more teaching than bumping. Whatever...it definitely worked.
"And I'm not complaining about that."
Rather than the Huskies' usual running game, Tuesday's focus was establishing the formidable low-post presence of the 6-foot-6, 235-pound Williams. He either beat Idaho defenders down the floor or he repeatedly curled around and jumped over the Vandals' slower, low-post, half-court defense in scoring his 14 first-half points. The 2004 transfer from New Mexico scored five of his seven field goals in the opening period from within five feet of the basket.
"Our coaches knew their post defense wasn't very good," Williams said.
Brandon Roy added 14 points, from inside and out. In all, five Huskies reached double-figures in scoring and 10 of 11 healthy, available players scored.