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No. 9 Washington Wins Tenth Straight with 54-37 Victory Against Lehigh
Release: 12/23/2005
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Dec. 23, 2005

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SEATTLE (AP) - Washington was forced into a far-less-flashy style Friday night.

Bobby Jones scored 12 points - including the 1,000th of his career - as the ninth-ranked Huskies extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 31 games by slogging through a 54-37 victory over slow-motion Lehigh.

The ragged game - with 38 total turnovers and Lehigh's tightly packed defense controlling the tempo - was the Huskies' lowest scoring night since Feb. 15, 2003. That was coach Lorenzo Romar's first season in Seattle when Washington went 10-17.

The run-and-gun Huskies (10-0), off to their best start in 30 years, entered the game averaging a national-best 95.8 points.

Jose Olivero had 13 points to lead Lehigh (5-7). This was the first time in its history Lehigh played two Top 10 teams in the same season. The Mountain Hawks' first foray Nov. 27 was worse - then-No. 4 Villanova beat them 84-47.

This time, Lehigh forced Washington out of its full-court mode and into a tedious game of half-court patience.

"When other teams have played deliberate basketball against us, we have been able to force our will upon them," Romar said. "We weren't able to do that tonight."

Romar was happy to have this tempo test immediately before his Huskies open Pac-10 play at home against Arizona State and Arizona next weekend.

"Over half our conference plays this same type of game," Romar said, specifying Stanford, UCLA and Washington State. "We've got to be able to play this way."

But Romar didn't send the same, glass-half-full message to his players afterward.

"He said we're going to have to play a lot better than that," said Mike Jensen, who scored five points in his season debut following September shoulder surgery. "This wasn't our best game."

But defensively, it was what pressure-packed Washington has come to expect.

Lehigh shot 29 percent and finished with the fewest points for a Washington opponent since Jan. 24, 1970, when the Huskies beat Washington State 37-36.

"I was really impressed with our effort on the defensive end, understanding (that) is a tremendous team with outstanding athletes," said a somewhat pleased Lehigh coach Billy Taylor.

Problem was, as Taylor pointed out, the Mountain Hawks' refusal to run as they tried to do while losing by 37 at Villanova "made it where we had to go against their stifling, half-court defense."

The in-your-face Huskies turned every Lehigh possession into a pained effort to get off a decent shot. And few went in. The Mountain Hawks made just seven of 29 shots in the first half - only one beyond 5 feet - to fall behind by 19.

In the end, Olivero and Kyle Neptune, Lehigh's two top scorers, shot 7-for-22.

The Huskies seized the game 8 minutes in with a 20-4 run. Brandon Roy had all six of his points in the methodical surge that took over 11 minutes. Jensen, wearing a soft brace on his left shoulder, then made his first two shots of the season. The second was a stationary 3-pointer with 1:50 left in the half. That left Jensen pumping his left arm, the crowd of 10,000 roaring and Washington cruising, 32-13.

The lead grew to 28 when the Huskies scored the first 11 points of the second half.

From there, Washington coasted to its 800th win at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, more than any other NCAA team in its current arena. The University of Pennsylvania has won 729 games at The Palestra in Philadelphia.

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