Nov. 24, 2006
By Benton Strong
The big star of the annual Washington vs. Eastern Washington matchup was supposed to be Eagles sophomore Rodney Stuckey - again. Instead a Husky sophomore took over, carrying his team on his back on the way to it's fifth victory this season.
Justin Dentmon scored 17 second-half points including shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line as Washington overcame a double-digit first-half deficit. He finished with 21 on the night, a career high.
"I thought Justin Dentmon was fabulous in the second half," said Eastern Washington head coach Mike Burns. "We just didn't have an answer for him."
Dentmon matched his previous career high with just his second half points, 17, set last season against Gonzaga.
Despite the 31 points of Stuckey, it was Dentmon's second-half performance that made the difference. With the Huskies trailing 74-73 and 5:57 left in the game, Dentmon scored 11 of Washington's next 13 points, before fouling out, as the home team built a seven-point lead.
The stretch clinched the game for the Huskies as the Eagles never got closer than four points. Dentmon did exactly what leaders are supposed to do down the stretch, nailing all six free throws he attempted.
Dentmon, a two-year starter and a member of the 2006 Pac-10 All-Freshman team, added five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 31 minutes.
"Coach said we needed someone to step up and work hard," Dentmon said. "Adrian Oliver did that and I took it upon myself to do it too."
Oliver also had career highs in several statistical categories as he and Dentmon combined for 37 points from the guard positions.