Dec. 23, 2004
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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 24 --
#12 Washington vs. Houston; 1:00 p.m. PST
Bank of America Arena (10,000); Seattle, Wash. - No TV
Husky Sports Radio Network / KJR (AM 950) in Puget Sound Area
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 31 --
#12 Washington vs. California; 1:30 p.m. PST
Bank of America Arena (10,000); Seattle, Wash. - FSN TV
Husky Sports Radio Network / KJR (AM 950) in Puget Sound Area
While certainly not on par with candy canes, stockings or Santa, Washington and Houston have established a Christmas tradition of their own. They meet, Friday, Dec. 24 for the third straight season prior to the holiday break. Tip-off is 1 p.m. at Bank of America Arena on the UW campus. The previous two encounters were also staged as the final game before Christmas; on Dec. 23, 2002 in Seattle and Dec. 20, 2003 in Houston. The home team won those two meetings, including the Cougars' 79-64 victory last season. The seemingly annual pre-Christmas clash with the Cougars (8-3) marks the final non-conference game for 12th-ranked Washington (9-1). After Christmas, Washington concludes its current five-game homestand by opening Pac-10 play against California (Dec. 31) and Stanford (Jan. 2).
Friday's UW-Houston game airs on the Husky Radio Network. The game will be broadcast on flagship station KJR (AM 950) throughout the Puget Sound area. Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton call the action.
At least 19 Washington men's basketball games will be televised live this season, most of them on FSN. The Huskies' next television appearance is Dec. 31 at 1:30 p.m. against California on FSN.
The Huskies have matched their best start in 14 years, dating to 1990-91. The last UW squad with a better record was the 1975-76 team that opened the season with 14 consecutive wins. Neither of those fast starting UW teams faced the difficult schedule the current unit was confronted with. This year's Huskies were victorious in their opening four games for the first time since the start of the 1998-99 campaign, capped by a 79-76 victory over No. 19 Alabama (Nov. 27) in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout. The Huskies, who also defeated Utah and Oklahoma in Anchorage, were declared the national Team of the Week on Nov. 29 by ESPN.com. The only blemish on the Huskies' ledger was a 99-87 setback at Gonzaga (Dec. 1). They reeled off five straight victories since then, including Sunday's 68-64 win over then 12th-ranked North Carolina State and Wednesday's 114-53 rout of Sacred Heart
Six players are averaging double-figure points for Washington. An unprecedented eight Huskies tallied double-figure points in the win over Sacred Heart (Dec. 22). UW featured a balanced offense in 2004 with five players averaging double-figure points. All five return this season. Previously, the last time five Huskies had finished a season in double figures was the 1975 campaign. Seven different players led UW in scoring during a game and five turned in a 20-point performance a year ago.
The Huskies' current 12-game home winning streak is their longest since a 14-game stretch from Feb. 12, 1998-Feb. 6, 1999. Their last home loss was Jan. 10, 2004 vs. UCLA.
Washington is ranked 12th in this week's Associated Press poll, its highest ranking in 20 years (#11 in Dec. 26, 1984 poll).
UW's 114-point effort vs. Sacred Heart tied its fourth-highest output ever. The 61-point margin of victory tied for No. 10 at UW.
Washington has only been at full strength for one half of one game this season, the first half of the Nov. 26 game against Oklahoma. That didn't last long as Brandon Roy played only 12 minutes before injuring his right knee. Roy was sidelined five games before returning Dec. 19 against North Carolina State. He missed Wednesday's game against Sacred Heart (Dec. 22) for precautionary reasons, but is expected to play Friday against Houston. Roy's return leaves senior center Hakeem Rollins as the lone missing Husky. Rollins underwent arthroscopic surgery Dec. 14 to clean up the area around his right knee. He is expected to return for the Pac-10 opener on Dec. 31.
Husky fans hoping to catch the Washington men's basketball team in person this year can still purchase tickets for home games with Houston (Dec. 24) and California (Dec. 31). Fans can order tickets online at Husky Basketball Tickets or purchase in person through the Husky Ticket Office, or order by phone at 206-543-2200. For all remaining home games, a limited number of tickets, currently on hold for departmental use, will be released the Monday prior to each home game. Inventory will be available on gohuskies.com as soon as it is released for sale to the public. The Husky Ticket Office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but will be closed on December 24 and December 31 (except at Bank of America Arena). Game day sales windows open 90 minutes prior to tip-off.
Home Sweet Home
The Huskies play all of their home games in Bank of America Arena at Edmundson Pavilion. The pavilion underwent a 19-month renovation from March of 1999 to November of 2000. The interior was completely redesigned while the building's exterior went unchanged. Despite an increased seating capacity from 7,900 to approximately 10,000, the arena features a more intimate, basketball-only configuration. The Huskies have won 781 games in the Pavilion since it opened on Dec. 27, 1927, more victories than any other school in its current arena. They registered an 11-3 home record last season. Washington is 5-0 at home this season.
The Houston Series
> Washington has a 4-2 all-time record against Houston, including an 85-61 victory on Dec. 23, 2003 during the Cougars last visit to Seattle.
> The Huskies won all four encounters with Houston that were played in Seattle.
> The Cougars won both meetings in Houston, an 87-65 decision on Dec. 20, 1966 and last season's 79-64 victory on Dec. 20.
> Washington has a 15-19 all-time record against current members of Conference USA, including Cincinnati (1-3), DePaul (2-2), Houston (4-2), Louisville (1-1), Marquette (0-2), Memphis (1-1), Saint Louis (6-7) and UAB (0-1).
> In his first year at Houston, Coach Tom Penders has a 1-0 record against Washington. His Texas team beat UW 104-83 in Austin during the 1991-92 season.
> In his third year at Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar has a 3-2 record against Houston, including a 2-1 record while at Saint Louis of Conference USA.
The Last Meeting
Houston 79, UW 64 (Dec. 20, 2003/Houston, Texas)
Andre Owens scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half as Houston built a 17-point lead and held off a late challenge in a 79-64 victory over Washington at Hofheinz Pavilion. Owens hit four 3-pointers and added five assists and six rebounds. 7-foot center Anwar Ferguson blocked eight shots for the Cougars (3-3) along 14 points and 10 rebounds. Washington (3-3) did not score in the opening 5:40, but trailed only 4-2 when Brandon Roy made a layin with 14:20 left until halftime. Houston steadily pulled ahead, leading 40-23 with 4:19 left in the first half. The Cougars never trailed and shot 57 percent in the first half en route to a 42-31 advantage. UW opened the second half with a 14-4 run. Anthony Washington capped the surge with a dunk that drew the Huskies within 46-45 with 11:14 remaining. The Cougars answered, gradually extending their lead back into double-figures. Two Huskies registered double-doubles. Brandon Roy had 19 points and 12 rebounds while Bobby Jones had 11 points and 10 boards. The Cougars parlayed 18 UW turnovers into 24 points while the Huskies had seven points off miscues.
Did You Know?
The Huskies have registered nine non-conference wins, their highest regular-season total since they had nine in 1990-91. The last time a Husky team posted more was 1976 when Marv Harshman's squad won 13 games outside conference play. That was when a 14-game Pac-8 schedule was in effect.
Washington junior Brandon Roy made a triumphant return Sunday (Dec. 19), playing 18 productive minutes as a reserve in the 68-64 win over N.C. State. Roy scored all 10 of his points in the second half. His return was a week earlier than expected. Roy was diagnosed Nov. 29 with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee and was projected to miss from four to six weeks. He missed five UW games. Roy underwent arthroscopic surgery Nov. 30 to repair his right knee. The 6-foot-5 guard suffered the knee injury Nov. 26 in the first half of the Huskies' victory over Oklahoma. He played 12 minutes in that Great Alaska Shootout semifinal (Nov. 26). Roy sat out the entire second half and missed all of the Nov. 27 championship game win over Alabama. Roy ranks third on the team with an 16.0-point scoring average while shooting 66 percent.
UW features a bevy of sharpshooters who combine to average 7.1 treys per game. That is an increase from last season's squad that accumulated a school-record 201 treys at a 6.5-per-game clip. Seven Huskies have had multiple 3-point games this season, including Nate Robinson and Tre Simmons who each posted a five-trey performance. UW is shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 44.4 percent on 3-pointers.
Washington reached the 100-point plateau in two of its last three games. The 114-point outburst against Sacred Heart (Dec. 22) tied for the fourth-highest total in school history and was the most points scored by a UW team since 1991. Washington netted 100 points at Loyola Marymount (Dec. 12). The Huskies reached the 100-point mark five times during Coach Lorenzo Romar's three seasons. Romar's five 100-point outings are more than UW accumulated in the previous 21 seasons combined. Only Marv Harshman, who team's posted 14 such efforts from 1972-85, coached more 100-point games for the Huskies than Romar. UW's 100-point NCAA Tournament outburst against UAB (Mar. 19, 2004) was its highest scoring total in a postseason game. The Huskies reached the 100-point plateau three times last season for the first time since the 1980-81 season. The 103-99 overtime decision at Oregon State (Jan. 17, 2004) matched the highest total ever for UW in an enemy arena.
Washington began the week ranked fifth nationally in team scoring with an 87.1-point average. That figure rose to 89.8 with Wednesday's 114-point effort. The Huskies averaged 82.0 points per game last season, the highest scoring output since the 1972 squad finished with a school record 84.8-point average. UW finished the 2004 season ranked second among Pac-10 teams and No. 6 among NCAA Division I teams in team scoring average. The Huskies reached the 90-point plateau 11 times last season, a figure they reached only once in 2003. That was the most 90-point performances for a Washington team since the 1972 squad registered 12.
Washington is one of just six participants from the 2004 NCAA Tournament that return all five starting players in 2005. Also returning its entire starting lineup from last year are Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina, Syracuse and Wake Forest.
All five Washington starters return from last season's NCAA Tournament team and Pac-10 runner-up. The Huskies' top seven scorers are back, including five players who averaged double-figure points. UW boasts one of the nation's best backcourts, led by Wooden Award candidate Nate Robinson. The athletic 5-9 junior, who led the team with a 13.2-point scoring average, applied for the 2004 NBA Draft. He excelled at the pre-draft camp, but withdrew his application after deciding to return to UW. Also back are junior all-district honoree Brandon Roy and senior point guard Will Conroy. Roy averaged 12.9 points and led the Huskies with 5.3 rebounds per game last year. Conroy distributed 142 assists in 2004, the second-highest single-season total in school history. Sensational sixth-man Tre Simmons led the team with 48 treys. The frontcourt features a trio of players who each contribute in a significant way. Junior Bobby Jones is arguably the best defender in the Pac-10. Junior Mike Jensen is a strong inside force who stepped out to hit a team-high 41 percent from 3-point range. Senior Hakeem Rollins led the Huskies with 38 blocked shots. That nucleus is enhanced by the addition of transfer Jamaal Williams, a strong inside presence who averaged 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 2003 at New Mexico. The roster's lone freshman is athletic swingman Joel Smith who will vie for time in the playing rotation.
Coming off an appearance in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, Washington was ranked in the preseason polls for the first time in six years, opening at No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. The Huskies vaulted to No. 12 in this week's AP rankings and rose three places to No. 17 in the ESPN poll. The No. 12 position is the highest UW has been ranked in the AP poll since the last week of December in 1984 when they were 11th. This year marked the Huskies' first mention in the preseason rankings since November of 1998 when they were coming off a berth in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. This was only the second time UW appeared in the preseason national rankings since 1985. The Huskies opened the 1998-99 campaign ranked No. 14 in both the coaches' and Associated Press polls. They remained ranked for four weeks before dropping out of the polls after being ranked No. 22 on Dec. 8, 1998. That was UW's last appearance in the polls until now. That four-week run also marked UW's only national ranking since Jan. 5, 1985. Four opponents on the UW schedule are currently ranked in the Associated Press poll; No. 13 Gonzaga, No. 14 Arizona, No. 16 North Carolina State and No. 19 Alabama.
Romar on the Rankings
"I hear coaches ranked No. 1 say that what counts is where you are ranked at the end of the season. I agree with that part, but a lot of times coaches that say that are ranked every year," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar explains. "We have not been ranked since we've been here, so that would be a compliment to our program at this point. It shows that things are moving in the right direction."
UW's Last Game
#12 UW 114, Sacred Heart 53 (Dec. 22, 2004/Seattle)
Jamaal Williams missed just one shot in a career-best 22-point performance, leading eight double-figure scorers in 12th-ranked Washington's 114-53 win over Sacred Heart at Bank of America Arena. The Huskies (9-1) tied the fourth-highest scoring total and 10th largest margin of victory in their history. The Pioneers (1-7) led 7-3 before UW reeled off 24 unanswered points to take control. The Huskies increased a 55-31 halftime advantage with another run, a 21-point surge that resulted in a 93-40 score with 8:31 remaining. Two players posted double-doubles for UW, Bobby Jones with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Will Conroy with 11 points and 13 assists. Williams shot 11-of-12 from the field. Joel Smith tallied 15 points for the Huskies who also got 13 from Tre Simmons and Nate Robinson, 12 from Mike Jensen and 10 from Brandon Burmeister. UW shot 55 percent from the field despite missing its first seven shots. The Huskies totalled a school-record 21 steals while forcing 34 Pioneer turnovers, also a UW record. Sacred Heart was led by Luke Granato who scored 15 points, all of them on 3-pointers.
Nate the Great
High-flying Nate Robinson leads Washington with a 20.0-point scoring average. He entered the week ranked 14th nationally at 20.8 points per game. Robinson also leads UW in steals (21) while ranking second in assists (53). He distributed a career-high eight assists in a win over Oklahoma (Nov. 26) and matched that figure at Gonzaga (Dec. 1). Robinson has posted six 20-point games after reaching the 20-point plateau five times all of last season. He was named the Nov. 29 Pac-10 Player of the Week after being voted the Most Outstanding Player of the Great Alaska Shootout where he led all UW scorers against Utah (29) and Oklahoma (19). Robinson garnered first-team All-Pac-10 accolades in 2004. He should be in line for even more honors in 2005. Robinson is a Wooden Award nominee and received All-America acclaim in several preseason publications. He led UW and ranked 13th among Pac-10 players in 2004 with 13.2 points per game. Robinson topped the team and was third among the conference leaders in steals (53) and free throw accuracy (85.3%). Robinson amassed a career-high 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting and added five rebounds and five steals during UW's 96-83 home win over No. 9 Arizona on Jan. 29. That effort helped him receive the Feb. 2 Pac-10 Player of the Week award. The 5-9 guard tallied 23 of his 25 points after halftime at Oregon State (Jan. 17), including a 3-pointer inside the final second that forced overtime in UW's 103-99 win. Robinson led all scorers with 27 points in the 2004 NCAA Tournament game against UAB. In his first season, Robinson was named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team after leading the Huskies with a 13.0-point scoring average. He joined the basketball team after competing as a freshman in 2002 on the Husky football team. Robinson played in all 13 football games, including the Sun Bowl, and started the final six at cornerback.
Nate Robinson applied to be eligible for the 2004 NBA Draft after his sophomore season, but withdrew on June 17 to preserve his collegiate eligibility. Before withdrawing, he attended the pre-draft camp in Chicago from June 8-10 where he was evaluated by NBA scouts and general managers from whom he received feedback. At the pre-draft camp, Robinson had a 22-point performance on the first day. It was the highest single-game output by any of the 59 participants during the three-day playing sessions.
The pivotal point in Washington's 2004 season came Jan. 17 in Corvallis, Ore. The Huskies were 0-5 in Pac-10 play and trailed Oregon State 70-54 with six minutes remaining. They rallied with Nate Robinson hitting a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and won 103-99 in overtime. That ignited a string of five consecutive victories that ended Feb. 7 at UCLA. The five-game winning streak against Pac-10 opponents was the longest for the Huskies since 1999.
Last year marked the Huskies' biggest turnaround in an NCAA Tournament season. They had a 5-8 record before winning 14 of their final 18 games. UW opened 0-5 in Pac-10 play before winning 12 of its final 13 conference games, vaulting from last place to second. Only twice before did a postseason-bound UW team have a losing record at any point in the season. The 1984 and 1986 teams started the season with 1-2 records before maintaining winning ledgers the rest of the way.
Senior point guard Will Conroy entered the week ranked 14th nationally and was No. 1 among Pac-10 players with an average of 6.8 assists per game. That figure has been increased to 7.4. Conroy has distributed 363 career assists, including a career-high 13 in two of the last three games. He had 13 assists at Loyola Marymount (Dec. 12) and again versus Sacred Heart (Dec. 22). That tied for the fourth-best single-game performance in school history. Rafael Stone established the UW record of 16 assists in 1970. Conroy currently ranks No. 3 among all-time Husky playmakers and needs 103 more assists to tie Chester Dorsey's (1974-77) school record of 466. Conroy is the sixth Husky to post back-to-back 100-assist seasons. He registered 142 assists in 2004 and 108 in 2003. Conroy ranked fifth among Pac-10 playmakers with 4.58 assists per game in 2004. He finished third on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game. He is the third product of Seattle's Garfield High School on the current UW roster.
Producing Point Guards
UW point guards Will Conroy (Garfield HS) and Nate Robinson (Rainier Beach HS) both hail from the city of Seattle. The Emerald City has produced some jewels on the hardwood, a legacy of point guards that is highlighted by former Arizona standout Jason Terry and Michigan's Jamal Crawford. Two Pac-10 schools will start Seattle natives at the point this season; Aaron Brooks (Franklin HS) at Oregon and the UW duo. Other prominent point guards from the state of Washington include Husky sophomore Ryan Appleby (Stanwood) who will red-shirt after transferring from Florida, Gonzaga's John Stockton (Spokane) and Dan Dickau (Prairie) and Oregon's Luke Ridnour (Blaine).
Getting Up Early
The Huskies are jumping on opponents early, outscoring them by a combined 442-340 tally in the first half. In the second half of games, they are outscoring foes by a 456-403 count. Washington's average halftime score is 44-34. UW trailed just twice at halftime, by one point at Gonzaga and one point against N.C. State.
High School Reunion
Every time the Huskies take the floor it amounts to a reunion of alums from Seattle's Garfield High School. Three former prep teammates are listed on the UW roster; seniors Will Conroy and Tre Simmons along with junior Brandon Roy. Last year UW had four former Garfield players, including Anthony Washington who transferred to Portland State prior to the 2004-05 season. That quartet of former Bulldogs combined to score 1,204 of UW's 2,543 points, an average of 38.8 points per game. They accounted for 47 percent of the Huskies' total offensive output. A Garfield grad led or tied UW in scoring during 19 games in 2004. Roy (12.9) and Conroy (12.7) were UW's No. 2 and No. 3 scorers. Their Garfield team also featured current USC guard Roydell Smiley and Isaiah Stanback, a quarterback on the Husky football team.
Junior forward Bobby Jones was named to the Great Alaska Shootout all-tournament team. Against Sacred Heart (Dec. 22), he posted his fourth career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in just 23 minutes. Jones has dramatically improved his long-distance shooting, hitting 5-of-12 shots from 3-point range this season. Last year, he hit just 1-of-8 treys after making 4-of-20 in 2003. Jones placed second among Huskies in rebounds with 4.9 per game in 2004, a figure that ranked 19th among Pac-10 players. He ranked fourth among conference competitors with a team-leading field goal accuracy of 57.0 percent. Jones was third among UW players with 37 steals. He amassed a career-high 22 points, on 10-for-13 shooting, at North Carolina State (Feb. 22). Jones tallied 10 or more points in 21 games last season after reaching double figures just five times in 2003. A defensive specialist, Jones started the final 15 games in 2003 and ranked No. 7 on the team with 5.7 points per game. He nearly doubled that total to 11.2 points in 2004.
There is no "y" in his first name, but he is known for hitting the trey. Senior Tre Simmons ranks second on the team with 17 treys this season. He hit five 3-pointers against San Diego State (Dec. 7) and four at Loyola Marymount (Dec. 12). Simmons led all Washington scorers seven times in 2004, tying Brandon Roy for the team lead. Simmons ranked eighth among Pac-10 players in 3-point percentage in 2004, hitting 40 percent (48-119) of his attempts beyond the arc. He amassed 14 treys in the final five games, including five during a Pac-10 Tournament semifinal win over Arizona. Simmons broke open a one-point game in the second half of the 75-62 win over No. 1 Stanford with three straight 3-pointers. Simmons hit at least one 3-pointer in nine of the last 11 games and had 14 multiple-trey outings last year. He poured in a career-high 22 points at Arizona (Feb. 26), including 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Brandon Roy is an all-around talent who was named to the National Basketball Writer's Association all-district team in 2004. He led all scorers with 23 points in UW's 2005 season opener against Seattle Pacific on Nov. 19 and scored 25 points in Washington's win over Utah in the opening round of the Shootout on Thanksgiving. Roy returned to the lineup Dec. 19 after missing five games. The 6-6 swingman received the March 1, 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Week award after leading UW to a sweep in the state of Arizona. The last time the Huskies had a road sweep in Arizona was during January of 1984, six months before Roy was born. He led the 2004 Huskies in rebounds (5.3 rpg) and was second in scoring (12.9 ppg), figures that both rank No. 15 among Pac-10 players. Roy ranked second on UW in both assists (102) and steals (37). He amassed a career-high 30 points in 29 minutes at UCLA (Feb. 7), eclipsing his previous high of 22 points registered against UC Riverside (Nov. 24). At Houston on Dec. 20 Roy became the first player in UW history to lead the team in the five major statistics during a single game. Roy amassed 19 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot. Roy was a consensus top-50 national recruit among the prep class of 2002, but was not declared eligible by the NCAA until Jan. 16, 2003. He played 13 games with two starts in 2003, averaging 6.1 points per game. Roy applied for the 2002 NBA Draft out of high school, but did not attend any pre-draft camps and withdrew his application prior to the draft. He is one of three UW players from Seattle's Garfield High School.