SEATTLE (AP)—Enough with the Washington preliminaries. Bring on Gonzaga.
“We’re going to see how good we are. No more of this, ‘Oh, we don’t know how good you are because of the teams you’ve been playing,” senior team leader Brandon Roy said of the No. 25 Huskies.
Roy scored 19 points and Ryan Appleby added 18—all on 3-point shooting— as Washington breezed past overwhelmed Loyola Marymount 112-65 Friday afternoon.
Wes Wardrop scored 13 to lead Loyola Marymount (1-2). Matthew Knight, who scored 40 points over his first two games, finished with eight.
Washington (6-0) turned a school-record 65 points and 22 Lions turnovers in the first half into its 28th consecutive home win at Bank of America Arena. The longest home winning streak in the nation will get a stern test in the Huskies’ next game, the much-awaited Dec. 4 date with No. 8 Gonzaga.
“It’s a tremendous chance to see where we’re at,” coach Lorenzo Romar said.
Just where that might be isn’t clear.
The Huskies’ closest victory was an 11-point win against slowdown Air Force, a game in which they trailed by 12. They are averaging 98.5 points, the highest total over the first six games of a season in school history.
Much of that is because of their typically relentless, full-court pressure defense. On Friday, the press forced Loyola Marymount into a series of bad passes, lost dribbles and baffled looks—and 28 turnovers in all.
The Huskies shot 61 percent in the opening period, which began with the Lions in a soft, 2-3 zone. Washington shredded that by making 14 of its first 21 shots—the last a baseline jumper by Roy that put the Huskies ahead 41-17 with 8:38 remaining in the opening half.
Even when Loyola changed to man-to-man, Washington rolled. Appleby, a sophomore transfer from Florida, swished consecutive 3-pointers within the last 70 seconds of the half. That gave Washington a 65-31 halftime lead.
Appleby made his fifth 3-point shot in seven tries 4 minutes into the second half to extend the advantage to 81-41. Just under three minutes later, a Roy fastbreak layup off a lob pass from freshman point guard Justin Dentmon increased the lead to 88-43.
Washington, with three new starters from last season’s 29-6 team, is forcing an average of 25 turnovers. The Huskies led the Pac-10 in turnover margin last season.
“I don’t think we will be averaging 95 points a game through the rest of the year,” Romar said.
Close to it, senior Bobby Jones said.
“That’s not a fluke,” Jones said after scoring 15 points. “We’re up-tempo. We pressure the ball to force turnovers.”
But all this run-and-fun has come at home against Morgan State, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Air Force, American, Idaho—and now the Lions, who have lost two straight since an opening win at Brigham Young.
Washington was supposed to have played North Carolina by now, as part of the Tar Heels scheduling a “home” game for Seattle-area prep star Marvin Williams. But after Williams went to the NBA after his freshman season, the Tar Heels canceled their trip.
Now, it’s on to a Carolina-caliber test. Gonzaga has beaten Washington seven straight times.
“If we beat Gonzaga, that should put all the criticism to rest that we play a soft schedule,” Jones said.