SEATTLE (AP)—Whoa, these frisky, Husky pups can run—and shoot and pass.
Washington’s “older” dog is pretty good, too.
Sophomore Jon Brockman had 25 points and 12 rebounds in his first game as Washington’s new leader, and freshmen Quincy Pondexter and Spencer Hawes showed why a young Huskies team is No. 17 in the nation during a 99-91 victory over Pepperdine in the Basketball Travelers Classic on Sunday night.
Pondexter added 21 points and seven rebounds in a runaway game that only got close at the end, with Washington’s bench cleared. And the 7-foot Hawes, perhaps UW’s most heralded recruit ever, thrilled his hometown crowd with 12 points, five rebounds, seven assists and four blocks off the bench in the lightning-like debut for a Washington team that has nine freshmen and sophomores on its 13-man roster.
“It seems like we all fit in seamlessly,” Hawes said.
It sure did to Brockman. The sophomore team captain was 11-for-16 from the field. Many of those were easy layups off Hawes’ stylish, inside passing.
“It opens up so much stuff, it’s amazing,” Brockman said of playing with his former AAU teammate.
Hawes, a McDonald’s All-American and state high school player of the year from Seattle Prep, practiced for the first time last week following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last month.
Several of his assists were guard-like touch passes that drew gasps from the crowd. The night’s loudest cheers came when Hawes passed inside to Brockman for a layup then had consecutive blocks at the other end with 8 1/2 minutes left.
“I kept telling people, ‘Wait until you see him pass.’ That’s probably the best thing he does,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said of the tall, potentially dominant center, something Romar hasn’t had in four hugely successful seasons in Seattle.
Jason Walberg—son of first-year Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg—had 18 points off the bench for the Waves (0-1), who fell behind 16-2 and then by as many as 19. Marvin Lea added 16.
Pepperdine is returning four starters from last season’s 7-20 team that finished eighth in the West Coast Conference. But the Waves are missing Michael Gerrity, who averaged 14 points a game last season, for at least two weeks because of a foot injury.
After Washington went up by 19 early in the second half, Pepperdine fought back to get within 62-53 on a 3-pointer by Tomas Pranciliauskas with 14 minutes left. But the Huskies scored the next seven points—including three from Brockman—to put the game away.
“The one thing I’m proud of is, at least they don’t quit,” said Vance Walberg, who came from Fresno (Calif.) City College to replace fired former NBA coach Paul Westphal.
In Fresno, Walberg got to know Pondexter well. Pondexter said Sunday was the first time in “about 20 tries” he’s won a game against a Walberg team, dating to third grade.
Pondexter continually found open paths on slashes through the lane while scoring all but one of his nine baskets in the paint. His ninth came after soaring to grab Adrian Oliver’s lob for a thunderous dunk with just over 5 minutes left.
“I think that’s all year,” Pondexter said of his driving style.
But 21 points in his first collegiate game?
“No, I didn’t expect that at all,” Pondexter said.
Washington, ranked among the nation’s top six scoring teams each of the last three seasons, continued to run off its pressure defense Sunday. The Huskies forced 13 of Pepperdine’s 23 turnovers in the first half, which ended with Washington up 52-37.
The Huskies raced to a 16-2 lead during a rousing, initial flurry in which Pondexter scored eight points. After Pepperdine steadied to within 7 midway through the half, Washington pushed the lead to 43-27 on a steal and layup from Harvey Perry. Justin Dentmon’s second 3-pointer put them up 50-33, the largest lead of the opening period.