No. 16 Washington routs Seattle 87-60
SEATTLE (AP)—Jon Brockman and Isaiah Thomas got shoved across the baseline and crashed into courtside photographers. Quincy Pondexter landed hard on his side and back.
This fill-in game against an old city rival wasn’t looking like such a hot idea for No. 16 Washington.
Ultimately, the Pac-10’s top team got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Brockman and apparently escaped a major injury to Pondexter while beating Seattle 87-60 on Tuesday night.
“Well, we made it through,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said, exhaling after the first meeting between schools that are 10 minutes apart since Jan. 29, 1980.
Thomas got up from his tangle into the cameras to add 12 points and Justin Dentmon had 11 for Washington (23-7), which turned this recently scheduled makeup game into a glorified practice before it hosts Washington State on Saturday with the Pac-10 title on the line.
A win against the Cougars—or a loss by UCLA on Thursday at home to Oregon State—would give Washington its first outright conference title since 1953.
“Our last home game. Our chance to make history,” senior Dentmon said.
Aaron Broussard scored 13 points and Austen Powers had eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Seattle (19-8), which is beginning a transition back to Division I this season.
The Redhawks agreed to fill a canceled game for the Huskies, after a snowstorm kept Lehigh from getting to a game at Washington in December.
“We’ve been pretty clear that we’ll play anybody anywhere anytime. And I think us willing to play this game, our fourth game on the road in eight days, so we can learn (shows that),” Seattle coach Joe Callero said.
He has taken his team to Fresno State and then the Great Alaska Shootout the next day in November, then spent last weekend on six-hour bus rides through North Dakota and South Dakota before returning home Sunday afternoon.
The Redhawks got a $30,000 guarantee, plus revenue from a thousand or so tickets it sold to its fans, to accommodate its powerful neighbor.
The Huskies continually fed passes to Brockman at open spots inside Seattle’s zone defense. And the rugged star kept bulling through Redhawks, until Romar pulled his starters for good about midway through the second half.
Seattle tied it early at 4 but missed 18 of its first 21 shots to quickly fall out of the game as Washington’s speed and athleticism took over.
This game the Huskies insisted on rescheduling—to please season-ticket holders and to get an extra win when it appeared one may be necessary to make the NCAA tournament—looked like a bad idea with 4:17 left in the first half.
Huskies guard Venoy Overton was open for a layup off one of 21 Seattle turnovers, but instead threw an unnecessary lob pass under the basket to Pondexter, who was well covered by Chris Gweth. Pondexter, who was averaging 11.5 points per game coming in and has been huge recently in keeping Washington atop the Pac-10, leaped over Gweth and awkwardly tapped the ball through the hoop before he landed hard on his right side.
As Pondexter lay in pain, Romar rushed to his side on the baseline with a stunned look at his face while realizing his worst fears of losing a starter to injury in this extra game. Pondexter shuffled directly into the locker room with two trainers, and the game suddenly took on an even more secondary feel than it already had with Washington leading 33-13.
“I was a very scary moment for me … I thought I was done,” said Pondexter, who reported bruised ribs, a sore back and a sore shoulder.
“Everything,” he said.
Except a knee.
“I didn’t want to hear ‘knee,”’ Romar said. “I heard ‘ribs,’ I said, ‘OK.”’
The lead grew to 42-19 at halftime when Thomas made a 3-pointer just before the period ended. Then Pondexter, bruised ribs and all, returned to begin the second half.
The crowd roared. Pondexter smiled. The rout continued. And the Huskies’ wondrous season was back on.
Romar wasn’t fully sure Pondexter would play against WSU, pending an evaluation Wednesday.
But Pondexter, who had iced his back and was heading back in for more treatment after the game, was sure.
“No doubt about it,” he said, adding he’d play if he couldn’t walk. “It’s all right. I’m a tough guy.”