SEATTLE (AP)—Seems there’s nothing Quincy Pondexter can’t do these days for Washington.
The only senior on the No. 22 Huskies scored 22 points while his team started slowly, briefly gave away a big lead, then cruised to an 86-71 victory over San Francisco on Sunday.
In the last five days, Pondexter has been a candy-striper, bringing gifts to an injured opponent at a hospital. He’s been a guest ballerina, as Grandfather in Seattle’s holiday production of “The Nutcracker.”
And he’s scored 47 points to lead Washington (9-2) to two wins before its defense of the Pac-10 championship begins on New Year’s Eve.
The way he’s going, the Huskies’ only senior may light the annual fireworks off the Space Needle after that game against Oregon State.
“Maybe we’re getting used to it,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said of Pondexter’s eighth 20-point game this season.
As if he hadn’t done enough, after the game Pondexter spun a giddy young relative around by his arms while his parents, Doris and Roscoe Pondexter, watched with huge grins. Pondexter has been hosting his folks from Fresno, Calif., all week.
“It’s been a great week for me,” Pondexter said with his own wide smile. “Having my family here made me real comfortable. And playing basketball, that’s the greatest thing in the world for me right now.”
Rashad Green and Moustapha Diarra scored 14 points apiece for San Francisco (4-10), which lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning added 13 points and six rebounds for the Huskies, who were coming off a surreal victory over No. 19 Texas A&M on Tuesday night in which Aggies senior Derrick Roland broke his right leg.
Pondexter and Romar spent Wednesday visiting Roland in the hospital, where he had surgery to repair multiple fractures sustained in a grotesque, on-court fall.
On Sunday, Washington’s captain helped the Huskies become the 16th team in NCAA history to win 1,600 games. The 6-foot-6 swingman entered the day 12th in the nation in scoring, averaging 21.9 points per game.
“Pondexter’s a great player. He’s just a hard matchup,” said San Francisco assistant coach Jeff Linder, who was taking questions because coach Rex Walters had to catch a flight.
The Pac-10’s only ranked team won its ninth home game in nine dates this season. Yet Pondexter had a paternal-like scolding for his young team letting the Dons cut a 16-point, halftime lead to 47-43 with 11:43 remaining on a jumper and a 3-pointer by Michael Williams.
“We’re really disappointed about our lack of concentration,” Pondexter said. “Going into the Pac-10 you want to build up some momentum. We were doing a good job—until (Sunday’s) game.
“It was a little bit of slippage. … It wasn’t the win that we wanted.”
It was only 53-47 before the Huskies went on a 13-2 run. Isaiah Thomas twisted on a fast break and threw a shot in high off the glass while getting fouled for his first basket in eight attempts.
Washington’s second-leading scorer at 18.8 points per game entering Sunday then extended both arms with his palms facing upward.
“Yeah, like ‘Finally!”’ Romar said with a chuckle of last season’s Pac-10 freshman of the year, who regressed from a season-low of nine points against Texas A&M with just four points on Sunday.
Bryan-Amaning had six points in the decisive spurt, including a thunderous dunk following a steal and an over-the-shoulder pass from Elston Turner. A basket by Turner off a steal by Venoy Overton and another emphatic slam by Bryan-Amaning off a deft pass inside by Overton had the Huskies comfortably up 66-49 with 6 minutes remaining.
San Francisco hasn’t beaten a Pac-10 team since Dec. 2, 1997, when the Dons beat California.
Dior Lowhorn, the two-time defending scoring leader of the West Coast Conference, came in averaging 19.2 points per game but was continually tied up inside by the swarming Huskies. He missed eight of his first nine shots while Washington took control. Lowhorn finished with 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
Thomas missed his first seven shots and is 4 for 22 in his last two games. Yet he is being more of a point guard, with 19 assists and just five turnovers in the last three contests.
“He’s been a scorer all his life, so I’m sure it bothers him. But he’s not whining, not down about it,” Romar said. “And as we’ve seen the last few games, he’s found other ways to help his team. That’s the sign of a great basketball player.”