EUGENE, Ore. (AP)—After Aaron Brook’s attempt to make peace with Washington’s Ryan Appleby was refused, the Oregon guard had his way with the Huskies.
The Seattle native scored 30 points to lead the 23rd-ranked Ducks to a 93-85 win over the reeling Huskies on Saturday night.
Tajuan Porter had 19 points, Bryce Taylor scored 15, Maarty Leunen had 13 points and Joevan Catron 11 points for Oregon (22-7, 10-7), which won its second straight after a three-game losing streak.
The game marked the first time Brooks and Appleby were on the same floor since Brooks was ejected from a Pac-10 tournament game last season for intentionally hitting Appleby in the mouth with an elbow.
Appleby kept his hands on his knees when Brooks went to shake his hand prior to the opening tip. He again ignored Brooks after the game when the teams were shaking hands in line.
“He didn’t want to shake my hand, that’s on him,” Brooks said. “I can’t dwell on that. We had a basketball game to win.”
Brooks, who wrote a letter of apology to both Appleby and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar while in the locker room following his ejection, was given a two-game suspension for the blow, which included the Ducks’ game in Seattle on Jan. 25. The Huskies won that game 89-77.
Appleby doesn’t believe Brooks was punished harshly enough for the hit. His refusal to shake Brooks’ hand before the game drew a loud reaction from Oregon’s “Pit Crew” student section.
“It was a gut reaction,” Appleby said. “I felt like he took a cheap shot at me last year and I felt like they didn’t penalize him the right way. I’m not going to acknowledge anybody for hitting somebody in the face like that. There’s no reason for me to acknowledge somebody like that.”
Appleby scored 17 points in the first half and was 5-for-7 on 3-pointers to help the Huskies take a 30-19 lead midway through the half.
Brooks played equally inspired basketball, with 10 points and six assists in the first half. He finished within two points of scoring a season-high, shooting 10-for-14 from the field with four 3-pointers. It was his fourth 30-point game of the season.
Appleby scored only four points in the second half and missed on all four of his shots from the field. He ended the game with 21 points to lead the Huskies.
“We just eliminated his easy touches,” Brooks said. “We lost him a couple times and he hit some big shots from deep range that was almost unguardable. He played great today, but we came out with the win.”
Brooks sparked a late 15-0 run in the first half to rally the Ducks to a 40-33 advantage with 4:37 to play before halftime. They went into the break up 46-40.
The Huskies took a 65-64 lead at the 12:23 mark of the second half on a 3-pointer by Adrian Oliver. But Taylor answered with a jumper at the other end to spark a 13-2 run by Oregon that led to an eventual 77-67 lead with 6:46 left in the game. Washington (16-12, 6-10) never got closer than six points after that.
Oregon shot 61 percent from the field in the second half and 54 percent in the game. The Ducks also recorded season-highs for free-throws attempted (40) and made (34).
“This was a really good basketball game,” Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. “You had fireworks all over the place. There was 3-pointers, great defense and the crowd was on fire.”
The Huskies, who also lost to Oregon State on Thursday, most likely killed their chances of making their fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance by getting swept this weekend, unless they win the conference tournament to earn the automatic berth.
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