With the Huskies mired in the middle of the PAC just two weeks ago, the Beavers have turned anxious Husky fans back into believers - and just in time. Player of the Year candidate Brandon Roy scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished nine assists to lead Washington's Huskies to a 33-point victory over the Oregon State Beavers Saturday evening in Corvallis, 96-63.
The Washington Husky men's basketball team arrived at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum with plenty riding on the outcome of Saturday's road game. The Dawgs were looking for their second consecutive 20-win season and a chance to, perhaps, assure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Riding a modest three-game winning streak, Coach Lorenzo Romar's team still an outside chance at the PAC-10 title, though a slim one. A loss would be worrisome.
Certainly, there was genuine cause for anxiety. The Beavers had nothing to lose, and had dealt the Husky one of their most lop-sided PAC-10 losses a season ago. Notwithstanding an opportunity to knock off the nation's 20th ranked team, Coach Jay John's team was also playing to stay out of the PAC10 basement. A home-sweep of the Washington schools was possible after the Beavers put away the Washington State Cougars Thursday, breaking a string of six consecutive losses. A win could restore a bit of respect and some confidence before next week's Southern California road trip.
The Huskies came out intense and focused. A little too intense on the defensive end, apparently, for the liking of PAC-10 officials, who cited the Dawgs for 16 first-half infractions. The Beavers got to the line 20 times. Meanwhile, the Huskies never got into the one-and-one, as the home - town crew drew only five whistles. Fortunately, Oregon State converted just 13 free throws. Brandon Roy, the only Husky awarded charity, was four for four from the line.
Roy was magnificent in the first half. Gliding between double teams, rising above defenders, directing the offense and playing solid defense, the Husky senior scored 19 points on 6 of 11 shooting, single-handily keeping Washington in the game despite some hot shooting from OSU. The Beavers shot 56% in the half, including 4 of 6 from three, but still trailed by seven at the half.
Beaver coach Jay John was to say later, "We couldn't stop Brandon Roy at the defensive end without sacrificing at the offensive end."
The second half was all Washington. Roy took just six more shots, making four of them, and went to the bench for time in pain after knocking heads with Bobby Jones. No matter, Ryan Appleby stayed hot and the undermanned Beavers wilted. The Husky guard hit four three-point, quick-release bombs and the Beaver believers began filing out, early. For the game, the mop-haired gunner had 15 points, one of four Huskies in double-figures.
The Dawgs shot nearly 59% in the second-half while the Beavers slipped to 37%. Walk-on Zane Potter added insult to injury with a "three" and Artem Wallace reappeared to grab four rebounds. Washington doubled-up OSU 52 to 26 in the second stanza; one of the best Husky performances start to finish. Coach Romar has to think his posse had its' closest encounter with the "40 minutes" he's been preaching lately.
Bobby Jones and Jamaal Williams were the other double-figure scorers for the Huskies with 12 each, while Mike Jensen just missed with 9 points on 3 for 5 shooting beyond the arc. Sasa Cuic lead Oregon State with 17 points. Nick DeWitz added 12 and Marcel Jones 10. Guarded by Brandon Roy much of the time, OSU-point Brett Casey came up with a goose egg.
Washington shot 53.6% for the game, including 12 of 24 from "three." OSU shot 43.8 percent, including 37.5% from long range. The Huskies out rebounded the Beavers 38 to 28 with 17 of Washington's total at the offensive end leading to 19 second-chance points. Oregon State had 10 offensive rebounds and 7 second-effort tallies.
The dominating victory leaves the Huskies (20-5) just one game out of second place. California, which had been tied for first with UCLA, inexplicably lost at home to last-place Arizona State and now must travel to Seattle to face the renewed Dawgs. The Golden Bears edged Washington 71-69 in Berkley, January 26.
UCLA remains the PAC10 leader with just three losses; two of them to Washington. The Huskies will likely need to win their remaining four games, and hope UCLA stumbles twice in the Bay Area and drops a Sunday game to USC, if they are to claim a share of the PAC10 title.