The Washington Huskies (4-5, 14-7 overall) defeated the Washington State Cougars (4-5, 14-7 overall), 92-64, on Saturday afternoon at Hec Ed.
The least you should know:
The game was a tale of two halves if there ever was one. The Cougars led 40-36, and outplayed the Huskies in the first half. The Dawgs, though, won the second half 56-24 and turned the game into a blowout with several minutes left.
Quincy Pondexter had 19 points in the first half and finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas has only two points in the first half, but propelled the Huskies in the second, finishing with 19 points.
Washington defenders, particularly Justin Holiday, held super-scorer Klay Thompson to seven points on 2-15 shooting.
After pointing out that the Huskies couldn't afford to lose more than another game for the rest of the season if they hoped to contend for a Pac-10 title, Lorenzo Romar watched his team dig themselves a hole in the first half that nearly brought his team to the brink.
The Dawgs came out with an energy level more similar to their efforts on the road this season, struggling against the Cougars' 2-3 zone and hot outside shooting.
"They came in here very, very focused," said Romar.
Falling behind by as much as 11 points early in the game, the Huskies found themselves down 40-36 at halftime, despite 19 points by Quincy Pondexter.
"That second half we were saying 'not in our house,'" Pondexter said of the Huskies' mindset at halftime. "Second half, as a team, we didn't want them to get any confidence going again."
The Dawgs, who've struggled all season during the opening minutes of the second half, opened with a 15-1 run over the first 5:28 of the second half.
"I give our guys a lot of credit for putting their chinstraps on and really competing in the second half," Romar said.
"We came out and played great on the defensive end," Pondexter said.
Venoy Overton managed only six points, but had a terrific overall game, also finishing with seven assists, six rebounds, two steals and no turnovers.
Isaiah Thomas, who managed only two points in the first half, scored 17 in the second, keying the Husky run with three three-point field goals.
The Huskies built their lead to 20, 71-51, with 7:38 to go, but didn't stop pressuring the Cougars until the final whistle, winning the second half, 56-24.
Critical to the win for Washington was holding the Cougars' leading scorer Klay Thompson to seven points. He was checked for much of the game by Justin Holiday, who also managed 10 rebounds.
"Our guards did a great job of guarding him tonight," Pondexter said. "It started by keeping him off the three-point line."
Washington shot only 33% in the first half, but 62.5% in the second.
"It's amazing how we play harder, the shots start to fall," Pondexter said.
Next up for the Huskies, the Arizona schools come in on Thursday (Arizona) and Saturday (Arizona State).
"They definitely embarrassed us (last time)," Pondexter said. "But we haven't forgotten."
Thoughts and observations:
You rarely see a team win a half by 30 points. In the first, I thought we were doomed. But, the second half felt as dominant as the Huskies' opening half against Seattle U.
Husky of the Game: With all due respect to Quincy and Isaiah, Venoy Overton[db] did everything but drive the bus tonight. We were so clearly a better team with him on the floor, and it's becoming clearer that as Venoy's energy goes, so go the Huskies.
Love the nickname from FSN broadcaster, Steve Physioc, for [db]Brendan Sherrer: "The Human Victory Cigar." Sherrer scored in his second consecutive game tonight.
The Husky bigs looked alright today. Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Tyreese Breshers combined for 14 points and seven rebounds in 34 total minutes. So what if it took two of them -- that's decent output from a post player.
Today was a perfect example of how, when things are going well, a zone isn't going to stop the Huskies.
Justin Holiday: three points, 10 rebounds, four assists and great defense on Klay Thompson. Great decision to move him into the starting lineup.
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