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December 20, 2009

UW Gets Back to Winning Ways In 89-54 Win

Washington defeated the Portland Pilots in impressive fashion on Saturday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The 89-54 blowout win raised the Huskies record to 7-2.

The least you should know:

This Huskies led wire-to-wire and overpowered Portland on both sides of the court, forcing 22 turnovers and only committing 11.

Scott Suggs scored a career-high 13 points for the Huskies.

Abdul Gaddy earned his second career start, but spent the evening in foul trouble, and had a mostly ineffective game.

The narrative:

The Huskies left Anaheim last weekend with a laundry list of questions, barely hanging on to their top 25 ranking after an eight-point defeat by Georgetown that exposed a host of problem areas the team would need to work on.

After a week of tougher-than-usual practices, the Dawgs looked every bit the national power they've been expected to be on Saturday, trouncing Portland, 89-54, at Hec Ed.

"We were all a little bit unhappy. We thought that (the Georgetown game) was really disappointing to ourselves, our confidence, to every UW fan," said senior forward Quincy Pondexter. "So we really wanted to come out and prove to everyone how good we are."

The Huskies took a 16-2 lead in the game's opening six minutes and never looked back, going into the locker room up 47-17 at halftime.

"With the exception of the first seven minutes of the second half, I thought we played as well as we've played since Portland State tonight, and maybe even better," Coach Lorenzo Romar said. The Huskies defeated Portland State in their third game of the season, 111-55.

After not starting for only the second time this season, Venoy Overton scored 11 points, and was the catalyst for a large number of Portland's 22 turnovers, 19 of which were committed by Pilot guards. The Huskies took full advantage, scoring 35 points off those turnovers.

"That's what he (Overton) does," Husky guard Isaiah Thomas said. "He comes in the game, and brings energy, and locks up every guard that I've seen."

Pondexter explained after the game that taking care of the ball was a focal point of practice this week, after the Huskies committed 64 over their last three games.

The Huskies outshot (54.8% to 34.1%), outpassed (20 assists to 11), and outrebounded (36 to 27) Portland Saturday night, but the statistic that delighted Romar the most was that the Dawgs only turned the ball over 11 times.

"We ended with eleven," Romar said. "If we commit thirteen turnovers, we'll say, 'hey, that wasn't bad,' and as I stated before, it's not the end of the world if we commit fifteen, but we would prefer thirteen. If you get eleven, that's a really good job."

Pondexter scored 17 points, but collected a season-low one rebound. Thomas added 16, by way of three three-pointers, and dished out eight assists.

Scott Suggs scored a career-high 13 points tonight, and added two steals.

"Suggs gave us a tremendous lift off the bench tonight," Romar said. "I told him 'you know, you come in, you don't play real well, you're still gonna get another shot.' And, he took it to heart and did a nice job. He also did a nice job on the defensive end."

Abdul Gaddy was one of the few Huskies who didn't impress with his play against Portland. After earning his second career start, he spent much of the night in foul trouble, and was held scoreless with two assists and three turnovers.

"I wanted us to be a little more organized," Romar said, explaining the decision to start Gaddy. "Be a little more efficient. A little less risk-taking in that first five (minutes)."

The Huskies have a tough test ahead with 23rd-ranked Texas A&M coming to town on Tuesday evening.

Analysis and Observations:

One of the few negatives to point out is a continuing pattern of lackluster play early in the second half. The Huskies let the lead slip from thirty to twenty in the first 9:12 of the half, continuing a trend from the last few games. Coach said he wasn't concerned and denied that a trend was forming. Personally, I'd like to see us play better in that "third quarter."

Loved the way the Huskies spread the love on offense tonight. Seven guys took at least five shots, and four Dawgs were in double figures.

Isaiah needed only seven shots to score 16 points. After playing about as inefficiently as a star player could in his previous three games, Thomas put together a taut, understated masterpiece tonight: 16 points on 4-7 shooting, eight assists, two rebounds, one steal, and zero turnovers.

What kind of odds could I have gotten betting that Suggs would attempt more shots (8) than Thomas (7) in the game?

I certainly give it to Suggs when I'm not impressed, so I've got to say tonight that I thought he did a fantastic job. I still want him to gain 25 pounds, but tonight he looked like he belonged.

Elston Turner's either hustling more, or turning into a better defensive player. He must've taken his Clarence Trent pills, because he was all over the place tonight during his 14 minutes. Turner was the 10th Husky to check into the game.

Darnell Gant limped back to the locker room at one point in the second half, and didn't check back in. Nothing from coach about an injury afterward, though.

Watching this game and the Georgetown game, you wouldn't know that the Huskies were the same basketball team, a single week apart. But, if we don't come out with a good game against Texas A&M on Tuesday, this game is going to mean nothing more to the team's prospects than a fun Saturday night.


Josh Anderson is the publisher of Montlake Madness, a 100 percent free fan site dedicated to University of Washington basketball. UDUBsports.com will be teaming up with Josh for the basketball season to provide even more comprehensive coverage of all the action!


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