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November 21, 2009

UW earns blue-collar victory against San Jose State

The Huskies defeated the San Jose State Spartans 80-70 Friday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion to raise their record to 4-0.

The Least You Should Know:

This was a business-like win for the Dawgs, who were not nearly as dynamic or energetic as they were in any of last weekend's games.

Quincy Pondexter continued to put together the beginnings of a monster season, reaching career-highs in points (30) and rebounds (15) again.

Tyreese Breshers had his best game as a Husky, finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and a steal in 20 minutes.

The narrative:

Maybe it was unrealistic to expect the Huskies to outdo last Sunday's triumphant 56-point victory over Portland State which capped off a perfect opening weekend for UW men's basketball.

While fans may have come hoping for the same fireworks they saw last time, they were treated instead to an 80-70 win that was more blue-collar than disco, on a night Coach Lorenzo Romar admitted his Huskies were not at their very best.

"I thought our guys, probably at times, had poor shot selection. And that's just not how we want to play," he said. "We just seemed, for whatever reason, that we weren't moving our feet as quickly as we should've. I can't put my finger on it."

One player who did manage to outperform any of his feats from the Huskies' first three games was Quincy Pondexter, who finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs, despite playing with a nauseous stomach all evening.

With San Jose State playing a zone defense for most of the game, Pondexter was the clear weapon of choice for the Dawgs.

"In practice, when we put zone offense in, the first person we talk about is Quincy. Get the ball to Quincy, because he's really effective in the middle of that zone," Romar said.

Pondexter played with some added motivation tonight, going up against former teammate Adrian Oliver, who scored 32 points in the game. Pondexter admitted he felt some bad blood.

He, Oliver, Phil Nelson and Spencer Hawes comprised the vaunted Husky freshman class of 2006-2007. All except Pondexter were gone before the next season tipped off.

"It was a heartbreaking year for me to see everyone go," Pondexter said. "I felt stranded. Not only, he left me as a teammate. He left me as a friend."

"Adrian, he got what he wanted. He's at a school where he can score as many points as he wants," Pondexter said. "But, I'd rather be here where I'm at. We're winning games."

The tempo of the game may have been dictated more by the officials than either team tonight. UW was tagged with 26 fouls, while San Jose State racked up 25.

"It's hard when the game's stopped all the time and you're so worried about fouling," Isaiah Thomas said after scoring 16 points on a tough 4-13 shooting night. "We tried to play through it. We did an all-right job of it."

Two of the Husky freshman had, arguably, their best nights as Huskies. Tyreese Breshers had 12 points and seven rebounds in twenty minutes, after which he admitted to being very winded. And Abdul Gaddy picked up seven assists and had no turnovers, playing 25 minutes while Venoy Overton sat for much of the second half with four fouls.

Analysis and observation:

This one wasn't nearly as much fun to watch as any of last weekend's games. Even the opening-night jitters against Wright State came with more energy. And, Wright State was a far better team that played us close than San Jose State.

Round four of the point guard battle goes to Abdul. Venoy looks like a very average point guard when playing against the zone. Gaddy, though, was terrific finding Pondexter and Breshers, and will ultimately need to be the Huskies' #1 point guard whenever opponents play the zone.

Maybe more concerning than Venoy's struggles against the zone are Isaiah's. If his shot isn't falling, he's going to need to work on not dribbling the ball into the middle of three or four defenders as he did a few times tonight.

No style points for the Dawgs tonight. But, it is good to see them get it done, even though the team didn't have its fastball tonight.

Husky of the Game: Quincy Pondexter. I have a feeling I'm going to be typing this a lot this year. Pondexter was also the MVP of the post-game media conference for candidly telling the room about his bad feelings toward Adrian Oliver, who, according to Quincy, left him stuck with the rent for their apartment when Oliver chose to transfer schools.

All season (and last year), it's felt like good plays on the defensive end have spurred energetic, solid offense. Tonight, it felt like the Huskies only looked good on the defensive end after a successful trip of their own down the floor.

San Jose State employed an interesting strategy, playing its big men all the way back on the other end of the court whenever a Spartan got to the line, essentially conceding the rebound to the Dawgs. The goal, I assume, was to stop the Huskies from running on missed free throws.

Elston Turner looked more confident. He only hit on two of his five three-pointers, but hitting even a couple should give him confidence going into the next game.

The Huskies now have an eight-day layoff before taking on Montana on Sunday, November 29th at Hec Ed.


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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