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December 23, 2009

UW Puts Away Texas A&M After Ugly Injury

The Huskies (8-2) defeated the Texas A&M Aggies (9-3), 73-64, Tuesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Despite the win it was a somber scene after an ugly injury took down a Texas A&M star.

The Least You Should Know:

The game turned in the Huskies' favor after a severe leg injury to Aggie guard Derrick Roland early in the second half. The Huskies were up one (34-33) at the time, but began to pull away right afterward.

Quincy Pondexter had another all-world game for the Dawgs, finishing with 25 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

The Huskies blocked 12 shots tonight, two shy of the school record.

The (Brief) Narrative:

The University of Washington's top 25 ranking was likely on the line Tuesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion when the 22nd-ranked Huskies hosted 19th-ranked Texas A&M. Lose tonight and drop to 0-3 against tough, non-conference opponents.

Instead, though, the Huskies prevailed, 73-64, in a gritty defensive showdown, and earned what may ultimately be considered a "signature" non-conference win when the Huskies are evaluated later in consideration for the NCAA Tournament.

Play stopped for nearly ten minutes early in the second half after Aggies' guard Derrick Roland suffered a serious leg injury. Roland was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition in at Harborview Medical Center.

The Dawgs only shot 36.4% on the night, but took care of the ball reasonably well, given their turnover woes of late, and finished with only 14 turnovers. The Huskies held Texas A&M to 30.3% shooting and forced 15 turnovers from the Aggies.

Other than Quincy Pondexter, who was responsible for 16 of the Huskies 30 first-half points, only two Huskies converted on field goals in the game's first 20 minutes. Star scorer Isaiah Thomas was held scoreless in the first half, and finished with only nine points.

The Huskies went to the locker room down 32-30, after battling hard on defense, but showing none of the offensive spark that had been on display during their victory against Portland on Saturday night.

The Aggies were down 34-33 when play stopped after Roland's injury, but never got that close again over the final 17:30. Washington led by as much as fourteen points before Texas A&M tightened the score in the closing minutes, getting as close as five points with 2:01 remaining.

Husky guard Venoy Overton keyed the Huskies' decisive push late in the game, scoring nine of his twelve points in the second half, and finishing with seven rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Next up for the Huskies are the San Francisco Dons at Hec Ed on Sunday at noon.

Observations and Analysis:

The Huskies depth served them well tonight when Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Tyreese Breshers and Abdul Gaddy all spent much of the night in foul trouble.

Isaiah was out there as the only point guard on the floor for two long(ish) stretches tonight and looked good. Other than the poor shooting (3-13), Isaiah's line of nine points, seven rebounds, five assists and three turnovers doesn't look bad at all.

The injury to senior Derrick Roland was probably career-ending. The brief glimpse caught by the TV cameras showed a grizzly break in his leg -- along the lines of Joe Theismann's infamous injury on Monday Night Football in 1985. Really sad, and obviously, it put a damper on a great Husky win.

Huskies of the game: Quincy Pondexter and Venoy Overton. Quincy's numbers speak for themselves, but Venoy was the poised leader the Dawgs needed tonight. Sure, the four turnovers are a bit much, but Overton was all over the place tonight and asserted his will on the game.

This was only the third time since Isaiah Thomas became a Husky that he was outscored in a game by Venoy Overton.

Quincy keeps building a season of beauty and has to be considered a possibility at this point for All-America honors if things keep up this way.

It's hard to get a sense of how Gaddy is developing offensively when he can't stay on the floor. He's committed four fouls in three of the last five games, and had three fouls in another.

Scott Suggs hit the dagger shot that put the Huskies up 12 with about three minutes left. Most impressive, though, was that the sequence started with Scott missing a three. He got the ball back after an offensive rebound a moment later and buried it. He's turning a corner confidence-wise, for sure.

As of Tuesday night, tickets are still available for Sunday afternoon's game against San Francisco. After that, Pac-10 tickets are much harder to come by, but always check the Huskies' ticket website on the Monday before a game when they release some extra tickets.


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