Big Dawgs key 73-65 win over Vikings

With all the returning backcourt experience, Lorenzo Romar's Washington basketball team expected to be one that would live and die by their perimeter play. But keyed by Anthony Washington's team-high 14 points and newcomer Hakeem Rollins' 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, the Huskies were able to muscle out a 73-65 win over Portland State Friday night in front of an attendance of 5,980 at Hec Ed Pavilion.

"I'm excited to get the win," Romar said. "I'll say that. We did not play consistent basketball tonight."

The Dawgs jumped out to an early 21-8 lead, but Portland State chipped away during the final eight and a half minutes and outscored UW 21-11 to draw their halftime deficit to 3 at 37-34.

It was an impressive comeback for the Vikings, despite 18 first-half turnovers. They made up for it with .519 shooting (14-27). The Huskies shot .429 for the first half (15-35). The backcourt struggled mightily, going 4-18, while the frontcout was much better, hitting shots at a 9-14 clip.

"We did not shoot the ball well tonight," said Romar. "We did not shoot the ball well in our last exhibition game either. But I think it's something we'll be OK with if we really apply our big guys, especially Hakeem (Rollins) and Anthony (Washington)."

Tre Simmons, who was supposed to be out of the game with the flu, came in for an injured Robinson with 5 minutes left in the half. Nate hurt his ankle and never seemed to be one-hundred percent the rest of the way.

But for Simmons, the former Garfield and Green River CC grad promptly came in and hit his first career jumper. Not too bad for a player battling the flu who hadn't even been expected to play.

"At shootaround today, he was feeling a lot better. We wanted to get him in there just to get breathing. He hadn't practiced all week and the first shot he takes is nothing but bottom."

The move into a 2-3 zone the second half keyed a defensive run that forced the Vikings into 32 percent shooting, down nearly 20 points from their first half performance. "At times we had a lineup in there that was long and big," Romar said. "So we were able to get their hands up on the shooters."

Portland State head coach Heath Schroyer agreed the switch to zone helped spell the difference. "He (Romar) does things the right way and when we were battling tonight he switched to the zone and caught us off guard and that is just a credit to him and his coaching staff."

But the Huskies kept Portland State in the game by forcing jumpshots and taking early looks that weren't falling.

"That could be our achilles' heel, and that's something we have to overcome," Romar said of his team's inability to stay patient at times during the game. Between Robinson, Brandon Roy and Curtis Allen combined, they shot a whopping 6-27 from the field and 2-9 from 3-point range.

"We know Nate is a hard cover for anyone," Romar said of his sophomore guard from Rainier Beach. "But when you depend that much on your explosiveness and you have a bad wheel, you have to get away from people and he wasn't able to do that as much as he usually can."

But once Washington forced the action inside, the game fell toward the Dawgs. He sparked a 6-0 run with 5:56 left in the game and the Huskies up 56-53. Two buckets and an offensive foul by Portland State's Marshal Hartman, and the Hec Ed crowd lit up for the first time all night.

"He was just able to go out there and play," Romar said of the sophomore big man from Garfield. Along with his points, Washington also 4 boards and a block. "He was able to go out there and make mistakes and through his mistakes was able to figure out what worked and what didn't work within the game."

Romar was also effusive about the play of Rollins, a 6-7 junior transfer from Mesa JC. "I can't compliment Hakeem Rollins enough about his play," he said. "He was strong on the boards and strong protecting the basket. And he had three blocks. He was a definite presence in the game."

No go for AW: Anthony Washington, at the end of warmups, wanted to make a free throw before heading back into the locker room. He tried a half-dozen times unsuccessfully before giving up.

Tenacious D: The 28 turnovers forced by Washington was just 5 short of their career best. They forced 33 takeaways against USC in January of 1986.

Points: Washington 14, Roy 11, Conroy 11, Jones 11, Rollins 8, Jensen 6, Allen 6, Robinson 4, Simmons 2

Rebounds: Rollins 7, Roy 5, Washington 4, Jensen 4, Robinson 3, Conroy 3, Jones 3

Steals: Jones 4, Allen 3, Rollins 1, Robinson 1, Roy 1, Conroy 1

Blocks: Rollins 3, Jones 2, Washington 1 Top Stories