Washington hits triple digits to remain undefeated

With a lot of talk of how the two "little brothers" from east of the Cascades (Eastern Washington and Gonzaga) overtaking Washington in terms of basketball, the Huskies proved that "big brother" can still hold his own today with a 104-91 win over Eastern Washington at Bank of America this afternoon. The Huskies were led by Tre Simmons and Brandon Roy, who scored 19 points each as they led a second half Huskies charge.

The win keeps the Huskies undefeated at 3-0 as they prepare to face Gonzaga on Wednesday night.

Four Huskies scored in double figures and three more were within a basket of reaching the double-digit scoring plateau. After scoring 91 points against UC Riverside, Washington came back and eclipsed the century mark for the first time in 159 games. The last time Washington scored over 100 points was back on January 29, 1998 when they defeated USC 101-86.

"That was a fun game," said Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar after the game. "It was fun because it was a team win. When you have a team win, everyone feels good about it."

Eastern Washington's Alvin Snow had another solid day against the Huskies, but not like the day he had last season when he led the Eagles to victory with 24 points and seven steals. Snow, a former standout at Seattle's Franklin High School, finished 19 points and five steals. Former Husky Josh Barnard also returned to Washington and scored 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 4-of-7 from three-point range.

Both teams played a very physical game as evidenced by the amount of whistles being blown. The two teams combined for a total of 54 personal fouls and the Huskies went to the charity stripe 46 times. In fact, the Huskies were already in the bonuses (seven team fouls) within six minutes of the game, and were in double bonuses (10 team fouls) just two minutes later. Washington hit 33-of-46 freebies to take a big advantage over the Eagles from the free throw line.

"(EWU) were physical, but I think our guys were physical," said Romar. "When you look that we went to the line 46 times, that shows that we were really aggressive and you don't do that if you're not aggressive."

In statistics, both teams were about as evenly matched as you can get at halftime. At the half with Washington up by one at 51-50, both teams were nearly identical in every statistic from field goal percentage to the turnovers.

In a game that featured 17 ties and 20 lead changes, the Huskies found enough energy and spark with 10 minutes to go in the second half to go on a run and keep the lead for good.

With the score tied at 71-71 and with Will Conroy at the line shooting free throws, an overly rambunctious Eastern Washington head coach Ray Giacoletti who was still protesting the previous foul call was whistled for a technical foul. The Huskies then sent Roy to the free throw line to shoot two free throws and it was nearly all Huskies from there, as Washington outscored EWU 33-18 the rest of the way.

Leading the charge were Simmons, Roy, and Bobby Jones, who finished with a career-high 14 points and eight rebounds. They gave the EWU defense fits as they took the ball and drove it inside and felt just as comfortable draining the shots from the outside.

Simmons had not played much the first two games of the season because he was recovering from the flu. Romar said that the team was just waiting for Simmons to have a breakout game. But even though Roy and Simmons were the scoring machines, Romar still acknowledged Jones, his workhorse off the bench.

"When you look at both of the guys with 19 points, you might say that they were the stars of the game," said Romar. "But I go back to ‘Mr. Reliable' Bobby Jones. He did another good job in his role."

EWU and Barnard tried to counter with some outside shots of their own, but the Huskies found ways to control the tempo of the game and slowly build their lead to double digits.

The key to the Huskies success was their shooting. The Huskies shot the ball nearly 60 percent in the second half while clamping down and holding EWU to just 42.9 percent. For the game, the Huskies shot 55 percent from the field.

Up Next: The Huskies conclude their four-game home stand with Gonzaga on Wednesday, December 6th at 7:30pm. The nationally ranked Bulldogs have won five straight against the Huskies and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Northwest. A limited number of tickets are still available.

Notes:
The "Return" - Part I: Josh Barnard made his return to Bank of America Arena with his teammates from Eastern Washington. The senior guard from Tacoma transferred to Cheney two years ago after former head coach Bob Bender was let go. Barnard averaged 5.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game as a Husky.

Another former Husky returns next week when Erroll Knight and Gonzaga come to town. Like Barnard, Knight left the Huskies program two years ago citing his desire to play at a smaller school environment.

Franklin vs. Garfield: Everybody knows that Franklin High School and Garfield High School are two storied rivals. Therefore it should have come as no surprise when Lyndale Burleson and the Franklin High School basketball team came to watch and support Franklin alum Alvin Snow take on Washington's Garfield quartet of Will Conroy, Tre Simmons, Anthony Washington, and Brandon Roy.

"I don't like the Franklin boys," said Roy with a smile. "When I saw them in our stands, it just made me play a better game. They'll be my rivals for life."

Gasser gets his points: Hans Gasser, the only scholarship freshmen on the team, finally registered his first collegiate points on Saturday. After being fouled on a lay-up attempt, Gasser went to the line and hit his first free throw for his first career point. Even though he missed his nest free throw attempt, Gasser was not done.

With about two minutes left to go in the first half, Gasser drained a 17-foot jumper from the right baseline for his first career field goal.

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