Robinson stuffs Ducks

For those of you not at Hec Edmundson Pavilion Thursday night to see the Washington men's basketball team battle Oregon, shame on you. What you missed was a Husky program that continued its late-season charge up the Pac-10 standings, coming back from a double-digit deficit to beat the Ducks, 83-74.

The win was the UW's sixth in its last seven games, and evened the season series with the rival Ducks at one apiece. Oregon beat the Huskies, 84-74, last month at The Pit in Eugene.

"As long as we keep winning, I'll have to keep saying it. I'm extremely proud of our guys," said Husky coach Lorenzo Romar. "We were down double digits several times but we stuck together, came back and were able to win the ball game despite not having a great shooting game."

Washington's conference win marked the most the team has recorded since going 10-8 in the Pac-10 in 1999.

"It hasn't been like this since I've been here," said Curtis Allen, the team's lone senior and a man who's endured plenty of forgettable moments over his four-year career at the UW. "We are playing well and winning ball games, and it's a lot of fun to come out and play for our home fans."

Allen teamed with Nate Robinson as the Husky backcourt combination for the final nine minutes of the game, taking the minutes of Will Conroy, who usually is in the game down the stretch. Down 13 with 9:35 to go, Romar found that inserting the four-year letterman into the game seemed to help the Huskies whittle down the deficit.

"Curtis wasn't shooting a lot, but there was just a calm for us with him in there," Romar explained. "He is a senior and has been through the ward, so we have confidence in him even though he is not a starter."

With Allen and Robinson patrolling the backcourt, a trio of forwards – Bobby Jones, Mike Jensen and Brandon Roy – teamed together in the frontcourt to add to the Huskies' success.

Jones, the team's best defender, put the clamps down defensively on Luke Jackson, Oregon's best offensive threat, in the final 10 minutes of the game. His ability to do so allowed the Huskies to creep back.

And Jones, one of the Huskies' vocal leaders and main sources of inspiration as well, seemed to fire up the team when he was intentionally fouled by Oregon big-man Jay Anderson with Oregon ahead by eight and just over nine minutes to go. The Husky sophomore put the team on his back, scoring seven points in a Washington 15-0 run over a 1:56 span to pull the home team ahead by two with 7:17 remaining.

"We have not seen that from Bobby Jones in a few games. His energy tonight was unreal. Him and Nate Robinson are our energy guys and the other guys play off their energy. It was big for us tonight."

Jones picked up his fourth personal foul with 7:00 remaining in the contest, and was replaced in the lineup by Jensen, who had been saddled with four fouls and on the bench since the 17:47 mark of the second half.

Needing to replace the energy that Jones provided, Jensen stepped up with one of the biggest games of his career, avoiding his fifth foul while still battling down low for rebounds and spotting up to drill open perimeter jump-shots.

Jensen finished with a double-double, the only Husky to do so, with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Robinson led the way scoring for the UW with 20, while Jones and Roy each added 18.

"We had multiple players step up tonight," said Romar. "Against a team like Oregon, we needed that."

The Ducks were paced by the hot-shooting and 19 points of versatile forward Andre Joseph, who hit 5 of 7 three-point attempts. Center Mitch Platt and forward Ian Crosswhite, freshman and sophomore post players respectively, each added 15 and will be forces to be reckoned with for years to come.

Jackson played just over two minutes of the first half due to a pair of early fouls, and finished with just 11. Sharp-shooter James Davis couldn't overcome the defense of Robinson, going only 1-5 from the field and finishing with a mere three points.

Both the Huskies (11-9, 6-6 Pac-10) and Ducks (11-7, 6-5) shot exactly 50 percent from the field for the game, but the UW managed to connect on just 3 of 13 three-pointers, and were a miserable 16-28 from the free throw line.

They made up for it on the defensive end of the court, where they used a full-court press on Oregon's talented backcourt, forcing the visitors into 26 turnovers. Washington, meanwhile, had only 15.

"When our defensive pressure and intensity was turned up, we started to get inside of their zone and instead of taking it inside they had to settle for outside shots," said Romar. "That allowed us to get out in front."

Washington outscored Oregon 29-9 in the final 9:11 of the game.

"They really try to whoop the Huskies down there (in Eugene)," said Roy of the way the Huskies were treated when they played at Oregon. "They said some really rude things to us, so we had to make them walk away with a loss."

Mission accomplished.


Notes:

Up Next: The Huskies continue with the second game of their three-game homestand on Saturday with a 2 p.m. showdown against Oregon State. Washington will then face Washington State next Thursday to wrap up the homestand, a 7 p.m. tip. Neither game will be televised. After that the Dawgs head to North Carolina State on Feb. 22 for an unusual out of conference matchup late in the season. Tipoff for that one is set for 2:30 p.m.

Duckling: Oregon coach Ernie Kent has the unusual privilege of coaching his son, Jordan Kent, at the college level. Jordan, a freshman, is one guard to watch out for, blessed with height at 6-foot-5 and quickness that you rarely find from guards on Pac-10 schools that aren't named Stanford, Arizona or UCLA. Kent sat much of the second half with ice wrapped around one of his ankles.

Brooks Hurt: Former Franklin High star point guard Aaron Brooks sat on the Oregon bench in street clothes, still sidelined with a broken wrist that he injured by punching a backboard standard against UCLA.


Stats:
Points: Robinson 20, B. Jones 18, Roy 18, Jensen 14, Conroy 7, A. Washington 4, Allen 2
Rebounds: Jensen 10, Robinson 6, Roy 4, Rollins 4, TEAM 3, A. Washington 3, Simmons 2, B. Jones 1, Conroy 1, Allen 1
Assists: Roy 6, Robinson 4, Allen 3, Conroy 2, B. Jones 1
Steals: Robinson 3, Roy 3, Jensen 2, Conroy 2, B. Jones 1, Simmons 1 Blocks: B. Jones 1

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