Hoop Dawgs roll in desert

Many thought this would be a letdown game for the Washington Huskies, but it was clear from the start they had other ideas. Twelve players scored, including five in double-figures, as UW took care of business Saturday night and clobbered Arizona State 96-72 in front of 8,067 in Tempe, Arizona.

Washington (15-10, 10-6) is now squarely in the hunt for an NCAA berth as Saturday's win keeps them in second-place and was their 10th conference victory in eleven tries, the best 11-game league run the Huskies have ever had. Brandon Roy led UW with 20 points, followed by Nate Robinson with 13, Hakeem Rollins with 12, Tre Simmons with 11, and Bobby Jones with 10.

The loss keeps Arizona State (10-16, 4-13) in the Pac-10 cellar, having no chance of making it for post-season play.

Ike Diogu, the great Sun Devil post player, got his points. He scored 27 against the Huskies and also set a Pac-10 single season record for free throws made, erasing the mark set by the great Mel Counts from Oregon State. But Diogu's efforts went wanting, as only he and Jamal Hill hit field goals in the first half until ASU guard Kevin Kruger nailed a three-point bucket, which happened to also be ASU's last shot of the half.

By then the Huskies had put together a very solid first twenty minutes, scoring the first nine points of the contest much like how they started their home game against ASU. That game, back on January 31st, UW scored the first twelve points of the game and never looked back, winning 90-81. By the first time out taken by head coach Rob Evans, the Huskies had extended their lead to 19-6 and when the under-8 TV time-out was called the Huskies' lead had ballooned to 17, 31-14.

UW went into a bit of a slump near the end of the half, not making a field goal for the last 4:58, but by then they had already made a number of free throws, especially by Hakeem Rollins and Brandon Roy. The Huskies were very impressive at the charity stripe all game, making 30-36 (.833), a good thirteen percent above their season average.

ASU took a 44-29 deficit into halftime and it only got worse when they came back for the final twenty. In the first 3:02, Washington went on a 7-0 run, extending their advantage to 22 points.

At 53-32, Brandon Roy drove to the bucket and looked to have made a basket and was fouled in the process, but the call could have gone either way. This was enough for at least one Sun Devil fan, who threw a water bottle onto the floor. That prompted Evans to speak to the crowd via microphone to try and calm them down.

But the only ones hot in Tempe were the guys wearing purple. They moved their lead to 26 with 13:18 to go in the game on a pretty Tre Simmons jumper off glass, the largest it would get. From then on out the lead would shrivel to 17 when Kruger would nail his second trey of the game at the 7:41 mark, but that's as close as the Sun Devils would get.

At the 4:59 mark, Hans Gasser came in, his first action since getting in for some mop up time at Washington State. The big man from Issaquah introduced himself to the ASU crowd by putting his first shot down from the right baseline. At 1:46, Lorenzo Romar opened up the floodgates and the rest of the subs were inserted for action. Brandon Burmeister called glass on a three that went down, and Zane Potter finished the Huskies' scoring with a pretty drive through the ASU defense for a layin. Potter's play brought the rest of his teammates of their seats in jubilation.

The Huskies finish regular-season play with two home games, Thursday against California and Saturday against Stanford. The Stanford game is already a sell-out.

Points: Roy 20, Robinson 13, Rollins 12, Simmons 11, B. Jones 10, Allen 9, Conroy 7, Jensen 5, Burmeister 3, A. Washington 2, Gasser 2, Potter 2
Rebounds: B. Jones 5, Robinson 5, Roy 5, Rollins 5, Allen 4, Jensen 3, Simmons 3, Gasser 3, Conroy 2, A. Washington 2
Assists: Roy 5, Jensen 4, Conroy 4, Robinson 3, B. Jones 1, Simmons 1, Allen 1, Gasser 1
Steals: Robinson 3, Conroy 2, Jensen 1, Gasser 1, Roy 1, Washington 1
Blocks: Roy 1, Rollins 1

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