Huskies roll over Cal

Perhaps it is destiny that the Washington Huskies meet the No. 1 team in the nation as the second hottest team in the conference and that Stanford comes to town undefeated. And after the result from Seattle and Pullman on Thursday night, you would be hard to find somebody who believes otherwise. The Huskies (16-10, 11-6) won for the 11th time in their last 13 games as they rode a big second half to defeat Cal (13-13, 9-8) 76-58 in front of a sold out crowd at Bank of America Arena.

The win assures the Huskies of at least a tie for second place in the Pac-10 and even bigger, a showdown with No. 1 Stanford on Saturday afternoon.

"I give our guys a lot of credit tonight on the defensive end," said Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar. "It was one of our better efforts defensively."

The game was not pretty to say the least, especially in the first half, where both teams shot horribly from the floor. Tip-ins were not falling, balls were rattling in and out, and even dunks were missed.

Let's just say that there was enough bricks to build a house -- two of them.

Neither team made a field goal until five minutes had elapsed in the game. Washington missed their first 11 shots from the field before Mike Jensen made a lay-up with 13:58 left to go in the opening half. Washington was very fortunate to have gone into halftime with an eight-point lead after shooting a mere 26.3 percent from the floor. That was because Cal did worse, shooting 25 percent.

When the Huskies did score, however, it usually came from Tre Simmons. The sharpshooting junior once again came off the bench to light a fire under the Huskies' offense with two quick three-pointers. Simmons also brought excitement to the house when he made a lay-up in traffic after being on the recieving end of a speeding-bullet pass from Nate Robinson from the top of the arc. Simmons scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the first half.

With both teams shooting the ball inconsistently, it was clear that the first team to finally find their stroke would come out on top. That team happened to be Washington.

Bobby Jones sparked a run to start the second half with a big block on Cal's side. Jones hustled down the court to cap it off with a lay-up. On Cal's next possession, Jones stripped the ball from Cal's freshmen sensation Leon Powe in Cal's corner of the floor. As he grabbed the ball and just as he was about to fall out of bounds, Jones threw a football pass the length of the floor to a waiting Will Conroy who made the easy lay-up. The Huskies turned their shooting woes quickly around, stroking 53.1 percent from the floor in the second half.

"We began to make shots," said Romar. "I felt we had some good looks in the first half but in the second half, it wasnt so much that we were great half court team, but we competed and got our hands on balls and got them to shoot shots that we were able to get out on transition on."

The Huskies had another one of their balanced nights with five players scoring in double figures. To go with Simmons' 16 points, Jones had 13 points to go with his nine rebounds, Jensen and Brandon Roy scored 12 each, and Conroy scored 11 points.

Washington also won this game without the use of the three-ball. The Huskies shot 4-of-17 from beyond the arc. Instead, they pounded the paint for the win. Washington outscored Cal 34-26 in deep and outrebounded them by a 45-44 advantage.

Powe was effectively guarded by the Huskies but still managed to pull down a double-double, earning his 15 points and 12 rebounds the hard way.

After the game, all eyes were on the television sets to see what was going on in Pullman. Rumor had it that the Cougars were about to pull off the upset of the year before the Huskies even got their chance. Even the coaches could not help but to wonder what was going on across the state as he stared at the screen.

In the team room across the hall, the UW players had gathered to watch the game on the big screen. Even the media who were present to do the post-game interviews could not help but to watch the end before they proceeded with their work.

With disappointed looks on their faces, the Husky players could only watch as the Cougars held on to the lead with time ticking down. Then, as the Cardinal began to rattle off seven unanswered points in the final 20 seconds, excitement began to rise and pandemonium erupted with Matt Lottich's desperation three to win the game at the buzzer.

No, they are not Stanford fans.

The last-second Cardinal heroics gave UW their chance to do what the Cougars could not do. That left Conroy and Robinson screaming "destiny" as they now begin to prepare for the game of their lives in less than 48 hours.

Husky Scoring:
Points: Simmons 16, Jones 13, Jensen 12, Roy 12, Robinson 8, Allen 2, Washington 2
Rebounds: Jones 9, Jensen 9, Roy 5, Rollins 5, Allen 4, Simmons 4, Robinson 2, Conroy 2, Burmeister 2
Assists: Conroy 6, Simmons 3, Jones 2, Roy 2, Allen 2, Robinson 1
Steals: Conroy 2, Jensen 2, Jones 1, Roy 1, Simmons 1
Blocks: Jones 1

Attendance: 10,000 Sellout (2nd of the season) Top Stories