Huskies: 100 and done

Demario Eddins racked up a career high 26 points to lead the Alabama Birmingham over the Washington Huskies this evening in Columbus, Ohio. UAB went on a 16-1 run early in the second half to put the Dawgs in a hole that they could never quite climb out of.

Washington's season ends at 19-12, a huge turnaround from their 10-17 mark from a season ago, but this game stung.

Nate Robinson had 27 to lead the Huskies, but it was on the defensive effort where the Dawgs suffered. When you score 100 points and lose, you didn't defend very well.

Washington also suffered on the boards after they ran into foul trouble. Once Mike Jensen and Bobby Jones got into foul trouble, UAB owned the boards.

Will Conroy chipped in 17 points, most of them late, and Brandon Roy led the team in both rebounds (9) and assists (7). Hakeem Rollins also had 8 boards, but it wasn't enough.

The key possession in the game came in the last minute. With the Huskies down one and the clock ticking inside the last minute, UAB looked unorganized and on the ropes. The result was a Carldale "Squeaky" Johnson desperation 25-footer that found nothing but net as the shot clock went to zero.

Washington gamely fought back but it was the death blow for the Husky season.

Washington trailed by as many as 10 early in the first half as they turned the ball over and missed free throws. It took them nearly the entire half to erase the deficit, but they did.

Two driving Conroy lay-ins and a Jensen kiss off the glass sliced the deficit to four. A driving lay-in and foul shot by Jones made it a 38-36 game. An Allen to Robinson full court pass and lay-in knotted it at 43 apiece, and when Robinson drilled his second straight trey, the Dawgs took the lead. An Anthony Washington tip jam ended the half with the Dawgs up 53-51.

Two alarming developments from the first half were when Bobby Jones and Mike Jensen picked up three fouls apiece before the break. Jensen picked up his fourth in the first minute of the second half. Jones picked his fourth up before the 16:00 mark, and the Husky bench was asked to carry them to the finish line.

Then UAB went on their 16-1 run to push out to a 72-61 lead. Squeaky Johnson set the run in motion with a three-pointer and that was followed by two transition baskets, the final one being an uncontested jam. Washington turned the ball over twice and missed seven shots in a row over a 5 minute span.

Washington again climbed back out of the hole, courtesy of some Bobby Jones hustle. He hit two driving lay-ins to get the Dawgs back to within six, but two Curtis Allen turnovers led to four more UAB points and the deficit was 10 again.

Again the Huskies made a push, as Bobby Jones knocked down two free throws, Brandon Roy rebounded his own miss and laid it in, and then Robinson hit a 10-foot banker to close the gap to just three with 4:13 left.

UAB grabbed another offensive rebound and Mo Finley buried a three pointer to make it 90-84. Brandon Roy turned the ball over on the next possession, but the Huskies dodged a bullet as UAB turned it over. A Will Conroy driving lay-in and a foul shot cut it back to a three point lead with 2:30 left.

A Robinson lay-in cut it to one and it was anyone's ballgame. That led into Sqeaky Johnson's huge three pointer.

Mo Finley made one of two free throws to make it 94-91. The Huskies appeared to have answered, but Nate Robinson drove the baseline and had the basket waived off as he was called for an offensive foul with 38.4 seconds remaining.

Still, the Huskies only trailed by three at 100-97 with 16 seconds left. Will Conroy again drove the lane but this time was rejected by Eddins cleanly, and the game was over.

One key statistic was that UAB shot 80% from the free throw line, providing them with the cushion they needed to drop the Huskies. UAB gets Kentucky on Sunday while the Huskies fly home to Seattle to begin planning for next year when everyone except for Curtis Allen returns.

For the first time in 103 years of Husky basketball, both teams went over the 100 point mark.

Note: point guard Will Conroy and forward Bobby Jones did not start this evening. Coach Romar said it was not a big deal, but would not expound upon it, other that it was related to behavior at the team hotel in Columbus. Tre Simmons and Curtis Allen got the starts in their place.
Photos, notes, and quotes from Columbus, Ohio will be posted on this site later. Max Waugh and Henry Han are on location for Top Stories