Huskies buck Broncos in home opener

Washington outscored Santa Clara 43 to 21 in the second half to overcome a two point deficit at halftime and win 69-49 in their home opener at Hec Edmundson Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

The second-half charge was sparked by the Husky defense, which combined to block a school-record 14 shots for the game. The previous record of 10 was set versus Chco State on December 3, 1991. Center David Dixon had seven of the rejections, surpassing the previous Husky record of six held by Christian Welp, who twice accomplished the feat in 1986. Jeffrey Day had three blocks, Wrenn two, and Curtis Allen and CJ Massingale each had one to set the new high mark.

The Huskies were led by the 22 points of Doug Wrenn, who was playing his first official game back in Seattle since transferring to the UW before last season from Connecticut. Massingale poured in 15 on 5-9 shooting from the field, and freshman Erroll Knight added 12.

"We're a balanced team," said Washington Head Coach Bob Bender after the game. "We don't have one person that we are going to rely on to score."

The Washington defense stepped up in the second half and forced the Broncos to take poor shots. Santa Clara's long range shooters Steve Ross and Kyle Bailey combined to shoot just 1-7 after going 5-12 before halftime. They each finished with nine points to lead the team along with forward Justin Holbrook, who also finished one short of double-digits.

"Defensively we recognized their shooters," said Wrenn. "We felt that if we could take them away from the game, the rest of the team would fall down."

Early on the Huskies too often settled for perimeter jumpers instead of running the offense and it cost them dearly. Santa Clara used an 11-1 run late in the first half to take a seven point lead with just 2:48 before halftime. Grant Leep hit a three pointer and Wrenn knocked down two consecutive baskets to lead the Huskies on a 7-2 run to draw to within 26-28 at half.

Luckily for Bender's team, their second half performance more than made up for 37.5 percent shooting before intermission.

"I thought that the second half was a real important 20 minutes for us because the first 20 was very lethargic," said Bender. "We stood around so much offensively in the first half that we were just waiting for individuals to make plays - break a defense down and make a shot instead of letting our offense create shots for us. In the second half, we screened better, we moved better, and got better shots."

"Offensively we are still very young," said Wrenn. "We try to run a few plays and the second we don't get the first hit, we want to go one-on-one. But defensively I think we are almost there. I think we played on-the-ball defense. We just need to get our offense to go with the defense and we'll be alright."

The Huskies won the battle of the boards 44-37 and now have outrebounded every opponent thus far this season.

Husky Stats:

Points: Wrenn 22, Massingale 15, Knight 12, Leep 6, Allen 6, Dixon 4, Barnard 2, Jensen 2
Assists: Allen 6, Conroy 3, Wrenn 2, Leep 1, Knight 1, Massingale 1,
Rebounds: Allen 6, Conroy 6, Leep 5, Dixon 5, Wrenn 4, Knight 4, Massingale 4, Jensen 3, Day 2, Barnard 2

Game Notes:

In Da House: Longtime NBA veteran Jerome "Mercy" Kersey was in attendance. Also at the game were two guys on which the Huskies missed out, Eric Bond and Jamal Crawford. Crawford starred at Rainier Beach High School, went to Michigan for one season, and now plays for the Chicago Bulls. He injured his knee in the preseason and is out for the year. Bond played at Seattle Prep with current Husky Jeffrey Day and signed with California, where he is a freshman this fall.

The Aftermath: Here are some of the comments about the news today that Brandon Roy has decided to enroll at the University of Washington next fall, joining Anthony Washington as the signee so far this year:

Bob Bender on Roy: "We're delighted to have Brandon join our program. It gives us three players frojm Garfield High School and that is a great thing for Washington basketball."

"I feel Brandon is one of the premier players in the nation. His play during the summer positioned himself among the elite players. The future for him is unlimited. He can do so many different things and play so many different positions. We're glad to have the opportunity to coach Brandon and watch him develop even further as a player."

Doug Wrenn on the signings of Roy and Anthony Washington: "Those are my guys. You mine as well give those to me, because I got them in. (laughs) That's great news. People are finally starting to realize that Washington basketball players can stay home and do just as well. Hopefully we can start getting basketball a little bit more exciting and get people to come out (and watch)."

Next Up: The Huskies host UNLV at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Top Stories