Dawgs take GAS from 'Tide

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Will Conroy had 18 points and six assists to help No. 22 Washington beat No. 19 Alabama 79-76 on Saturday night in the championship game of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Once again a scrappy Huskies squad outrebounded a bigger team and took the game to their opponent.

Washington (4-0) led the entire second half, but escaped an overtime session when Alabama's Kennedy Winston missed a wild 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Huskies' Nate Robinson finished with 16 points and was selected the tournament's outstanding player. Tre Simmons, starting in place of the injured Brandon Roy, had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Bobby Jones also scored 15 points. Robinson and Jones were also named to the All-Tournament team.

"This built our confidence as a team," Robinson said after the game. "It let each guy know deep down inside, that when we play as hard as we do, we can beat anybody."

Chuck Davis led Alabama (4-1) with 23 points and 19 rebounds, and Earnest Shelton added 17 points.

"We do things as a team," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Our guys have bought into team, and we talk about (how) it is amazing what can be accomplished when no one gets the credit. Our guys have done a good job of that.

"Winning feeds winning and success breeds success and now, our guys believe."

Both teams started slowly, with Alabama committing five turnovers and Washington four in the opening 5 minutes.

The Huskies led 21-19, but Alabama went on a 13-2 run to take a 33-24 lead. But with just over 3 minutes remaining, Robinson and Conroy hit long jump shots to start a 12-0 Washington and the Huskies closed the half leading 36-33.

Shelton picked up his fourth foul early in the second half and Washington slowly increased its lead. The Huskies matched their biggest lead of nine points, 64-55, when Robinson hit two free throws with 8:38 remaining.

But with about 6 minutes left, Robinson committed his third and fourth fouls and went to the bench. Alabama closed the gap to three at 74-71 behind four points by Ronald Steele and a jumper by Kennedy Winston.

The Huskies took a 79-72 lead on Conroy's runner with 2:18 remaining, but Shelton made two baskets to cut it to 79-76 with 1:48 left.

After a timeout with 28 seconds remaining, Alabama inbounded the ball and worked it underneath to Davis, who backed in but could not convert. After a scramble underneath the basket, the Crimson Tide got the ball with 9 seconds remaining.

Shelton lost the ball at the top of the key and Robinson recovered the ball while sliding on his knees but was called for traveling with 2 seconds remaining. It appeared as if Alabama had let shot clock expire, but was awared the ball on Robinson's turnover.

Winston took the inbound pass near midcourt and missed on the last-second attempt.

"He has single-handedly won games for us over the last few years," Romar said of Conroy's game. "Second half, he hits one, then he hits two. He did that a couple years ago at Gonzaga on the road, he hit 32 points in an overtime game. He just went crazy.

"When he starts going like that, we give him the total freedom to make plays. So we didn't call anything, because he's perfectly capable of getting his own shot within the structure of what we're doing when he gets going.

"I think the story line tonight was the way Washington shot the ball," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "They made big shot after big shot. They made shots when they needed to make them."

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