UW/Alabama Notes and Quotes

Here are notes and quotes from Washington's 79-76 win Saturday night in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage. Included are quotes from Mark Gottfried, Lorenzo Romar and Nate Robinson.

Game Notes:
Washington became only the third Pac-10 team to win the Great Alaska Shootout (Arizona, '87; UCLA, '90). It is also the first time the Huskies have won a tourney in Alaska, after placing 2nd in the Top of the World Classic in 2001.

The Dawgs had to accomplish it, though, against a very talented Alabama squad that had four starters averaging double figures in scoring. They would also have to do it without one of their top scorers in Brandon Roy, who sat out with a hyperextended knee injury he suffered in last night's game against Oklahoma. In these teams' first and only previous meeting in 2000, the Crimson Tide defeated the Huskies 69-60 in the semifinal round of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic.

Will Conroy led the Huskies with 18 points. Robinson, Simmons and Jones each contributed 16, 15 and 15 points respectively.

The Crimson Tide was led by forward Chuck Davis, who finished with 23 points and 9 rebounds. A key loss for Alabama was guard Earnest Shelton, who picked up his 4th foul only 2 minutes into the 2nd half. He would return with just under 9 minutes to play and finished with 17 points.

The Huskies were fortunate in all three tournament games to have at least one of their opponent's key players get into foul trouble trouble early (Andrew Bogut, Utah - 23 points; Kevin Bookout, Oklahoma - 22 points; Shelton, Alabama - 17 points).

Poor shooting by the Dawgs throughout the first half (37.5%) kept the Tide in the game, though Washington would improve in the second half (51.5%) with timely shots, including 6 3-point field goals ('Bama was only able to hit 2 3-pointers in the second half).

It was a tournament of reunions, as Alabama coach Mark Gottfried was on the UCLA staff with Lorenzo Romar when the Bruins won the 1995 NCAA championship. Another connection, UW assistant coach Cameron Dollar, was point guard on that Bruin squad.

Nate Robinson was voted "Most Outstanding Player" of the tourney, averaging 21.3 points and 5 assists per game (he had a career-high 8 assists versus the Sooners).

Only one GAS record was broken in this year's tournament. Washington has the highest team 3-point percentage in the championship game: .647 (11-17). The previous record was .556 by Iowa in '86.

The Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team: Chuck Davis, Alabama; Brian Hills, University of Alaska - Anchorage; Quan Prowell, Furman; Earnest Shelton, Alabama; Vincent Grier, Minnesota; Terrell Everett, Oklahoma; Kennedy Winston, Alabama; Andrew Bogut, Utah; Kevin Bookout, Oklahoma; Bobby Jones, Washington.

Several NBA scouts ventured to the "last frontier," including representatives for Orlando, Detroit, Golden State, Toronto, Memphis, Washington and Milwaukee.

Fun fact: Since Washington's comeback against Oregon State last season, they hold a 13-2 record against teams who sport a shade of red (the only two losses came against NC State and Stanford in the Pac-10 Tournament).


Quotes:

Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried

"The storyline tonight was the way Washington shot the ball. They made big shot after big shot after big shot. We need to find ways to come up with a shutout and a defensive stop. You have to give them credit - they made shots when they needed to make them. We shoot 53 percent from the field and score 76 points and you think you'd find a way to win, but Washington is a very good basketball team. Their pressure defense is excellent. They get after you, and it becomes a very physical game.

"I'm proud of our guys because I thought they had a great effort. They kept fighting. These games tonight don't hurt you, they make you better. And this game will make us better."

On Washington: "They're scrappy. Loose balls, long rebounds. All those kinds of situations, they came up with a lot more of those than we did. The whole first half, we defended them well. But there in the second half, they just started making shots - big shots. (Will) Conroy had two big threes with hands in his face, and (Bobby) Jones hits one. That's why they're a good team; they've got a number of players that can score and make baskets."

Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar

"That was a tremendous mountain to climb for our ball club, and I don't just mean the game tonight. Our staff felt all along that we had, by far, the most difficult draw in the tournament. For us to come out on top here against three outstanding teams is something that I don't know if our guys really understand what we were able to accomplish. The game tonight was obviously a tough game. I don't think we'll play against three teams of this magnitude consecutively until we get possibly to the Pac-10 Tournament or possibly to the NCAA Tournament. This was a tough field for us."

On Will Conroy: "Since we've been here coaching Will, he has an ability to look sometimes as if he's not really involved. It's always in the second half. He has single-handedly won games for us over the last few years. When he starts going like that, we give him the total freedom to make plays."

On Alabama's Chuck Davis: "Wow, is he good. Second half, we began to double him. He caught us off guard with his ability to put the ball on the floor and take it to the rim. In the second half, I think we did a better job of keeping him in front of us along with doubling him, just to give him something else to think about. He could have gone for 40 on us tonight."

Nate Robinson

On winning MVP Award: "It's great - I'm sharing it with my team. Without them, it wouldn't be basketball. One player can't do everything. I need my team to feed off me, and I need to feed off them. We combine that energy and it brings out the player that I am."

On playing without Brandon Roy: "It just shows that deep down in our bench, it can be anybody's day. Will (Conroy) didn't have a big scoring night the first two nights and today he had 18. Tonight was the night that we needed him to score. Everybody just shared the ball. That's what Coach harps on everyday at practice: as long as we share the ball, we'll be outstanding as a team."

On starting out 4-0: "We want to win 20 times more than last year. You'd be surprised how players play, not wanting to get (individual) credit; everyone plays together as a whole team. Every guy has matured and is having more fun. You can see it all the way down the bench all the way to our managers. Everybody's face has this special glow to it. At first when we were losing, I wanted to get better and better, but practice was like, 'Damn, we have to go to practice again.' But now, everybody wants to go to practice. I'll be in class and think, 'Man, I can't wait to get to practice.' Every guy is focused. That's how I know our team is special."

On his third foul: "I got (Chuck Davis) with the body a little bit. I mean, they've gotta give the little guys a little leeway. I knew I was late, but I knew I couldn't give up a bucket so I was going to try and block it. I looked at (Coach) and he looked at me and I was like, 'I know I was late, that's my fault.'"

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