Huskies get defensive against Eastern Washington

They left Spokane Wednesday night hearing chants of "overrated" by the Gonzaga faithful after a loss to the Bulldogs. They heard the talk of how their defense will ultimately lead to their downfall, but the Washington Huskies didn't wallow in the loss and suffer a hoops hangover. They got better and showed no mercy to Eastern Washington at Bank of America Arena en route to a 89-56 mauling that saw the Huskies defense force 30 turnovers.

"We're happy to come back with a victory," said Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar. "With a loss, it kind of lingers with you like a bad taste but wwe were able to come back and play relatively good basketball."

"We know Eastern (Washington) is a good team and probably not the caliber of Gonzaga, but still we came out tonight and based this game solely on how we played and not what the other team did."

Washington (5-1) led the game from tip-off to the final buzzer and the Eagles (2-3) never really had a chance to get back into it. Led by Tre Simmons, the Huskies stormed out with a 23-6 run and never looked back. Simmons, who started in place of the injured Brandon Roy, scored eight early points with a mix of perimeter shots and attacking the hoop from the inside. Simmons tied for the team lead with 20 points for the game.

"We all know Tre can score points," Romar said of Simmons. "And when he gets going and gets in that zone, he can score a whole lot of points. We are just confident in his ability to score with the basketball."

Nate Robinson also had his usual day at the office with 20 points and filled up his box scores by adding seven assists and seven rebounds.

The Huskies defense swarmed the Eagles the entire game and forced Eastern Washington to turn the ball over a staggering 30 times, which was just three shy of the team record of 33 forced turnovers against USC in 1986. Washington also took those turnovers and turned them in to 45 points the other way while holding the Eagles to 41.2 percent shooting from the floor.

"Anything less than that would have been a let-down for us," said Romar. "Our guys understood that we hadn't done what we were supposed to do the last couple of games. Despite the victory over Alabama, we just didn't defend the way we were capable of defending so when we came out today and did that, we were pleased."

Washington was without the services of senior center Hakeem Rollins. Rollins banged his knee in practice on Saturday and was kept out of the game for precautionary reasons. With the absence of Rollins and Mike Jensen not having his best game, sophomore Hans Gasser got the extra minutes off the bench and responded nicely. Gasser had four points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.

"Hans did a nice job," said Romar. "He's been working hard in practice and asking questions. he came in today just very, very focused and it was good to see him come off the bench and get good minutes."


Washington scoring:
Points: Robinson 20; Simmons 20; Conroy 11; Williams 9; 
Burmeister 8; Jones 7; Smith 5; Gasser 4; Jensen 3; Potter 2.
Rebounds: Robinson 7; Gasser 6; Jensen 5; Williams 4; Smith 
4; Jones 3; Burmeister 3; Conroy 2; Simmons 1; Potter 1.
Assists: Robinson 7; Conroy 4; Jensen 3; Jones 2; Williams 2; 
Gasser 1.
Steals: Simmons 4; Williams 4; Smith 2; Jones 2; Robinson 1; 
Conroy 1. 
Blocks: Williams 2; Gasser 1. 

Attendance: 9,418

Eastern Washington    29   27   56
Washington            54   35   89

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