Simmons finds zone in UW win

SEATTLE - If there's a better pure shooter in college basketball than Tre Simmons, let's see him. San Diego State got a pretty good look Tuesday night. Simmons, a senior guard, netted 19 points and five 3-pointers in the first half alone Tuesday night as Washington pulled away early for a 98-69 win over the Aztecs at Bank of America Arena.

The Garfield High product finished with 23 points, second to Nate Robinson's game-high 24, leading Washington in the early going for a 56-34 halftime advantage that SDSU never cut down after intermission.

Needing just two 3-pointers in the second half to tie the school's single-game record of seven, held by both Senque Carey (12/4/99 at Old Dominion) and Deon Luton (1/29/98 at USC), Simmons attempted just five shots after halftime and failed to connect on a trey the rest of the way.

"Tre Simmons gave us an unbelievable lift in the first half in terms of shooting and scoring," said Romar of the sharp-shooting guard, who shot 7-for-8 from the field and 5-6 from three-point land in the first 20 minutes of play.

A man of few words, Simmons said he was simply in the zone.

"The basket looked like a hula-hoop," he said, smiling in the media room at Hec Ed after the game. "I told Will (Conroy) before the game that I was in the zone, and that he had to get me the ball."

Conroy did, and Simmons backed up his words.

Robinson was nearly as hot as Simmons in the first half. The junior connected on 6-9 shots from the field and buried three 3-pointers to finish with 18 as they headed into the locker room.

And while the offense rolled behind their two hot-shooting guards, the defense did the same behind a team effort that left the Aztecs frustrated, overwhelmed and flat-out beaten. SDSU committed 14 turnovers in the first half, preventing them the Aztecs from getting to 10 points until the 10:40 mark, and finished with 26 for the game.

The pesky Robinson led the Huskies with five steals and proved to be too much for any of the Aztecs' ballhandlers.

"I don't know if we could have too much better effort than we had tonight," said Romar. "I was as proud of the five guys at the end of the game (Alex Johnson, Hans Gasser, Matt Fletcher, Brandon Burmeister, Zane Potter) as anything during the course of the game and I told them that in the locker room. We always preach 40 minutes of basketball and we don't always accomplish that, and I thought for the most part we did that tonight until the finish."

Aztecs coach Steve Fisher, best known as the coach of the "Fab Five" at Michigan and now in his sixth season at SDSU, was impressed with the team Washington has assembled.

"I know this is a really good basketball team," he said. "They took us in their building and spanked (us) good.

"Every statistic you might look for they had."

Despite a size disadvantage, the Huskies out-rebounded the visitors from San Diego by a 45-31 margin. What particularly impressed Romar, though, was the way the purple and gold attacked the glass at the offensive end and went for every rebound. The Huskies finished with 24 offensive boards to the 15 of the Aztecs.

Jamal Williams (13) and Bobby Jones (10) each finished in double-digits, each getting the bulk of their points on hustle plays.

SDSU was led by the 21 points of Marcus Slaughter. Brandon Heath (18) and Matt Thomas (14) pitched in with double-digit efforts as well.

Game Notes:
No Walton: Chris Walton, the youngest son of basketball great Bill Walton and a senior forward on the Aztecs this season, missed the game due to a strained groin. He hasn't practiced since No. 20, and had his streak of 31 consecutive games broken on Nov. 22 against Monmouth.

Two Tuis: It may be basketball season, but that didn't mean at least two Tuiasosopo's were in Hec Ed for the game. Zach and Matt (yes, that Matt) were both in the house rooting for the Purple and Gold.

Say it ain't so: Aztecs sophomore forward Marcus Slaughter had the blunder of the game at the free throw line with 4:28 remaining. Thinking he was there for two shots, he raced in for a rebound after missing the first attempt off the back iron. Meanwhile, everyone else on the floor maintained their position. Realizing what he'd done, he returned to the line and, though embarrassed, swished the second free throw.

Next Up: Washington heads on the road for one game, a matchup against Loyola Marymount on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. It will be televised by FSN Northwest. The Huskies return home for their biggest non-conference game at Hec Ed all season on Dec. 19, hosting North Carolina State. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m., and that game will also be televised by FSN Northwest.

Husky Stats:

Points: Robinson 24, Simmons 23, Williams 13, Jones 10, Rollins 8, Smith 6, Conroy 4, Jensen 4, Burmeister 3, Johnson 1

Rebounds: Jones 9, Conroy 7, Williams 7, Gasser 5, Smith 4, Robinson 3, Jensen 2, Simmons 2, Johnson 2, Fletcher 1, Rollins 1

Assists: Conroy 8, Robinson 5, Rollins 3, Burmeister 2, Jones 2, Johnson 1, Jensen 1, Simmons 1

Steals: Robinson 5, Jones 1, Smith 1, Williams 1, Burmeister 1

Blocks: Jensen 1, Conroy 1, Smith 1, Rollins 1, Williams 1, Johnson 1

Turnovers: Williams 5, Jones 4, Conroy 4, Simmons 2, Fletcher 2, Johnson 1, Robinson 1 Top Stories