Wrenn, Allen lead Huskies over Ducks

The Washington Huskies knocked down 11 of 12 pressure packed free throws in the game's final 40 seconds to hold off the No. 19 ranked Oregon Ducks Thursday night by a score of 97-92 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Washington's sophomore point guard Curtis Allen, the Pacific-10 Conference's third-leading free throw shooter at 88.9 percent for the season, hit all six of his attempts to fend off the late Oregon rally, and ended the night a perfect 12-12 from the line.

Doug Wrenn led all scorers with a career-high 32-point performance, and was the Huskies' catalyst on the offensive side of the ball all night long. The sophomore poured in 18 before halftime thanks to hot shooting and terrific shot selection, then added 14 more after intermission despite going just 4-13 from the field. He got to the line 15 times on the night, connecting on nine of the attempts, and none were more important than his final two.

With Washington clinging to a three-point advantage, Wrenn went to the charity stripe with only four seconds remaining between the Huskies and victory. He sent them both through the twine to ice the game.

The crowd went nuts, joyous over the team's second victory in its last 11 contests. Nonetheless, Wrenn admitted after the game that he was hoping for even more from the home crowd.

"I was hoping the students would all jump on the floor like you always see on SportsCenter," laughed the muscular forward from Seattle.

Washington Head Coach Bob Bender gives all the credit to his team for pulling it out.

"Tonight is a real credit to those kids and how they played," said Bender. "They did it together and they did it during a time when they could have looked over their shoulder and said, 'here we go again. Everything that they showed, I am very proud of them."

The win by Washington (8-11, 2-7 Pac-10) couldn't have come at a better time. Coming off an embarrassing 45-point blowout loss to Stanford, Bender received plenty of criticism over the past week from fans and media alike questioning the direction of the Washington hoops program. Tonight, he and his team answered those critics.

"When you lose by 45 points - I don't care who you are playing - there is a bigger problem than just the head coach," said sophomore guard CJ Massingale of the game last weekend versus the Cardinal. "We knew we had to play better tonight."

"We played for Coach Bender tonight," Allen added after the game. "This was a great win for him and a great win for us as well."

Allen finished with 18 points in the game, and Leep and Massingale each added 11.

Oregon (14-5, 6-2 Pac-10) was led by the 27 points of Frederick Jones. Jones connected on 11 of his 12 free throw attempts for the contest, and went 7-12 from the field. Blaine, Wash. native Luke Ridnour - who chose UO over UW and a host of other schools two years ago - also had a great night, scoring 23 points and handing out seven assists. Luke Jackson (18) and Brian Helquist (10) rounded out Oregon's double-digit scorers.

In the first half, Washington got the benefit of two quick foul calls on Oregon's starting center, 7-2 senior Chris Christoffersen, in the first 1:33 of the game. Without his presence inside the Ducks had nobody who could contain Wrenn. That allowed the Huskies to come out of the gates quickly riding Wrenn, who scored nine points in the first 8:05 to help Washington to a 27-16 advantage. A thunderous slam dunk from Wrenn capped a 9-2 run and caused UO Head Coach Ernie Kent to call a timeout, giving the Hec Edmundson Pavilion crowd of 7,009 an opportunity to get on their feet and make some noise.

On the flip side, Washington's starting center, David Dixon, also rode the pine for most of the half after picking up his second foul just 3:18 into the game. With freshman Jeffrey Day in for the foul-ridden senior, the Ducks went on a 14-4 run to cut the deficit down to 31-30 at the 7:00 mark, sparked by a three-pointer by Luke Ridnour.

But the Huskies immediately fought back, getting four straight points from Massingale, who started the game after a great week of practice. The streaky shooter nailed two free throws, then found himself alone for a breakaway dunk after a Husky steal to make it 35-30. As halftime approached, the Huskies got the ball back in the hands of Wrenn, who scored nine more before the break, going inside the paint for most of the damage.

"Doug was tremendous tonight," said Bender. "Most importantly how he played down the stretch. I haven't had a player like him, who has been asked to do so much offensively and is still willing to do so much defensively. You just don't get players like that."

Before halftime, freshman point guard Will Conroy, who came in to spell Allen, added two three-pointers, and Massingale went the length of the court for a layin to send the Huskies to half with a 52-44 lead.

It was their largest first-half scoring output of the season, and biggest lead after 20 minutes since they held a 14-point advantage against Butler in the second game of the season.
Game Notes:

Remember The Times: Former Husky stars Marques Tuiasosopo and Megan Franza came to the game tonight. They sat next to each other along with Washington Head Football Coach Rick Neuheisel behind the west-end backboard. Tuiasosopo, now a member of the Oakland Raiders, had his season end last weekend when the Silver and Black were knocked out of the NFL playoffs by the New England Patriots. Franza was drafted by the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, but didn't make the roster last season.

Iron Unkind: Oregon center Chris Christoffersen had a tough night all around. The senior from Denmark played only 1:33 in the first half after picking up two quick fouls, and finished the game 0-4 from the field in his 13 minutes. During that time, he managed to commit a crucial goaltending violation in the game's final minutes and airball a free throw attempt earlier in the second half. He finished with three points and four rebounds.

David vs Goliath: Washington's schedule was rated the nation's third most difficult. In the January 21 Sagarin Ratings published by the USA Today. Seven of the 11 Husky losses came against teams that are currently ranked. Oregon was the fifth team of among Washington's last seven opponents that is currently ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll.

Up Next: The Huskies host Oregon State on Saturday at 7 p.m. Fox Sports NW will televise the contest.

Husky Stats:

Points: Wrenn 32, Allen 18, Massingale 11, Leep 11, Day 8, Barnard 7, Conroy 6, Dixon 4

Rebounds: Wrenn 7, Massingale 7, Leep 6, Day 5, Barnard 4, Conroy 2, Dixon, Knight

Assists: Conroy 4, Barnard 3, Day 3, Allen 3, Dixon 2, Wrenn, Knight Steals: Barnard 3, Leep 2, Massingale 2, Allen 2, Wrenn, Conroy

Blocks: Leep, Massingale, Day, Barnard

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