Huskies grind out a win over Cougars

The game was built up as a classic match up of the "irresistible force versus the immovable object" because of the two vastly different styles of play. It did not disappoint as the Huskies' top-offense of the conference scored enough points to get past the top-ranked defense of Washington State 66-48 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The win gives Washington their 12th straight conference victory at home, and 18th consecutive overall.

A basketball clinic this game was not. Both teams shot the ball poorly the entire game and with periods of back-and-forth missed opportunities. Washington (16-2 overall, 6-1 Pac-10) shot the ball a dismal 35.9 percent from the floor and Washington State (8-8, 3-4) shot just 32.2 percent from the field. The previous low for shooting for the Huskies was 42.2 percent against Stanford.

"I thought this game was great for us in a win because this is how we have to play on the road," said Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar. "I don't mean playing at a slower pace, but good decisions and 40 minutes of defense is essential."

The Huskies jumped on top of the Cougars early in the game. Washington State led 5-4 at the 15:22 mark in the first half before the Huskies went on a 14-0 run to give themselves a comfortable lead for the rest of the game. During that charge, Joel Smith and Jamaal Williams came off the bench to provide the spark. On a particular play, Smith found Williams in his normal position under the basket before charging through the key to be the recipient of a textbook give-and-go play at the 13:49 mark in the first half.

"We didn't think we were going to have a 90-point game unless something miraculous happened," said Williams. "We had to tough it out and play a slower game and basically use our half court offense."

Brandon Roy, bothered by a knee injury suffered back at the Great Alaska Shootout, was back in action as well. Roy missed the previous two games after his knee started to bother him once again. Against the Cougars, he played 20 minutes and scored five points.

"The knee is getting better," said Roy. "It feels good but it's just a slow process and I think it's getting better. Tonight it was perfectly fine and I just need to get back into shape for it."

The Cougars came into the game allowing only 53.9 points per game, tops in the conference. The 66 points the Huskies scored against the Cougars was the lowest scoring output of the season for Washington, but also the second highest non-overtime score allowed by the Cougars.

"I don't know what it looked like from your perspective, but to be able to go out and play the way we did against that team was an extremely good effort," said Romar. "I thought our guys handled the situation pretty good."

Romar also praise his team's defensive efforts and the fact they held Washington State's Jeff Varem to just six points. Varem came into the game with a new reputation of a scoring threat during the conference season averaging 15.7 points per conference games.

"He is one of the hardest guys to guard in this league," Romar said of Varem. "This year you're just accustomed to seeing him with double-doubles."

Washington will go on the road and make the always tough Arizona-Arizona State road trip next week, beginning with the Wildcats in Tucson on Thursday. It will be a battle to break the tie at the top of the conference standings, with the game on FSN at 5:30 on Thursday evening.

Husky Scoring:
Points: Robinson 13, Smith 10, Williams 10, Jones 7, 
Simmons 7, Conroy 6, Roy 5, Burmeister 4, Jensen 3, 
Potter 1
Rebounds: Williams 7, Robinson 6, Roy 5, Jones 4, 
Jensen 4, Simmons 4, Smith 3, Rollins 3, Potter 2, 
Conroy 2, Fletcher 1, Burmeister 1
Assists: Robinson 3, Conroy 2, Smith 2, Jones 1, 
Jensen 1, Roy 1, Williams 1
Steals: Simmons 2, Conroy 2, Smith 2, Jones 1, 
Roy 1
Blocks: Robinson 1 Top Stories