Huskies End Skid, Beat Bears

Led by CJ Massingale's 25-point performance, the Washington Huskies ended a five-game losing streak with a 75-60 win over the California Golden Bears Saturday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Massingale, a sophomore from Tacoma who entered the contest averaging just 4.7 points-per-game this season, tied his career-high scoring output set last season at UCLA.

The 6-4 shooting guard's breakout game couldn't have come at a better time for the Huskies, a team that got merely six points from Doug Wrenn, its leading scorer at 20.6 per game. While the Bears swarmed to Wrenn to prevent the swingman from getting inside the paint, Massingale was the beneficiary, often left open at the perimeter. And when Cal managed to get a man out on him, the guard used his quick first-step to penetrate the lane and get to the basket.

Massingale finished 9-15 from the field and 6-6 from the free throw line while pulling down seven rebounds.

"I just wanted to go out there and have fun tonight, especially on the defensive end," Massingale said after the game. "I thought if I picked it up on the defensive end then the offense would come."

Washington (9-16, 3-12 Pacific-10) came out victorious for only the third time in its last 17 contests, much to the relief of Head Coach Bob Bender, who's been under fire over the past two months as the Huskies have fallen to the bottom of the conference standings.

"That was a big win," said Bender after the game. "It sets up Thursday night at Corvallis as a critical game."

"CJ was big. I would be remiss not mentioning him. He was scoring, he had energy. He played like we expect him to play, the way he is capable of playing."

Grant Leep and Curtis Allen each chipped in 12 to round out the double-digit scorers for Washington.

The game was close for the first 30 minutes, marked by scoring runs from each team. Early on, Cal went on an 8-0 run in a 2:10 span to break out to a 18-10 lead, getting points from four different players in the process. Later in the half, with Washington down 15-21, the Huskies went on a 12-4 run of their own behind four points apiece from Massingale and Jeffrey Day, and layins from David Dixon and Leep. By halftime the Huskies clung to a 31-29 lead.

Massingale came out of intermission on fire, scoring the Huskies' first seven points of the second half. But following his layin that put Washington up 38-33 at the 18:11 mark, the Huskies went cold from the field. Cal capitalized, going on a 12-0 run in the next 3:58 take a seven-point lead. UW battled back again and recaptured the lead 3:47 later on a fast break layin by Massingale off a hard lead-pass from Curtis Allen.

Cal forward Joe Shipp answered immediately with a turn-around hopper in the lane to retake the lead to momentarily stall the Husky momentum, but from that point forward Washington took charge. Curtis Allen nailed a three-pointer from the right corner, and at 53-51 the home team would never trail again. Using hot free shooting and stingy defense that limited Cal to one shot per possession, they outscored the Bears 22-9 in the final 9:09 to widen the gap to 15 by game's end.

After the blowout loss to Stanford Thursday, Bender stressed one matter to his team the last two days - defense. In fact, during shoot-around before tonight's game, they did nothing but go through defensive drills. After the game Bender mentioned that the shoot-around was more like a 'defense-around.'" The effort paid off as the Huskies limited Cal to just 37 percent shooting from the field, including 1-12 from beyond the three-point arc.

"We came out to the shoot-around today and we didn't shoot a ball," Bender explained. "We did all defensive slide drills to reiterate and reinforce what we talked about in practice [this week] and that is definitely a departure from the norm. I'm not saying that this is some kind of great strategy but it was what we ended on yesterday and I just wanted to remind them today and they took it to heart."

After beating quality teams such as Stanford, Oregon, and New Mexico this season, the poor performance by California (18-6, 9-5 Pacific-10) came as an enormous let-down for its head coach, Ben Braun.

"It's a frustrating loss," said Braun. "Washington gave us a very good game down there [at Cal], and if you play hard and your hunger is greater than that of your opponent, you'll usually win the game."

Cal was led in scoring by Shipp's 15 points and center Solomon Hughes added 11.

Game Notes:

70 or Bust: The Huskies have a 1-11 record in games in which they've scored 70 or fewer points and after tonight's win with 75 points scored they moved to 8-5 in games with above 70.

Block Party: Recording six blocks tonight, Washington now has 122 rejections on the season. That mark eclipses the previous single-season record of 118 set during the 1993 season.

The Best of the Bunch: The Huskies honored the members of its All-Century Team at halftime of tonight's contest. Present at the game for the honor were such Husky legends as Chris Welp, James Edwards, and Bob Houbregs.

Next Up: Washington heads down to Corvallis, Oregon for its biggest game of the season Thursday, February 21st against the Oregon State Beavers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in a game that will likely decide the eighth-and-final seed in the Pac-10 Tournament that will be held March 7-9 in Los Angeles' Staples Center.

Husky Stats:

Points: Massingale 25, Leep 12, Allen 12, Dixon 8, Wrenn 6, Knight 6, Day 4, Conroy 2
Rebounds: Leep 7, Dixon 7, Massingale 7, Wrenn 6, Conroy 4, Allen 4, Knight 4
Assists: Allen 7, Conroy 3, Wrenn 2, Dixon, Massingale, Day, Knight, Barnard Steals: Wrenn, Massingale, Day
Blocks: Dixon 2, Day 2, Knight 2 Top Stories