Huskies put a can on the Clan

It was billed as an exhibition game, and Washington wasted no time in taking that label to heart. Lorenzo Romar wanted to get all his players plenty of playing time against the Simon Fraser Clan; getting walk-on Brandon Burmeister enough time to be one of his leading scorers was just a bonus. Burmeister was one of five Washington players scoring in double-digits as the Huskies ran the Clan of Hec Ed with a 114-48 pasting Sunday night.

"They are awfully big and physical and athletic," said Clan Head Coach Scott Clark after the game. You look out on the floor and they are bigger, quicker, stronger, and that poses some problems." Those problems manifested themselves early and often for the visitors, as Washington stole the ball 25 times - an all-time record for the Huskies. Jamaal Williams led the Huskies with six thefts and 24 points, followed by Ryan Appleby with 20 points (on 6-10 shooting from the arc), 18 points by freshman forward Jon Brockman, 14 by Burmeister (on 4-7 shooting from deep) and 13 points from Brandon Roy.

The 42 turnovers created by the Huskies also eclipsed an all-time record, the previous high being 34 by USC in 1997. "It was great to be able to come out and play a game," said Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar. "Our guys were excited to come out and play, and it showed."

It was most definitely an exhibition for Romar's team, jumping out to a quick 18-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game. For a squad that lost four talented players - Nate Robinson, Will Conroy, Tre Simmons and Hakeem Rollins - Washington didn't look like a team searching for chemistry. In fact, this team hit the ground running in a big way and played some impressive stifling defense for a first game. The freshmen didn't play nervous and the veterans showed that they are every bit as good as they were last year.

There were some question going into the season as to who was going to quarterback the Huskies' offensive efforts. Romar was able to use Brandon Roy, Ryan Appleby, Justin Dentmon and even Harvey Perry as his point guard, and all did it without a problem. Simply put, the Clan played like their shoes were in concrete and the Huskies played the entire length of the floor on skates. Overall, the Huskies more than doubled up the Clan in number of shots taken (82-39), shots made (50-19), and rebounds (34-24).

"With so many possessions and so many opportunities, I thought our shot selection was pretty good," said Romar.

Appleby, who transfered from Florida this past year, was chomping at the bit to play an organized game, and it showed as he buried his first two chances from downtown. "I was definitely ready to play," said Appleby, who also finished the game with three assists. "Playing open gyms doesn't compare when you get into a real game."

Clearly looking for more of an inside effort, Washington still showed that it could put down the three when needed. Appleby was very effective from outside, going for points on shooting from deep. As the play progressed, it sure looked like Appleby could be 2005's version of Simmons, while Dentmon showed signs of picking up where the unstoppable Robinson left off.

"I'm just going out and doing whatever the coaches want me to do," said Appleby. "If I'm hitting shots, they may want me to play the two, but I'm a guard so I'll play wherever."

"He did a tremendous job," Romar said of Appleby's debut in the purple and gold. "It's evident he can shoot and has a quick release. But he also did a very nice job of pressuring the ball on the other end. He played well tonight, and he would still have played well if he hadn't put down his shots."

All five of Washington's 2005 'Fab Five' recruiting class also got their feet wet, including big center Joe Wolfinger. The most impressive frosh performances were that of forwards Jon Brockman and Artem Wallace. Brockman, sporting a clear facemask - a souvenir courtesy of a Joe Wolfinger elbow in practic - hustled on both ends of the court and played like a savvy veteran in his first game wearing the purple and gold. Wallace showed a lot of dexterity and athleticism with a variety of moves in the Huskies' up-tempo offense, and also showed heady poise defending in the paint.

"I like him in the mask, it's kind of a Halloween effect," joked Romar. "Obviously Jon Brockman played very well. 8-9 from the floor and played within what we were doing. He played like he had played with us before. Artem Wallace did some good things out there. He took the ball to the basket and I thought he rebounded very well."

By the 13:29 mark of the first half - when Joel Smith entered the game - Romar had used every one of his scholarship guys, minus Hans Gasser. Gasser came in with 2:59 left.

The Clan actually had a lead, as they scored the first two points of the game on a Sean Burke layin, but that's where Simon Fraser's highlight package ends. Roy, imposing his veteran will early, scored the next five points. With 14 minutes gone in the first half, Washington got it's first 20-point lead of the night, and their largest lead of the half - 32-points - came after a massive left-hand jam by Joel Smith via a perfect lob from Appleby that brought the house down.

The second half was more of the same, as the Huskies ratcheted up the defensive intensity and the Clan wilted like salad spinach. A Burmeister bomb with 1:35 left gave the Huskies a ridiculous 68-point advantage, and the finishing 66-point differential bested last year's 61-point spread against Sacred Heart.

"We did a good job of pressuring their wings and bigs, we didn't have to get into our offense all that much. If we get that pressure and those turnovers, we just go with it. Our defense really helps us get into that high-tempo pace."

As well as the Huskies played, Romar was still critical of a few areas where the team will have to pick it up against tougher opponents. "We've got to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us," he said. "If we're always rotating, we're not doing a good enough job. Offensively, we are not at the point where our movement and spacing is where it needs to be. And our push needs to be better.

"I think we're making progress. Are we where we need to be? We need to be better."
Stats:
Points: Williams 24, Appleby 20, Brockman 18, Burmeister 14, Roy 13, Wallace 8, Dentmon 6, Jones 5, Smith 2, Perry 2, Potter 2
Rebounds: Gasser 6, Perry 5, Wallace 5, Roy 3, Williams 3, Brockman 3, Dentmon 2, Appleby 2, Wolfinger 2, Burmeister 1
Assists: Jones 5, Roy 5, Smith 5, Dentmon 4, Appleby 3, Williams 2, Perry 2, Wallace 2, Brockman 1, Burmeister 1, Gasser 1
Steals: Williams 6, Jones 5, Smith 4, Burmeister 3, Brockman 2, Roy 1, Perry 1, Appleby 1, Wallace 1, Gasser 1

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