Brockman, Roy, pace Huskies to championship

Who says keeping the local studs home doesn't pay dividends? Powered by true freshman Jon Brockman's second double-double in three nights and Brandon Roy's steady play on both ends of the floor, Washington ripped off a 25-10 run at the start of the second half to defeat Air Force 85-74 to win the Black Coaches Association Classic in Seattle in front of 3,975 at Bank of America Arena. Brockman earned tournament MVP honors.

"There were so many other people that deserved it, so many other people on our team that stepped up for this tournament; guys coming off the bench playing big," said Brockman of the award. In the tournament's three games, the 6-foot-7 forward from Snohomish scored 46 points and snagged 28 rebounds.

After the Falcons outscored Washington 38-24 to take their biggest lead of the first half, 41-32, at the 3:48 mark, the Huskies used their home-court advantage and size to good use. They out-scored the Falcons 45-28 in the second half after being down six at intermission. 20 of the Huskies 36 points made by field goal were scored in the paint and they out-rebounded the Falcons 39-17.

"This was a great, great game for us," said Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar after the game. "Air Force is a feisty, well-organized, disciplined basketball team. We knew that as we watched them, as we prepared for them we were very aware of that."

"We really got hurt at the rim," said Air Force Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik. "There's a reason they've won 25 games at home in a row against teams like Arizona and UCLA. They had more offensive rebounds than we had total rebounds and their post players were very effective at getting to the rim. And when we tried to double-team their posts, their players were able to knock down some threes. They also had five key blocks on some of the few times we were able to get to the rim."

Roy's 27 points led all scorers, followed by Brockman's 21. The senior guard collected his first double-double of the season, with 10 rebounds, three big blocks and four steals - also team highs. "He's quick off his feet, long, athletic and can score in a variety of ways," said Bzdelik of Roy.

"From the jump, I knew I wanted to be more aggressive," Roy said after the win.

Both players were named to the All-Tournament team, which included Kyle Hines of UNC-Greensboro, Guillermo Diaz of Miami and AFA's Antoine Hood. Hood had 15 points Tuesday night. The Falcons were led by Jacob Burtschi, who finished with 20. Matt McCaw added 17 points and former Inglemoor standout Dan Nwaelele had 12 points in a bittersweet homecoming.

Washington (3-0) won their second opening-season tournament in as many years. Last year they defeated Utah, Alabama and Oklahoma to win the Great Alaska Shootout. While Morgan State, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Air Force don't come close to matching the kind of opposition the Huskies faced last year, they did provide quite a few different looks that a young Washington team needed to see as they make their way through the 2005-2006 season.

Bobby Jones and Jamaal Williams - two of Washington's most reliable scorers, combined for two points during the first 20 minutes after each getting assessed two fouls during the first ten minutes of the game. They never were able to get it together to create much of a punch offensively, but dug in their heels and played outstanding defense during the second half.

To pick up the slack, the Huskies got contributions from guards Justin Dentmon and Joel Smith. The two combined for 24 points and eight rebounds. Dentmon's dagger from three with 4:01 left in the game put the Huskies up for good at 75-65. After that, Washington scored eight of their last 10 points from the line.

"I couldn't hear myself think," Brockman said of the fans' reaction to the Huskies' comeback. "It's nothing like what I've experienced before."

Washington played reasonably well against Air Force's Princeton-like offense - complete with high screens and backdoor cuts - but had a difficult time holding onto the ball on their end of the floor and could not put down the long-range jumpers. As a result of the Huskies' early foul difficulties, the Falcons went 13-14 from the foul line in the first half. Air Force also caused 13 turnovers - normally the number Romar wants to see the Huskies at for a full game - and turned those blunders into 15 points. It didn't hurt that the Falcons blistered the nets, shooting a sizzling 56 percent from the floor. They were also 5-9 from 3-point range.

"They did something to us that was a little different. They didn't pressure us defensively," said Romar. "They went out in lanes. But they didn't send many people to the boards, they got back. They forced us to play half-court and that's the first time this year we've been forced to do that."

The second half was a different story. The Huskies' coaching staff put a clamp on the passing lanes against the Falcons' offense and the team shot a phenomenal 64 percent in the last 20 minutes. "This team is all over all 94 feet with their aggressiveness. We won't see a better team," said Bzdelik.

But Brockman and Roy held up their ends of the bargain for Washington, scoring 28 of the team's first-half 40 points to keep things from getting out of hand while the Falcons were hot. Right before halftime he strained his shoulder and also experienced some cramping in the back of his legs during halftime, but was not going to be deterred from leading the Huskies to a championship.

"I'm just proud of Justin, Jon - they are stepping up like they are seniors," Roy said. "We did a good job of adjusting in the second half and the freshmen really pick up on things so fast. As long as they do that, Coach (Romar) can pretty much do whatever he wants."

"It was a great experience for us to get into a good scrap, a good tussle and that was what they gave us tonight," said Romar of the Falcons. "I think we grew up a little bit with this game because in the second half we came back and fought harder.

"It took a half to adjust, but then I think our guys adjusted."

The Huskies' next game is against American University at Bank of America Arena this Saturday night after the Apple Cup. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Notes:
Time switch: Washington's Dec. 23 game against Lehigh was picked up for television by Fox Sports Northwest. The game will now be played at 5 p.m. instead of the original scheduled time of 6 p.m. Statistics:
Points: Roy 27, Brockman 21, Dentmon 12, Smith, Jones 6, Williams 4, Gasser 2, Appleby 1
Rebounds: Brockman 10, Roy 10, Dentmon 4, Smith 4, Appleby 3, Jones 2, Williams 2, Burmeister 2, Gasser 1, TEAM 1
Assists: Dentmon 4, Appleby 3, Roy 2, Williams 1, Smith 1, Burmeister 1
Steals: Roy 4, Williams 2, Jones 1, Dentmon 1
Blocks: Roy 3, Jones 1, Burmeister 1

Dawgman.com Top Stories