Lackluster effort still too much as UW rolls

For a celebration, this one was a yawner. An 11-0 run to start the second half was all the Washington Huskies needed Friday night to put away the hapless Lehigh Mountain Hawks 54-37 in front of a sellout house at Bank of America Arena. The win extended the Huskies' current 31-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation, as they head into Pac-10 play next week.

The victory also was Washington's 800th at venerable Hec Edmundson Pavilion, extending their mark as the winningest college home court in America. Pennsylvania's home court - The Palestra - is second in the country with 729 wins.

The Mountain Hawks did an admirable job of holding the Huskies to 54 points, far below their average of 95.8 points per game and the lowest offensive total they've had in three years, but the Huskies did just as well when it came to their defense. They held the Mountain Hawks to 20 points less than their average and to under 30 percent shooting. The last time a Washington team held their opponent to less than 37 points was back in 1970, when Washington State was held to 36.

"I loved our defensive effort," Lehigh Head Coach Billy Taylor said after the game. "Washington is an excellent team. They have great speed and athleticism. I was really proud of our guys to be able to play the kind of defense that we did, and certainly holding them under 40 points of so below their season average."

"That was a well-coached team," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said of Taylor and the Mountain Hawks. "That was a really good game for us to play, going into conference. Teams that are similar - Air Force, New Mexico, teams that play deliberate basketball - we weren't able to impose our will on them. They did a good job for the most part. They ran their offense. They also did a really good job of packing it in and collapsing on our flashes and our post players. Over half the teams in our conference play the same tempo, so it was a very good lesson for us to go through in a game situation. Hopefully in the future we'll be a little more prepared for it."

It was very much a slow-down affair, with only 11 combined points scored by both teams via the fast break. At one point in the second half, the Dawgpack chanted 'BORING' during a Lehigh offensive possession. But when the Huskies were able to disrupt play, they scored 22 points off of 20 Lehigh turnovers.

"There are teams that make the game ugly," said Romar. "That's just what happens. At St. Louis, we had bigger, slower guys and our games were like this because we felt like that was our only chance. It can frustrate you. For the most part, I think we did a good job defensively, but offensively we just couldn't get into a good rhythm."

This hoops snoozefest also marked the season debut of three-year starter Mike Jensen, coming back from shoulder surgery. In 13 minutes of play, Mike scored 5 points (all in the first half), four rebounds and one assist. He also added two timely blocks on Lehigh fast-break efforts.

Jensen buried a jumper from baseline on a nice assist from Roy and with less than two minutes remaining in the half, he buried a three-ball off a dish from Appleby that put the Huskies ahead 32-13. Jensen's five point output outscored the Mountain Hawks' two leading scorers in the first half, Jason Mgebroff and Jose Olivero, who each had four. His five-spot also outscored Lehigh when he was in the game, 5-2.

"When I was in there and things were going well, it's easy to find your rhythm playing with those guys," Jensen said. "They share the ball well and we played all summer together. It was easy to jump in."

"Mike did a very nice job," Romar said. "He came in and hit those two shots. I know he felt good about that. It was just good to have him back out there playing."

Washington (10-0) were led by Bobby Jones with 12 points and Jamaal Williams with 10. Jones' final bucket - a layin with 7:08 left in the game, gave him exactly 1000 points in his career.

Hans Gasser added seven for the Huskies, while Brandon Roy had six points and seven rebounds, leading UW on the glass. They out-rebounded the Mountain Hawks 42-37. This game also marked the first time UW freshman forward Jon Brockman did not tally points on the scoreboard, going o-fer in his 18 minutes of action.

"We really focused on trying to limit the amount of points scored in the paint for Washington" Taylor said of Lehigh's plan going into the game. "We wanted to try to force them to take longer contested jumpshots, and try and go rebound the basketball. I thought we did a good job of that. That was definitely a point of ours and a key of ours going into the game, and I thought our guys did an excellent job executing."

Lehigh (5-7) was led by Olivero's 13 points, followed by Mgebroff with six, Mitch Gilfillin with five and Kyle Neptune with three. Gilfillin and Olivero hit the Mountain Hawks' only threes for the night - both coming in the second half - as they shot 29 percent from the floor and 17 percent from three, including going 0-7 in the first half.

What was just as impressive as Jensen's scoring punch right from the get-go was his play in the post. Between him, Brockman and Artem Wallace, Washington held Lehigh's big post players to only ten points in the paint.

In fact, the Mountain Hawks actually kept pace with the Huskies in the second half, with each team only putting up 22 points apiece. It was not the effort Romar wanted. In fact, with 4:06 left in the game, Romar called a timeout to get his point across with emphasis - despite being up by 20.

"He was pretty upset because we were just walking around," Jensen said. "He told us that there are six teams in our league that get back and pack it in and we're going to have to play a lot better than that."

"In the second half, we lost focus," said Romar.
Statistics:
Points: Williams 12, Jones 10, Gasser 7, Roy 6, Appleby 6, Jensen 5, Dentmon 4, Smith 2, Wallace 2
Rebounds: Roy 7, Smith 5, Jones 5, Williams 5, TEAM 5, Jensen 4, Wallace 3, Appleby 2, Gasser 2, Dentmon 1, Burmeister, Potter, Brockman
Assists: Smith 2, Roy 2, Appleby 2, Williams 2, Dentmon 1, Jones 1, Gasser 1, Brockman 1, Jensen 1
Steals: Roy 3, Jones 2, Brockman 2, Appleby 1
Blocks: Jones 3, Jensen 2, Williams 1, Wallace 1

Notes:
Odds and sods...: Dawgpack stalwarts the Balla twins - otherwise known as Josh and Jeremy Webb - are growing twin beards, Abe Lincoln-style. First person on the floor tonight? Bobby Jones. He's chomping at the bit to play. Mike Jensen, back for his first game action this year, is sporting a new shiner, courtesy of Jon Brockman. "It was an accident," he said. Overheard in the Dawgpack while the Mountain Hawks were warming up at the west end of Hec Ed: "You look like poo." Lehigh wears all brown uniforms with white piping. The Dawgpack also gave kudos to volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin, who was interviewed by Fox Sports Northwest at halftime. Also, former UW assistant coach and current Portland State Head Coach Ken Bone was in the stands for Friday's game.

How much time now?: Now that the Huskies can go legitimately ten-deep in their lineup, it creates a bit of a conundrum for Romar, especially having a three-year starter just coming back from injury. "He (Romar) said he wasn't going to play me that much because there are ten other guys that have been working hard all season," Jensen said about whether or not he'll be inserted into the starting lineup soon. "That's fair, I know I need to work my way back in."

A new starter: Justin Dentmon did not start against Lehigh, the first game in his young career at Washington where he hasn't started. Ryan Appleby started in his place, scoring six points and dishing out two assists in 23 minutes of work. Dentmon only played one less minute than Appleby, despite his non-start.


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