Thirty minutes enough, as UW topples USC

Apparently it was time to mix things up. Using only the third lineup all year, Washington went on a scoring barrage to start the second half and withstood one by USC to be the Trojans 87-73 Thursday night at Bank of America Arena. UW Head Coach went with senior Mike Jensen over Jamaal Williams, and both responded with big games.

Washington (17-5, 6-5) broke a three-game losing streak, and they did it with balanced scoring. They had five players finish with double-figure scoring, led by the 25 points of Brandon Roy. He also had 11 rebounds, giving the senior guard his fourth double-double on the season. Williams, despite not starting, actually ended up with more minutes than Jensen, and came up with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Guards Justin Dentmon and Ryan Appleby each had 12, while Bobby Jones ended the game with 10 points. It's the first time all three seniors - who normall all average double-figures per game - came up with more than 10 points apiece since a UW win over Oregon on January 21st, and it's only the second time they've done that in the past six games.

But for all the things that went right for Washington Thursday, one thing Romar preached all week - forty minutes of intensity - went wanting. "The good news is that we got back on the winning track," said Romar after the game. "The other part of it is, we still didn't do it for forty minutes. We don't have any options on Saturday (against UCLA). We have to do it for forty minutes on Saturday. The last ten minutes we got out of sorts."

USC (15-8, 6-6) suffered mightily without the scoring punch and leadership of sophomore Gabe Pruitt, who suffered a knee injury on Monday. In his absence, Nick Young stepped up with 28 points, while Seattle native Lodrick Stewart added 16 and guard Dwayne Shackelford contributed 15 points.

Romar wanted to shake the roster up a bit, 'tweak it' as he said earlier in the week. Enter Jensen, a player that started 34 of 35 games last year for the Huskies, and a player that provided output in key areas - four points, five rebounds and no turnovers in 18 minutes of play. Out went Williams, known this year as a player that can really go on some hot and cold streaks, but he didn't stay out for long. He came in after a few minutes and immediately found his groove. He finished with 9 points in 13 minutes of action.

The other key to Washington's big advantage throughout the first half was the lack of turnovers. The Huskies totaled 28 miscues against the Trojans in game one, but in the first 20 minutes they only had two.

"We knew that Williams would be back in there, he had a terrific game against us the first time, and I thought he played very well today," Floyd said of Williams' work.

It was clear the Huskies were ready for this game from the start, as they crashed the boards hard. They didn't amass 46 rebounds like they did in Los Angeles, but they did out-board USC 38-24. "The bottom line is that we just got pounded, one more time, on the boards," said USC Head Coach Tim Floyd. Washington outscored USC 20-2 in second-chance opportunities. "That is the fourth consecutive game, fourteen or above on the glass. That is just too big of a deficit for our team to overcome."

But the Trojans, to their credit, never stopped coming. They could have after a Roy free throw with 10:17 left in the game put the Huskies up 27. But the the threes started pouring down. The first one came via Stewart, the hometown kid from Rainier Beach. Then Shackelford hit two more back-to-back and Stewart added another rainbow trey to nip the lead to 20.

"Brandon (Roy) and Bobby (Jones) had blood on their jerseys, so they had to come out," Romar said of the timing that coincided with USC's late run. "We were in the zone, and then they hit a few threes. They got an offensive rhythm going."

From the 9:18 mark, the Trojans went on a 27-12 run, capped off with two free throws by Young with 2:58 left to bring the Huskies' lead to single digits for the first time since almost ten minutes left in the first half.

Roy, who had been steady all game - pumped in a three from the Huskies sideline that swung the tide back in UW's favor. They outscored the Trojans 8-3 to finish the game.

But Romar, for all the positives taken from the win, is still focused on the last ten minutes. "Obviously it's frustrating," he said. "I have to point the finger back to myself as the head man. I've got to make sure we keep striving, and I have to find a way to do it. Tonight wasn't a lack of effort - it was a lack of effort in the last ten minutes."
In attendance: Sonics center Robert Swift was seen hanging out by the USC bench after the game. He would have attended USC if he hadn't declared early for the NBA. Also, UW football coach Chris Tormey spent time with some 2007 football recruits that were invited to the game. More will be there for the UCLA game on Saturday.

Points: Roy 25, Williams 15, Dentmon 12, Appleby 12, Jones 10, Burmeister 7, Jensen 4, Brockman 2
Rebounds: Roy 11, Brockman 5, Jensen 5, Williams 5, Jones 3, TEAM 3, Smith 2, Appleby 2, Dentmon 1, Burmeister 1
Assists: Appleby 6, Burmeister 3, Brockman 2, Roy 2, Dentmon 2, Williams 2, Smith 1
Steals: Jones 2, Brockman 1, Roy 1, Dentmon 1
Blocks: Burmeister 2, Williams 2, Appleby 1 Top Stories