Dawg Blog - NCAA's Day Two

SAN DIEGO - Here's the Dawg Blog for March 18, 2006, as Washington and Illinois do battle in a NCAA Men's Basketball Championship second-round game in San Diego. It could be a very special day for UW hoops in general, as the women have already won their first-round game, a 73-69 slugfest over Minnesota in Nashville.

Kudos to all the ladies who made key contributions down the stretch - Breanne Watson, Andrea Plouffe and especially Kristen O'Neill, who scored four points in the final minute - including a back-breaking three from the left-corner, to secure the win for UW - their first NCAA tourney win in three years. But it will probably be as far as they go, as they have to take on No. 1-seed LSU Monday night in second-round action. LSU destroyed Florida Atlantic by 24.

24 minutes to tip: Illinois comes out for their second warmup. James Augustine is not nearly as big in the upper body as I expected him to be. 90 seconds later, the Huskies come out as the band plays 'Bow Down to Washington'. Fans are still obviously filting in to Cox Arena, but the Illini definitely travel well. Lots of orange right behind me. They've reassigned all the media seats and the regular seats too. The Husky section and band section are kitty-corner from where they were on Thursday, so subsequently I'm on the far end of the row I was on two nights ago. I have to admit it, Illinois size and length scares me to death. I'm not as scared by their perimeter guys, although I know Dee Brown and Jamar Smith can light it up at any time. But it just looks like whenever Bruce Weber wants to substitute a 6-9 guy, he can bring in another effective post at any time. It's going to be asking a lot for Jensen, Brockman, Williams et al to handle that size for 40 minutes. Not saying they can't do it, but it's going to be their biggest challenge to date.

10 minutes before tip: Both teams pack it in and go to their respective locker rooms after the national anthem. Not that many fans here at Cox Arena outside of the two teams that will be playing in just a little bit. But the concourse is really full now, so that may change in the next few minutes. The Dawg Pack can be seen, standing up en masse about half-way up one of the pizza-shaped sections. Cox Arena reminds me a lot of the Pit in Albuquerque, except that it's not a mile high and it's above ground. But very steep inclines, to be sure.

4 minutes to tip: Neither team out yet, actually I take that back. The UW section can see into the tunnel where the Huskies are getting togther for their run out to the court. And here they come. Instead of pulling out one big flag with the 'W', they do a bunch of little ones to spell out 'H-U-S-K-I-E-S'. And then the 'Romar' chant comes calling as LoRo and Cameron Dollar come striding out. The Illini are waiting for their team to arrive, so they clap. And they keep clapping. Their musical chant is something like what you might expect to hear at a Florida State football game.

1 minute to tip: Still nothing from Illinois. Their fans keep clapping, though. And now they come out. Two humongous flags, one which gets waved in front of the UW section to obvious boos.

Tipoff: Jones on Augustine, Brockman on Randle, Jensen on Pruitt, Roy on Brown, Dentmon on McBride. Probably not how it's going to go, but that's how they were announced. Expect Randle on Roy and vise-versa. Romar is animated in the huddle, he's clearly excited to see this game get underway. One last 'Whose house...Dawgs' House!' and we're set. Augustine wins the tip, the first one Jensen's lost since coming back in the starting lineup. ILL starts with an airball, and the UW section is letting them know about it.

18:29/1: Jones on Brown to start, he looks like he's ready to play some inspired defense. Roy gets his first two shots to go down over Randle. ILL misses a couple of bunnies in deep. The Illini appear a little tight, UW is running it loose. UW 4-0.

16:39/1: Roy takes a clear charge on Brown, but the refs are letting them play early. High-tempo on both ends, and the Illini are really crashing the boards. Dentmon goes in amongst the giants and takes two from the stripe to extend UW's lead. UW 6-0.

15:24/1: UW looks to be in OK shape offensively, just need to put down the open looks. Williams and Appleby in the game, per their normal rotations. A couple of quick ILL baskets gets them back to within one, and Appleby fouls Augustine to avoid a layin. UW 6-5.

13:57/1: Roy is really putting out an effort defensively, hitting the deck on almost every possession. He really is the most-complete player in basketball. But the rest of the Huskies aren't holding up their end of the bargain on the offensive end. Guys like Jensen and Williams are getting looks, good looks. They need to put those down to have any chance. Just as I type it, Jensen buries a three.

12:53/1: Illinois calls a timeout as everyone goes scrambling for a loose ball. It feels like I'm at a Florida football game, the Illini fans do some sort of modified chop. Game tied at 9.

11:35/1: Appleby shows up early, draining his first shot from behind the arc. And in typical scrappy UW fashion, they go after a loose ball, getting the call for their possession despite Bruce Weber's strong protestations. Romar is again intense in the huddle, this time giving Jensen props for banging down low and Dentmon for running the mini-breaks to perfection. UW 14-11.

10:29/1: Can't say the Huskies aren't putting in a great offensive effort for rebounds. Three tries for a Williams bucket. Well done. Joel Smith is starting to exert his influence a little bit too, drawing contact. That's a very good sign if Romar can get minutes and some offensive production from him. UW 18-11.

9:56/1: Smith makes his presence known on defense too, blocking a shot. Could this be Smith's break-out game? Roy the Provider gets Appleby a great feed for another three. Augustine gets called for an offensive foul against Jones and Jones draws contact on the other end. Romar couldn't have drawn up a start like this in his dreams. 13 straight points for the Huskies. UW 22-11

8:20/1: Pruitt with his third foul. Huge news for the Dawgs. And since they are calling it on ILL's end so they evened it out with an offensive foul on UW as Roy buried a three. But give UW all the credit in the world on the defensive end. Weber is adamant about pushing it into his bigs, as he should be. But the Huskies are really denying at every turn, contesting every look inside of five feet, and it's showing. UW 22-11

7:01: Kudos to Romar, putting Jones on Brown has really screwed ILL up. Weber needs to settle his guys down and use up some clock, not race it down the court. Brockman just picked up his third, so he's hitting the bench. Williams just tools one of the Illini guys. Off their in-bounds, the Illinois guys are running into themselves, definitely affected by UW's pressure. They call a 30-second timeout. ILL so far - 6:10 w/o a field goal, stunning. UW 23-12.

5:48/1: Roy is getting some serious attention drawn on him, and he knows it. So he keeps drawing the ILL guys toward him and then dishes for an easy Williams dunk. The Huskies need to watch their weakside rebounding, as Brown is getting on that side and making things happen. But right now, between the schools' two stars, Roy is eating Brown alive. ILL eventually went 7:24 without a bucket. UW 27-14.

4:04/1: Williams has a breakaway dunk chance, but instead of two-handing it he tries to go for the french pasty. Gets fouled anyways, but he really needs to pack down those bunnies. Roy gets trapped in the corner, and UW keeps possession on the alternating jump-ball rule. Romar calls a 30-second TO. Not a ton of noise coming from UW's section right now, I think frankly they are a little stunned at what's going on. I know I am. One more foul for ILL, they are in the bonus, one more for UW, they are in the double-bonus. UW 28-14.

3:39/1: Augustine's first basket. Amazing stat. If I'm Weber, I keep feeding it to him. And on the other end, vintage Roy. And Roy tries to take a charge on the other end, but Brown gets the call. In too deep maybe? Hard to tell from my angle, but looked like Brandon had position. The UW fans weren't happy and the whole UW bench didn't take that call well. ILL is in foul trouble now. Jamar Smith finally comes into the game, really surpised he hasn't come in sooner. UW has to be aware of where he is at all times. UW 32-20.

2:17/1: Augustine gets a clear continuation call, Romar not happy with the play in general. Dentmon does a good job of creating contact inside to draw a foul, but needs to keep converting at the stripe like he has all year long. Missed two in a row, been a long time since that's happened.

1:51: Roy is ready to take another charge, and again they call a block. Romar is beside himself. 'Take His Whistle' makes an NCAA appearance, as the ILL fans laugh at the UW chant, in a good way of course. ILL is cutting into Washington's lead. UW is blowing it at the line, as Roy misses one. Huskies go zone. UW 33-26

Halftime: ILL cut into UW's lead by playing smart, controlled basketball, punctuated by a Dee Brown three at the buzzer. But UW kept their cool despite the Illini run at the end to retain their lead. At half, Roy with 12, Appleby with 6, Williams 5, Dentmon 4, Jones and Jensen 3 and Joel Smith with 2. Augustine leads ILL with 13, while Brown has 8. UW leading in rebounding 19-18, but ILL has them on the offensive boards 7-4. Pretty clean game, ILL has 6 turnovers to UW's 4. Shooting pretty even down the line, except UW from the line - 12-18. They are not good enough against this team to be giving points away at the line. ILL is killing them in the paint, 20-10. But UW has 13 bench points, compared to three for the Illini. ILL went on a 13-3 run during the last 2:34 to bring them back to within two points. UW 35-33.

17:58/2: ILL takes their first lead on a great feed from Brown to Randle. Jensen is just a kid playing in a man's game out there, nothing more can be said. It's rough watching him play with no offensive idea and ole defense on the other end. Roy is having to come in deep to double whoever Mike is on, because he's just getting abused. Roy connects with two FT's on the other end to tie it back up, but defensive intensity is gone. They had it for the first 16-17 minutes, then it just vanished. The coaches are really exhorting the team to keep going, but they are out-matched. ILL 39-37

16:09/2: Dentmon is rushing things, not really giving UW much of a look offensively. It's the Brandon Roy show while the others stand around, something we've seen before. And two Rich McBride threes later, ILL is back to where they thought they would be all along, a comfortable lead. ILL 45-37

15:28/1: The mechanics of this officiating crew are god-awful. Travel gets called on Brockman. Right call, wrong official. Baseline official five feet away doesn't call it, the far sideline ref does. Same guy, coincidentally enough, that called at least one of the blocks on Roy. UW is going more to their full-court pressure, but Augustine is a really good ball-handler for his size. He gets rewarded with a bucket. Jones hesitates, then hits the lane for a runner and-one. If UW is hitting on all cylinders offensively, Bobby doesn't think twice. Jamar Smith now in for ILL, I'm sure Weber would love to get him off for a couple of quick threes to extend their lead. ILL 47-40.

13:44/2: ILL with too many offensive rebounds. Their size is really making a difference now. And it's UW on the other end that is missing the bunnies tight. ILL 51-40

12:52/2: It all starts on the defensive end for UW. They have to find a way to dig deep, but it's just not happening right now. They're dragging their feet and just don't have the depth to match up. Dentmon and Jensen back in. ILL 53-42

12:02/2: Foul on Appleby by Jamar Smith, one more and UW will be in the bonus.

10:27/2: McBride with his fourth, Roy now at the line. Now it's the ILL fans that are all over the refs. UW will now shoot free throws from here on out. ILL 53-43.

9:32/2: Pruitt picks up his fourth basically as he gets back in the game. Dentmon at the line and his misses the front end.

9:01/2: Williams makes a shot down deep and the whole UW section gets up. Another stop on the defensive end and a sure Roy foul goes the other way. Roy is just so intelligent. He knows how the refs are calling the game and has adjusted accordingly. The ILL fans are all over the refs now. ILL 53-47

8:02/2: Roy comes back after a quick rest, Dentmon makes two free throws and Cameron Dollar is fired up on the UW bench. UW goes zone. The pace has really picked up. ILL 55-49.

6:34/2: Dee Brown with a dagger, but Jensen comes back with three more. The Huskies just look dawg-tired on D. ILL is testing them like no other team has this year. Jensen's three just rattles out and Dentmon fouls. ILL 58-52.

5:26/2: Romar is clapping his hands enthusiastically in the huddle. He knows his guys are at their limit, and he is doing everything he can with his own energy and words to get them over the hump. The rest of the team is doing the same. Hitting their free throws is going to be as critical as it has been all season. The way the refs are calling it, Roy can almost be assured of a call every time UW goes on offense. They have to convert. Williams gets a great steal on the D end, almost travels as he maintains possession, and then does travel on the other end. Possessions are like gold right now.

4:28/1: Williams scores on one end, Randle on the other. And Dentmon goes bonkers on a three and gets fouled by Smith in the act. A possible four-point play? Just when they needed it most, and Dentmon delivers. And the UCLA fans are cheering the Dawgs on as Weber calls TO. Guy in a purple and gold afro is running up and down the stairs, getting the UW fans lit up. "Let's Go Huskies" is the cheer now, as they are down by two. Let's see if Dentmon's play is the catalyst they needed to get that second-wind they so desperately need. ILL 60-58

3:16/2: Roy shows why he's Pac-10 POY with a stupendous up-and-in move to tie the game. And then ILL gets a phantom travel call, much to the dismay of Weber. UW run of 18-7 in the last nine minutes to bring it back to all square. Heck of a ball-game folks.

2:54/2: Roy with a sick crossover, but can't complete it. Williams comes down with the ball, and is fouled. Makes the first. First UW lead since the second possession of the second half. UW 61-60.

1:48/2: Roy picks up his fourth, but ILL isn't shooting yet. One more and they'll be in the bonus. Refs are calling this one really close. Weber calls TO with less than 10 seconds on their clock. He changes it to a full timeout. Tied at 62.

:58.6/2 Dentmon once again goes into the trees without an ounce of fear, but his runner can't go over the lip. But Jones is johnny on the spot and gets the rebound and is fouled on the putback. He makes both. UW 64-62

20.7/2: Just great defense by the Huskies, forcing ILL into a turnover. Dentmon gets the ball and is fouled. ILL calls TO. Doesn't matter, Justin buries them both. He has ice cojones the size of Tijuana.

15.5/2: Jones gets called for a ticky-tack one, I guess that's OK in the grand scheme, as the refs will certainly be blowing their whistles a lot from here to the end. UW called TO after Brown makes the first. Brown makes the second, and Jensen, after taking the ball, taps it down and waits for another UW player to come. They call TO instead, just to make sure. UW 66-64.

12.8/2: Jones is fouled and the ball just goes in, a real teaser. Second rolls out. ILL 67-64

6.4/2: ILL calls TO. Look for Brown, McBride or Smith to take a three. The Huskies have to play this one very smart, no more Hernandez reduxes.

Game Over: Washington wins after a long Dee Brown three goes wanting. Jamaal Williams was on him, a very unusal switch, but Roy goes high for the board as time expired. The biggest win in Romar's career so far? You be the judge. No one gave them a chance, myself included. That last 15 minutes was nothing more than sheer heart. And the real story is that Brandon Roy didn't take this game over down the stretch like people would have expected he would have had to do to in order to win. This game was a complete and total team effort. As poorly as Mike Jensen played early in the half, he clearly redeemed himself and had a monster 15 minutes. A wonderful game to watch in person. A row below me, Tom Hansen is taking congratulations and a lot of pride in this one. We'll see you in Washington DC!

Dawgman.com Top Stories