UW 108, St. Martin's 74

Year five of the Lorenzo Romar era began this evening as the Washington Huskies opened with a 108-74 win in an exhibition contest against St. Martin's Saints this evening at Bank of America Arena in Seattle.

Ryan Appleby and Adrian Oliver had 20 points apiece to lead the Dawgs. Quincy Pondexter had 18 and added 13 boards. Phil Nelson added 13 while Jon Brockman and Artem Wallace had 10 apiece.

The Dawgs showed some nerves during the first half in a sparsely attended BOA. The Saints were small but they shot the lights out and seemed to be able to penetrate at will as the Dawgs looked lost on perimeter defense. The Dawgs really struggled with Saints point guard Jake Linton who torched the Dawgs with 15 foot pull up jumpers. While the Saints looked fairly composed, the Husky wings often times looked rattled by the defense. The notable exception was Adrian Oliver who was on fire and played most of the first half. As the Dawgs relaxed, their play improved, but saddled with foul trouble, the second unit saw most of the playing time.

It should be noted that anybody expecting a well oiled machine out of the gate is going to be disappointed. As talented individually as they are, the cold hard fact remains that they team needs time to learn to play as a unit and are they going to look ugly at times as they did during the first half.

First half individual play observations - Adrian Oliver looked dynamite, almost stunning from all over the court including solid play at the point. He was the stabilizing presence that kept the Huskies in the game during an unbelievably sloppy first half besides draining every shot he took and finishing the half with 16 points.

Jon Brockman was in foul trouble the entire first half and while he struggled in that regard he looked very confident with his back to the basket.

Ryan Appleby ratcheted up his defense and seemed to have a better feel on that end of the court. He also looked sharp outside though he didn't look to shoot as much as you might think, going 3-5 from the field with 8 points.

Phil Nelson's shot selection was ugly, and he jacked up every shot he could, missing most of them. That said, his presence around the glass was encouraging tallying 5 boards in 11 minutes. Though he looked lost at times on the court, his work ethic was very impressive. He's a guy that needs a role, and until he knows what his job is, he may struggle a bit.

Artem Wallace looked competent and became more aggressive as the half rolled on.

Harvey Perry was fearsome on defense with a couple nice blocks, as well as being a constant presence on the boards.

Justin Dentmon was a non factor, looking a little shaky the first few minutes and didn't see much action after being pulled early in the half.

Quincy Pondexter clearly had the jitters and struggled mightily before picking up his third foul and sitting the rest of the half.

A whole different Husky team emerged from the tunnel in the second half as Dentmon raced his Dawgs to a quick 20 point lead before quickly relinquishing his duties to one of his less experienced teammates. The first half defensive snafus faded as well with the Dawgs filling the passing lanes with reckless abandon in true Lorenzo Romar fashion. Foul magnet John Brockman picked up his fourth foul a nanosecond into the half and was quickly replaced.

Second Half individual observations - Adrian Oliver earned a standing ovation after leaving with his fifth foul of the night and finishing tied with Ryan Appleby for a team high 20 points.

Justin Dentmon looked more comfortable running the team in the second half as he shook off any lingering off-season rust in short order.

Pondexter toughened up significantly and played a solid half of basketball at both ends of the court even playing a little point. His 13 rebounds led the team.

Ryan Appleby is going to be a backbreaker and could very easily be the team's top scorer this year.

Phil Nelson looked much more comfortable and didn't take any bad shots. He also continued his solid work on the glass. He is going to a great weapon for coach Romar as long as he continues to improve defensively.

Harvey Perry was the engine that drove the teams defensive efforts in the second half His lock down D silenced Saints point guard Jake Linton effectively eliminated the Saints biggest weapon the rest of the game.

Final thoughts: - As a unit, the Dawgs were very effective with Dentmon paired with either Oliver or Appleby though Oliver seemed to thrive with Appleby directing the show as well.

It's tough to come to any conclusions without Spencer Hawes in the lineup, but Artem Wallace and Hans Gasser looked up to the task of filling in when "the Beast" inevitably ends up in foul trouble. Brockman is going to need to work on that aspect of his game if he wants to take his play to a higher level.

Harvey Perry is an incredible defensive presence, but lacks the offensive tools of Appleby and Oliver and will likely compete with Joel Smith for the role of defensive stopper rather than a shooting guard in the traditional sense. He also might be the teams best shot blocker.

The early half of the season is sure to be filled with its share of ups and downs, but the team's potential is undeniable and Washington basketball fans are in for one heck of a ride.

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