Hawes, Brockman pace UW to win

As the Washington Huskies wrapped up their final non-conference tune up against the Weber State Wildcats Friday night in Seattle, the 10-1 Huskies found themselves wondering whether they were going to be celebrating some Christmas cheer or suffering from a holiday hangover. An 80-51 win provided plenty of good cheer.

But the way the game started, Washington looked like they might be receiving coal in their stockings. Huskies Head Coach Lorenzo Romar didn't know what to expect from his young team when the 7-6 Weber State Wildcats came to Bank of America Arena Friday night.

"The first thing people might mention is do we think were having a letdown from the emotion of the other night," Romar said after a convincing 29-point win.

He wasn't happy with the first 10 minutes of play, but the concern soon faded. "We were weird I guess," he admitted chuckling. "After that we settled down and I thought we played a really good basketball for the remaining 30 minutes."

Whatever residual euphoria the Dawgs were feeling following their victory over LSU was quickly extinguished as the Huskies fumbled their way through to an early 11-point deficit marred by early turnovers and sloppy play.

Fortunately for Washington, neither John Brockman or Spencer Hawes had any intention of letting their previous game heroics be a one-night stand. Combining for 24 points and 13 rebounds in the first half, the two led the Huskies on a 14-0 run, utterly overwhelming the undersized Wildcats, who found themselves in foul trouble before closing the half down 8.

The rest of the Huskies were a combined 5-19 in the half, and the offense was completely out of whack when the ball didn't move through the post. Defensively, the Dawgs struggled to contain Weber State forward Dan Henry, who paced the Wildcats with 10 first-half points. Desmond Harris chipped in 8 points, going 6-6 from the free throw line. The Dawgs led 38-30 at the break.

In the second half, while the Husky perimeter game never really woke up, shooting a combined game total of 2-17 from three point land (Appleby 1-10 shooting, 1-6 from three.)

"Tonight we shot poorly," said Romar, stating the obvious. "It's a mystery to me. I don't remember ever shooting like this. That's not how we shoot.

"Ryan Appleby shot 1-10. Are you going to tell Ryan not to shoot?"

On the bright side, the Husky defenders were smothering, at one point holding the Wildcats scoreless for nearly nine minutes. Hawes and Brockman were just as unstoppable in the second half as they were the first, combining for 41 of the team's 80 points. Brockman left the game with six minutes remaining, drawing a standing ovation for his relentless hustle, though he was visibly winded.

"I don't know it was the wind. We're not out of shape or anything," said Brockman. "Anytime you are banging in the post, it's going to be tough. Your legs start to burn and your muscles hurt and that's way worse than just running around."

With the 12 boards tonight to go along with 18 points, Brockman is now averaging a double-double (12.8 points, 10.1 rebounds)

"They are Piranhas on the glass," Weber State Head Coach Randy Rahe said of UW's rebounding effort. "They just keep kept on coming, and they wore us down on the glass." The Wildcats' size disadvantage was apparent as his team wilted in the second half. "They are big, strong, physical kids, and we got a little worn down," Rahe added.

Hawes finished with a game-high 23 points and 9 rebounds. He also added two more blocks to his team leading 26 and is leading the Pac 10, averaging 2.5 blocks a game.

"We started out kind of goofy" said Romar. "But after that we settled down and we continued to play good basketball. I'm happy with that."

Aside from the teams' shooting woes tonight they played well, but the first 10 minutes are a concern. Though the Dawgs have finally established an identity - especially down low - if they come out flat conference foes won't be nearly as forgiving as Weber State was. With road games at USC and UCLA looming next week, Washington better be ready to play right from tip off.

"If we get off to the same start we did tonight, we're going to be down 30 or 40 at half time against those guys," Brockman said.
Points: Hawes 23, Brockman 18, Dentmon 8, Wallace 8, Pondexter 6, Oliver 6, Appleby 4, Nelson 4, Burmeister 3
Rebounds: Brockman 12, Hawes 9, Dentmon 5, Oliver 4, Wallace 4, Nelson 4, Pondexter 3, TEAM 3, Burmeister 2, Gasser 1
Assists: Pondexter 3, Hawes 3, Oliver 3, Dentmon 2, Burmeister 1, Appleby 1, Nelson 1
Steals: Brockman 3, Hawes 1, Oliver 1, Appleby 1
Blocks: Hawes 2, Pondexter 1, Oliver 1, Appleby 1

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