Notes and Quotes – ASU

The Washington Huskies finally got a win against a Pac 10 opponent, and though they might publicly say otherwise, it looked like a big weight had been lifted from their shoulders. Coach Lorenzo Romar was pleased with his team's performance tonight, and defense was clearly the deciding factor.

"With the exception of the first few minutes of the game, defensively, in the beginning of the game and the second half with the three consecutive offensive rebounds, I thought that once we got going most of their shots were contested perimeter shots," said Romar.

"I thought that we did a much better job with our pressure as the game went on," he explained, noting the team's 11 turnovers against Arizona in a losing effort against the Wildcats. "We only turned the ball over twelve times. Turnovers and the defensive end, those are the two areas that we are really looking at. I thought that we did an OK job tonight. I am glad we got a win in the books, we need to keep getting better."

After Ryan Appleby peeled apart the Sun Devils' zone with his long-range shooting, Romar explained why he thought the Dawgs were so successful tonight. "They played a zone the entire game and paid a lot of attention to Spencer (Hawes) and really collapsed on him whenever he caught it," he said. "That freed up Ryan Appleby for some really good looks from the three-point line. Pick your poison. They did not want to get beaten on the inside."

Romar gave credit to the ASU defense for shutting down a couple of his key players, especially Quincy Pondexter who was held to 3 points after scoring 25 against Arizona on Thursday. "As I said before we didn't get a whole lot in transition, also in the zone they really collapsed on Quincy quite a bit whenever he touched the ball," Romar said. "Again, obviously what they were doing was that they weren't going to give up much in the paint and they will make us beat them from the outside."

Role players also played a big part in the win Saturday night. "Adrian (Oliver) played hard, this weekend the stats don't show with numbers in terms of scoring, but he played some spirited basketball," Romar said. "He has played some good floor basketball. He has had two good floor games."

Romar also mentioned another player whose name has rarely been called this season. "The other guy, who only has one number on here - he missed a free throw, is Artem Wallace," he said. "Artem came in and did a very good job in the second half. Based on our defense scheme, he came in and executed it to perfection."

Oliver was pleased with his performance, and isn't concerned about his box score either. "I'm not worried about my stats right now," he shared. "I'm just trying to play hard and help the team win, and get my teammates involved first. Right now I'm really comfortable with what I'm doing on the team."

As his game expands, the comparisons to former Husky great Brandon Roy grow as well. "My character is a lot like Brandon's in that we're both unselfish players," Oliver said. "It doesn't matter if I'm scoring 20 points or zero as long as the team wins. I know my time will come."

It wasn't all roses Saturday night, though. The Huskies got out-scrapped and out-rebounded on a couple of occasions, something coach Romar isn't accustomed to seeing. "In the second half we didn't do a good enough job, like I mentioned with the three consecutive rebounds they had in the second half on the offensive end," he said. "They are a good rebounding team, they came in here as a good rebounding team."

"We new coming into the game that they were going to want to try and grind it out, walk or jog the ball up the floor and play the zone to try and slow us up," said newly inserted starter Ryan Appleby about why he was able to torch the Sun Devils. "I knew coming in that I was going to need to knock down some shots and kind of spread the zone out.

"When the ball slows up like that, you just really have to take care of the ball and then get stops."

Appleby's eyes got really big when he talked about the opposition's zone, much like how the basket looks to him when teams settle into the 2-3.

"Oh yeah, I start trying to look for open spots so when I see the ball coming I try to set my feet and get ready to shoot it," he said.

The pace of the game suited Jon Brockman just fine, as he quietly finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. "It felt like a slow game of sets and it we were just kind of going back and forth," said Brockman.

It was the defense that won the game tonight, according to Jon. "We don't win games from great offense," he added. "You saw that against Arizona. We had great offense and still didn't win the game. Defense is what gets us started. It's really the key to everything."

Brockman was glad to get the loss monkey off their backs. "Our confidence took a little hit in LA (against USC and UCLA)," he explained. "And then obviously it took another hit to the chin against Arizona. But now we know what the Pac-10 is going to like."

As captain, as well as honorary cheerleader, Brockman does his best to keep his teammates' chins up. "Everyone has a bad game," he said. "No one is going to play perfect every game, so I just try to keep the morale up."

Unknown to most fans, Brockman has slowly been recovering from a shoulder injury. "I tweaked it against LSU and then I banged it pretty good on an alley oop against Weber State and strained my upper bicep and it's still a little sore," he said. "It's about 90 percent now."

Looking ahead, Brockman is thrilled to be playing Stanford this next weekend. "Our point guard from Friends of Hoop, Mitch Johnson, is their team captain, and Spencer and I have been catching his passes since junior high so it's going to be fun, especially since Quincy played high school ball with the Lopez twins," he said.

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