Huskies hit by heartbreaker at home

SEATTLE - It wasn't the shot that Pittsburgh made, it was the shot that Washington didn't make. Or rather, the shot that wasn't allowed to be made. After what seemed to be at least two minutes of full deliberation, referees ruled that a Justin Dentmon drive and shot at the buzzer did not come off in time, and the No. 12 Panthers escaped Hec Ed with a 75-74 win over the Huskies Saturday.

"I saw three seconds on the clock and thought I could get a shot off by running the floor," Dentmon said of the final play. "I just shot it and then the buzzer went off. I was taught in that situation to try and get the shot off. I had already made up my mind to take it."

Referees Dick Cartmell, Dave Libbey and Mark Reischling - two of the top three referees in the Pac-10 - immediately went to the scorers' table following the shot, while the Washington team was celebrating like crazy on their end of the court. As soon as the call was made disallowing the goal, the referees ran quickly toward the southeast entrance to Bank of America arena, their every step showered with boos from the 9,229 fans in attendance.

"It was frustrating not knowing," Dentmon said of the review. "It is really hard because you have it and then they take it away from you and it feels like everything just went bad."

As a result of the call, the Panthers ended Washington's 31-game non-conference win streak at home to rest. The last non-conference game the Huskies lost at home was an 86-62 defeat at the hands of Gonzaga four years ago.

"What else can you say?" Pittsburgh Head Coach Jamie Dixon said after the game. "You can't get a better game than that. We know how how it is to win a game here and how loud it is. Talking to the UCLA guys, they said that here is the toughest place to play in the Pac-10. To get this win is a great win for us, against a team that I thought played very well. They made shots."

"The Pitt team was a very good basketball team," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Their guard - Levance Fields, did a good job controlling his team. He made a couple of big shots. In the first half, they out-scrapped us, but in the second half we came back and scrapped a little harder. We don't have a win to show it but we pulled ourselves together."

The controversial ending overshadowed a great game by Ryan Appleby in his UW debut this year. The senior sharpshooter from Stanwood - who had been sidelined with a hand injury for well over a month - hit four first-half threes, en route to a team-high 18 points. But it was his clutch threes late - as well as a couple from Quincy Pondexter - that allowed the game to be in doubt at all.

"It was fun," Appleby said of his return. "I've been waiting about five weeks to play. There's no better feeling than that, but it would have been greater if we had gotten the win."

Pittsburgh's Levance Fields missed the front end of a one-and-one with roughly five seconds left, but big freshman DeJuan Blair snagged the loose ball for the Panthers and looked to try and score. Washington forward Jon Brockman tied Blair up, and the Huskies took possession on the held-ball rule.

Dentmon received the in-bounds pass, weaved his way through traffic and then tried to put up a shot in the key. But a Pitt defender caused Dentmon to pump and alter his shot just long enough for the buzzer to sound before he was able to get his shot off.

"I thought it was good," Appleby said. "I was watching the clock and JD. If I was a ref, I would have called it good. There was a lot of emotions."

"My thoughts were, as he continued to dribble, if he could possibly get in there in time," Romar added. "I knew it would be difficult when he saw a little daylight at half-court as he split the defenders I thought maybe he could get to the lane and make the play.

When he eventually shot the ball, I thought it was going to be really close. When they reviewed it on the monitor, the ball was in his hand when the red light came on. I thought our guys were hanging in there all the way to the end of this game. If we can continue to put forth an effort like that, we will eventually become a consistently good basketball team.

Part of that push for consistency was the addition of Appleby, who gave the Huskies an outside presence they had been lacking all season to date. "What you saw today was what he's been doing in practice," Romar said of Appleby. "We'd probably be disappointed if he didn't do that. That's what you expect from him."

Brockman added 17 points and 12 rebounds - including six offensive boards in the second half, and Tim Morris provided 11 points for the Huskies (4-4).

Pittsburgh (9-0) was led by the 20 points of guard Fields. Blair added 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Sam Young and Mike Cook added 14 points each for the Panthers.

Romar shifted his lineup Saturday, putting in Joe Wolfinger and Tim Morris for Quincy Pondexter and Dentmon. It was done, in part, to give those that had practiced well defensively some props for their effort.

"We went with those who had shown the biggest commitment to defense," Romar said. "Nothing else. Stats, nothing else mattered. The ones who made the biggest commitment are the ones we went with."

Points: Appleby 18, Brockman 17, Morris 11, Dentmon 9, Pondexter 8, Wallace 6, Wolfinger 5
Rebounds: Brockman 12, Pondexter 5, Morris 4, Wolfinger 3, Dentmon 3, Wallace 3, TEAM 2, Smith 1, Appleby 1
Assists: Pondexter 4, Brockman 3, Smith 3, Overton 3, Dentmon 2, Appleby 2, Morris 1
Steals: Morris 1, Pondexter 1
Blocks: Appleby 1, Pondexter 1 Top Stories