Dawgs learn lessons in loss to Athletes in Action

Apparently, the coaching change and new team attitude aren't going to turn the Washington men's basketball program around overnight. Monday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Athletes in Action, a Christian team formed by former college players, made that clear as day with a 76-59 whipping of the Huskies in front of a Washington home crowd that had little to cheer about after the first seven minutes of play.

"Based on the results, we still have a long ways to go," said Lorenzo Romar, the Husky coach.

"Despite how we played tonight, we made good progress in practice this week. We didn't play at the level we practiced all week. We hate to lose. No loss is ever good. But it is good that it was an exhibition game and hopefully we will learn from tonight."

Athletes in Action was led by a trio of double-digit scorers. Reed Rawlings led the way with 17. Saddi Washington added 15, and Michael Coleman notched 10 points for the game.

The visitors started the game slowly, only to recover in a major way.

At first, it looked as though it would be the Huskies that would win in a walk. Athletes in Action's only points in the first 5:55 of the first half came on a short jumper from Coleman, and thanks to the team's inability to score, the Huskies stormed ahead. A Bobby Jones layin and foul shot gave the UW an 18-6 advantage with 12:45 remaining in the first half.

But that's when the lights went on for Athletes in Action, which came into the game with a 1-9 record, including one-point losses to Kentucky and Alabama. Two consecutive baskets from forward Matt Hill got the ball rolling, and it didn't seem to stop for the rest of the contest.

Athletes in Action went on to outscore the Huskies 36-10 before halftime. That gave the team a 14-point lead and the confidence it would need to hold on to it for the rest of the game.

"They are a veteran team," said Husky point guard Curtis Allen. "Mentally they are way past where we were tonight, and they showed it.

"With their mental toughness they exploited us every time we had a mental lapse."

Once down, the Huskies did nothing to help themselves.

For the game, the UW shot just 32 percent. Athletes in Action fared far better at 52 percent.

Coming out of halftime, the Huskies looked just as flat as they did before halftime. It took the team 5:01 to record a point, which came on a Doug Wrenn layin.

That gave the visitors from Ohio the chance to add to its lead. A free throw from Eric Kubel gave Athletes in Action its largest advantage at 52-31.

The Huskies then made its last push. They hiked up their shorts a little higher, bent their knees a bit more, and tried to make it happen on the defensive end of the court. It worked for a while as the team rattled off nine points in a row to whittle the lead down to 12.

Each team exchanged baskets until a three-pointer from Allen trimmed the lead down to 11 with 8:06 remaining. Athletes in Action made sure the momentum would stop there, however. Saddi Washington came right back down the court and found himself wide-open for a three pointer.

He nailed it, and that nail would be the last one put in Washington's coffin.

For the second game in a row, Wrenn, the Pacific-10 Conference newcomer of the year iin 2001-02, struggled from the field. He chipped in a team-high 21 points points, but it came on a night where he shot 7-21 from the field.

Allen added 15 for the UW cause.

Game Notes:
Dye Honored: Former Washington coach, Tippy Dye, who led the Huskies in the 1950's, was honored at halftime along with 23 of his former players. Among the players on hand were 1953 National Player of the Year Bob Houbregs.

Student-Athlete Mania: No less than 16 UW football players attended the game. The entire women's basketball team was also on hand.

Husky Stats:
Points: Wrenn 21, Allen 15, Jensen 7, Massingale 6, Jones 3, Shelton 2, Conroy 2, Day 2, Washington 1

Rebounds: Jensen 6, Washington 6, Wrenn 4, Massingale 4, Day 4, Conroy 3, Shelton 1, Jones 1

Assists: Massingale 3, Wrenn 2, Conroy 2, Allen 2, Day 1, Washington 1

Steals: Allen 2, Shelton 1, Wrenn 1

Blocks: Day 2

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