UW gets scare, defeats Vikings

SEATTLE - Up 22 at half, it was just coming too easy. The Cleveland State Vikings, shooting under 24 percent for the first half, stormed back to within a possession before the Washington Huskies put away the Vikings 78-63 in the first round of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic at Bank of America Arena Tuesday night.

The Huskies (1-1) play Florida International Thursday night in the second game of this CBE regional. They then travel to Kansas City next week to take on defending national champions Kansas and either Syracuse or Florida in the final two rounds of the tournament.

Led by the 20 points and nine rebounds of Cleveland State guard Norris Cole, the Vikings (1-1) chopped away at a 48-26 first-half deficit to climb back to 56-53 with 10:30 left in the game, but an Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer, coupled with a Renard Fields foul on Jon Brockman led to a five-point swing that helped the Huskies finish the game on a 17-10 run to salt the victory away.

"Really a good team effort tonight by our guys against a good Cleveland State team that's picked to win their conference," said UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar. "But we came out flat (in the second half) and that's something we have got to solve."

"We played a good first half and came out for the second half and weren't solid," Brockman said. "We bent, but we didn't break. We were bending quite a bit for a while."

Washington pounded the boards all night, led by the 23 points and 13 rebounds of Brockman. All nine Huskies that played had at least one rebound, despite the fact that two of their frontcourt players - Artem Wallace and Matthew Bryan-Amaning - didn't play. Overall the Huskies massacred Cleveland State on the glass, stacking up 36 in the first half and 58 overall to the Vikings' 34. While fairly gaudy numbers, they were still 27 rebounds short of the school record of 85, set in 1969 against Idaho.

"He goes out again and gets 25 and 13, another day at the office for him," Romar said of the senior forward from Snohomish. Brockman had 30 and 14 in their opener at Portland.

Quincy Pondexter, held scoreless against the Pilots, bounced back in a big way, chipping in 15 points and nine rebounds. Aferward, he was seen in the gym working on his jumper.

"I thought he really came out and played well," Romar said of the junior from Fresno.

Joe Wolfinger added 12 points and five rebounds for UW, while Justin Holiday had six points and 11 rebounds, Justin Dentmon nine points, five rebounds and three assists, and Thomas finished the night with eight points and five dishes. The freshman from University Place did not start tonight because he was a little late for the game.

Despite the strong first half, it didn't start out like UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar had hoped. In the first minute alone there was a turnover, a foul by the Huskies' Darnell Gant and a contested jumper by Dentmon - three things Romar had talked about at length during his press gaggle Monday. After five minutes Washington had turned the ball over five times. Then they settled down, only giving it up three more times in the next 15 minutes as they extended their lead to 22.

"I thought we definitely made progress tonight," Romar said. "Not just from the Portland game, but also from the exhibition. Tonight we guarded in the first half very well as a team and played with energy, shared the ball. I just thought we were very efficient."
Points: Brockman 23, Pondexter 15, Wolfinger 12, Dentmon 9, Thomas 8, Holiday 6, Overton 3, Gant 2
Rebounds: Brockman 13, Holiday 11, Pondexter 9, Gant 7, Dentmon 5, Wolfinger 5, TEAM 4, Turner 3, Thomas 2, Overton 1
Assists: Thomas 5, Dentmon 3, Wolfinger 2, Brockman 1, Overton 1, Holiday 1, Turner 1
Steals: Dentmon 2, Pondexter 1, Turner 1, Wolfinger 1
Blocks: Wolfinger 2, Pondexter 1, Overton 1, Holiday 1

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