Huskies hang on

SEATTLE - For almost 37 minutes, Phil Nelson had been invisible. He hadn't made a 3-point shot and only contributed four points for his new team, the Portland State Vikings. Down 12 with close to four minutes to play, the former Husky went off from deep and UW struggled to survive an 84-83 scare at Bank of America Arena Sunday evening.

The 6-foot-7 sharpshooter from Keizer, Ore. - who was recruited by UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar specifically for his range from downtown - showed why he was a coveted D1 guy when he buried three-straight bombs in the span of just over a minute to bring the Vikings to within two points with two minutes left in regulation. Overall the Huskies were outscored by PSU 18-5 in the final 5:13 of play.

But when it counted, Nelson couldn't deliver the fatal blow down three, putting up an airball that was snatched by the Huskies' Isaiah Thomas with 12.8 seconds left to play. Thomas made one free throw, and Justin Dentmon sealed the win with two more from the stripe after a layin by PSU's Jeremiah Dominguez.

"I felt comfortable stepping to the line at the end of the game," Dentmon said.

A 3-point bucket by Portland State's Dominic Waters was good as time expired, revealing the final score.

"I took a tough shot at the end and missed it," Nelson said. "I'm not sure what exactly got me going. When the first shot goes in you start feeling good and then you make the second and everything starts to feel like a great shot."

"First of all I did not like the way we finished the game," Romar said afterward. "Give all of the credit to Portland State for their relentlessness in the second half. I also thought that bad shots and bad passes by our guys helped to fuel their comeback."

It wasn't just a homecoming of sorts for Nelson; PSU Head Coach Ken Bone was part of Romar's UW staff from 2002-2005. "Lorenzo did a great job of getting his guys to play relentless and hard," he said.

This game was going to be a tough enough matchup for the Huskies (6-3) anyway, but they made it doubly difficult on themselves when it was announced that leading scorer and rebounder Jon Brockman would be unable to play due to an ankle injury suffered Saturday during practice. But those big men that were able to step out onto the court still put a dent into the Vikings' post defense, outscoring them 44-24 and out-rebounding them 46-35.

"I am sure without having Brockman out there (Romar) challenged his players even more to go out there and get it," said Bone.

Four Washington players scored in double-figures, led by the 23 points and 12 rebounds of Matthew Bryan-Amaning. It was the first-career double-double for the sophomore from London, and it couldn't have come at a better time. His reverse slam with 7:59 left in the game rattled through the Hec Ed gym and sent the partisan Husky faithful out of their seats.

"I actually did not find out until today that Jon was not going to play," Bryan-Amaning said. "I feel like this is the time in the season when everyone starts to fall into their role and I feel like as long as I am playing well I'll be able to stay on the floor."

Quincy Pondexter added 20 points and eight rebounds, his biggest bucket coming by way of a tip-in with 25 seconds left in the game to give the Huskies an 81-78 lead. Justin Dentmon provided 20 more for Washington, and Isaiah Thomas came away with 16 points. Overall, those four for UW accounted for 80 of their 84 points.

The Vikings (8-2) were led by the 19 points of Waters. Dominguez chipped in 16, Andre Murray had 11 and Jamie Jones 10. PSU is now 0-8 all-time against Washington, and 4-40 all-time against Pac-10 schools.

Neither school helped themselves from the free-throw line, as they missed 27 shots between them.

"It was fun coming back to this type of environment and getting to play in front of a crowd like this again," Nelson said.

"Despite the ending, I thought our guys played really well and did not feel sorry themselves after losing Jon," said Romar. "I thought Matthew Bryan-Amaning played excellent; he did a great job on defense, on the boards, and did not make one turnover.

"But we did not reverse the ball to get open shots. We did not close the game out like we should have."
Statistics:
Points: Bryan-Amaning 23, Pondexter 21, Dentmon 20, Thomas 16, Overton 2, Holiday 2
Rebounds: Bryan-Amaning 12, TEAM 12, Pondexter 8, Turner 5, Thomas 4, Dentmon 4, Wallace 1
Assists: Dentmon 3, Holiday 3, Thomas 2, Overton 2, Bryan-Amaning 1, Pondexter 1, Turner 1
Steals: Thomas 3, Bryan-Amaning 2, Pondexter 1, Gant 1, Dentmon 1, Turner 1
Blocks: Holiday 2, Bryan-Amaning 1, Pondexter 1


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