Huskies romp over Montana at Hec Ed

A well rested University of Washington Mens basketball team cruised to an easy 75-53 victory over the visiting Montana Grizzlies in just their third game in three weeks. A 23-point Washington surge early in the first half effectively silenced the Grizzlies who wilted under the relentless Husky pressure defense.

The rust was apparent during the opening minutes of Sunday's game as the Huskies trailed the scrappy Grizzlies squad during the early going. Fortunately, Washington's Venoy Overton had the answer, harassing the Montana ball-handlers into several turnovers and helping to stretch a two-point UW deficit into a 21 point first half lead. But, if UW head Coach Lorenzo Romar was expecting a consistent 40 minute effort from his team, he was sorely disappointed.

Washington's superiority throughout the game was obvious, but they also were plagued by a steady stream of painfully sloppy play and poor ball control, particularly in the second half.

"We haven't had a game like that where we played two totally different halves," explained Coach Romar after the game. "We played a very, very good first half, and not a good second half at all."

The good news was that Washington's defense was solid throughout the game, holding the Grizzlies to just 28 % shooting from the field – a full 20 points below their season average. The Huskies forced 19 turnovers, including 12 steals and rarely allowed Montana an open look at the basket, holding the sweet shooting Grizzlies, who average 41% from three on the season, to a 4-19 shooting night from the three point stripe.

Washington got an outstanding first half out of Overton, who chipped in 10 points, three assists and snatched four steals in the effort. Mathew Bryan-Amaning also added another stellar game to his recent string of exceptional performances, with 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

Jon Brockman, still recovering from an ankle injury and sporting a heavily taped left thumb stemming from a Christmas present mishap, contributed his customary 13 point, 11 rebound double-double in 25 minutes of work.

The Huskies early advantage allowed Coach Romar to spread the minutes around liberally; Elston Turner hit two threes and continued to look impressive in 18 solid minutes, and no player played more than 26 minutes. Coach Romar continues to find ways to get his reserves as much playing time as possible before the start of conference play, which may have contributed to the teams' sloppy second half.

Romar elaborated on the teams' consistency struggles afterwards.

"Whatever the case was, we played too much at times for the sensational play," he said referring to several missed dunks over the course of the game, "and that takes us out of points when we do that. When the games is close, we're focused, but when the games gets away a little bit, maybe subconsciously we get a little distracted and try to make some highlights, but we can't play that way."

"Our plan will be to come back against Morgan State and do what we've been doing, which is, play two good halves." He remarked. "I thought we'd been doing a good job of that, but tonight we didn't."

The Huskies have their final tune-up Tuesday night at 7:30 versus Morgan State, before they open Conference play in Pullman Saturday night against Washington State. Top Stories