Huskies use Conroy up in win

The Washington Huskies used a phenomenal effort by sophomore guard Will Conroy to fend off a stingy and gutty Cal-State Northridge basketball team today 89-80 at Bank of America Arena in front of 5068 fans. Will had a game-high 26 points offensively and held potent scorer Curtis Slaughter off the scoreboard completely.

"I thought that in the absence of a couple of our players (Nate Robinson and Jeffrey Day), our guys stepped up and played very well," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game. "We forced 21 turnovers, which is very important for us, and while we had 21 turnovers ourselves, we also had 20 assists for second straight game. There's a lot for us to hang our hats on after this game."

Doug Wrenn and Curtis Allen had 19 and 17 respectively for the Huskies while the Matadors were led by the 22 points of JC-transfer guard John Clark.

"We came together today and a whole lot of guys stepped up," Conroy said today from the locker rooom. "CJ Massingale and David Hudson stepped up and came up with some big shots. We improved as a team tonight."

Anthony Washington began the game at center for Washington and the Dawgs got off to a quick start with Curtis Allen burying a three from the right side and Mike Jensen hitting a jumper from just inside the 3-point arc. But the Matadors' John Clark also started out hot, going for 7 points in the first four and a half minutes of action.

The two teams see-sawed back and forth throughout the remainder of the first half, with Will Conroy shooting the rock well for Washington and Clark and forward Lionel Benjamin the same for CSUN. With 7:34 left in the game and a 23-20 lead, the Matadors were a red hot 83 percent from the field, while the Huskies were 37 percent on 7-19 shooting the ball.

The first half ended with the Huskies creating some momentum. David Hudson fed Curtis Allen for a jumper on the baseline and 'D-Hud' took it himself for a 3-ball on Washington's next possession to take a 33-31 lead. Matadors' guard Justice Graham posted Hudson up to tie the game.

Doug Wrenn took a charge with 6 seconds left in the half, allowing the Dawgs one last chance to take a lead into the locker room but a Curtis Allen 3-point attempt did not go down. For the half, Washington was 12-29 shooting and 6-15 from behind the arc. CSUN cooled down a little but not much, going 14-21 for the half, but scoreless from three on two attempts.

Doug Wrenn, Will Conroy and Curtis Allen gave the Huskies a quick push at the beginning of the second half 40-35. But the free throw shooting woes that plagued the Dawgs in the first half (3-9) continued, as Wrenn and Mike Jensen really struggled to put down their shots from the charity stripe. But Wrenn and Conroy found multiple ways to score and helped the Huskies forge a 9-point lead with 15:18 to go.

"Doug Wrenn did a great job of stepping up offensively," Romar said of the 6-6 junior from O'Dea. "A lot has been made of, 'What's wrong with Doug's scoring?' Doug Wrenn has done a fantastic job of doing other things to help this team win. He's in the top two in a lot of statistical categories for us. He is turning into a complete player, and the Huskies will be a better basketball team as a result."

A 5-0 run by the Matadors put them down by 5 with less than 12 minutes left and a turnover at midcourt by Conroy looked to drop the Huskies' lead even more but CSUN wasn't able to capitalize on a layin attempt. Will atoned for his miscue by driving in for two and putting down the free throw for a three-point play and an 8 point lead, 53-45.

By now, Bobby Braswell's Matadors were trapping full-court, hoping to create some miscues. They did, but didn't do a very good job of handling the ball themselves on the offensive end. Some of that can be attributed to some tough Washington defense. They forced 11 turnovers in the first half and 21 overall.

Romar counteracted Braswell's tactic by incorporating a three-guard offense for some of the second-half. Allen, CJ Massingale and Conroy were used to help handle the ball up the court and also to shoot the ball against CSUN's tight 2-3 matchup zone.

"Our guards really did a nice job of handling their defensive pressure, making good passes," Romar said. "Anyone who has watched our games knows that we're not afraid to go small against other teams. It helps us a lot ofthe time because of our quickness."

Allen's three-ball from the left side gave UW a 60-52 lead with 7:57 and from then on out it was showtime for the young pups. Washington had done a poor job of free-throw shooting, going 12-23 for the first 34 minutes of the game, but once they were in the double-bonus things started to click. Will Conroy's 4 straight gave the Huskies' a 70-60 lead and Massingale's 3-point dagger upped the lead to 13 with 5 minutes left. Bobby Jones and Anthony Washington both put in a pair to give UW a commanding 17-point lead with 4 minutes left. to go.

"At practice we don't get to leave until we make ten straight both purple and gold, so that's just something we need to concentrate and lock in on," Conroy said. "That's a big thing. Coaches don't give us any slack on that."

The Matadors' Justice Graham responded with a drive for two, but Will Conroy put his exclamation point on a 16-4 run with a drive of his own and one, putting UW up for good, 82-64. And after Conroy's one-hand thunder jam putting the Dawgs up 15 with 1:35 left, the rest was garbage time.

The Huskies blitzed the twine in the second half, shooting an unconscious 73.9 percent in the second half. "Offensively, on a scale from one to ten we're about 8 times better than where we were at the start of the season because we couldn't make shots," Conroy said. "That's a mental things. We got some shots to fall early and got some confidence."

"We just wanted to get momtentum going into the Pac-10 season," Curtis Allen said. "We feel good right now and we could surprise a lot of people. I thought we were scrappy and handled their press real well."


Points: Conroy 26, Wrenn 19, Allen 17, Massingale 7, Washington 7, Hudson 6, Jones 4, Jensen 3

Rebounds: Wrenn 9, Conroy 6, Jensen 3, Washington 3, Massingale 3, Jones 3, Shelton 2

Assists: Conroy 9, Wrenn 2, Allen 2, Jones 2, Hudson 2, Washington 1, Massingale 1, Devoe 1

Blocks: Washington 4, Jones 2, Shelton 1

Steals: Conroy 2, Wrenn 1, Jensen 1, Massingale 1 Top Stories