Battle in Seattle a lopsided one

SEATTLE - It wasn't expected to be much of a game, and it wasn't. The Washington Huskies got all over the Seattle University Redhawks early, building up a 33-point lead before calling off the Dawgs and coasting to a convincing 87-60 win over SU in the 24th meeting between the only Seattle-based Division-1 schools, the first game of a scheduled five-game contract.

This game came about when the Lehigh-Washington game was cancelled in December because of inclement conditions. The Redhawks were represented loudly and proudly by their student section up in the west end rafters, and their cheers continued clear through the end of the game, despite the result.

Seattle (19-8), back in D-1 competition for the first time since 1980, were led by the 13 points of Federal Way product Aaron Broussard. Senior forward Leigh Swanson from Mountlake Terrace chipped in 12 and Yakima native Drew Harris 11 for the Redhawks.

"I think it's something that's really special for the city," UW forward Jon Brockman said of the series renewal. "And that's a good team. For just turning in to a Divsion-1 team, being independent, they've had a good season. They've been in some close games with some really big teams. It's a rivalry that will get stronger and stronger as long as they keep it going."

Washington (23-7, 13-4) took an opportunity to spread minutes, with 11 players logging in at least 10 minutes apiece. Brockman kept his impressive tally of double-doubles going, putting together his 58th with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas scored 12 for the Huskies, while senior guard Justin Dentmon added 11 and Quincy Pondexter 10 to help lead the charge.

"We really wanted to get out and play hard, push a big lead in this game so we could get our players that don't play as much in, get them more reps," Dentmon said.

The Huskies tried to put the kind of defensive pressure Seattle had not seen all year, and for the most part it worked. They came up with 16 steals, forcing 18 Redhawk turnovers. "They are so aggressive on the ball that they speed up all parts of the game," SU Head Coach Joe Callero said. "It takes you out of your regular comfort zone. They just do a great job of pushing your buttons to make you play faster, shoot faster, dribble faster and put your out of your position and that really gets their transition going.

Washington finished the night with 22-0 edge in fast break points, as well as a 58-32 difference when it came to points in the paint.

The only moment of real drama came at the 4:17 mark of the first half, as Pondexter went high to tip in an alley-oop pass, coming down hard. He had to leave the game with bruised ribs, but did return to start the second half to big applause.

"I have bruised ribs. It's alright. I'll be fine," Pondexter said afterward, also noting that he was going into the ice bath right after the game. "I didn't even see the guy. I didn't get a good look at him; all I saw was my feet in the air. I was surprised they didn't call a foul or anything. It's basketball. It's one of those things that happen."

"You can't help but think worse-case scenario - like knee or even ankle," Brockman said of his reaction to the play involving Pondexter. "Ankle at this point of the year...he would be gonzo. He could be done. I think all of us, everyone in the arena, their heart kind of stopped for him. Thank goodness he was alright. He'll be ready to go on Saturday."

With only one game left in conference play, the Huskies - who clinched at least a share of their first Pac-10 championship since 1985 - know what's in front of them: an outright conference crown with a win over Washington State. On top of it, this Saturday should be an extra emotional game for the seniors Brockman, Dentmon and Artem Wallace.

"We made it through, and now we go on to Senior Day," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "It was fun to get that game kick-started again, but now we have to shift gears."

"It's starting to hit me, walking off the court," Brockman said. "It'll be emotional, but at the same time we have to take care of business. The season is not over by any means."
Statistics:
Points: Brockman 16, Thomas 12, Dentmon 11, Pondexter 10, Overton 9, Wallace 8, Wolfinger 7, Gant 4, Holiday 4, Bryan-Amaning 2, Suggs 2, Turner 2
Rebounds: Brockman 10, Bryan-Amaning 6, Turner 4, Wallace 3, Holiday 3, TEAM 3, Pondexter 2, Thomas 2, Overton 2, Suggs 2, Gant 1, Dentmon 1, Wolfinger 1
Assists: Overton 5, Thomas 4, Dentmon 4, Bryan-Amaning 4, Turner 3, Gant 1, Suggs 1
Steals: Thomas 5, Overton 5, Dentmon 3, Pondexter 2, Brockman 1
Blocks: Pondexter 1, Gant 1, Bryan-Amaning 1, Turner 1


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