Huskies Hold On For First League Win

SEATTLE - In the first Pac-10 game of the season for both teams it was the Washington Huskies that defended their home court Thursday night in a much closer game than expected against the competitive Oregon State Beavers. The final was 76-70. Quincy Pondexter led UW with a game-high 20 points on 5 of 13 shooting and 10 of 12 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.

But the game didn't start out the way the Huskies had hoped. By the 16:01 mark in the first-half, Washington (10-2, 1-0) was trailing by 17-10, mostly due to a lethargic defensive effort and sloppy ballhandling on the offensive end trying to break down OSU's 1-3-1 zone. It looked as if the Huskies had no clue how to break down the Beavers defense.

They started to show signs of life coming out of the timeout, as Venoy Overton dribbled through the double-team to hit a running jumper, followed by a needed Isaiah Thomas 3-pointer.

At the 10:14 mark the Beavers were up 21-17 and were shooting 60 percent from the floor. They had also already forced four UW turnovers. After a slow start adjusting to what OSU was giving them, the Huskies started to expose some flaws, ultimately heading into the locker room with a 10-point cushion, 43-33.

A key factor in breaking down Oregon State's defense was Overton, who after having a rough start with three turnovers; proved to be quite evasive and rebounded to finish with 11 points and four steals in the half. He would finish the game with 13 points and four assists to go with his four thefts.

In the second-half the Beavers (6-5, 0-1) slowly chipped away at the deficit and were within five points at 49-44 with 13:37 left in the game. But less than two minutes later, Overton found Pondexter cutting to the basket behind the defense and tossed up an alley-oop for the easy slam, bringing his team and the crowd back to life.

At the 8-minute mark the Huskies regained their double digit lead at 62-52 after two made free-throws from Pondexter. With 2:37 the Beavers pulled within four points at 71-67 after a Calvin Haynes 3-pointer. He finished the game with 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Oregon State managed to hold on late in the game and make it interesting, but was unable to gain a lead as the Huskies made five of six free throws in the last 26 seconds of the game, including four from Pondexter.

As a team, Washington shot 42.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. They forced the Beavers into 12 turnovers, eight of which came from steals. UW also out-rebounded the Beavers 40 to 30.

Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said Oregon State is a hard team to play.

"Boy, Oregon State is tough to play against," Romar said. "They do a great job of not letting you get away from them. I told our guys that it's hard to make them go away.

"I give our guys a lot of credit, we probably made too many mental mistakes tonight, but I thought in the first-half, once we got going our defensive pressure was very good. That allowed us to get out in front. We did a better job rebounding tonight. There has been some slippage there in the last few games."

Finishing with a solid night, Thomas found his stroke with 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting. He also had five rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Leading the way for the Beavers was Roeland Schaftenaar, who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and two steals on 5 of 11 shooting from the floor.

Missing in action tonight was Scott Suggs, who was suffering from an undisclosed ailment. Romar said although he wasn't able to play, he expects him to return to practice tomorrow.

"Scott Suggs was not in uniform," Romar said. "He is back in his dorm room watching the game. He was up all night nauseous. He is going to be fine; he got some fluids in him. But our medical people thought it best if he just stay and rest. He will be back at practice tomorrow. Not sure if it was food poisoning, or something of that nature, but he will be back ready to go."

With their first league win, Washington now improves their record to 10-2, while Oregon State falls to 6-5.

The Huskies will begin to prepare for the Oregon Ducks who will come into town on Saturday for a 2 p.m. Oregon is also 1-0 in conference play after a victorious effort in Pullman, upsetting Washington State in double overtime by a score of 91-89.
Points: Pondexter 20, Thomas 19, Overton 13, Bryan-Amaning 8, Gant 5, Turner 5, Gaddy 2, Holiday 2, Breshers 2
Rebounds: Pondexter 10, Bryan-Amaning 5, Thomas 5, Holiday 4, Turner 4, Overton 3, Breshers 3, TEAM 3, Gant 2, Gaddy 1
Assists: Gaddy 5, Overton 4, Thomas 1, Pondexter 1, Holiday 1
Steals: Overton 4, Bryan-Amaning 1, Thomas 1, Pondexter 1, Holiday 1
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 2, Breshers 2 Top Stories