Pondexter, Thomas help UW upend Bears

SEATTLE - Apparently all the Washington Huskies needed was a little home cooking. Fueled by Quincy Pondexter's 25 points and Isaiah Thomas' 20 - as well as Thomas' shut-down defense on California's Jerome Randle - the Huskies turned back one of their main Pac-10 rivals 84-69 Saturday afternoon at Bank of America Arena.

After five-straight points by Cal's Patrick Christopher to start the game, it was Washington who raced out to a 21-point lead with 9:03 left in the first half after a Justin Holiday layup. Pondexter and Thomas scored 27 of the Huskies first 33 points, and they never looked back. Combined, they finished the game 12-28 from the field, but 19-21 from the free throw line. They made their points count.

"As long as the team and the Huskies score, we don't care who gets the credit or the points or anything like that, as long as we are coming out and shooting high percentage shots and playing together," Pondexter said.

"They played harder than we did," California Head Coach Mike Montgomery said of the Huskies after the game. "They were way more physical than we were, they were energized and we got back on our heels, which is something that they do to people and they've done before. It makes it very difficult."

Despite going to the free throw line twice as much as Washington (12-5, 3-3), California (11-6, 3-2) would only make 32 of them. "We gave up 13 foul shot attempts in the first half that we didn't convert," Montgomery said. "We turned it over 22 times and we assist eight. We didn't meet passes, we weren't smart with our passes, we didn't get the ball to the offensive area.

"They deserved to win - they played harder, they played smarter, they played better. There's no question about that."

As a result of that effort, especially from Thomas on the defensive end of the ball, the Huskies limited Cal's Jerome Randle to no points in the first half and five overall. Randle had 39 in their win at Washington State on Thursday.

At many points during the second half, the UW student section would be yelling Randle's last name, trying to goad him. And just like with Stanford's Jeremy Green on Thursday, Thomas effectively took out the opposition's most explosive scorer completely out of the game.

"It's always a challenge to cover the team's best player," Thomas said. "I want to not just be known as a scorer. I want to be known as an all-around player. (Randle) was probably a little frustrated, but not just because of me. He was in foul trouble. And a scorer like him, he's kind of like me. Once you're in foul trouble you get a little timid and you don't want to get any more fouls."

"I wouldn't have thought he would have eight turnovers," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said after the game. "He's just too good of a basketball player. Jerome Randle is an outstanding guard, maybe the hardest cover in the league for us.

"I thought Isaiah was so focused and ust didn't give him a lot of looks tonight."

Randle picked up his third foul just 22 seconds into the second half, and he just never seemed to be the same after that. The Bears had to rely on Christopher for their scoring, and he came up with 28 points to lead all scorers.

"Before the game you look at their losses, who they lost to…they lost to some quality opponents," Romar said of Cal. "We didn't feel we matched up with them really well. For our guys to come out and play the way that they did, I couldn't be happier. This was one of our better weekends I think since we've been here, in terms of our play."

"Husky basketball starts on the defensive end, and we just turned it around," Thomas said. "We're bringing energy and playing hard. And that's what makes us go on offense."
Points: Pondexter 25, Thomas 20, Bryan-Amaning 10, Holiday 6, Suggs 6, Gaddy 4, Overton 4, Gant 4, Turner 3, Breshers 2
Rebounds: Bryan-Amaning 7, Breshers 6, Thomas 6, Pondexter 5, Suggs 4, TEAM 4, Trent 3, Holiday 2, Overton 2, Gaddy 1, Turner 1, Gant 1
Assists: Gaddy 5, Thomas 3, Overton 3, Pondexter 2, Holiday 1, Suggs 1
Steals: Thomas 2, Holiday 1, Bryan-Amaning 1, Suggs 1, Turner 1
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 1, Gant 1

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