Huskies dish out sour apples to WSU

SEATTLE - Even though the two teams ended up with identical records after the game, you'd be hard-pressed to believe two halves could be so dissimilar. But just like with Tuesday's first-half romp against Seattle University, the Washington Huskies used a 19-2 run to start the second half to pound Washington State 92-64 to win the 268th playing of the Apple Cup at Bank of America Arena.

With former UW All-American and current Portland Trailblazer Brandon Roy watching, Quincy Pondexter put on a very Roy-like performance, with his 29 points and 12 rebounds pacing the effort for the Huskies (14-7, 4-5). Isaiah Thomas' three 3-pointers during the early second-half stretch helped him finish the game with 19 points.

"Tonight was a great night for us to come out and realize how good we really are," Pondexter said after the game. "Everyone stepped up tonight, everyone played great basketball. It was a lot of fun."

Washington State (14-7, 4-5) was led by the 15 points of Xavier Thames, while Nikola Koprivica and Reggie Moore chimed in with 13 points apiece. Klay Thompson, Washington State's top scorer at 22.3 points per contest, was stifled all game long. It took him over 19 minutes to score his first basket, and finished the game with only seven points on 2-15 shooting.

"U-Dub played good defense on him, and he has not shot the ball real well for a few games," WSU Head Coach Ken Bone said of Thompson's performance. "This isn't his first poor shooting performance."

Bone hasn't faired well at all against Romar either since leaving UW to take the head coaching positions at Portland State and Washington State. Saturday's loss was the fourth-straight against his former colleague and team.

The Huskies wore black uniforms and the coaches all wore tennis shoes as a a tribute to 'Black Out Cancer Day' and Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend.

But all that good will among men almost came to naught, as both teams came out playing physical and chippy. The Cougars came out swinging, taking an early 11-point lead behind the sweet shooting of senior Koprivica and freshman Moore.

Both teams were on the boil all half, spurned on by a ton of whistles by the referees. At the 4:43 mark of the first half and the Cougars up by one point, 28-27, the game nearly came to blows between Pondexter and WSU's Marcus Capers. Both were given technical fouls, but because Capers had already been charged with a foul against Pondexter prior to the technicals, Pondexter was able to tie the score for the first time since the beginning of the game.

"It was a competitive game," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "You're talking about Washington State coming out and competing at a high level and then when we got our second wind we are competing as well. A lot of times in sports, people want to make a big deal about how a scuffle broke out. If you're really competing, that is what's going to happen. That is just how it goes in any sport. Anywhere you are trying to win the prize, you are not going to go down easy."

Washington State was able to nudge out to a four-point lead at half, but the real story was the referees' exit. They were showered by an arena-chorus of boos, the home team fans clearly displeased with how events unfolded during the first 20 minutes.

Coming back out for the second half, the Huskies kept Washington State off the boards, limiting their touches offensively and playing efficient on their own end. Thomas, who had missed all his shots in the first half, came out possessed. A Scott Suggs 3-pointer and a thunderous dunk by Matthew Bryan-Amaning forced Bone to call a timeout with 15:11 left in the game.

"Well, that was a disaster, that second half," Bone said. "I think the Huskies showed who they are on some nights, and they showed us. Those last 20 minutes were a pretty frustrating experience, but give U-Dub all the credit. They pretty much put us in our place."

By that same time, the Cougars were 0-11 shooting in the second half. They didn't score a basket until a DeAngelo Casto layin with 13:05 left, but the damage had already been done.

"You could tell (they were rattled), because they would say things," Pondexter said . "I don't think any team has picked them up full-court like we did tonight. "When we play great defense, it leads to a lot of great things on offense. It leads to transition, it leads to wearing the other team down. We just got back to playing nitty, gritty, Husky basketball."

At that point the Huskies had taken a 55-42 lead, and would not look back, leading by as much as 29 points after a Darnell Gant layup with 1:50 left in the game. In every measured statistic, the Huskies excelled; they outscored WSU in the paint 42-18; they outscored WSU off turnovers 14-5; they outscored WSU in second-chance opportunities 15-6, and they blanked the Cougars 16-0 in fast-break points. Overall, they also outscored WSU 29-12 in bench points.

"There were so many heroes for us tonight," Romar said. "Justin Holiday defensively was very good and also gets 10 rebounds out there. He battled. I thought Tyreese Breshers and Matthew Bryan-Amaning in the middle did a good job of just being there and playing smart defense down there. Venoy Overton obviously defensively, but seven assists and zero turnovers too.

"That is a great job."
Statistics:
Points: Pondexter 29, Thomas 19, Bryan-Amaning 9, Gaddy 7, Overton 6, Suggs 5, Breshers 5, Gant 4, Holiday 3, Turner 3, Sherrer 2
Rebounds: Pondexter 12, Holiday 10, Overton 6, Thomas 6, Breshers 4, TEAM 4, Bryan-Amaning 3, Suggs 2, Gant 2, Gaddy 1, Trent 1, Turner 1
Assists: Overton 7, Suggs 4, Holiday 4, Thomas 2, Gaddy 2
Steals: Holiday 2, Overton 2, Gaddy 1, Gant 1
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 3, Breshers 2, Holiday 1


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