Huskies avenge loss; leaders await

In the 70th meeting between the Washington Huskies and the Arizona State Sun Devils, it was the Dawgs that pulled away with a 79-56 victory Saturday night at Bank of America Arena behind the 17 points of Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter, as well as the 10 rebounds of Justin Holiday.

Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said this is a win he is pleased with, especially because it allowed them to avenge an earlier loss to the Sun Devils, and in the process also set up the Huskies for a run at the Pac-10 title, something that appeared out of reach a couple of weeks ago.

"Well, we never looked forward to playing Arizona State," Romar said. "We have a lot of respect for their team and how they run their program, which makes me even more excited to watch us play an efficient level of basketball here tonight. Nineteen offensive rebounds is a pretty good night at the office. (We) turned the ball over 10 times against their zone and felt we moved the ball well and got good looks. Overall I just think defensively we really dialed in led by the captain of our defense, Justin Holiday. He was all over the place. He gets 10 rebounds again in there. That's a really nice job."

The Sun Devils (16-8, 6-5) were led by the 14 points of reserve Demetrius Walker. Ty Abbott added 10 points, the only other ASU player to score in double-figures.

Although UW wasn't very successful in breaking down the zone early on, by the 12:22 mark in the first half they had built a lead of 14-4 due do the sharp shooting of Elston Turner Jr. and Scott Suggs who hit back to back three's. By the 9:04 mark, it was all Washington on both ends of the court as they led 21-6 behind the solid play of Suggs and all-around team scoring.

After a slow start for Pondexter, he quickly picked up 11 points by the 4:18 mark. He was 4 of 8 from the field at the time as the Huskies were leading 38-14. He finished the game with 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting and seven rebounds.

"We moved the ball really well and sometimes I was there like a decoy because we were up by so much," Pondexter said. "It made it so much easier on our guys. If teams are going to keep play9ing us like that that, we have to play like we did tonight by being unselfish and make open shots, make shots period."

And Thomas, who was benched at the beginning of the second half of Washington's 81-75 win over Arizona Thursday, responded with a big night, shooting 7-15 from the field and adding seven rebounds to his 17 points.

At the half, the Huskies led 42-25, a far cry from the 19 first-half points they scored against ASU back on January 8th in Tempe.

In the second half, the Huskies continued to run Arizona State into the ground throughout, and by the 4:35 mark they were leading by an insurmountable 24 points at 74-50.

UW finished the game 44 percent from the field and just 28 percent from three. They also out-rebounded the Sun Devils 48-29, 19 of which were offensive. The Dawgs had 42 points in the paint and only had 10 turnovers.

Arizona State finished 41 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc. They also had 18 turnovers.

Next up for the Dawgs will be the Pac-10 leading California Golden Bears (15-8, 7-4) at 6 p.m. PST on Thursday. The game is at California and is on ESPN. A win would put Washington right up at the top of the Pac-10 standings.

"We have a lot of momentum, and I think we know what's at stake to be right up there at the top," Pondexter said. "That's something we've all wanted and won't count ourselves out. To be in the position that we are in right now, to be back in it, is fortunate, because sometimes you lose a few and the season is over. We still have a good chance at winning the championship and that's our goal.

"We're the defending champions and we need to redeem ourselves."
Statistics:
Points: Thomas 17, Pondexter 17, Bryan-Amaning 12, Overton 9, Suggs 8, Holiday 7, Turner 5, Breshers 3, Trent 1
Rebounds: Holiday 10, Bryan-Amaning 9, Thomas 7, Pondexter 7, TEAM 4, Overton 3, Suggs 2, Turner 2, Gant 2, Breshers 1, Gaddy 1
Assists: Thomas 5, Overton 4, Holiday 3, Pondexter 3
Steals: Holiday 2, Pondexter 2, Overton 1, Trent 1, Suggs 1, Turner 1
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 2, Holiday 1


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