Huskies back in tournament picture

It was another "must-win" game for Washington and many people wondered if the Huskies still had it in them after Thursday's lackluster showing against Oregon State. However, tonight's version of the Washington Huskies displayed a strong performance to defeat the Oregon Ducks by a score of 78-66 in front of a capacity home crowd for their final home game of the season.

With UCLA losing to Stanford, Washington (9-15, 4-11) moved back into the eighth and the final slot for the Pac-10 tournament.

"There were a number of guys who stepped it up for us tonight," said head coach Lorenzo Romar. "They did a good job on both ends of the floor. I was pleased with our effort and performance tonight."

With the Huskies embarking on a road trip to southern California next week, Washington needed a win in the worst way. "If we could have beaten Rainier Beach tonight, it would have been fine. We needed a win. Oregon is an outstanding basketball team and that makes this win even better," said Romar.

The Huskies had five players score in double figures, led by Curtis Allen's 17 points. Allen and Will Conroy, who scored 15 points on the night, gave the Huskies big three-pointers when they needed it and were a combined 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.

Washington gained early momentum when they went on a 16-3 run in the first half. Conroy ignited the offense and started the run with a three-pointer from the top of the circle and marched right back to throw a bullet pass to Bobby Jones who made an inside-out reverse lay-in through traffic.

Not to be outdone, Allen came back to drain a three-ball of his own from the left corner on their very next possession which prompted Oregon head coach Ernie Kent to call a timeout which brought the home crowd to its' feet. By the time the run was over, Washington was up 23-9 with just under ten minutes to go in the first half.

The Ducks came marching back however as Oregon's Luke Ridnour and James Davis sparked an 11-2 run as they began an onslaught of three-pointers to eventually cut the lead the two points just before the end of the half.

Oregon started the second half quickly and eventually took the lead, but instead of giving up, the Huskies played cool under pressure and retook the lead. Every time the Ducks threatened, Washington denied any potential of Oregon putting together another run. Jeffrey Day and Brandon Roy had two big slams off of missed shots on consecutive possessions during a 9-0 run to keep the lead for good. There were a total of seven lead changes in the game and the Ducks never led by more than two.

Roy had the best game of his career tonight. Roy came off the bench to score 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, which were all career-highs.

"Brandon played exceptionally well today," Romar said of Roy. "He played aggressive and we were able to see what happened with our decision not to red-shirt him."

"Washington played extremely hard and they just made more plays," said Kent. "We kind of lost our composure a little bit and they put the game away."

Ridnour led Oregon with 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Ridnour also saw his Pac-10 record of 62 consecutive free throws made come to an end with just 1:32 left in the game.

The Ducks also had to deal with a poor outing by Luke Jackson, and the benching of Andre Joseph in the second half. Jackson shot just 3-of-13 from the field with eight points as a committee of defenders led by Jones, Roy, and Doug Wrenn were in his face and disrupting his rhythm for the majority of the contest. Joseph was benched by Kent after an altercation with Oregon assistant coach John Cooper. The player and the coach were going at it in an intense argument on the sidelines and nearly had to be separated.

Following the game, Romar took the microphone to address the home crowd and to thank them for the wonderful support throughout his first season at the helm.

"I am appreciative of them getting behind us and make this a college atmosphere," said Romar. "I wanted to thank the fans for coming out and supporting us with our record. It has touched me and it has touched our guys and I wanted to make sure that was understood."

Marlon Shelton honored: Playing in his last game at Bank of America of Arena, Marlon Shelton was honored by the home crowd for his four years of service in a Huskies uniform. Shelton, the lone senior on the team, got the start tonight and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

"It feels great to go out on a win," said Shelton. "We put ourselves in a position where we needed to win and we did it."

Halftime Dawg Show: On the lighter side of things, Harry the Husky had some friends come over at halftime when the Puget Sound Flyers visited to perform one of the more entertaining halftime shows. Two teams of dogs performed hurdles and relays in a best of five series. Ironically, the purple and gold team defeated the green and gold team 3-1

E.T. Sighting: Looks like we got to see Charles "E.T." Frederick play basketball at Hec Ed after all. E.T. was one of the contestants to play the "Ram shootout" and went up against a Dawg Pack fan. The fan won the contest when E.T. could not make a free throw after repeated attempts.

Star Attendee of the Night: With many prominent people catching the Huskies at home recently, it is always interesting to see who will show up. Tonight, Bremerton High's super junior Marvin Williams caught the ferry to cross the bay and catch the Huskies game in person.

Husky Stats:
Scoring: Allen 17, Conroy 15, Robinson 14, Roy 13, Wrenn 10, Jones 5, Day 4

Rebounds: Roy 7, Jensen 7, Robinson 6, Wrenn 6, Jones 4, Conroy 3, Day 2, Shelton 2, Allen 1

Assists: Robinson 5, Roy 3, Allen 3, Conroy 2, Jones 1

Blocks: Jones 2, Wrenn 1, Day 1

Steals: Jones, Wrenn, Conroy, and Allen 1

Scoring	        1st	2nd     TOTAL
Oregon		31	35	66
Washington	36	42	78

Up Next: The Huskies are on the road the rest of the way and their next stop in Pullman on Saturday, March 1st. Washington State got their first conference win in nearly two seasons when they defeated Oregon State and celebrated as confetti dropped from the Friel Court ceilings. Top Stories