There's apparently something about USC that brings out the long-range shooting in the Washington Huskies. One factor in UW's struggles this...
There's apparently something about USC that brings out the long-range shooting eye in the Washington Huskies.
“They worry so much about our inside that it gives us a longer look," said UW guard Ryan Appleby.
And that allowed the Huskies to put on one of their best displays of three-point shooting this season, hitting 10 of 18 in an 85-70 win over USC Thursday night.
Appleby hit five en route to a team-high 22 points while Justin Dentmon had three.
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UW entered the game having made just 87 during Pac-10 play, the fewest in the conference. Washington's percentage of .351 ranks eighth.
But seeing USC always heats up UW's outside touch. The Huskies made 13 of 26 against USC in an 86-79 double overtime loss on Dec. 28.
Since that game, UW hadn't hit more than eight and came into the game making just 5.4 per Pac-10 game compared to 7.9 last season.
Thursday's game at a glance
Player of the game: Ryan Appleby led the Huskies with 22 points, hitting 5 of 9 three-pointers, four during the first half as UW opened a 14-point halftime lead.
Turning point: The Huskies hit six straight three-pointers late in the first half to turn a 25-23 lead into a 44-30 edge. Appleby had three three-pointers during the run.
Next: vs. UCLA, Saturday, 11 a.m.
But UW hit six straight in one stretch late in the first half Thursday night.
Dentmon's three were half as many as he had hit in 16 previous Pac-10 games (6 of 26 before Thursday night).
“In the scouting report, we looked at tapes and they left me open a lot (in the first game)," Dentmon said. "So I was looking at being open and knocking down some shots."
Dentmon breaks out
The three-pointers were part of a solid night for Dentmon, the much-maligned sophomore point guard.
“That type of thing is huge for his confidence," said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
Dentmon also had no turnovers in 32 minutes as UW committed just 10 — its second-fewest of the season.
Dentmon said it helped that the Trojans didn't really pressure the Huskies that much out high.
Dentmon wore a pad on his right knee after banging it in practice earlier in the week and appeared to be limping slightly at times, but said he was fine.
â€¢ Appleby missed a free throw late in the first half to snap a streak of 21 straight. He is 31 of 33 for the season.
â€¢ Romar said center Joe Wolfinger, sidelined all season with a foot stress fracture, may be able to avoid surgery, after all. Romar had said last week that Wolfinger may need surgery after he has tried to recover without it. But Romar said the foot has responded well in recent days and for now, surgery has been postponed.
â€¢ USC guard Lodrick Stewart, a Rainier Beach High grad, struggled in his final collegiate game in his home town, scoring just nine points and drawing a berating from Trojans coach Tim Floyd for his defense during a timeout midway through the first half. "I'm one of the leaders of the team, so they look to me first," Stewart said.
â€¢ Prior to the game, Romar was given an award as the USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year for his work with the U-18 team last summer that won the FIBA Americas U-18 championships with a 4-0 record.
Romar recently declined an offer to coach the U-19 team this summer.