Every other day of his life, Rob Diederichs is as big a Washington Husky fan as there is. He was once a ballboy for the UW men's basketball...
Every other day of his life, Rob Diederichs is as big a Washington Husky fan as there is. He was once a ballboy for the UW men’s basketball team back in the Todd MacCulloch days, and attends every football game he can.
Monday night, however, Diederichs was almost the Husky killer, the guiding force of a Seattle Pacific men’s basketball team that threw a heavy scare into the Huskies before Washington hung on for an 86-77 exhibition victory over the Falcons in front of 8,057 at Edmundson Pavilion.
Diederichs, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward from Shorewood High, scored 36 points in a game that revealed the Huskies still have a ways to go to repel that eighth-place ranking in the Pac-10 preseason poll.
“This has been my dream, pretty much, to play in this gym since I was a little kid,” said Diederichs, who made 15 of 23 shots and scored 18 points in each half. “I was really excited to play.”
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“We wanted to come out and defend and we obviously didn’t do a good job on Diederichs,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar, whose team has stressed improving its defense this season. “That’s a lot of points to give up to one guy.”
Diederichs said he got one recruiting letter from the Huskies and briefly considered walking on before deciding on SPU, where he averaged 8.8 points last season.
The Huskies also have emphasized cutting down turnovers and that was a disappointment, too, as they lost 22.
“Thank goodness for exhibition games,” Romar said. “We got to go out and see where [we] are.”
Seattle Pacific led 68-67 with 6:43 left before the Huskies rallied on the shoulders of junior forward Jon Brockman, who was out for about 11 minutes in the second half after picking up his fourth foul but came back to score 10 points in the final seven minutes. He led the Huskies with 18 points and eight rebounds.
One positive revelation for UW was the play of freshman guard Venoy Overton, who came off the bench to score 16 points. He didn’t start either half but played a team-high 33 minutes.
“He makes things happen with the basketball,” Romar said of the Franklin High grad. “I thought he did a good job.”
Junior guard Justin Dentmon was the only other Husky in double figures with 11. The Huskies played without starting guard Ryan Appleby, who is out six weeks with a broken thumb.
True freshman forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning was one of four Huskies making their college debut. He showed some first-game jitters, committing three turnovers and was 2-of-6 shooting with six points in 13 minutes.
The Falcons might have been able to pull off the upset had they made free throws. SPU was just 18 for 32 at the line.
“Down the stretch, Brockman carried them,” said SPU coach Jeff Hironaka, who thought his team was a little tired after having played at Nevada on Saturday, a game in which the Falcons almost pulled off another upset before losing 80-73. SPU is picked to finish second in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The Huskies will play their first counting game next Tuesday, hosting New Jersey Tech in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off West Regional Tournament at Edmundson Pavilion.
WASHINGTON 86, SEATTLE PACIFIC 77
SEATTLE PACIFIC (77) — Diederichs 15-23 4-8 36, Jackson 2-8 2-2 7, Will 2-8 1-4 7, Echols 2-9 1-2 6, Moultrie 0-2 4-4 4, Wardell 1-1 0-0 2, Popovic 0-0 0-0 0, Downs 0-1 0-0 0, Reed 1-2 2-2 4, Larrieu 4-5 4-10 13, Banchero 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 18-32 77.
WASHINGTON (86) — Pondexter 3-7 2-2 8, Brockman 9-15 0-1 18, Wolfinger 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 4-5 0-0 9, Dentmon 3-7 5-5 11, Overton 5-11 6-6 16, Oliver 2-5 0-0 6, Morris 2-6 1-2 6, Bryan-Amaning 2-6 0-1 4, Wallace 2-3 2-2 6, Holiday 0-0 0-0 0, Gant 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 33-70 16-19 86.
Halftime — Washington 39-34. Three-point goals — SPU 5-22 (Diederichs 2-8, Jackson 1-4, Echols 1-6, Moultrie 0-2, Downs 0-1, Larrieu 1-1), UW 4-11 (Pondexter 0-1, Smith 1-2, Dentmon 0-1, Overton 0-2, Oliver 2-4, Morris 1-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — SPU 34 (Jackson 7), UW 42 (Brockman 8). Assists — SPU 17 (Larrieu 4), UW 18 (Smith, Overton 4). Total fouls — SPU 20, UW 27. A — 8,057.