Justin Dentmon scored 22 points -- including 13 of Washington's 15 during a pivotal second-half stretch -- as the Huskies beat Long Beach State 84-69 Monday night.
Justin Dentmon scored 22 points — including 13 of Washington’s 15 during a pivotal second-half stretch — as the Huskies beat Long Beach State 84-69 Monday night.
Dentmon made his first six shots of the second half and generally was the only player doing much right until late in the game for Washington (4-2). The Huskies rebounded from losses last week to No. 9 Texas A&M and Syracuse that ended the NIT Season Tipoff tournament in New York.
They made only nine of 26 free throws and were out-rebounded for only the second time this season. When star Jon Brockman, who scored 13 points, made his first free throw in five tries with 3:51 left, the perturbed home crowd whistled.
Artis Gant scored a career-high 15 points and Donovan Morris added 14 for Long Beach State (1-4). The 49ers began the game looking like they are missing the top nine scorers from last season’s NCAA tournament squad. And a lot like the same team that had lost this season’s opener 74-34 at home to BYU.
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Washington seemed to put the game away in the first half with a 23-7 run, fueled by three 3-point baskets by Joel Smith and another from Dentmon. The spurt put the Huskies up 32-16.
But Long Beach State rallied to within 41-33 at halftime. When fist-pumping Cornel Williams made a 3-pointer 21/2 minutes into the second half and Darnell Porter converted a deft touch pass from Brian Freeman into a layup, the inexperienced 49ers were down just 46-45 with 16 minutes left.
Then Dentmon went to work. A basket in the lane when he stopped his dribble and had nothing else to do. Another score while drifting across the lane. Then a set 3-pointer off a pass from Brockman in the low post.
Even when coach Lorenzo Romar sat Dentmon for a minute of play following a time out, he returned and made his first shot, another 3-pointer, to put Washington up 61-53. After Long Beach ran off eight straight points — five by Morris — to tie it at 61, Dentmon made another shot from 18 feet while falling down.
Then Washington went on a 14-2 run to finally put the 49ers away.
The game was a reunion of sorts for first-year Long Beach State coach Dan Monson. The former coach at Washington’s cross-state rival Gonzaga turned down an offer to become the Huskies’ coach in 2002, before Lorenzo Romar accepted the job.