After Saturday's 103-72 victory against Oregon State, Washington is 4-0 in the conference, which equals its best start since 1984.
“How about the Seahawks?” Lorenzo Romar said after sitting down behind the microphone for his news conference. “What was the final score?”
When told Seattle won 41-36, he said: “Wow.”
He might have said the same thing about the Huskies, who broke free from Oregon State in the second half and scored 63 points after the break en route to a 103-72 victory that gave Washington its first 4-0 start in the Pac-10 since the 1983-84 season.
“That second half was as close to, with the exception of maybe Virginia, that’s as close to the best half we’ve played this year,” Romar said.
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The Huskies needed to play well after intermission because in the first half they struggled offensively against OSU’s multiple zones and red-hot perimeter shooting.
“At the beginning, they were hitting almost everything,” Isaiah Thomas said. “They were hitting three banked shots. We know if we get down early, don’t worry about it. We’re going to come back. No matter who it is, we feel like we can come back and win the game.”
The Huskies trailed by as many as nine points (37-28), with 3:25 remaining before intermission, but they closed out the half with a 13-2 run.
Senior guard Venoy Overton, making his second start in place of injured sophomore Abdul Gaddy, put Washington ahead 40-39 at the break when he dribbled the length of the court and sank a running floater as time expired.
“We were down the whole first half,” Thomas said. “For him (Overton) to go down (against) 10 dudes, it was a real momentum changer going into the second half.”
At halftime, Oregon State had more rebounds (20-18) and it outshot Washington on three-pointers. The Beavers were six of nine behind arc, the Huskies 4 of 16.
In the second half, Washington came out red hot while Oregon State went cold. The Huskies came out of the locker room and went on a 22-5 run that broke the game open.
Freshman guard Terrence Ross capped the run with a putback that gave Washington a 62-44 lead. The Beavers needed almost 7 ½ minutes before scoring their first field goal of the second half.
Ross finished with 14 points, Scott Suggs added 12 and Darnell Gant 10.
“Our team understands … if we go on a run, if we begin to create distance between our opponent, it’s because of our defense, not because we started hitting shots,” Romar said. “It’s because we started getting stops, and once we start getting stops, everything else takes care of itself.”
In the second half, Washington collected seven steals and converted 11 turnovers into 15 points.
Overton intercepted a pass for a layup. Bryan-Amaning blocked a Joe Burton jumper to spark a fast break. And the Huskies held sophomore sensation Jared Cunningham, who finished with 21 points, to seven after intermission.
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, who watched the Beavers fall to 8-7, 2-2 Pac-10, compared Bryan-Amaning to former Husky Quincy Pondexter.
“I thought that them having Pondexter would make them a better team, but Amaning is good,” Robinson said. “He might be pro too, I’m not sure. He is pretty darn good. He kills us every time we play them.”
Bryan-Amaning, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week, torched OSU in the post connecting, on 11 of 14 shots for a game-high 24 points. He had a career-high tying 15 rebounds.
Thomas was just as good directing the offense and dissected the Beavers defense with 19 points and eight assists.
“The knock on him is always about his scoring and he just wants to score, but ever since I met him he wasn’t like that,” Bryan-Amaning said about Thomas. “What he did in high school, him scoring so much was because he had to. Once he got to prep school and was surrounded by better players, he always has 7-8-9 assists a game.
“So I wasn’t surprised at how good of a passer he is.”
Washington (12-3) reached 100 points for the fifth time, and continued several streaks.
The Huskies have won 11 straight against Pac-10 opponents.
They’ve won 10 straight at home.
They’ve won eight straight against Oregon State.
And they have a six-game winning streak.
“Winning like this says we’re playing pretty good right now,” Overton said. “We’re doing the right things.”
|OREGON ST. 72|
Percentages: FG .361, FT .741. Three-point goals: 8-18, .444 (Cunningham 2-2, Haynes 2-3, Starks 2-7, Brandt 1-3, Nelson 1-3). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 2 (Brandt, McShane). Turnovers: 14 (Nelson 3, Johnson 2, Haynes 2, Burton 2, Collier, Cunningham, McShane, Starks, Brandt). Steals: 6 (Johnson 2, Nelson 2, Brandt 2). Technical fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .557, FT .625. Three-point goals: 10-26, .385 (Suggs 4-6, Thomas 4-9, Ross 2-3, Overton 0-1, Gant 0-1, Wilcox 0-2, Holiday 0-4). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 10 (Holiday 3, N’Diaye 2, Bryan-Amaning 2, Gant, Ross, Overton). Turnovers: 10 (Holiday 3, Overton 2, Ross 2, Suggs 2, Thomas). Steals: 9 (Wilcox 2, Overton 2, Ross, Suggs, Holiday, Gant, Thomas). Technical fouls: None.
Attendance: 9,671. Officials: Chris Rastatter, Michael Irving, Bruce Hicks.
Washington 103, Oregon State 72
California 65, Arizona St. 61
Stanford at Arizona, ppd.
Oregon at Wash. St., late