Devils wilt as Roy provides firepower

Roy goes for 35 (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Still think Brandon Roy hasn't found his niche? Fueled by a 5-for-5 night from behind the arc, the senior guard from Seattle showed just why he is considered one of the top players in the country at Arizona State's expense. Roy scored a career-high 35 points as Washington took care of business in their Pac-10 home-opener against a physical, scrappy Sun Devils team, 91-67.

"He's the provider," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said of Roy, who also eclipsed the 1000-point mark in his career. He now has 1006 points as a Husky. Bobby Jones did it in the Huskies' last game against Lehigh. "He can get you what you need. When a defense does a good job and things aren't going well, we look to get him the ball more. And I think that's what happened tonight."

The game was a closely-contested one for the first half, with the Huskies shooting a dismal 33 percent from the field and clinging to a 40-38 advantage at intermission. But they came out firing on all cylinders, scoring ten straight to give Washington (11-0, 1-0) a 50-38 advantage. They would never be seriously contested the rest of the way, shooting a red-shot 57 percent for the final 20 minutes.

"We struggled to catch up," ASU Head Coach Rob Evans said after the game. "You can't let them go on a run like that, we knew that. That's is why I called all of the timeouts. I was just trying to keep the runs down."

Arizona State (6-4, 0-1), known as a team that relied on it's own workhorse for the past three years in bruising forward Ike Diogu, went to an outside approach and kept things close despite not getting big contributions from their main two scorers - Kevin Kruger and Bryson Krueger. They finished with 31 combined points - one over their averages - but most of the damage was done with the game already well in hand.

"That was a typical Washington versus Arizona State basketball game," Romar said. "Not in terms of the final score, but in the manner in which the game was played. We play an aggressive style of basketball and they play an aggressive style. When you put the two together, tempers flare. In spite of that, I thought our guys did a good job of maintaining their composure and playing sound basketball. We turned the ball over three times...that's pretty good. Justin Dentmon and Brandon Roy did a very good job of taking care of the basketball, as did all our other guys."

The game was marred by that physical play, as both Jon Brockman and Serge Angounou both hit the deck in the second half with nasty blows to the head. Brockman's came courtesy of Bruno Claudio, a little-used forward from Brazil, knocking the freshman from Snohomish out for a brief period. Brockman did not come back to the game, but is expected to play Saturday against Arizona.

"I just remember being on the floor and then walking over to the bench," Brockman said after the game, nursing a very sore cheek. "I'm a little dizzy, but I'm fine. But I'm not really myself right now."

Angounou hit the floor hard after a collison with Washington's Mike Jensen going after a rebound. Angounou also was called for a foul as he writhed in pain for a good three minutes before getting up and running to the Arizona State bench.

"I heard the coach say that it was going to be physical," Evans said. "I don't think we are that physical of a basketball team. If we were we wouldn't of let 20 offensive rebounds on us. There were a lot of cheap shots out there, but I don't think it was because of physical play."

"The refs could have probably called a foul on every trip down the floor," said Roy. The referees almost did, whistling both teams for a combined 45 fouls. "They come in like warriors and their head coach is a warrior. We just had to try to match it."

But that 10-0 run took the steam out of the Sun Devils' efforts, despite playing hard to the final horn. "I thought we played hard-nosed basketball," Romar said. "We turned our defense up and we were able to come back and take the lead. I think it started when we made our comeback in the first half."

That half, the Huskies only turned the ball over once, and that came early in the game. The three miscues over the course of the game by Washington was the lowest amount ever by a Washington basketball team. Six is the lowest number leading up to Thursday's game, a number matched by UW seven times - the most-recent being against USC in 1993. What makes that number even more incredible is the fact that the two players responsible for Washington's ball-handling - Roy and Justin Dentmon - aren't pure point guards.

"He was in the scrap," Romar said of the freshman Dentmon. "He was active, scores double-digits in his first Pac-10 game with the ball in his hand. That's a pretty good night for any player. We can't discount the job that he did guarding Kevin Kruger. He had a very complete game tonight."

But Roy was the one the Huskies went to time and time again for key points, and the senior responded, despite a cold start. "I don't think we were sluggish," he said of the Huskies' early-game woes. They started out the game missing their first ten attempts and Roy made the Huskies' first basket of the game with well over five minutes gone in the first-half.

"They did a really good job of what Lehigh did early. And they were really physical. We were complaining to our coaches about it and our coaches told us to shut up and get 'em right back. I think once he said that, we kept going right at them. After going 0-10, we got it rolling."

And Brockman's blackout got the crowd fully in the game with 12:37 left. Dentmon then fed Roy with a perfect alley-oop pass for a dunk that brought the house down. From that point on - with Washington leading 63-47 - the Huskies out-scored the Sun Devils 28-20 to arrive at the 24-point victory, including 13 coming from the foul line. Washington was 25-33 from the charity stripe overall.

"He stepped up," Romar said of Roy's game. "He started out slow, like the rest of our team. But our defense got us going and he hit a couple of threes and our guys kept going to him. He did what he was capable of doing. We've always known that, and tonight that's what he did.

"Tonight I still wanted to be aggressive," added Roy. "Eventually they started to fall and then I got in a good rhythm. The coaches just told me to keep being aggressive.

"I knew the guys were going to need me. Every night is going to be a good team. As I go and how guys like Jamaal and Bobby go, I think the team will go. If we give big efforts like we did tonight, we'll be OK."
Notes:
Streak extended: Washington's win extended its nation-leading home-winning streak to 32 games with Thursday's win.

The last time...: The last time Washington had someone score over 35 points, it was Doug Wrenn. Wrenn's 35 came at Arizona in 2002. It's the 26th time a Husky player has scored 35 or more in a game.

Double him up: With 12 points, Jamaal Williams tallied double-digits for the tenth time in 11 games for Washington. Roy has done it 10 times.

Scoring machine: By scoring their season average, Washington broke the 90-point barrier for the 7th time already this year.
Statistics:
Points: Roy 35, Williams 12, Jones 11, Dentmon 11, Smith 9, Brockman 6, Jensen 4, Appleby 3
Rebounds: Jones 7, Brockman 6, Roy 5, Dentmon 5, Smith 5, TEAM 5, Jensen 4, Williams 3, Appleby 1, Gasser 1
Assists: Roy 4, Dentmon 4, Appleby 3, Williams 2, Smith 1, Jensen 1
Blocks: Brockman 2, Roy 2, Williams 1, Smith 1
Steals: Dentmon 2, Williams 1, Brockman 1, Roy 1

Dawgman.com Recommended Stories