Quincy Pondexter (Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES — Washington put forth a gutsy effort playing without Jon Brockman in its Pac-10 Tournament first round game against California in the Staples Center, but fell short, 84-81, when Venoy Overton's last-second 3-pointer deflected short of the rim. The loss likely ends the season for the Huskies, which finished the year an even 16-16.
Brockman, the Huskies' leading scorer and rebounder, hoped to play
after suffering an ankle sprain late in Washington's 2OT loss to
Washington State on Saturday, but couldn't give it a go.
Still, the Huskies played well enough to draw within 79-78 with 43 seconds
remaining and Cal set to inbound the ball with only 2 seconds on the
shot clock. The Golden Bears called timeout to set up a play, and came
out of it beautifully as sophomore power forward Ryan Anderson hit a
miracle 3-pointer while fading away to push the Bears in front 82-78.
After two Husky misses at the other end of the court, Anderson went to
the line and drained one of two free throws to extend the Cal lead to
83-78 with 21.3 seconds left in regulation.
Overton brought the Huskies back with a 3-pointer with 6.0 remaining,
pulling Washington to within 83-81. The Huskies quickly fouled Cal's
Eric Vierneisel on the inbounds, and the Bears forward rattled through
the first free throw. The second free throw rattled out, however,
giving Washington one final chance to tie. But Overton's attempt fell
Anderson finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds on a night when
shared the scoring load with sophomore guard Patrick Christopher.
Christopher scored a game-high 25 points on 10-20 shooting from the
field to pace the Bears. Jerome Randle, another sophomore guard, added
Cal advances to play UCLA in the second round of the Pac-10
Tournament. Tipoff is set for 2:30 on Thursday.
Quincy Pondexter led the Huskies with his top offensive game all
season, perhaps saving his best for last, with 23 points on 9-16
shooting to go with eight rebounds. Ryan Appleby chipped in with 12
points, all coming after halftime, and Artem Wallace came through big
in the absence of Brockman, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10
rebounds for a rare double-double.
Washington used the hot-shooting of Appleby to quickly widen their
40-38 halftime lead in the opening minutes of the second half. Appleby
connected on three 3-pointers in the first 2:30 after halftime, the
third of which capped an 8-0 Husky run and pushed Washington ahead
53-41 with 17:30 to go in regulation.
But after a Cal timeout, momentum swung drastically in the favor of
the team from the Bay Area. The reason was predominantly Anderson, who
erupted after a quiet 6-point first half. Anderson, Cal's all-time
leading free throw shooter percentage wise, beat Washington from all
over the floor, nailing two 3-pointers on his way to 13 points over a
span of 5:00 as the Bears went on a 23-4 run and ran out to a 64-57
lead with 11 minutes to go.
Despite their best efforts, the Huskies never led again. Pondexter put
the team on his back down the stretch, a possible sign of positive
things to come the sophomore's remaining years at UW, scoring 10
points in the final 8:00 with hard-earned baskets inside the paint. It
just wasn't quite enough.
Where's Wolfy?: Joe Wolfinger, who scored a career-high 17 points at
Cal just 11 days earlier, hitting every shot he attempted, was the only
Husky to be held scoreless.
Points: Pondexter 23, Appleby 12, Wallace 11, Morris 9, Overton 8,
Smith 8, Dentmon 5, Holiday 3, Bryan-Amaning 2
Minutes: Wallace 33, Pondexter 32, Morris 27, Appleby 25, Smith 20,
Dentmon 19, Overton 16, Bryan-Amaning 10, Wolfinger 10, Holiday 8
Rebounds: Wallace 9, Pondexter 9, Morris 4, Smith 3, Holiday 2,
Dentmon 2, Appleby 1, Overton 1, Bryan-Amaning 1
Assists: Dentmon 3, Morris 2, Pondexter 1, Overton 1, Wallace 1,
Holiday 1, Bryan-Amaning 1
Steals: Overton 2, Dentmon 2, Morris 1
Blocks: Morris 2, Wallace 1, Appleby 1