Quincy Pondexter (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
EUGENE, Ore. - In the 286th meeting between Washington and Oregon, it was the Dawgs that came out victorious by a score of 86-72 in the last game ever played between the two at McArthur Court. Senior captain Quincy Pondexter led the way for UW with a career-high 34 points. He also had 10 rebounds and six assists. Tajuan Porter led UO with 18 points, followed by the 16 of Michael Dunigan.
Washington used an explosive start to the second half, fueled by Pondexter, Isaiah Thomas and Justin Holiday, to go on a 21-8 run in the first six minutes to take a commanding lead. The Ducks would trim the lead to as low as eight with five minutes left, but an Elston Turner 3-pointer took the lead back up to double-digits and UW never looked back.
The 14-point win avenged Oregon's earlier 90-79 victory in Seattle, one of only two games the Huskies have lost at home this season.
Husky Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said he wasn't surprised by Pondexter's play. “I think he did was talented seniors do, Romar said after the game. “‘I don’t care what happens, I’m bringing it tonight’ and that seems like how he played.”
Although Pondexter doesn’t know if it was his best game, he said it’s more about just playing the game and helping the team to get a win.
“I don’t know,” Pondexter said laughing. “I think that’s the twelfth time that’s come up this year. I’m just coming out and playing basketball. Our team did a great job tonight of really fighting through adversity and getting this win on the road. It’s not a easy place to play and we came out and we played really hard because we know what’s at stake.”
It didn't hurt that Husky legend Brandon Roy was also in attendance as an honorary captain for the Huskies (20-9, 10-7), greeted with a standing ovation from the Duck faithful.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning shot out of the gate and got a quick 6 points in the paint in just under five minutes to give the Huskies a 10-5 lead. He also picked up two fouls only 9 minutes into the game and was forced to sit. He also had four rebounds and two blocks in the half.
Also making an early contribution was Pondexter, who had 11 points by the 13 minute mark of the first-half. The Huskies were up 17-10. He finished the half with an incredible 20 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the field.
But Oregon was able to force UW into foul trouble, especially inside. Bryan-Amaning and Tyreese Breshers racked up five combined fouls with 11 minutes still left in the half, forcing Darnell Gant into action. Gant held the fort, eventually playing 18 minutes and scoring four points.
The Ducks (14-15, 6-11) grabbed their first lead of the half at the 10:35 mark with the help of Porter and Dunigan. They finished the half with 12 and 11 points respectively. Dunigan also had seven rebounds.
The game continued to stay tight as it neared halftime as the Ducks maintained their lead at 34-31 with 3:45 remaining. But Thomas stole the ball from Porter at the top of the key with three seconds left before halftime. He raced down-court to score an easy two at the buzzer.
"That gave us a lot of momentum," Pondexter said of Thomas' steal and stick for two. "Once he got that steal it went from a three-point game to a one-point game. I think we had a lot of fire going into halftime, and coach gave a great speech and we followed suit."
As a team, the Huskies finished shooting an impressive 53 percent from the field and 20 points in the paint. They also gathered in 16 boards and had eight turnovers. Even though they did shoot the ball well in the half, they only managed to shoot 20 percent from beyond the arc with Thomas going 0-4.
On the other end of the court, the Ducks shot an impressive 50 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. They only had six turnovers, 14 boards and seven steals.
To start the second half, UW and Oregon took their turns exchanging made shots, but Holiday found his rhythm and hit two 3-pointers to put the Huskies up 50-44 with 17:21 remaining. "I was just trying to find a way to make sure they respected me," Holiday said of his decision to shoot from deep. "They had to guard me and my team at the same time. So that's what I did."
UW remained hot on both ends of the court and the Ducks continued to see their deficit swell. By the 13:25 mark, the Huskies were up 60-50. With 8:44 left, the Huskies grew their lead to 14 at 67-53 after Pondexter silenced the crowd with two big dunks.
Although the Ducks had fallen behind, they fought their way back to a score of 72-64 with 4:45 left the crowd was finally waken up after being dormant nearly all of the second half.
Coming out of a timeout near the three-minute mark, the Huskies proceeded to silence the crowd with Turner's three-bomb. A steal and layup by Venoy Overton increased the score to 77-66 with just 2:20 remaining. From there they played out the string.
Romar said that although they didn’t do everything right, he was still happy with how the game went.
"(I'm) Very proud of our guys and how we came out in the second half,” Romar said. “Justin Holiday hit some big shots for us. We turned the ball over too much, but aside from that, in the second half I thought we played good basketball. Again that’s on the road, we faced adversity, crowd got into it, our guys got stops, defended and we came up with the victory.”
Besides Pondexter, Thomas and Holiday were the other Huskies to finish the night in double-figures. Thomas ended up with 14 points and five assists. Holiday had three rebounds and two assists to go with his 10 points. Bryan-Amaning finished with eight points on 4 of 9 shooting from the field, 10 rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
The Huskies ended up shooting 53 percent from the field and shot 17-32 in both halves. They also had 34 points in the paint, 16 fast-break points and 43 rebounds. Oregon finished the night shooting just 37 percent from the field and 29 percent from deep. They had 36 rebounds and 13 turnovers.
Oregon was led by Porter and his 18 points on just 5 of 15 shooting. He also had six turnovers and zero assists. Dunigan also had a strong game and finished with 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting, 10 boards, two blocks and a steal.
Next up for UW will be the Oregon State Beavers (14-15, 8-9) on Saturday at 5 p.m. PST. The game will take place in Corvallis and be the last regular season game before the Pac-10 tournament next week.
Points: Pondexter 34, Thomas 14, Holiday 10, Turner 9, Bryan-Amaning 8, Overton 5, Gant 4, Gaddy 2
Rebounds: Pondexter 10, Bryan-Amaning 10, Thomas 5, Overton 5, Holiday 3, Turner 3, Gaddy 2, TEAM 2, Suggs 1
Assists: Pondexter 6, Thomas 5, Holiday 2, Turner 2, Bryan-Amaning 1, Gaddy 1, Overton 1
Steals: Thomas 3, Bryan-Amaning 1, Overton 1, Gant 1
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 2, Holiday 1, Thomas 1, Turner 1