Matthew Bryan-Amaning (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
CORVALLIS, Ore. - For the Washington Huskies, it's going to be a case of Deja Vu. After a balanced scoring attack helped the Huskies defeat the Oregon State Beavers 82-70 Saturday night at Gill Coliseum, they will play the Beavers again in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament on Thursday.
By virtue of Arizona State's 56-46 win over UCLA in Tempe Saturday, the Sun Devils (22-9, 12-6) clinched the No. 2 berth behind California (21-9, 13-5), who defeated Stanford 71-61. That meant that Washington would be the No. 3 seed for the tournament, regardless of whether they won or lost, but the result of the game would determine their opponent; if UW won they would play Oregon State again, who would be the No. 6 seed, but if UW lost they would have to play UCLA, who would have jumped up to the No. 6 spot.
"We gotta see somebody," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said of having to play the Beavers back-to-back. "That's how I see it. We've played them twice now. They do what they do and we do what we do. I don't see there being any radical changes on either side.
"We're not a complicated team. There aren't a lot of gimmicks and surprises. We may make some adjustments, tweak some things. They'll do the same thing."
The Huskies weren't about to take a backwards step heading into the tournament, defeating OSU comfortably to give them their fourth-straight road win, and their eighth overall in their last 10 games. Their four-game win streak is tied with California for tops in the Pac-10.
"Our team has become a decent road team, and we've learned to withstand those comebacks and those crowds, the jeering and the taunting - whatever it is that comes along with the road. We've done a better job with it."
The Huskies did it by being aggressive early, minimizing turnovers and a strong shooting effort, one that saw them shoot 50 percent from the field (30-60) and 43 percent from deep (6-14).
"I thought in the two games here in Oregon, we did things as a team," Romar said. "There were a lot of contributors. I thought we jelled on both ends of the floor as a team. It was good to see that."
C/F Matthew Bryan-Amaning missed his career-high by one point, scoring 22 and coming up with 11 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. Isaiah Thomas chipped in 19 on 8-12 shooting, and Quincy Pondexter reprised his 34-point effort at Oregon Thursday night with 18 more, giving him the inside track to a record fifth conference Player of the Week honor. And he did all of it while battling through a cold. He tried his best after the game to stay away from his teammates to make sure they didn't catch anything.
"What he's done for our team this year is nothing short of phenomenal," Romar said of Pondexter and his bid to become the league's Player of the Year. "You could try real hard to not give it to him if you don't want, but I think he deserves it."
Venoy Overton was perfect from 3-point range (3-3), as he was the only other player to score in double-digits for the Huskies (21-9, 11-7). The junior guard from Seattle had only made six 3-pointers in league up to Saturday's game.
The Beavers (14-16, 8-10) were game to keep the score close on their Senior Night, and they were led by the 15 points of Roeland Schaftenaar. Junior guard Calvin Haynes added 13, and freshman big man Joe Burton pounded away for 10 of his own.
Oregon State was going to make things tough for UW by slowing down the tempo on offense and showing them a smorgasbord of looks on defense. They used a 1-3-1 trap, a standard 2-3 zone look, man-to-man - all within a matter of minutes. The Huskies were ready for the trapping early, passing over the top and penetrating at will. They also held onto the ball extremely well throughout the game, giving the ball up only seven times while dishing out 18 assists. They rolled out to a 15-10 lead on the backs of Bryan-Amaning and Pondexter, who scored 12 of those points.
"Thirty field goals with 18 assists and only seven turnovers makes us feel pretty good about our effort on the offensive end, because we were so concerned with their 1-3-1 trap," Romar said.
The Huskies took an eight-point lead at halftime, and just like they did at Oregon they quickly expanded that cushion to start the second half. UW scored seven-straight, prompting a timeout from Robinson and the Beavers with 17:39 left. Schaftenaar reeled off six-straight of his own to bring the lead to nine, 58-49, with 10 minutes to go.
At that point Romar went to his guards to close things out. Thomas, Overton and Gaddy stayed in the game for extended minutes, and Overton hit two 3-pointers - one to stop the bleeding and one to push the Huskies' advantage to 20 at 75-55 - that put the game completely out of reach.
Even though the Huskies have beaten Oregon State twice so far this season, Romar was quick to remind the media about a Senior Night game at Saint Louis where his Billikens lost to Kenyon Martin and Cincinnati by 44, only to beat them in the Conference USA Tournament the following week.
"This game means nothing now," Romar said, matter-of-factly. "It's a whole new day come Thursday."
Points: Bryan-Amaning 22, Thomas 19, Pondexter 18, Overton 11, Gaddy 5, Turner 3, Holiday 2, Breshers 2
Rebounds: Bryan-Amaning 11, Breshers 6, Pondexter 4, Holiday 3, Gaddy 2, TEAM 2, Thomas 1, Overton 1
Assists: Thomas 5, Overton 4, Holiday 4, Gaddy 2, Turner 1, Pondexter 1, Bryan-Amaning 1
Steals: Bryan-Amaning 2, Holiday 2, Pondexter 1, Thomas 1, Gaddy 1, Turner 1
Blocks: Bryan-Amaning 2