Here's our game story.
The game resembled one of those old Roadrunner cartoons where there the roadrunner was always able to beep-beep away into a swirl of dust any time the coyote seemed to move within reach.
Washington let the Dons hang around a lot, but UW never really seemed in danger. It was a win, but not the 40-minute, clicking-on-all-cylinders springboard into league play that they might have hoped.
"The biggest concern that I had coming into this game was after a two-day break and practicing at 6 o’clock last night and coming back for a 12 o’clock game," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "I thought the second half for whatever reason we were moving in slow motion. What really hurt us was the offensive rebounding by San Francisco. They scored 17 points on second-chance shots. Sixteen offensive rebounds, that’s too many. We have struggled with that as of late… and we have to do a much better job."
“We still pulled out a victory and we still had some good positive things that came about it,” Quincy Pondexter said. “But it wasn’t the win that we wanted.”
On the plus side, Romar found playing time for most of his roster, as 10 Huskies drew at least 13 minutes on the court. They were led by Pondexter, who had 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. Overton had 10 points, five assists three steals and only one turnover. Big men Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Tyreese Breshers each had six rebounds, while scoring 13 and 12 points respectively. The Huskies held the Dons to 39 percent shooting and blocked 11 shots.
On the minus side, Washington was outrebounded 44-35, and the Dons’ 16 offensive rebounds led to 17 second-chance points. Individually, UW No. 2 scorer Isaiah Thomas managed only four points – matching his career low and giving him back-to-back games of single-digit scoring for the first time in his college career. He hit one of nine shots from the field, but provided six assists and two steals.
Final: UW wins, 86-71, with San Francisco taking time outs and fouling down to the end. That drew boos from the crowd, which was no doubt all eager to get home and watch Seahawks highlights.
Washington will take a 9-2 record into the start of Pac-10 play Thursday against Oregon State.
The Huskies' minds wandered a bit again in the second half, as they let the Dons close to within four with about 12 minutes left. But the Dawgs pulled away once focused again.
Quincy Pondexter led all scorers with 22 points. Big men Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Tyreese Breshers added 13 and 12 respectively for the Huskies.
Isaiah Thomas scored a season-low four points, tying his career-low that came at USC last season. He went 1-for-9 from the field, but contributed six assists.
Halftime: The Huskies started slowly, as might have been expected given a holiday week game against a low-profile opponent. However, after trailing 16-15, the Huskies ended the first half with a 20-3 run and lead San Francisco at the half, 35-19.
Quincy Pondexter leads all scorers with 11. Tyreese Breshers has nine. Isaiah Thomas hasn't scored on 0-for-4 shooting.
The Dons dominated the boards early -- indicating the level of the Huskies' disinterest -- but UW now leads in rebounding, 21-20. One thing the Dawgs did bring was defense: USF has hit 6 of 26 shots (.231).
Lineup unchanged:This is coach Lorenzo Romar's last chance to experiment with his lineup before the start of conference play on Thursday. However, while he might fiddle with the rotation and the minutes, the starting five remains the same as over the past few games: the Tacoma twosome of Isaiah Thomas and Abdul Gaddy along with Quincy Pondexter, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Darnell Gant.
Going for 1,600: As noted earlier, the Huskies are going for the 1,600th win in the 107-year history of the program. UW would become the 16th NCAA program to reach that milestone. Oddly, the most recent to join the group was Oregon State -- UW's next opponent -- which notched No. 1,600 on Dec. 22.
75 minutes till tip: A handful of San Francisco players are out warming up in their green road unis. One Husky -- Darnell Gant -- out in his home whites.
Normal gameday blogging plan: Pregame news as it happens, lineups, in-game updates, and postgame notes and quotes. Your thoughts on the game -- and the whole preseason -- always welcome. Encouraged, even.