The Washington Huskies put on a dominating performance for an ESPN audience Saturday.
And senior Quincy Pondexter’s final game at Hec Edmundson Pavilion played out as something close to his fondest dream.
Pondexter started hot, hitting his first four shots, as UW got early separation from UCLA and rolled to a 97-68 win before a sellout crowd and the ESPN audience.
It was Washington’s biggest win ever against UCLA, topping a 22-point victory on 1986.
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“This is the image that we wanted to show people,” Pondexter said. “To show them, ‘Man, Pac-10 basketball isn’t a cakewalk.’ To show them, ‘Washington is better than a lot of teams, and maybe better than their record shows.’ We did a great job of trying to convince people that we’re a really good basketball team, because we really are.”
The Huskies took control in a sizzling first half. They easily went over and through UCLA’s 2-3 zone, hitting .679 percent of their shots and surging to a 49-26 halftime lead.
There was never a doubt after that, and Washington ended the game with a 59.3 shooting percentage.
“One of the first things being said is we really shot the ball well tonight, and that is true,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “But I thought we had such a high level of focus defensively early. And when you have that type of focus it carries over into all aspects of the game.”
Pondexter led all scorers with 20 points. Brought to the bench with about four and a half minutes left, he drew a standing ovation from the crowd and hugged his way down the bench from coaches to players to staff to ushers to fans.
Washington moves to 18-9 on the season and 8-7 in the Pacific-10 Conference. UCLA falls to 12-14 and 7-7.
The Huskies get a lull in the schedule before returning to action Saturday at Washington State.Final:
Huskies win, 97-68, their biggest win ever against the Bruins.
Pondexter, who led all scorers with 20 points, was brought to the bench with about four minutes left. He drew a standing ovation from the crowd and hugged his way down the bench from coaches to players to staff to ushers to fans.
UW back in action a week from today at Washington State.
I'll be back with notes and quotes.
11:13/2nd Game getting a little freer and sloppier, but Huskies still sailing: 71-42.
Halftime: UW, 49-26. The ESPN audience must be wondering how it is possible that these Huskies aren't even on the NCAA tournament bubble. The Huskies are doing everything right against the Bruins. And 49 points at halftime is amazing. So is their shooting percentage: .679. UCLA is shooting .367.
Pondexter has 14, Thomas 13 including three 3's. Overton seven, Holiday six, Breshers six.
5:23/1st: Thomas heating up with a pair of treys. UW, 36-16.
7:23/1st: UW has jumped out to a 29-16 lead. Pondexter 14 points, Overton seven, Thomas five.
Nice start for Q: Any Senior Night emotions are being channeled effectively by Quincy Pondexter, who started the game by draining a 3-pointer and now has seven of UW's nine points as the Huskies have an early 9-4 lead over the Bruins.
Tipoff: Huskies and Bruins have tipped on in the final home game of this UW regular season. The game is being nationally televised on ESPN.
Lineup: UW going with usual lineup: Thomas, Gaddy, MBA, Pondexter and Holiday.
Pregame: A nice standing ovation for lone UW senior Quincy Pondexter here at Hec Ed... nice enough where Pondexter is wiping tears from his eyes ... no particular surprise for the often-emotional Q-Pon.