Unlike their previous two games, when C.J. Wilcox and then Justin Holiday broke out with career high-scoring games, this game featured several contributors providing what was needed.
Portland stayed close through much of the first half. But UW coach Lorenzo Romar kept working in new combinations, and the Huskies slowly built their lead.
Terrence Ross finished a fast break just seconds after C.J. Wilcox hit a 3-pointer to move the UW lead to double digits late in the first half.
Isaiah Thomas put together back-to-back field goals, and Washington had methodically established a 46-31 lead at half.
That quickly tumbled to single-digits as Portland’s Nemanja Mitrovic opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers.
But Abdul Gaddy and Darnell Gant answered with treys of their own.
Something similar happened again in the middle portion of the second half. The Pilots made a run behind a 3-point flurry by guard Nemanja Mitrovic, finally pulling to within 68-62. But then Scott Suggs hit a trey – his first basket of the night – to provide a little more breathing room. Then another Suggs trey a couple of minutes later might have been the dagger, moving Washington’s lead back to 13.
It finally went into the books as a third straight win for 21st-ranked Washington (6-2). The result ended a three-game winning streak for Portland (7-3).
Thomas and Holiday led UW with 20 points, and Thomas added a team-high seven rebounds. Mitrovic led Portland with 15 points, but Luke Sikma came on to provide 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Watching in the crowd was former Husky and current Boston Celtics guard Nate Robinson, who received a standing ovation when introduced.
Also receiving a nice hand was football coach Steve Sarkisian.
Washington returns to action at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, visiting Texas A&M in its final game of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.
I'll be back with more stats and quotes.2nd/2:11
Portland made it's runs, but Washington kept finding answers and is now up 14: 86-72.
2nd/7:53: Portland scored again to cut UW's lead to 68-62. But then Scott Suggs nailed a three from the corner -- his first basket of the night -- to make it 71-62.
2nd/9:23 Portland's Mitrovic nailed back-to-back 3-pointers for the second time this half, and then Luke Sikma finished a fast break, cutting UW's lead to 68-60 and forcing Lorenzo Romar into perhaps the only run-forced timeout I can think of at home this season.
2nd/10:50 UW, 68-52.
2nd/15:57: Portland's Nemanja Mitrovic opened the half with back-to-back 3-pointers, but UW answered with 3's of its own from Gaddy and Gant.
Second half: ... has tipped off. Starters back on for both teams.
Halftime: Isaiah Thomas ends half with a couple of nice baskets, and the Dawgs are up, 46-31.
Justin Holiday and Isaiah Thomas have 14 and 13 points respectively. Jared Stohl leads Portland with 10 points. Luke Sikma has eight rebounds, but just two points.
UW has 17 rebounds to Portland's 13. UW had 10 assists and five turnovers, Portland six assists and nine turnovers.
UW has hit six of 10 3-pointers, a key weapon this season.
1st/4:23: Wilcox trey. Then Thomas drops off to Ross on a break. UW lifts lead to double digits.
Celtic and former Husky Nate Robinson is introduced and gets standing ovation.
1st/7:52 UW, 27-19. Huskies keeping Pilots at arm's length, but no real runs yet.
Eleven points for Holiday. Stohl leads Portland with five. Rebounds even at nine. UW shooting 56.3 percent from the field, Portland 42.9.
1st/11:45 UW up, 17-12.
Crowd giving a nice hand to football coach Steve Sarkisian, who has just been introduced.
1st/14:22 UW 11, Portland 9. Justin Holiday picking up where he left off with seven points including a couple of treys.
Tipoff: The game has begun.
Lineup: UW opening with an increasingly familiar lineup: Gaddy, Thomas, N'Diaye, Holiday and Gant.
Portland going with Waterford, Stohl, Mitrovic, Sikma and Knutson.
Also, an exceptionally well-sung national anthem. I didn't catch the woman's name, unfortunately.
Pregame: We're about 90 minutes away from tipoff as the Portland Pilots visit the No. 21 Huskies. The first few Huskies and Pilots are drifting onto the court for warmups. (Huskies in gold, Pilots in purple.)
Tipoff is 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on FSN and 950-AM.
We'll keep this blog post open all evening for pregame, in-game and postgame updates, and of course for your comments.