The Huskies clinched at least a share of the Pac-10 title with a 83-78 win over Arizona. UW can now watch scoreboards until they return to conference play next Saturday when they close the regular season hosting Washington State.
And while they were very happy after they game, their main goal remains the outright title. With Arizona State's loss at Washington State today, the only team still capable of catching UW will be the winner of tonight's UCLA-at-Cal game. I'll pop in with another blog post after that one with more info on the remaining possibilities for the outright title and for Pac-10 tournament tie-breaking.)
Here's a quick review:
Star of the game: UW forward Jon Brockman had a game-high 11 rebounds, tied with Isaiah Thomas for UW's scoring lead with 19 points, and provided senior leadership down the stretch. (A good case could have also been made for Venoy Overton, who brough energy,eight points, six rebounds and three steals. And if UA had won, it clearly would have been forward Jordan Hill.)
Key stats: The Huskies held Arizona guard Nic Wise to 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting. Wise had gone off for 29 points when the Wildcats won the first meeting in Tucson, Ariz. UW shot 35 free throws, while UA shot 14. … The teams were even in rebounds at halftime, but UW took control of the boards in the second half, 22-16.
Key run: Washington went on an 18-4 run in the middle of the second half to go from 10-points down to four points up. Over that stretch, Brockman provided eight points and assist.
Observations: UW claimed its first Pac-10 men's basketball title since 1984-85. However, the Huskies say their primary goal remains winning their first outright conference title since 1952-53 and their first Pacific-10 Conference title ever. That would happen with a win over Washington State on Saturday or with a loss by tonight's UCLA-Cal winner later this week. … Isaiah Thomas of Tacoma inched back ahead of Justin Dentmon for the UW season scoring lead.
Quotable: "The crowd, you talk about a sixth man, our crowd was unbelievable today and just helped will us to a victory." – UW coach Lorenzo Romar on the sellout crowd of 10,000.
Next: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Seattle University, Hec Edmundson Pavilion; FSN. Tickets remain available.
The good news -- if you can call it that -- is that the Huskies aren't playing well and they're still around.
In one way the difference is at the free throw line, where Arizona has hit 11 of 12 shots and Washington has hit four of 11. But the Huskies have been pretty blah in other areas as well. They're shooting .364 from the field, while Arizona is shooting .414. Rebounds are even at 19.
Isaiah Thomas leads uw with six points, but he's 1-of-5 from the line. Overton, Brockman and MBA all have five points.
Jordan Hill is dominating with 15 points for the Wildcats. Budinger has nine and Wise six.
Tipoff: Huskies are going with their usual starting lineup: Brockman, Dentmon, Pondexter, Gant and Thomas.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar is wearing his purple coat today -- which he tends to do annually, but he usually tries to sneak it in during a low-profile game ... which this decidedly is not.
Pregame: Huskies and Wildcats back out on the court for final warmups. Huskies in white, Cats in navy.
Huskies favored by seven. And if that holds, they'll clinch their first Pac-10 title -- although not necessarily outright -- since 1985.
Other games today that will affect the Huskies chances of an outright title will include Arizona State at WSU (UW fans should probably pull for the Cougars), and UCLA at Cal (UW fans should probably pull for the Bears). The evening game is on ESPN.
Normal gameday blogging plan here: pregame news as it happens, in-game updates and postgame notes and quotes.