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December 3, 2009

UW loses in overtime thriller

The Huskies were defeated by the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 99-92, in overtime tonight at United Spirit Arena, falling to 5-1 for the season.

The least you should know:

This was the most exciting non-tournament game that the Huskies have played since last year's 3-OT thriller against Cal. The Dawgs received new life after a last-minute game-winning three-pointer by Texas Tech at the end of regulation was ruled to have left the shooter's hand fractions of a second after the buzzer.

These two teams might not have known much about each other coming into the game, but a little shoving, three techincals, and plenty of trash-talking later, there was no love in the air by the time it was done.

Quincy Pondexter put up a career-high 31 points and looks to be solidifying his place as a front-runner for Pac-10 Player of the Year.

The narrative:

Elston Turner and the Huskies had been given new life.

The three-pointer from Texas Tech's star, Mike Singletary, left his hand a fraction of a second late, and once the celebration at center court was cleared away, the nation's 10th-ranked team would have another chance in overtime. A chance to erase the memory of Turner's two missed free throws moments earlier. And a chance to preserve its perfect record and pick up a key win as the visiting team.

But, when the overtime period ended, it was Texas Tech that would remain perfect, the Huskies left to ponder a tough loss in their first road game of the season.

The squads played evenly through the opening thirteen minutes of the first half, with Texas Tech going on a late run, highlighted by 10 points in the final seven minutes from reserve guard Brad Reese.

The Red Raiders went to the locker room up 50-41 after a half marked by aggressive, chippy play. The first contentious behavior occurred very early on when Tyreese Breshers shoved Red Raider Darko Cohadarevic, after he stood over Breshers for quite some time while arguing with one of the officials. Later in the half, Abdul Gaddy was called for an intentional foul on guard John Roberson.

The Huskies battled back over the first seven minutes of the second half, tying the score at 60, behind leading scorer Quincy Pondexter, who finished with a career-high 31 points.

The final thirteen minutes of regulation included six ties and 10 lead changes, culminating in an 80-80 score with 39.2 seconds left.

The Red Raiders would have their chance to win the game first. After running the clock down to about 18 seconds left, point guard Roberson drove to the free throw line then passed to Singletary out beyond the three-point arc. His shot nearly went, but instead bounced from the rim.

Pondexter got his hand on the rebound and pushed it out to Turner who passed to Isaiah Thomas who ran the ball upcourt with less than 10 seconds to go. Thomas attempted a very risky pass to a streaking Pondexter, which rolled past him to Turner, who was trailing the play.

Turner grabbed the ball, pump-faked, and was able to draw contact from Tech's Reese as he released his errant shot, sending him to the free-throw line for two chances at the lead. Turner, though, missed both, leading to a Red Raider charge up the court and the barely-late three-pointer by Singletary.

In overtime, the Red Raiders held a two-point lead over the Huskies with just under 50 seconds to go. From underneath the Husky basket, Matthew Bryan-Amaning threw a long inbounds pass toward Venoy Overton, which never reached its intended target.

Instead, Roberson leapt, grabbed the ball and flew down the court for the layup, putting Texas Tech ahead by four, and striking the final blow to the Huskies' second chance at a victory in Lubbock.

Analysis and Observation:

As much as I'm disappointed at losing, I really liked some of what I saw tonight: Quincy Pondexter continues to grow into a terrific leader. The Dawgs battled back on the road and had a chance to win at the end. And, until they prove otherwise, we lost to a good Texas Tech team, regardless of how they were predicted to finish this year.

I'm parroting the ESPN broadcasters (who did a decent job considering they haven't covered the teams before), but tonight had the feeling of a game in February or March. High intensity. High stakes.

Statistically, the Huskies' had some bright spots we haven't seen much lately: They outshot the Red Raiders from the field (50% to 47.8%), after shooting only 43.9% in their first five games. They had seven blocks tonight, including three by Matthew Bryan-Amaning, after only registering 13 so far this season. And, the team had 12 steals (six by Venoy Overton), which is nearly double what they've averaged so far.

On the other hand: The Huskies turned the ball over 19 times, by far a season-high, and only managed nine assists, a season-low. Finally, the Dawgs were outrebounded 42-37 tonight. Not a good sign.

Husky of the Game: Quincy Pondexter, who was the best player on the court tonight, finishing with 31 points and five rebounds. (He did have six turnovers as well.) Every time the Huskies needed a basket, Quincy had the answer. I'll go to sleep tonight wondering what might've been if MBA had seen Quincy (open in the post) at the end of the game, instead of chucking that bad pass toward half court. I've gotta feel like Quincy get us two points in that situation if he's afforded the chance.

Isaiah had another semi-off night, shooting 4-15 from the field. He also threw a few head-scratcher passes tonight, including the one that led to Elston Turner's shot at the end of regulation. Thomas gets to the line so often, though, he always manages to get his points. He finished with 18, including a couple of clutch shots.

Point guard battle: Another round to Venoy, who was all over the stat sheet tonight. Venoy played 31 minutes, and finished with nine points, three assists, six steals, six turnovers and five fouls. Gaddy played only 10 minutes, picking up four fouls and accomplishing little else.

Tyreese Breshers didn't play at all in the second half. Not sure what Romar saw that he didn't like, but Tyreese's stock seems to be down at the moment, only days after he earned his first start in the Huskies' last game against Montana.

Two Husky miscues stick out in this one: Elston's two missed free throws at the end of regulation, and MBA's bad pass in overtime. They play the games, though, because a guy like Turner can look like he can't miss from 27-feet one second, and might blow two freebies the next. That's the way it goes…

The Huskies play Cal State Northridge, which is 4-3, at Hec Ed on Sunday evening at 7:00 P.M. PST. Tickets are still available, or you can catch the game on FSN.


Josh Anderson is the publisher of Montlake Madness, a 100 percent free fan site dedicated to University of Washington basketball. UDUBsports.com will be teaming up with Josh for the basketball season to provide even more comprehensive coverage of all the action!


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