December 21, 2006

Big Baby put in a playpen, Dawgs smash Tigers

During the four seasons that coach Lorenzo Romar has been at the helm of the Washington basketball program, it has been a guard-dominated affair. Whether it was Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson or Will Conroy and Tre Simmons, the backcourt was where it was at for the UW.

But Wednesday night, on national television, it was the men inside who came to play as the 17th-ranked Huskies (9-1) defeated No. 12 LSU 88-72. Freshman Spencer Hawes and sophomore Jon Brockman showed the rest of the country that it is now time to fear the post on Montlake.

"It makes for a less stressful situation because you are taking suck high percentage shots," Romar said. "We used to get high percentage shots with guards in the past because we would penetrate and kick it out so guards could get open for shots, but we have been putting the ball inside so you can pound the offensive boards."

Brockman did it with his offensive rebounding while Hawes put on a display of post moves that looked like something out of a seasoned NBA pro rather than a college freshman. By the end, the teammates both put up double-doubles in dispatching the Tigers.

"Games like that are so much fun," Hawes said. "That's what you sign up for. That's what you love doing."

Hawes finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds in the contest, setting career-highs in both categories. The center shot 10-for-16 from the floor, including a variety of hook shots and turnarounds, and a 20-footer that he hit from just inside the arc.

"He showed a lot of confidence out there tonight and he knocked his shots down," Romar said. "It is just a matter of him shooting with confidence and I think that was the most impressive thing."

While Hawes was the consistent scoring threat throughout the game, Brockman did his damage to power the Huskies to an early lead they would never relinquish. With the game tied at four-all in the opening minutes, Brockman used three offensive rebounds to single-handedly give the UW a 9-2 run.

In 70 seconds, he put the Huskies up 13-6 and got them rolling in what would turn into a semi-blowout against one of last season's Final Four participants.

"I was just tapping that thing in the rim," he said. "Everyone was crashing and when everyone crashes, it makes it easier for an offensive rebounder to get the ball."

The forward finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, setting a career-high for the latter statistic. As a team, the Huskies out-rebounded LSU 44-34, giving them the edge in that category for every game so far.

"If you have ever doubted Jon Brockman and wondered where the hype is, there it is," Romar said.

Going in, the big-time match-up against the two top-20 teams figured to be a battle in the paint. However, it was the Tigers' (6-3) Glen Davis that was supposed to put up the big numbers.

He was averaging a double-double on the season and had been a force to be reckoned with for LSU all season long. Against the Huskies, though, his shot just was not falling.

"Basically we played a certain style of defense that allowed us to make adjustments based on our personnel," said Romar of the Huskies' defense on Davis. "We just wanted to limit his touches, and when he did touch the ball we wanted to make sure that we were loaded up on him in the pain."

Davis finished with just eight points in the contest while shooting a meager 3-of-11 from the floor. The point total was a season low and ended a 48-game streak of scoring in double figures for the junior.

"It was real fun to play against him," said Brockman, who defended the 6-foot-9 forward most of the night. "I think we just came out and it was an unbelievable team defensive effort."



 

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