SEATTLE (AP) -- Lorenzo Romar drilled home the point afterward:
Washington's young, inexperienced lineup got away with a sluggish,
uninspired start against Sacramento State.
They won't be so lucky later in the season against the likes of
Gonzaga, LSU, Arizona and UCLA.
Ignited by freshman Quincy Pondexter's 22 points, the Huskies (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) rallied from an early 13-point deficit for a 83-74 victory
over Sacramento State on Sunday.
Washington improved to 4-0, but it was a sloppy, unimpressive
victory against the Hornets, whose two losses this season were by a
combined 61 points.
"Forgive me for stating the obvious, but that was not a pretty
win," Romar said. "Sacramento State came out and for the first 10
minutes were clearly the aggressors."
The Hornets started quickly, outhustling the Huskies and
building a 29-16 lead midway through the first half.
Fortunately, Washington had Pondexter. The athletic swingman
from Fresno, Calif., has been overshadowed by 7-foot center Spencer
Hawes as part of Washington's heralded freshman class. But
Pondexter displayed a well-rounded game, making 6 of 11 shots to go
with nine rebounds and four assists.
With the Huskies facing their first major deficit of the early
season, Pondexter scored 11 points in a 32-9 Washington run to
close the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers to start the
Pondexter was also aggressive in driving to the basket and not
settling for outside shots. He made his only two 3-point tries and
was 8-of-11 on free-throw attempts.
"That's an easy way to score buckets. A layup is a lot more
efficient than a 3-pointer," Pondexter said. "You have to keep
attacking people. That's how I play."
Jon Brockman added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Huskies,
and Hawes made all seven of his attempts for 14 points and blocked
six shots, one shy of the school record.
Alex Bausley led Sacramento State with 19 points and Loren Leath
added 17 points, but made just 6 of 23 shots. Sacramento State
(2-3) beat Bethany and Denver for its two wins, but was routed by
New Mexico and San Francisco in its two prior losses.
"The effort was great, but we still have a lot of things to
work on," Sacramento State coach Jerome Jenkins said. "Our guys
played with great hustle and intensity."
Despite making 11 of its first 22 shots, Sacramento State
couldn't hold off Washington's run. Consecutive baskets by Brockman
gave Washington its first lead at 37-35 and Ryan Appleby capped the
run with a pair of 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the half
for a 48-38 lead.
The Huskies added to their advantage, scoring the first six
points of the second half -- capped by the bruising Brockman
dribbling the length of the floor and throwing down a one-handed
dunk. Washington's lead grew to 18, and even with some sloppy
ball-handling that drew Romar's ire, Sacramento State never got
closer than nine in the final seconds.
Washington committed 24 turnovers, the third time in four games
they've eclipsed 20.
"Coach keeps talking about 40 minutes, stringing together 40
consistent minutes and we have yet to do that," Hawes said.
"There are no excuses any more."