UW hands No. 7 Ducks first road loss this season

SEATTLE -- Washington just revived its struggling season -- because Justin Dentmon resuscitated his.

The erratic Dentmon, benched for the past month, had 24 points and seven assists to lead the Huskies to an 89-77 victory over short-handed and No. 7 Oregon on Thursday night.

Ryan Appleby had 16 points -- 12 on 3-pointers -- and freshman Spencer Hawes added 15 on a bad ankle as the Huskies (12-7, 2-6 Pac-10) overcame Dentmon's six turnovers and a debacle of a loss at Washington State last Saturday.

Washington has won eight of its last nine home games against ranked teams.

"Home sweet home," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said, smiling for what seemed like the first time in weeks.

No Pac-10 team has ever made the NCAA Tournament without a winning conference record. Washington, which was ranked 13th last month, must win eight of its last 10 games inside the Pac-10 to finish 10-8 in the league.

The Huskies now have wins over then-No. 12 LSU and the Ducks. They play Oregon State (1-7 in conference) Saturday, part of five home dates in seven games.

"We think that once we get it started, a couple of wins, there's going to be no looking back at being 1-6 in the league," said Hawes, whose thunderous, right-handed dunk put Washington up 68-65 with 12:28 left said.

Bryce Taylor scored 19 points to lead Oregon (18-2, 6-2), which was playing without suspended Aaron Brooks. The conference's scoring leader, averaging 18.4 points per game, sat out as his final penalty for elbowing Appleby in the face during a Pac-10 tournament game last March.

The Pac-10 suspended him for the conference semifinal game. Oregon then suspended the Seattle native for this season's opener and Thursday's first of two meetings against Washington.

Brooks was watching the Ducks lose for the sixth consecutive time in Seattle on television. He was a few miles away at his family's home, at a potluck dinner.

"It would be a lie if I said that didn't hurt us," Taylor said of Brooks' absence. "Without Aaron Brooks, that's 18 points and a whole lot more on the court that we're without."

However, Oregon coach Ernie Kent pointed out that Brooks would not have affected the Ducks getting smeared on the boards, 33-22. That and the wide swaths Oregon left open inside defensively led to the Ducks' first road loss in seven games this season.

"We're mature enough to know that it's unacceptable to play like this -- effort-wise," Taylor said. "Giving up 90 points on the road is not going to get it done."

Malik Hairston, Oregon's third-leading scorer, had three fouls in the first half and didn't take a shot until 16 minutes remained in the game. His second of two consecutive 3-pointers gave the Ducks a 60-59 lead.

Chamberlain Oguchi, who burned the Huskies for 22 points in the game Brooks was ejected from last spring, started in his place. Ougchi was benched 3 minutes into the game and sat for 10 minutes. But his third 3-pointer of the second half gave Oregon a brief, 63-59 lead with 14:22 to go. He finished with 15 points.

The Ducks then went dry, scoring just one basket over a 7-minute stretch against a zone defense.

Washington responded with an 11-2 run to essentially end the game. Jon Brockman, who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, was 6-for-6 from the line in the spurt. And Dentmon's work in the stretch -- a bad turnover immediately followed by a good steal -- typified his night.

And his season.

The often-maddening Dentmon had started only one of the previous six games. But with 7-footer Hawes dragging a sprained right ankle across the floor, Washington needed the sophomore point guard's hyper, driving style to create something other than Huskies frustration.

Dentmon had just one field goal in 30 minutes off the bench Saturday during Washington's 75-47 loss at Washington State, when Romar said "no one on the bus played a good game." Dentmon surpassed that total in the first 55 seconds Thursday.

"Usually, for Justin, the good outweighs the bad," Romar said.

And Dentmon wasn't just scoring. Phil Nelson dunked Dentmon's lob and Hawes banked in another assist from Dentmon to give Washington its largest lead until the game's final minute, 46-34, with 3 minutes remaining in the first half.

Dentmon's offensive rebound off a long miss with 2:28 left allowed Washington to maintain its 10-point lead and effectively end the game.

He said that after the debacle at Washington State, he wasn't sure when he'd be in the starting lineup again.

"But now I'm back in there and I'm never going to leave," he said. "I'm going to work so hard to stay there."


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