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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Huskies up next for hoops

    Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Alan Walsh
    Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

    If Saturday’s game at No. 21 Washington is anything like it was a month ago, the Arizona men’s basketball team better lace up its sneakers extra tight.

    In a track meet on Jan. 29, the Wildcats (18-10, 8-7 Pacific 10 Conference) beat the Huskies (21-7, 12-4) 106-97 in McKale Center, thanks in large part to the combined 128 points scored in the second half. Four players on each team scored in double digits on that team.

    Though UW forward Jon Brockman registered 27 points and 16 rebounds last time, he was overshadowed by career-high performances by Arizona’s Nic Wise (29 points) and Kyle Fogg (16).

    “”I think trying to corral Jon Brockman is kinda like trying to ride a bull in a rodeo,”” said UA interim head coach Russ Pennell. “”He’s probably going to win most of those battles. I think the big thing with Jon, you just try to do the best you can.””

    Heading into Thursday, Brockman led the Pac-10 with 11.3 rebounds per game, just .2 more than Arizona big man Jordan Hill. And though Hill said none of his opponents intimidate him, he did get into a little bit of foul trouble against Washington State on Thursday night.

    Pennell has said that Hill is one of the best big men in the conference, but he also knows what a dominant inside presence Brockman gives Washington.

    “”He’s hard to defend and he can hurt you in so many ways,”” Pennell said. “”But we’re going to do our best to guard him and keep him off the glass, but that’s easier said than done.””

    Brockman isn’t the only weapon for the Huskies, who are trying to win their first regular season Pac-10 title since 1953.

    Junior Quincy Pondexter is playing his best basketball of the season. In his last six games going into Thursday, he averaged 17.6 points and 6.1 rebounds while shooting nearly 60 percent. In four of the six games, he scored 20 or more points.

    “”I think this year he’s grown up and matured, which is what normally happens in this process,”” UW head coach Lorenzo Romar said of the man he calls the hardest working player on the team. “”He has embraced the importance of winning plays, whether that be a tip from behind where you chased the ball down, and you didn’t jog, you sprinted; whether that be boxing out, diving on the floor for a loose ball, making the extra pass.””

    Senior guard Justin Dentmon and freshman guard Isaiah Thomas – the leading candidate for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year – both average nearly 16 points per game for the Huskies, rounding out the team’s quad-threat scoring system.

    The complete package is the reason why Arizona can’t focus on only containing Brockman.

    “”I don’t know that you can focus on one person when playing Washington. I think they’re very balanced,”” Pennell said. “”… I love their team, I love their lineup, but I think if you start focusing on one guy, somebody else on their team is talented enough to beat you.””

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