Washington thrashes No. 8 seed

Associated Press
Published March 20, 2005

BOISE, Idaho - Two days after a lackluster win in the opening round, Washington was very convincing as a No. 1 seed in the second.

The Huskies advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 1998 by beating Pacific 97-79 on Saturday, shooting 61 percent in the second half and wearing out the bigger Tigers with pesky defense.

"Pacific would have had a better chance if we had played them in the first round instead of the second round because we were a lot more focused," said Brandon Roy, who scored 14 off the bench for Washington.

Nate Robinson scored 18 of his 23 in the second half for the Huskies (29-5) and the 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior guard added seven rebounds, sneaking into traffic and grabbing the ball to start numerous breaks.

Robinson missed just one of his nine shots in the second half and pestered the Tigers (27-4) all day.

"You can't teach what's inside of that man," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said of Robinson. "I'm not telling you that he is the best player in America, but he has a ticker that allows him to compete, and against anyone. And the bigger the game, you almost see him grow before your eyes."

Bobby Jones scored 19 and Will Conroy had 10 assists for the Huskies, whose top seed was the most disputed among the four No. 1s. But Washington backed it up well against Pacific.

The Huskies never trailed and pulled away by going 19-for-31 from the field in the second half. They finished shooting 56.3 percent (36-of-64) for the game.

"We're a great offensive shooting team. We know if we start going, it's hard to stop us from making them because everybody can shoot," said Jones, who was 6-for-8 from the floor. "If we can do that every night and as long as we can play good defense, we could go a long way in this tournament."

Other than a brief push by No. 8 seed Pacific midway through the second half, the Huskies dominated and answered their doubters after holding off Montana 88-77 in the opening round.

Guillaume Yango led Pacific with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Christian Maraker added 12 points for the Tigers. David Doubley, the Big West player of the year, finished with just nine points.

"I would say they're the fastest team we faced. Their speed is exceptional. You can't prepare for a team that is that quick," Doubley said. "Give them a lot of credit for being great athletes."

Tre Simmons scored 15 and Jamaal Williams 11 for the Huskies as they advanced to the region semifinals.

"Not a lot of collegiates get that opportunity," said Romar, who agreed to a new eight-year deal last week. "There are NBA All-Stars and all-pros that didn't get that opportunity."

Washington was the clear crowd favorite as fans started the chant of "Sweet 16" in the final two minutes. The rowdy fans gave the Huskies an early edge and even members of the Arizona pep band joined in to cheer on their Pac-10 rivals as they waited for their school's game against UAB.