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Pondexter, Washington rout UCLA 97-68

February 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Quincy Pondexter turned his final home game at Washington into a personal highlight show, scoring 10 points in the first 5 minutes, finishing with 20 and leading the Huskies to a 97-68 rout of UCLA on Saturday night. With a national television audience watching, Pondexter ripped a 3-pointer from the wing on his first shot and the Huskies steamrolled the Bruins from there. His final home appearance for the Huskies (18-9, 8-7 Pac-10) included plenty of chants from fans, a highlight-reel, two-handed windmill dunk on a breakaway and a long final ovation when Pondexter checked out for the final time with 4:25 left.

Isaiah Thomas added 13 of his 17 points in the first half. Washington was up by 23 at halftime and the lead ballooned to as many as 33 in the second half. It was Washington's largest margin of victory ever over the Bruins.

Reeves Nelson led UCLA (12-14, 7-7) with 14 points and Nikola Dragovic added 13. Leading scorer Michael Roll didn't score until the opening moments of the second half and finished with just six points.

Pondexter's first attempt, as the shot clock was about to expire, came only a few minutes after an emotional send-off with his parents and coach Lorenzo Romar at midcourt. Washington students shouted "Who's house? Q's house!" as the Huskies' lone senior wiped tears from his cheeks.

It's been an arduous journey at times for Pondexter, who has blossomed from a quiet and shy player with potential into a Pac-10 player-of-the-year candidate. Saturday was the 16th time he's topped 20 points.

After swishing his first shot, Pondexter wiped his forehead and grinned as he ran to the defensive end. He hit his first four shots and made 7 of 11 attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Washington was burned by the Bruins last month in Los Angeles when seldom-used guard Mustafa Abdul-Hamid hit a longer jumper as the buzzer sounded for a 62-61 win. The Huskies were angered even more when Southern California handed them just their second home loss of the season on Thursday night, 67-64, a defeat that likely ended any chances of repeating as Pac-10 regular-season champs and put their NCAA tournament hopes in peril.

But the Huskies quickly regrouped and nearly everyone had a hand in this blowout. Justin Holiday made just his fourth 3-pointer of the season and added 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Matthew Bryan-Amaning scored all of his 12 points in the second half.

Washington made 11 3-pointers and shot 59 percent. Previously, the Huskies' largest win over UCLA was 90-65 in 1986.

While Washington was nearly flawless in the first half, UCLA had very little go right. Ben Howland burned through four of his five time-outs trying to stop Washington's momentum. The Bruins missed 10 of their first 11 shots and went nearly five minutes without points. After UCLA cut Washington's lead to 18-13, the Huskies rolled off 18 of the next 21 points. The second of Thomas' trio of 3s in the first half pushed the Huskies' lead to 36-16.

Even as the lead grew in the second half, Romar stayed on his players to avoid the swoons that have plagued his inconsistent team. Despite a sellout crowd, Romar could be heard chastising his player during a time-out after the Huskies failed to get back on defense - while leading by 28.


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