Washington Opens Pac-10 Play With Win over California
Dec. 31, 2004
Seattle - For the first time since 2000, the Washington Huskies men's basketball team won their Pac-10 conference opener at home over California 81-67. The Huskies and Golden Bears opened Pac-10 conference play in the same fashion last season, but with a very different result. California defeated the Huskies in Berkeley 76-62, which marked the first of five consecutive Pac-10 losses for the Huskies. The Huskies bounced back to win 14 of their next 16 conference games en route to a NCAA postseason berth.
The Huskies had not won their Pac-10 opening game in four years, where they defeated 24th-ranked UCLA at home 63-62. Tonight marked the first conference-opening win for the team's four seniors. The Huskies had lost eight of their last 11 conference openers.
'Give Cal a lot of credit for executing their game play,' said coach Lorenzo Romar after the game. 'Give our guys credit for still being able to come up with the win. We win as a team and lose as a team.'
After putting up 100-plus points against their last two opponents at home, the Huskies struggled to hold onto a nine-point first-half lead in the third quarter. Cal came roaring back after half time, closing the gap with six points from forward Rod Benson. Trailing 61-60, the Huskies broke loose with five points from Tre Simmons and four from Jamaal Williams. The Huskies had five players in double digits, with Simmons shooting a team-high 18 points. Washington has had a different leading scorer in all of its last five games.
Washington has won all seven of its home games this season and moves to 11-1, its best start in 29 years. Washington continues Pac-10 play on Sunday against conference-rival Stanford at 12:30 p.m. at Bank of America Arena.