Huskies Win First Round In NCAA Play, 88-77

Final Stats

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March 17, 2005

AP Sports Writer

BOISE, Idaho - The Washington Huskies were annoyed that no one thoughtthey deserved a No. 1 seed.

A harder-than-expected victory over Montana probably isn't going to help.

Washington charged out to a 20-point lead in the first nine minutes andplayed well enough the rest of the way to open the NCAA tournament with an88-77 victory over Montana on Thursday.

Brandon Roy had 17 points, Tre Simmons added 15, and Washington (28-5) shot55 percent to win an NCAA tournament game for the first time since reaching theround of 16 in 1998. The Huskies move on to face Pacific, a 79-71 winner overPittsburgh, in the second round Saturday.

Montana (18-13) won the Big Sky Conference to get into the NCAA tournament,but beating the Pac-10 champion was probably a little too much to ask. Led byKamarr Davis' 24 points, the Grizzlies at least gave it a try, rallying from adismal start before fading against the bigger, more athletic Huskies.

Montana didn't stand much of a chance - no 16th seed has ever won atournament game - and it didn't help that Washington had extra incentive.

The Huskies finished eighth in the final AP poll, the lowest for a No. 1seed since the field expanded to 64 in 1985. They took umbrage with those whosaid the only reason they got the top spot in the Albuquerque Regional wasbecause Kentucky and Arizona slipped in their final games.

Washington said it had something to prove and played that way early, pouringit on against the overmatched Grizzlies.

Washington scored the game's first 13 points and kept coming at Montana inwaves, rotating players off the bench like it was a hockey game, pressuring theGrizzlies into mistakes and pushing the pace at every turn.

Montana didn't score until Davis hit a turnaround jumper 4:10 in and wasdown 28-8 before the game was nine minutes old.

But after withstanding Washington's initial surge, the feisty Grizzliesfought back.

Forcing Washington into bad shots and staying patient offensively, Montanacut the lead to 32-23 with a 15-5 run. Davis capped the rally with a two-handeddunk that brought the large contingent of Grizzlies fans to their feet.

Washington got the lead back to 17 points at halftime after Simmons hit a3-pointer from the corner. But Montana wouldn't quit.

Led by Davis' physical play inside, the Grizzlies trimmed the Huskies' leadto 52-43 with 13{ minutes left. Washington followed with a 9-0 run, only to seeMontana cut the lead to 67-57 with eight minutes left, leading to a chant of'Overrated! Overrated!' from the Grizzlies' side.

Montana never got closer, but it didn't matter - the Grizzlies had leftdoubts about Washington's choice as a top seed.

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