How Sweet It Is: Huskies Advance To Sweet 16
March 19, 2005
By DOUG ALDEN
AP Sports Writer
BOISE, Idaho - Washington is making it a lot harder to question its No.1 seed in the Albuquerque Regional.
The Huskies advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 1998 with aconvincing 97-79 victory over Pacific on Saturday.
Nate Simmons scored 15 for the Pac-10 champion Huskies, whose top seed wasthe most disputed among the four No. 1s. But Washington backed it up wellagainst Pacific.
The Huskies never trailed and pulled away by going 19-for-31 (61 percent)from the field in the second half. They finished shooting 56.3 percent(36-of-64) for the game. Next up is the winner of Louisville-Georgia Tech inThursday's regional semifinal.
Other than a brief push by eighth-seeded Pacific (27-4) midway through thesecond half, the Huskies dominated and answered their doubters after holdingoff Montana 88-77 in the opening round.
Guillaume Yango led Pacific with 17 points and 10 rebounds and ChristianMaraker added 12 points for the Tigers, but the Swedish forward was shut out inthe second half.
Washington 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 Arizonapep band joined in to cheer on their Pac-10 rivals as they waited for theWildcats' game against UAB later in the day.
It was quickly apparent who would be advancing.
The Huskies made 11 of their first 16 shots in the second half and openedwith a 13-4 run, which included four straight points after Pacific coach BobThomason was called for a technical for complaining that an offensive foulwasn't called on Simmons when he drove hard to the basket.
Simmons made both free throws and Jones, who was fouled after pulling downthe rebound on Simmons' original layup, was 2-for-2 on his free throws to putthe Huskies up by 52-36.
The Huskies increased the lead to 17 before Pacific started to rally midwaythrough the half. Yango missed an opportunity for a three-point play, but MattKemper got the rebound off the missed free throw and put it back to cut themargin to 73-62.
After Robinson went 1-for-2 on two free throws with 9:16 remaining, JaskoKorajkic got the lead down to single digits with a 3-pointer that made it74-65. Pacific's fans had their first real opportunity to cheer.
Robinson quickly put an end to that with back-to-back field goals, and theHuskies coasted the rest of the way.