Monday, Dec. 6 Results
SEATTLE - The Huskies' mainland cruise continues.
Justin Holiday equaled his career high set two days earlier with 20 points, Isaiah Thomas also had 20 and and senior classmate Matthew Bryan-Amaning came off the bench with 15 points and key hustle plays in the second half as 21st-ranked Washington turned back Portland's comeback in its 94-72 victory on Monday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
The 5-foot-8 Thomas added a team-high seven rebounds plus four assists for the Huskies (6-2), who let a 16-point lead become a six-point game during a seesaw second half.
Their only losses have come at last month's loaded Maui Invitational, to top-10 teams Kentucky and Michigan State. In the continental U.S., they have barely been threatened. The Huskies, who were leading the nation with an average of 95.7 points per game coming in, next go to Texas A&M on Saturday.
Luke Sikma, a native of the Seattle suburbs and son of former NBA SuperSonics great Jack Sikma, had 14 points and 16 rebounds for Portland (7-3). The Pilots had won three games in a row and had only lost to Kentucky and Washington State.
Holiday started like his Saturday against Texas Tech never ended. He made four of five shots in the first half, including three of four from 3-point range, while scoring 14 points as Washington led 46-31 at the half.
He has 31 of his 40 points the last two games during the opening half.
His previous career high for points over consecutive games had been 24.
Washington got its lead to 16 midway through the second half, but then Portland went on a 10-0 run behind two 3-pointers by Nemanja Mitrovic and four points from Sikma.
Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar was not pleased with Huskies' offensive flow during the Pilots' comeback. During a timeout he sternly talked to his players, not yelling but pointedly speaking while bobbing his head.
Eventually, they got the message. Defensive ace Venoy Overton got a steal. Thomas tracked down his errant pass, drove and got his shot blocked in the lane. But Bryan-Amaning, relegated to the bench the last two games while 7-footer Aziz N'Diaye earned starts for great play in Maui, raced to the floor and grabbed the ball. While prone, Bryan-Amaning passed to Thomas, who found Scott Suggs open at the top of the key for a pivotal 3-point swish.
Washington finally put away the pesky Pilots with an 11-0 run.
It took the Huskies about half the opening period to lose their quizzical looks and solve Portland's active zone defense, in which guards were pestering Washington's perimeter. But when they did, the results were pretty.
Thomas was particularly stylish. He raced the other way with a Pilots turnover, jumped toward the rim, met a defender, then spun in the air to leave a hockey-like drop pass for Terrence Ross. The Huskies freshman from Portland's Jefferson High slammed home the fancy assist to put Washington up by double digits for the first time.
Thomas then floated into the lane, shifted his 5-foot-8 body left to avoid a defender in the air and scooped a shot off softly off the glass for two of his fancier points in his 13-point opening half. That one gave UW its 15-point lead at the break.
The half also featured progressively better defensive effort. At one point, Romar was so pleased with N'Diaye sprawling all 7 feet of himself across the floor to force a held ball that he walked out onto the floor after the whistle to congratulate the junior-college transfer and starter the last two games.
The Huskies shot 53 percent from the field and 57 percent from behind the 3-point line, improving their Pac-10 leading average of 46 percent from deep coming in. It also continued a trend for what Romar thought would be perhaps the best shooting team of his nine-season tenure at UW.
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