UW Men Have NIT Clash with #21 Syracuse on Friday

Nov. 22, 2007

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Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off
Madison Square Garden (19,763); New York, N.Y.

Consolation Game - UW vs. (#21) Syracuse, 1:30 p.m. PST / 4:30 p.m. EST. (ESPN)
(Washington ISP Sports Network / KJR-AM 950 in Puget Sound Area)

Championship Game - Texas A&M vs. Ohio State, 4:00 p.m. PST / 7 p.m. EST. (ESPN2)

The Washington Huskies (3-1) remain in New York for one more game, playing 21st-ranked Syracuse, Friday, Nov. 23 in the consolation game of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Tip-off is 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (4:30 Eastern) at Madison Square Garden. Despite playing a combined 5,063 all-time games, Washington and Syracuse have never before met on the hardwood. Both teams suffered 14-point semifinal setbacks on Wednesday. The Huskies lost 77-64 to No. 15 Texas A&M and Syracuse lost 79-65 to Ohio State. The Aggies and Buckeyes clash in the NIT championship game at 4 p.m. Pacific Time (7 EST). The Huskies make the 2,400-mile return trip on Saturday to Seattle where they host Long Beach State, Monday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Returning to the Garden
This week's NIT competition marks the Huskies' second appearance at Madison Square Garden. UW's only previous game at MSG resulted in a 72-38 rout of host New York University on Dec. 30, 1941. The impressive victory was chronicled this way in the lead of the next day's New York Times game story:
'The University of Washington basketball forces struck unbeaten New York University with cyclone fury at Madison Square Garden last night, virtually swept the Violet off the court with the fastest-breaking attack seen hereabouts in many a moon and cracked three Garden scoring records in achieving a 72-38 victory.'

Broadcast Bits
At least 25 Washington men's basketball games will be televised live this season. Friday's NIT consolation game will be broadcast on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (4:30 Eastern). The announcing team is Dave O'Brien, Steve Lavin and Allen Hopkins.

Radio Coverage
Every Husky game will be broadcast on the Washington ISP Sports Network that airs on flagship station KJR (AM 950) in the Puget Sound area. On Friday vs. Syracuse and Dec. 1 at Oklahoma State, KJR on-air personality Mike Gastineau will serve in the play-by-play role with Jason Hamilton serving as the analyst. In his 21st season as the 'Voice of the Huskies,' Rondeau has conflicts with UW football games on those two dates. He is calling the Apple Cup Saturday and the Husky football game at Hawaii on Dec. 1.

Pac-10 Player of the Week
Washington junior Jon Brockman was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Nov. 19. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 23.0 points and 11.7 rebounds in UW's three wins last week. He shot 56-percent from the floor, hitting 28 of his 50 attempts. Brockman powered UW to an 83-77 victory over Utah in the NIT West Regional championship game with a career-high 31 points and 18 rebounds. Brockman opened the season with a 12-point, nine-rebound performance in an 88-47 win over New Jersey Tech. He tallied 26 points and eight rebounds in Sunday's 82-68 win over Eastern Washington. This is the second time Brockman has received the Pac-10's weekly award. He was also honored on Feb. 12, 2007. Brockman is a Wooden Award candidate. He led all players with 21 points and 15 rebounds in Wednesday's NIT semifinal against Texas A&M.

Fast Fact
Washington is the only school to have a first round pick each of the last three NBA Drafts. Spencer Hawes was the 10th pick in 2007, Brandon Roy went 6th in 2006 and Nate Robinson was the No. 21 selection in 2005.

Tournament Tidbits
The NIT Season Tip-Off is a 16-team tournament with four regional campus sites for the first two rounds. The other regional hosts were Syracuse, Ohio State and 15th-ranked Texas A&M. Washington won the championship in its previous three season-opening tournaments, at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage (2004), the BCA Classic in Seattle (2005) and last year's Basketball Travelers Classic in Seattle (2006). UW defeated Northern Iowa 70-61 to win last year's tournament. This is the Huskies' second appearance in the preseason NIT event. UW opened the 1985-86 season at the NIT in Denver, Colo. and defeated UTEP 82-53 before losing 69-64 to fifth-ranked Kansas. Butler won the 2007 NIT Season Tip-Off and Arizona was the last Pac-10 team to win the event, in 1999.

The Syracuse Series
> Friday marks the first ever meeting between Syracuse and Washington, two of the winningest programs in NCAA history. The Orange rank No. 5 with 1,707 all-time victories while UW ranks No. 15 with 1,551 wins.

> Washington has a 9-15 all-time record against current members of the Big East Conference, including Cincinnati (1-3), Connecticut (0-3), DePaul (2-2), Louisville (1-2), Marquette (0-2), Notre Dame (1-1), Pittsburgh (2-1), Providence (1-0), Villanova (0-1) and West Virginia (1-0).

> Jim Boehein is in his 31st season at Syracuse where he amassed 753 victories. He directed the Orange to the 2003 NCAA championship and was a 2005 inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

> In his sixth year at Washington, Lorenzo Romar lost his only previous meeting with the Orange. Romar's Pepperdine team lost 77-64 at Syracuse on Dec. 13, 1996.

Personnel Matters
Washington's roster lists just 13 players, all of them scholarship athletes. Two players are not currently available to play. Coach Lorenzo Romar announced Nov. 13 that 6-foot-8 freshman forward Darnell Gant (Los Angeles, Calif./Crenshaw) will red-shirt this season. Senior sharpshooter Ryan Appleby (Stanwood, Wash./Stanwood) injured his right thumb during practice on Oct. 31 and will be sidelined for six weeks. Appleby underwent surgery Nov. 2 to repair the fracture. He set a new school single-season record for 3-pointers with 84 last season. Appleby hit 154 career treys as a Husky after transferring from Florida prior to the 2004-05 academic year.

Academic Pursuit
The Huskies embarked on a five-game tour of Greece from Aug. 27 to Sept. 6. UW posted a 2-3 record on the trip while working three players into the lineup who did not play last season (Tim Morris, Joel Smith, Joe Wolfinger). The team also visited historic sites like the Acropolis, Parthenon and Olympic Stadium in Athens, the Royal Tombs near Thessaloniki and the cliffs of Meteora. Games and tours weren't the only thing on the agenda. The Huskies took advantage of the journey to learn more about one of the most famous Greeks, Socrates. The Husky players enrolled in a classics course with James Clauss, the former chair of the UW classics department and now director of the Honors Program. Clauss taught the course the week prior to the team's departure and continued his instruction in Greece as a member of the travel party. Along with Socrates, the Huskies studied architecture and Greek history.

Magnificent Morris
Senior Tim Morris scored more points in his Washington debut than in any of 42 games during his career at Stanford. The 6-foot-4 guard led the Huskies with 16 points against New Jersey Tech (Nov. 13). Morris transferred to UW prior to last year and sat out the 2006-07 season. He played the previous two seasons at Stanford where his game-high total was 15 points against UC Davis on Dec. 4, 2005. Morris was a two-time Georgia State Class A Player of the Year (2002 & 2003). He is the second cousin of Husky head coach Lorenzo Romar.

Prior to Wednesday's 77-63 loss to Texas A&M, UW won its previous 11 regular-season tournament games. The last tournament loss was a 67-64 setback against Butler in the championship game of the 2001 Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska ... The 88-47 triumph over NJIT (Nov. 13) was UW largest margin of victory since a 47-point win over Loyola Marymount (112-65) on Nov. 25, 2005 ... The Huskies limited NJIT to 47 points, the lowest since Lehigh had 37 on Dec. 23, 2005 ... For the fourth year in a row, UW has a Wooden Award candidate. Jon Brockman is listed on the preseason list of 50 candidates for the national player of the year honor. Brockman was also a Wooden nominee last year, following 2006 finalist Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson in 2005.

UW's Last Game
(#15) Texas A&M 77, UW 63 NIT Semifinals (Nov. 21, 2007; New York)

Joseph Jones scored 11 of his 17 points during the second half, including six late free throws that secured 15th-ranked Texas A&M's 77-63 win over Washington in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The Huskies (3-1) opened an early 19-9 lead en route to a 36-32 halftime advantage. UW shot 55 percent (16-29) in the first half, but just 24 percent (10-42) in the second. The Aggies opened the second half with a 12-6 surge to go ahead 44-42. A late 12-2 run left Texas A&M ahead 67-56 with 1:56 left to play. The Aggies hit just 22-of-40 free throws, but converted nine of their final 10 to seal the win. UW's Jon Brockman led all players with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Donald Sloan led the Aggies with 18 points and DeAndre Jordan had 17.

Four-Year Run
The sixth season of the Lorenzo Romar era begins for the Washington men's basketball team, which is in the midst of one of the most successful stretches in school history. The Huskies registered a 93-38 record over the previous four seasons, more victories than any other Pac-10 team during that span. The Huskies had a 19-12 record in 2004, 29-6 in 2005, 26-7 in 2006 and 19-13 last season. The 93 combined wins are the second-highest four-year total in school history, topped only by a 96-win run from 1950-53. UW competed in three straight NCAA Tournaments (2004-06), advancing to the third round in both 2005 and 2006. Those were UW's first ever back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances.

2007 UW Preview
The Huskies return four starters from the 2007 team that registered a 19-13 record and capped the regular-season with a 61-51 victory over second-ranked UCLA. The Huskies finished seventh in the Pac-10 with in 8-10 record. Heading the list of returnees is first-team All-Pac-10 selection Jon Brockman, a 6-foot-7 junior forward who led the conference last season with an average of 9.6 rebounds per game. UW's other returning starters are senior Ryan Appleby, junior Justin Dentmon and sophomore Quincy Pondexter. All four returning starters averaged double-figure points in 2007. The returning Huskies got a head start on the season when they ventured to Greece from Aug. 27 to Sept. 6 for a five-game tour. The team sandwiched several sightseeing excursions and other bonding experiences around five games that yielded a 2-3 record against Greek pro teams. The four incoming freshmen were not allowed on that trip, but three players who did not see game action last season did participate. Senior Tim Morris, who sat out last season after transferring from Stanford, made the most of the games in Greece. He was second on the team with a 12.8-point scoring average and hit 6-of-8 shots from 3-point range. Athletic junior Joel Smith returned after red-shirting last season due to a foot injury. Despite missing the entire season, Smith is still the most experienced Husky with a team-high 66 career games in a UW uniform. Sophomore Joe Wolfinger played well in Greece after missing the previous two seasons with a foot injury. The 7-foot center is an excellent shooter, with range past the 3-point line. Two other returning veterans who will be major contributors and battle for starting berths are junior center Artem Wallace and sophomore guard Adrian Oliver.

Four of the premier high school players in the nation signed letters of intent to attend Washington, including Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a 6-9 forward from South Kent School who was the Connecticut state player of the year. The signing class also includes a pair of California prepsters. Darnell Gant, a 6-8 forward from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, was the nation's No. 50 recruit and the No. 12 prospect in the annual Best in the West poll conducted by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Ranked No. 23 on that Best in the West list was 6-6 forward Justin Holiday from Campbell Hall High School. The lone local signee was 6-foot point guard Venoy Overton, the state Class 4A player of the year from Seattle's Franklin High School. The quartet of stellar recruits is another boost for a Washington program that brought in classes rated among the nation's best in each of the previous two years.

One starter and three other lettermen have departed, led by All-Pac-10 Freshman team and honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection Spencer Hawes. He was the 10th overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. Also gone are four-year lettermen Brandon Burmeister and Hans Gasser along with Phil Nelson, who transferred to Portland State after one year at UW.

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