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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies. E-mail Bob.

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December 31, 2006

Reality bites

Posted by Bob Condotta at 6:38 PM

Sure, the Huskies are loaded with young talent.

But the key word there remains young. Youth isn't quite the detriment in college basketball it used to be with everyone sporting young teams now with massive early entry to the NBA.

Still, you have to remember that UW had four seniors playing key roles last season and now has only two seniors on the roster, neither of whom usually figures in the regular rotation. And that youth seemed to catch up to the Huskies today as UCLA jumped on them from the start to win going away, 96-74.

"It's another learning game,'' said one of the team's four freshmen, Quincy Pondexter.

Other Huskies were more harsh, however. Phil Nelson said "we've been through a lot. There's no need to put this on youth.''

The Huskies didn't defend well, allowing UCLA to shoot a season-high 59.7 percent overall (40-67) including 72 percent in the second half (21-29).

And the offense often looked ragged as UW lost 22 turnovers, 13 in the first half. UW has now lost 20 or more turnovers seven times this year after losing that many only once last season.

"It's just something we've got to keep working on every day in practice and play like it's a game,'' said Spencer Hawes, who had a game-high six turnovers. "We'll improve. We'll get better.''

That was the general tone afterward, that it's still a long season, even though UW is now 0-2 in Pac-10 play and now has to prepare to face Arizona Thursday.

Hawes called it "ridiculous'' to suggest that the game showed that there is a big gap between UW and the Bruins and other elite teams.

"We know we are good enough,'' he said. "It's just a matter of getting things together on the defensive end. We know how good we are and what we are capable of when we play our best basketball, and that wasn't it tonight. In this league, you have an opportunity to bounce back every night and we are going to do that.''

Justin Dentmon seemed to take the loss particularly hard, and I'll have some of his reaction in stories that will appear in the paper and on-line later.

But he realizes he's struggling, particularly on the road, as he now has 12 turnovers in three road games this year, and has scored just 21 points, making 8-30 shots.

"I feel I haven't been playing good enough point guard to lead the team,'' he said.