BY SPNW Staff 10:08PM 03/01/2012

Huskies roll over USC, clinch Pac-12 title tie

The helpless Trojans were fodder for Washington’s 16th win in the past 19 games; Huskies aim a rare sweep of the LA schools Saturday at UCLA.

Lorenzo Romar eased the Huskies into at least a co-share of the Pac-12 with a win at USC. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

For Washington‘s first game of college basketball’s premier month, it was March Blandness, a good one to have kept off TV.

The game matching the best and worst of the Pac-12 Conference went to form: RPI vs. RIP. Washington 80, USC 58, and get the Trojans off the stage.

Beset by injury and NCAA scandal, the decimated Trojans tried valiantly to bring some dignity to the Thursday night proceedings, watched by a paltry 2,763 at Galen Center, cutting an 18-point deficit to nine early in the second half. But the Huskies re-engaged the throttle to clinch at least a share of the league title for the seventh time in school history. The points were the most allowed this season by the normally defensively tough Trojans, who lost 69-41 in Seattle Feb. 4.

The Huskies (21-8, 14-3) won their fifth in a row and 16th in the past 19 games. The caliber of the opponent did no favors for UW’s profile for the NCAA tournament selection committee  — the 1-16, 6-24 Trojans have lost more games than any in school history –  but the caliber of the Huskies is speaking for itself.

“After the Oregon loss (82-57 Feb. 9), we said we had to come out and find a way to play five good games in a row,” said coach Lorenzo Romar.  “We’re four for four. But that isn’t five for five.

“Our group came out with a great focus Monday in practice. That didn’t surprise me, but after (USC) cut into lead when we had defensive lapses, we constantly talked to them about finishing right.”

After fouling out with two points in 21 minutes against Washington State Saturday, Terrence Ross scored 18 to lead Washington.  Los Angeles native Darnell Gant justified his third consecutive start with 14 points and nine rebounds, the latter part of a 49-23 board advantage. Tony Wroten missed 11 of 13 shots, but had eight rebounds and six assists. Abdul Gaddy had 12 points and five assists. Byron Wesley led USC with a game-high 23 points.

“We wanted to play like champions, no matter what their record was,” said Gant. “Tone and C.J. didn’t have good scoring nights. So I just tried to do what team needs.

“Romar told us after Oregon loss that we had to win out. We’ve been coming out with a serious mindset — no joking around.”

In their nationally televised regular-season finale at 11 a.m. Saturday, the Huskies will try for a fourth consecutive road win and only the fourth sweep in school history of the LA powers when they play UCLA, which clobbered Washington State 78-46 Thursday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

The Bruins were highly charged after being embarrassed nationally by a Sports Illustrated story this week detailing many misdeeds in the program under coach Ben Howland.


YourThoughts

  • Tian Biao

    wow, what a story. I totally agree with all the comments below, and am pulling for the guy like everyone else. how could you not? To emerge from an experience like that with his head still on straight and with that kind of  attitude is really something.

  • egdejmacated

    I am srry of all rape victims out there but if u false afly something like that that you should be thrown in jail for atleast twice amount of time of the charge afferent…..

  • jafabian

    A great story and doesn’t surprise me that Pete Carroll is giving him a shot at making it like he did Mike Williams.  At the very least I bet he’s on the practice squad for a season.  How can you not root for Banks?  Looking forward to following his progress.

    • Artthiel

      This one is Pete’s wheelhouse, one that may be strong enough to resist the cynics. 

  • RadioGuy

    After what this guy has already gone through in life, earning a spot on an NFL roster won’t be the most difficult challenge he’s faced.  Definitely should land on the taxi squad (sorry for the old school reference but I’ve always liked it) because he’s got a lot of catching up to do, but any team that signs him will benefit from his presence even if he doesn’t play a down in a regular season game.  Who wouldn’t benefit from having someone with his character?  Bruce Ervin could probably learn a LOT from just being around Brian Banks, and maybe Golden Tate would even start buying his donuts when he gets the munchies.

    • Artthiel

       He’s definitely the national story of the week. I just hope he doesn’t fall prey to the worst aspects our ravenous media culture. Before practice begins, he should do all the storytelling, then bear down to succeed to the limits of his talent.

  • Artthiel

     Thanks Tim. Plenty of time to grouse about Howard, but Banks’s story, and his response to it, make as compelling a saga as I’ve seen in sports. 

  • jafabian

    I give props to Sportspress Northwest for not plastering a faux Sonics headline on making the finals like some local media outlets have.  Time to move on from all that.

  • Artthiel

    I wish the attitude and fortitude came a little easier for some guys, but at least when complaining starts, Banks will have the chops to tell them to shut up.

  • Artthiel

     OG, I think the practice squad would be a good landing place for a first year.  He’s waaay behind, of course, but it sounded as if he is quick on the uptake.

  • Artthiel

     Even 60 Minutes was out here for this. Wherever he ends up, he’ll be a national story.

  • Artthiel

     I’m going to have a little say about OKC in the finals. When people really care, there is no moving, jafabian. Fans in Brooklyn still grieve about the Dodgers moving to LA, and that was in 1958. I know analogies to real lost love can be a stretch, but sports teams are often as close as many get to knowing real passion.

  • Old Goat

     And come to think of it will be shortly, if not already ahead of that former Seahawk linebacker – Aaron Curry.