Huskies make statement, knock off ranked foe in Texas A&M
In Washington's game against No. 19 Texas A&M Tuesday night, the 22nd-ranked Huskies picked up their first win this season against a ranked team.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Hardly anyone saw what happened to Texas A&M senior guard Derrick Roland, but everyone heard it.
"You could hear the snap," Aggies associate head coach Scott Spinelli said. "It was a loud snap. I didn't see it, but I know we all heard the snap. It was something we'll never forget."
An intense basketball game between No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 22 Washington that felt as if it belonged in the NCAA tournament suddenly lost its importance when Roland fractured his right fibula and tibia and lay motionless on the Edmundson Pavilion floor.
Without their best defensive player and emotional leader, the Aggies were powerless to stop the Huskies, who won 73-64 in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series matchup.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 10,000, UW claimed its first win this season against a ranked team.
After the game, the Huskies talked more about Roland's health than the significance of their win.
"I heard a loud slap like he hit the floor, but that turned out to be the break," said Washington senior captain Quincy Pondexter, who finished with game highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds.
"It was one of the nastiest things I've ever witnessed in my life. I pray for him. I wish him the best. I wish his family the best, and I hope he has a speedy recovery."
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar didn't see how the injury happened, but he knew it was serious when he looked at Roland.
"I went out there and looked at his face and his eyes said a lot," Romar said. "He didn't look scared at all. He looked like something happened really, really bad in his life and he couldn't do anything about it.
"It was beyond scared and disappointed. It just looked like it was nothing there."
At the time of the injury, Washington led 34-33 with 17:30 remaining.
Losing Roland hurt Texas A&M emotionally because he is one of their inspirational leaders. He also was the primary defender on Pondexter and without Roland, the Aggies were forced to play a small three-guard lineup and had no one to defend Washington's leading scorer.
The Huskies increased their defensive intensity against an A&M squad that suddenly looked rattled. Within six minutes, Washington increased its lead to 49-37.
Center Matthew Bryan-Amaning connected on a short jumper, giving UW a 53-39 lead and capping a 19-6 run.
The Aggies never recovered.
"We didn't know how they were going to respond," said junior guard Venoy Overton, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. "They looked liked they tried to fight for a little while, but then they just kind of faded."
Without Roland, their second-leading scorer, reserve guard B.J. Holmes scored a team-high 17 points and senior guard Donald Sloan added 16 for the Aggies (9-3).
Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon left immediately after the game to attend to Roland, who underwent surgery.
This was the signature win the Huskies (8-2) didn't get earlier this month when they lost in overtime at Texas Tech and were thumped by Georgetown in the Wooden Classic two weeks ago. It's the first time UW has beaten a ranked team since downing Arizona State on Feb. 26 last season.
The win also snapped a three-game losing streak to Texas A&M, which beat Washington 77-63 two years ago in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Huskies host San Francisco (3-9) on Sunday before starting conference play against Oregon State on New Year's Eve at Hec Ed.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|TEXAS A&M (9-3)|
Attendance: 10,000. Officials: Dick Cartmell, Tony Padilla, Bruce Hicks.
An earlier version of this story, published December 22, 2009, and corrected December 23, 2009, gave an incorrect title for Quincy Pondexter. He is Washington's team captain. We regret the error.