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Washington upsets UCLA, takes over top spot in Pac-10

Jan 25, 2009 - 1:19 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Facing seasoned veteran Darren Collison and 11th-ranked UCLA did anything but intimidate freshman Isaiah Thomas and his upstart Washington squad.

Thomas led four players in double figures with 24 points as the Huskies moved into sole possession of first place atop the Pac-10 standings with a 86-75 win over the Bruins on Saturday.

Jon Brockman had 18 points and eight rebounds and Justin Dentmon scored 16, knocking down all 10 of his free-throw attempts for the Huskies (15-4, 6-1 Pac 10), who made 36-of-43 from the free-throw line in a physical matchup that featured 58 free-throw attempts and 46 fouls.

Washington has won 13 of 14 since a 2-3 start to the season.

"I think we just never got down on ourselves," Thomas said. "That Florida game down at Kansas City (loss at CBE Classic), we really came together I think. We know we should have won that game but we really came together as a team."

The class of the Pac-10 in each of the last three seasons, the Bruins (15-4, 5-2) have now lost two of three following a 14-2 start to the season.

"They beat us off the dribble and just got to the rim," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Their guards got to the line 27 times and they shot very well from the line today, 83 percent. Brockman got to the line 10 times, Dentmon 10 times and Thomas 12. They were very quick, very athletic."

It was a back and forth contest for much of the game, with the teams exchanging the lead nine times after halftime. Washington took the lead for good during a 13-5 run midway through the second half behind three 3-pointers by Thomas.

Thomas hit back-to-back shots from behind the arc to open a 58-53 lead with 10:33 left. Nikola Dragovic drained a three and finished off a fast break with a dunk to tie the game for the final time at 58-58.

"Coach (Lorenzo Romar) on the road games, home games, says there's going to be adversity," Thomas said. "He says we are just going to have to play through it and play to the best of our ability. We play hard and we do that."

Quincy Pondexter's jumper put the Huskies ahead for good on assist from Thomas with 9:52 left and the freshman drained another shot from long range for a five-point lead.

The Bruins pulled to within one, 67-66, after a pair of free throws by Collison with 6:13 to play, but Washington responded with a 12-0 run to put the game away.

"We just completed a weekend of heavyweight fights here," Romar said. "The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins are two heavyweights and we had to have a heavyweight response.

"I thought that we were just an average team in the first half. We allowed them to get out ahead of us. We lost their shooters. We settled down in the second half and played pretty good basketball."

UCLA went scoreless for nearly five minutes and Washington made 8-of-10 attempts from the charity stripe during the decisive run.

Josh Shipp sank six 3-pointers in a 25-point performance and Collison added 12 for UCLA.

"This is a very good team that beat us today. Washington is very well coached and has outstanding athletes," Howland said. "They've got the two seniors that are playing great for them in Brockman and Dentmon. Obviously the little guy (Thomas) had a great game today, he was a problem for us."

The Bruins' freshman star Jrue Holiday scored eight points on just 3-of-9 shooting while facing his older brother, Washington sophomore Justin Holiday.